Adele and her F-bombs a treat for foul-mouthed mums

Crowds of mostly women gather for Adele at Mt Smart Stadium.

Crowds of mostly women gather for Adele at Mt Smart Stadium.

OPINION: As I took my seat on a Jetstar flight to Auckland last week, I noticed a woman travelling with three small boys.

My instant reaction was to assist her in any way, but she totally had everything under control so a wry "wow, you are a superwoman" smile was all I managed.

We eventually started chatting as her wee one passed the time by walking up and down the aisle, acquainting himself with the predominantly female passengers.

What Adele has to swear about between the songs is almost as good as the songs themselves.
Phil Walter

What Adele has to swear about between the songs is almost as good as the songs themselves.

It dawned on me that there was probably no more of a maternal flight than the one we were on, destined for Auckland so we could attend the Adele concert.

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In fact there were visibly so many more women around in the airports and around Auckland that my friend mused that the influx could cause all our cycles to sync up at once – a scary thought considering Adele is known for her hormone-inducing, moody songs.

It was my first night away since being a mother of two and it's fair to say I don't think I was the only one experiencing some much needed "adult" time away from night time routines, poopy nappies and the earworm that is the Moana soundtrack.

I wouldn't say I was an epic Adele fan at all, not like some of those I came across before we entered Mt Smart Stadium who were positively fizzing about seeing their idol in the flesh.

Like most people, I was familiar with many of her songs, especially from her first album, and I recognised that she had a unique and powerful voice that has long been reported as being incredible live.

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Read any review of her shows and you'll hear all about her banter and endearing charm that she scatters through her performances much like the confetti that also features in large quantities.

But what I really love about her is her swearing.

Her potty mouth is awesome. She is just so British and sweary that despite being surrounded by 50,000 people, I really did feel like we were in a London pub, having a yarn about soap operas and mothering escapades.

I wasn't the only one to notice her swears. Another friend at the concert text to say her vocabulary reminded her of me. Shucks, what a compliment.

It's not something most people would be proud of, I get that. And don't get me wrong, it's not like I go around swearing at people. To me, my profanities are more for emphasis as part of my storytelling.

I'm not sure where I learnt about swearing as my parents and siblings aren't known for it and I hardly grew up in the mean streets of Hamilton. It's just one of my quirks. It's part of who I am.

I try (try!) to be more careful with my words around children that aren't mine as I understand not everyone is as loose with their lingo.

But it's hard when you're not used to making a big deal about it and suddenly there are audible gasps when you're in the middle of telling people how great a meal or movie was by making full use of the alphabet.

So anyway, back to Adele, my spirit animal, my mum idol. Science has our potty-mouthed backs, somewhat.

Linguist and cognitive scientist Benjamin Bergen, in his book What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves, says that swearing is useful, funny, cathartic, and even emotionally arousing.

He maintains that it's not actually the words that matter, but more the context. There's swears, and then there's slurs.

He maintains swearing is fine, but insulting someone with swear words not so much, and I totally agree.

His argument is central around a parent's role in teaching kids the right and wrong time to say and do lots of things, swearing included.

I love this. And it totally explains why in a huge crowd of ladies, many of whom were used to saying useless euphemisms like "fudge" and "fire truck", you heard guffaws of laughter every time Adele dropped an F-bomb.

Because, let's face it, there's a lot worse things that a parent can do than yell a swear word when they stand on a piece of Lego or, if you're Adele, get attacked in a foreign country by an unidentified beetle.

 - Stuff


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