On Chivalry and Foul Language

Last weekend, my friend and I were sitting on a train in front of a guy who went on a lengthy, expletive-laden rant about the uselessness of the loudspeaker, the train conductor, etc. The conductor walked by a little while later and told him to watch his language because, “there are ladies present.”
Later that night, my friend’s boyfriend told his friend to watch his language, again because, “Women are present, man!”
Now, I’m not one to get bent out of shape over door-holding and such, but this strikes me as excessive. Why does this happen? Are men generally expected to curtail their language around women?

I think it’s just a holdover from when ladies’ delicate sensibilities might be offended (ahem) by swearing. Of course, most of the women I know swear like sailors, as do I sometimes.

That said, I think it’s a good idea to hold off on the swearing whenever possible. Makes it that much more powerful when you do curse. :slight_smile:

Fuck, yeah.

I did go up to a swearing gentleman on a train once and–in my best Margaret Dumont voice–told him, “watch your fucking language, asshole, there are ladies present!”

Maybe you ladies were just a convenient excuse to tell a rude blowhard to shut it.


:smiley: I’ll remember this one for next time.

I didn’t think of this. Other than this particular asshole, this was a perfectly quiet train. I do wonder why the response couldn’t have been, “You’re being disruptive to your fellow passengers” meaning everyone on the train, or something to that effect.

Because it’s disrespectful to swear in front of these bitches

This is definitely a better response. The sexism of “There are ladies present” would irritate me every bit as much as listening to someone swear.

Yep, I’m a woman and I swear. If you tell me you don’t like swearing, I will try to restrain myself for your sake. But if you tell me that ladies shouldn’t swear like that, I will call you a fucking sexist asshole.

It’s wrong two ways – assuming that women are extra delicate (what if she swoons!) and assumes that guys don’t give a shit about foul language.

I remember being put down by a woman (co-worker) for an offhand remark I made in jest back in the early '80s. (We were both twentysomething at the time.)

I didn’t even know she was listening to the conversation, when suddenly she said “Hey! There are women here!”

I don’t even remember what I had said, but it must have sounded very offensive to her.

NB: This occurred while we were both participating in a 19th century military reenactment. Whatever it was I said, it probably would have been acceptable in 1827.