This morning I saw a very sweet elderly woman, the epitomy of a grandmother. She was probably in her 80s, soft-spoken, with white hair, wrinkles, tasteful jewelry, a pink jumpsuit, and a warm smile. Her cat was having some hair loss around the eyes, prompting her to bring the kitty in. Her tone of voice was quiet and slow and she made easy small-talk, smiling the whole time. Overall a very pleasant woman, edging towards being quite talkative.
As I was looking the cat over, she cautioned me that she might pee on me. I get this warning frequently (though probably not frequently enough considering how many times I am urinated on without advance notice), so I smiled and laughed it off. "Wouldn't be the first time," I said, "and I'm sure it wouldn't be the last." The woman began talking about some other things and honestly I was only half paying attention because it wasn't really relevant to anything we were doing. I knew she was speaking about the cat having previously urinated on her. Then she said that she had to wipe her kitty's tw*t.
Yes, that's right. This very sweet, grandmotherly woman casually dropped a rather vulgar slang term for a woman's genitalia. If I had been drinking something I probably would have done a comedic spit-take. Instead I pretended like I never heard it or hear these things every day and continued with my exam and recommendations. Of course, as soon as I left the room I shared this rather shocking phrase with my staff and associate.
What was so surprising was not the actual word. I've heard clients use worse language than that. The shock came from the juxtaposition of her appearance with such vulgarity. I would have expected someone looking like her to use a cutsey slang such as boo-boo, pee-pee, or even va-jay-jay (a common phrase here in Georgia). I certainly was not expecting to hear her drop the "t-word" and then move on like nothing happened.
I know you can't always judge a book by its cover, and this was a rather shocking reminder of this adage.