never forget that movie, I believe it was called El día de la bestia, in which I heard for the first time a priest saying to the character that was sharing the screen with him: “Te voy a dar una ostia”. The priest, of course, wasn´t referring to the Holy Communion but using the Spaniards´ slang for: “I am gonna kill you with my fists”. That evening in the movie theater, it was clear which members in the audience were from Spain. They were the only one laughing. Neither I nor the rest of the American audience could understand the jokes. However, they must have been very funny because the Spaniards were falling out of their seats...
But that was then. A few years later, I had managed to master much more of the Spanish language as it is spoken among the Spaniards. To put it simply, they swear at each other all the time, even in the most polite situations. My stock of Spanish words and expressions grew to include “joder”, “coño”, “hijo de puta” and “hijoputa” (similar but not the same), “carajo” or “carallo” (depending on the area of Spain you visit), “maricón de mierda”, “tu puta madre”, and especially all varieties of “me cago en...” (I shit in...) tu madre, tu padre, la leche, la luna, etc. It’s an endless chain of possibilities. “¡Qué coño quieres!” That for a “Hello” became something as ordinary as a café con churros for breakfast.
I thought of all the teachings I received from my parents and in school, when “God” became “Gosh” and “fu__ing” was “freaking”. The endless beepings that I experience on US television, blocking my ears from all the forbidden swearing, crossed my mind as well. After all this education, I felt completely confused. However, I now feel amazed and happy that I’m able to share both. Swearing in Spanish has become part of me. I have very clear that if any regular dialogue among Spaniards were ever shown on TV in the US, it would be one stupid, endless beep. And by the way: “Me siento de puta madre”