This is a post about swearing. Hence there will be swear words. If they are offensive to you, it’s probably not a good idea to read on. You have been warned.
As passionate as Argentines are about food, wine, futbol and family they really come up short when it comes to swearing. After you have lived here for a minute and have had your first encounter with Argentine driving, a good swear word or more would be handy. The reality is that while there are some creative curse expressions that Argentines use, there are not that many swear words in Castellano that a woman would use to blow off steam.
I do swear. Its how I express myself when I am frustrated or am adding emphasis to an adjective. I didn’t grow up swearing. As kids we weren’t allow to swear at home. Although I heard my father on occasion let one loose. I became fluent in swearing from sitting on an uspstairs trading desk for 8 years. Almost twenty years later, while I was able to kick a 1+ pack a day tobacco addiction, swearing is a habit that I haven’t even tried (or want) to kick. I find the word fuck indispensable when I need to make my point. It is a potent word in my arsenal that I try not to use around my kids.
There really is no comparable word to fuck in Castellano. If you watch an English language movie with Spanish subtitles they pretty much use the word maldición (a curse on you) for every English swear word including the F word. They of course do have some fun words that you might be familiar with like puta (whore), mierda (shit) and pendejo(asshole). But none of these expressions are used by women and usually are bantered about in the context of drunk buddies or sport fanatics, not really as a verbal assault. Not that any of that is a bad thing, but give me something to say to the asshole who almost kills me on the road everyday.
What is the typical shout out to a bad driver? ¿Qué paso viejo(a)? What happened old man (woman)? That flaccid remark is cutting here because everyone, especially women, are desperately doing whatever they can do so as not to get old. Calling someone viejo is as low as you can go with the insults. How boring and unsatisfying. So with no real meaningful Spanish equivalent I have resorted to using an embellished version of fuck (and hopefully silently if I have spawn in the car). It’s just going to have to do.