Monday, September 22, 2008


The only thing I knew about prunes growing up was that they were shriveled fruits my Grandmother ate when she had "going problems" as today's commercials call it. Needless to say, I was not the least interested in trying them, and don't think I ever have.

Perhaps that was also why I always so intensely disliked the word "prude." It sounded too much like prune. If you look the word up in the dictionary, prude is actually a very good thing:
  • a good and virtuous woman
  • a woman who is excessively concerned with propriety and decorum
  • a woman is extremely modest

I don't think any of those things are bad (okay, maybe the "excessive" could be), and yet the word prude is always used in a derogatory way. Today I had one of those "aha" moments where I realized no matter how much I dislike the word, I could easily be classified as a prude.

My mother was a "let your yea be your yea, and your nea be your nea" quoter. Words were not to be thrown around with reckless abandon (and yes, with my quick tongue we had many discussions on this topic), and we were most certainly not allowed to use slang.

Three times within the last six months, while with a sister in Christ, I have heard a word used that my mother would have thrown an absolute fit of those words I would have feared getting my mouth washed out with soap. And yet all four of these ladies used the phrase without batting an eye, as if it were a perfectly normal word. I hate it; I cringe inside; I feel totally repulsed and dirty just by hearing it.

The crazy thing is, I worked with unsaved people in a grocery store and a fast-food place. I also attended a public high school. And yet in all three of those places, once people realized I didn't use profanity, they either tried to abstain from saying bad words in my presence (and I never once asked them to do so), or else apologized for doing so. It strikes me strange that my Christian family can utter those words without shame or feeling abashed in the least, while non-believers were sensitive to my convictions. Maybe I'm a prude; maybe that word changed its meaning within the last ten years; maybe I need to step out on a limb and learn to give a loving rebuke. (Rebuking comes easy for's the loving part that makes me unsteady on a limb.)

So I'm curious. What types of things or events make you feel prudish?


sara's art house said...

Oh come on!! Now you have to tell us what the word is! I know that is mean- but maybe you could just send us (your blogging friends) a peronal email. I am very paranoid- is it something I said ?!?! :)

I am the same way. There are a lot of words (or topics) that I don't like to talk about with the kids- and some people are so very open with their kids about everything. My kids will probably grow up prudes (I guess only a woman can be one.....hmmm)

Jennifer said...

I'm with Sara...I am always saying something that I don't realize. Can't you give a hint, or will you make us be paranoid around you!! I try to be good teaching my kids, but that doesn't mean I have had a slip up!

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

I think I probably used that word, but then I apologized! Does it start with C? I said it so much as my "cuss" word in high school that it has taken me YEARS to not say it. I stopped when I realized how crude it sounded but sometimes it still slips out. I'm sorry, and thanks for the reminder!