Right Words, Bad Words, and Nice Girls

Will you accept this rose?My roommate likes to watch The Bachelor. I despise the show for a number of reasons, but I like to spend time with my roommate. I, therefore, have seen several episodes.

In one of the episodes, Kacie B., the quote-on-quote “nice” girl, is sent home. She was friendly and adorable, and everybody – except evil Courtney and the other contestants (I don’t know what else to call them.) – wanted Ben to choose her. It wasn’t to be. He didn’t give her a rose, and she had to go home.

During that ride away from the hotel, she began to sob. She wondered how she could have been such a stupid person. She asked what she had done wrong. She then exclaimed, “What the f#@k happened?”

My roommate seemed surprised at the use of the word; she said, “Kacie B., you are far too nice a girl to be using that word.” I didn’t have anything to say in response to the statement. The word seemed foreign on Kacie B.’s lips, and yet…

…and yet, I understand the motion. Kacie B. needed a word that would express her hurt, grief, and anger, and it wasn’t to be found in her day-to-day vocabulary. She had to reach outside herself to find it. Was “f#@k” the right word? It might have been for her in that moment. I don’t know. I only know, as a writer, that I am continuously in search of the right word. Sometimes, that word is a quote-on-quote bad word. Sometimes, it isn’t.


  1. Sometimes, only a jaw-dropping, eye-widening cuss of epic proportions will do. 

  2. Interesting post, Erin, with an angle that is spot on with the writing world. I suppose that were I a fiction writer, I would use a “bad word” once in awhile in the dialogue of certain characters. Even though it’s reality TV, it’s still got a script; albeit, a loose one with room to ad-lib.
    That particular word has become nearly ubiquitous in modern culture (indicating the degradation of our society’s standards and value system). To this young woman and many others, it’s no different than exclaiming, “Oh, snap!” I don’t like to use that word personally, but can’t say I’ve never used it. I don’t mind hearing it in a movie, if the situation and character calls for such a colloquial exclamation. I do, however, think it makes those who use it regularly seem just like the run of the mill citizen. Do you want to be like everyone else? I sure don’t. My family and I pride ourselves on “pushing hard against a culture that pushes hard against us.” In other words, we’re not going to follow the status quo and accept language like that in our everyday lives. 
    Thought provoking, brave post, Erin! You rock! xo Samantha

    •  @texascopywriter  Thanks, Samantha, for the comment! I know you’re busy, so thank you for taking the time to comment.
      It isn’t a word that’s part of my daily vocabulary, and it’s not one that’s likely to find a home on this blog. Have I used it in some of my other writings? Yes. It was the only word that seemed to suffice in that particular instance or could express a certain emotion.
      You also hit on an interesting point. When a word is used too often, it loses the power it once had. It also might not be received in the same manner in which it was stated. I think we’re getting into authorial intention with that idea, though, and that’s a messy puzzle in and of itself.