I’m Canadian, I Swear


Think I’ll get that printed on a T-shirt, along with a maple leaf.

Studies show (and I want to know who got paid for this one) that Canadians swear more than Americans, Brits, or Europeans.  We’re not merely foul-mouthed, we’re world-champion spewers of profanity and obscenity.

Unless we’re around people we don’t know.  Then we wouldn’t say shit if we had a mouthful of it.  ‘Cause, well, we’re polite, eh?  (Unless we’re rioting after hockey games, but that’s different.)

If I had a nickel for every time I said something vulgar, profane, or obscene in front of my friends, I could quit my job and live forever more on the proceeds.  But if I’m with strangers, I don’t swear.  There’s some bizarre internal filter that simply won’t let that language out.  Instead, it all gets saved up for the next time some fucking moron cuts me off in traffic.

I’m not the only one who does this, either.  The same study showed that it’s a Canadian trait to be restrained in public but a potty-mouth when with friends.  Guess they weren’t listening the day our Culture Minister publicly referred to Canadian television as “shit”.

This blog is an exception to the “not in front of strangers” rule.  We’re all friends here, right?  And I wouldn’t want the language in my books to come as a complete shock.  But still, I post the F-bomb alert.  Other bloggers just let ‘er rip, but I’m too… Canadian.

I’m not sure why we collectively possess such a deep well of profanity.  Maybe it’s because we’re trying so hard to be polite to every dipshit we meet that it just has to come out somewhere.

Maybe it’s the beaver jokes.  As you may know, the beaver is our national animal, causing no end of hilarity to those with dirty minds (which would be most of us).  It’s really hard to avoid a little coarse language under the circumstances.

Or maybe it’s our weather.  Let’s face it, when you live in a country where a third of the land mass has continuous permafrost, profanity seems like an unavoidable consequence.  In the southern areas, schools close when the temperature dips to -40 degrees Celsius.  If it’s only -38, well, suck it up, ya pansy-ass kids, and walk to the bus.  The swearing habit starts early here.

For those who aren’t familiar with Canada, I should mention that we do, in fact, have summer.  You can tell it’s summer when the grass turns a funny green colour, and enormous squadrons of mosquitoes attempt to carry you away if you venture outside.  But that only lasts about ten minutes, and then it’s back to fucking winter.

I’m exaggerating.  We actually do have other seasons on the prairies, called “goddamn hail again”, “holy shit, tornadoes”, and “sumbitch heat and humidity”.

Or, if we don’t know you:  “How about that weather, eh?”

Any other potty-mouths out there?  What are the seasons in your neck of the woods?

30 thoughts on “I’m Canadian, I Swear

  1. Pingback: Spuds And, Um… ‘Spunts’ | Diane Henders

  2. I totally understand but you been in the school that I go to, and the one I used to go to. (Btw, I’m a Brit) the one I go to now is a ‘posh all girl grammar school’ which it does fulfil of the label, but what I didn’t expect was the foul mouth there! They are just as bad with language as my old mixed comprehensive! But my new normally uses it a bit more sophisticatedly like actually using it when it makes sense, not every other word. But that doesn’t meant that we don’t use it just as much! Im one of the few people who only swears in extreme cases, like when I’m alone and I’ve forgotten to put the baking powder in the cupcakes. (Yes, cupcakes are that important to me) or when I have forgotten my homework, or dropped something on my toe that was heavy and hurt like hell!


  3. I think I was meant to be born Canadian and the stork made a mistake. The beaver is the noblest and most hilarious of all the animals in the animal kingdom. If I could have a best friend who was a beaver, my life would be perfect. I was totally thinking that the weather was a major cause of your cursing up there as whenever it gets to be under 30 F I step outside and automatically say, “Holy fuck, it’s cold!” or some such nonsense. You guys can’t help it, really.


    • LOL! I’d offer to make you an honorary Canadian, but the men of the country get twitchy about that. Apparently they think you’re trying to take their share of the Canadian beaver… um, “beavers”… 😉


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  6. Oh dear Lord, your post had me laughing out loud. I’m guilty… I’m Canadian and I swear… and I reserve it for time with friends and close work colleagues.. which doesn’t seem fair as they are the ones I should be the most normal around. Your comment “it’s because we’re trying so hard to be polite to every dipshit we meet that it just has to come out somewhere” is sooo incredibly true. I firmly believe if we could bitch-slap idiots I’d be able to have a constructive conversation with my young nieces without them believing I have a speech impediment (crippled sensor).


      • Ha ha… I usually try to engage them in coversation, realize I can’t speak fluently because I need to censor everything, give up uttering “Oh crap!” and have them respond with “You owe me a quarter, that’s a bad word.”


  7. Pingback: I. AM. CANADIAN! « Just Another Canadian Gurl

  8. Pingback: I. AM. CANADIAN! | Diane Henders

  9. LOL! I can’t believe this–Canadians are supposed to be so polite! Thanks for an illuminating post. Of course, two years ago when I visited Vancouver, the Canadian border guard was a complete dick to me, and I was surprised because it’s usually the Americans are who aholes, even to Americans. Canadian border guards are all, “Hi! Have a great time! Welcome! Inukshuk!” But this time it was all grumbles and growls and scowls. Most unseemly.


    • Uh, oh. I sense an international incident. And I’m probably about to be publicly vilified for revealing our sordid secrets. I hope they don’t take away my Canadian flag.

      Maybe I should write a big disclaimer at the top of this post: Only I and one surly asshole border guard are rude. All other Canadians are polite. Really. 🙂


      • I think Canada was well within their rights to be pissy since the US went all passporty on them–requiring a passport to go to Canada or Mexico. Even though it’s more of a compliment to those countries, don’t you think?


    • You could come up, but as @aquatom points out, you probably wouldn’t hear anything that would be out of place at a church picnic. But now that you know our dirty little secret, you could try to infiltrate a backyard barbeque. Or a Stampede party next July. That might work.


      • She could… but as Canadians we both know if an American were to head north of the border to engage in some foul-mouthed tom-foolery, Canadians would cock an eye at them and pass comments about cette person being a stereotypical American.


  10. Hi Diane, I can’t believe you swear more that the British. Well, the ones I work with anyway… When I was in Canada, not once did I hear an utterance of the profound kind – and I was there for three days – so this may prove your other point! Great post!


    • Thanks, Tom! And you’re right. I almost never hear adults use ripe language in public, and I’ve lived here all my life. The funny part is, even though I’m perfectly comfortable writing all kinds of foul language in my books, I still felt a twinge of discomfort writing this blog post and making it public. Too, too Canadian. 🙂


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