Parental Advisory: I Still Can’t Be Tamed

Growing up, there were so many rules. Rules from home: “Pick up your toys after you play with them,” or “Don’t put gum in your brother’s hair.” Rules from school: “Don’t run with
scissors” and “Markers are for paper — not classmates’ faces.” And then there’s the Golden Rule: “Don’t lie; honesty is the best policy.”

As a kid, I never figured out the difference between honesty and rudeness. Telling my mother that her jeans accentuated her muffin top? Just me being honest. Luckily, because I was so young, these comments were only met with raised eyebrows and disapproving looks
— nothing too serious. But a decade later, I’ve come to the conclusion that informing people that their outfit makes them look like a walrus and will only prevent them from getting laid will result in developing a reputation as a judgmental bitch, something that’s far worse than a glare or my mom’s raised eyebrows.

And while I might think it’s socially acceptable to tell my friends the intimate details from last night, apparently they don’t share the same sentiment. I know my kinderhearted friends love me, but I also know that some of my less-than-PC comments are putting a strain on our relationship.
As I researched how to break bad habits, I came across a website on how to train dogs: Every time they do something wrong, you let them know they did “bad” by smacking them on the nose or spraying water in their face. In my case, I figured that just asking someone to tell me when I say things that are out of line would suffice. No nose harm, no foul.

While one of my friends was more than eager to try the “smacking Cheryl on the nose” tactic, another suggested that I put a quarter into an “STFU” jar every time I did something off-putting — whether that was saying “that girl needs a P in the V” or sending a picture text of my bird’s huge excrement. (It’s funny, OK?)

The first day, as my friend and I waited at a stop light on our way to breakfast, I commented on how it would do a particular “ghetto-fab” pedestrian well to lay off the lip liner and Baby Phat. (Goodbye, 25 cents.)

By the end of the hour, I found myself $3.75 poorer. So, to avoid losing more money, I started to hold my tongue. Despite the fact that my boyfriend’s new jeans made his butt
look bigger than Kim Kardashian’s, I said nothing. Dinner was filled with half-voiced thoughts. “So, today I saw a — oh, never mind.”

The money I lost means I’ve started to think twice about commenting on how our waiter’s hair makes him look like Tom Hanks in “Castaway.” But that pile of change also made me realize how much that indecent commentary is a part of who I am — for better, for worse.

And it’s a part of me I’m not willing to give up, even if it means mildly offending those that have yet to get to know the real me.