"Only the suppressed word is dangerous." Karl Ludwig BÖRNE, German journalist (1786-1837)
Fuck you. Fuck me.
Powerful phrases both, which, depending on delivery can arrive like a sledgehammer or a kiss. The former can be expressed with the familiar gesture frequently flipped in heavy traffic; the latter with a look I won’t describe but we know it when we see it. But did you know that eight-hundred years ago it simply meant to make love?
When a guy cuts me off in traffic, the last thing I wanna do is blow him. Well, there was one, but it was Valentine’s Day and I was lonely. I pulled up next to him, and my finger was just beginning to straighten when I realized how fine he was—a beautiful brown god straight out of a CLIK magazine fashion spread. My hand in the air absolutely without purpose, I barely got a chance to say ‘Fuh’ before my anger melted into my shorts. I think I licked my lips, too, they always feel dry in the presence of beauty. Apparently he noticed my ‘fuck you’ morph into an awkward ‘fuck me’, because he shook his head, mouthed ‘faggot’, and drove off. I’d gone from anger to lust back to anger in seconds. I wanted to follow him, but a part of me knew I’d end up apologizing and asking him out for drinks.
Still, one word meaning very similar and very different things. In evolutionary theory, an organism (or a word), improves over time through a process of natural selection. For it to change in the other direction, or devolve to a primitive form is against the nature of evolution.
I had a friend once. We did everything together growing up. He was also the first person to call me a fag. I wasn’t offended. After all, he said it while I was trying to rape him. Not in a beastly, misogynist, defiler of purity kinda way though, no, it was just my teenaged way of expressing my intense affection and cementing my bond with my BFF (best friend forever). And what better way to do that than to poke him in the butt, right?
Yeah, I know. He didn’t think so either. And it was right at the point when I’d wrestled him out of his shorts and had him sprawled across the sofa, target in sight, when he looked over his shoulder and lobbed the ‘F’ bomb. It had zero effect on me. As a matter of fact I remember thinking, “Yeah, whatever.”
Of course it was difficult to feel insulted with my post-pubescent hard-on buttering his buns with pre-cum. Plus, he had a point. Though I never did get to pop his cherry that day—mostly because I had no idea what I was doing—still, he didn’t mind flipping over and offering another body part for deep inspection.
A couple of years later, coming from a club with friends, we got into an argument in the back seat. With an evil grin he said, ‘Fuck you, faggot!’ I immediately punched him in the mouth. Because that time there was a sparkle in his eye that said − We both know it’s true. That time, possibly because we were being watched, the word meant something. So we fought that night in that back seat speeding down the highway, passionately, while our friends watched − oblivious to our hidden hard-ons and the sometimes razor thin line between fighting and fucking.
When my friend first called me fag, it was with a smirk, almost tongue in cheek in its innocence. It didn’t mean anything. Subsequent times when I’d invite him over while my mom was at work − despite my former display of obvious faggotry, he came − he’d toss the F word around again. It meant nothing.
The words themselves have zero power, only what we give them. We have to keep reminding ourselves of that fact. ~~