Men's Health Australia


JUST BEFORE DINNER, I tiptoe into my youngest son’s bedroom to check if he’s finally asleep. Peeking into his cot, I find him lying awake but happily burbling away so I lean over to make out what he’s saying. “Shit. Oh, shit. Shit,” he repeats. “Shit. Shit. Oh, shit . . . ” Articulating each syllable with brazen delight, the words tumble from his one-year-old lips like some evil lullaby.

Sometimes you’ve got to accept responsibility – this is all my fault. Admittedly, my language has never been great. I’ve always sworn less like a trooper and more like Nick Kyrgios after he’s just trodden in dog shit following another futile run-in with the umpire. It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of all this. Admittedly, my mother is from Queensland (despite being an English teacher, she was never shy of littering her conversation with toe-curling profanity). Yet I blame a lifetime working in journalism, too. I’m not sure whether it’s to compensate for the slightly effete nature of the work, the remorseless grind of deadlines or the impending sense of professional doom, but magazines and newsrooms are godless places full of casually hurled perversities that’d make a bricklayer wince. The men aren’t much better, either.

Needless to say, this is neither big nor clever. But the upshot is that I’ve developed an ingrained habit where “f*cking” is the default substitute for “very” and the c-word an affectionate term for

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