The possessed fuck

Possessive pronouns – my, your, his, her, our, their – modify nouns. Pretty much any nouns. The English possessive shouldn’t even really be called “possessive,” since it also describes so many more and other things than possession. The thing “possessed” can be an individual item: My dick and your cunt should really get acquainted. It can be a mass object: Don’t waste my time or touch my shit. It can be an act: How was your run today? As good as my performance last night?

Obviously some things are more likely to be “possessed” than others: his book is going to show up far more often than her neutrino. But pretty much any noun, including any sweary noun, can be possessed.

And yet.

A fuck almost never is possessed. You can have one, sure, and preferably a good one. But real-world instances of possessive pronouns with fuck are very few and far between, and those we get tend to sound odd. Can you really picture these occurring in the wild?

He was telling me about his fuck.

Did you see their fuck?

Wait till you experience my fuck.

Indeed, there are just two classic phrases that use a possessive pronoun before a head noun fuck (as opposed to, for instance, your fuck buddy or our fuck up): Eat my fuck and Here’s to your fuck. I’ve done searches on linguistic corpora containing hundreds of millions of words and turned up pretty much nothing else: not his fuck, her fuck, our fuck, their fuck. There are a few variations on eat my fuck, surely inspired by the original, most saliently suck my fuck. There are also a few instances of swapping fuck for another word to instensify: Oh my fuck. After all, if we’re going for infractions of decorum, why not add semantic coherence?

Which is where Eat my fuck comes from, of course. It’s a deliberate infraction, the sort of thing a punk rocker would shout from the stage. In fact, that’s where it comes from. If you watch the 1981 documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, filmed in 1979 and 1980, you will be treated to the first known utterance of the phrase, when the band Fear are getting into an altercation with their audience (because that’s what they’re fucking there for), and their bassist, Derf Scratch, shouts it. Scratch was known for his lively wit and turn of phrase – among many other attributes appropriate for a punk rocker – but the fame of Eat my fuck has been his digital epitaph, as it were (he died in 2010). Read this 2004 interview for more insight.

Once The Decline of Western Civilization hit the screen, Eat my fuck started to spread. Why wouldn’t it? What a fresh, transgressive way of putting things, so much more crude and aggressive than suck my dick. In 1984 the punk rocker GG Allin named an album E.M.F. or Eat My Fuc (yes, without the k). By 1987 the phrase was appearing in fiction in Gordon Lish’s literary periodical The Quarterly. It was also just around that time being exclaimed by drama students at the University of Calgary, as I know from personal experience – that was where I first heard it. It was au courant! In 1997, it showed up in the script for Alien 4: Resurrection:

WREN
DiStephano! Take their weapons.

DISTEPHANO
Begging your pardon, sir, but eat my fuck.

DiStephano aims at Wren. Wren backs up a step.

In the meantime – in fact, in 1987 – the other possessed fuck had appeared, in the famous scene in Blue Velvet:

FRANK
Shit. let’s drink to something else.
let’s drink to fuckin’. Say here’s
to your fuck Frank.

BEN
If you like Frank. Here’s to your fuck.
cheers.

This fuck is different, though. Eat my fuck is figurative, disruptive, meant to disturb shit. Here’s to your fuck, on the other hand, is disturbing. Creepy. Partly because of the character and the scene, of course. But partly because we just don’t conceptualize fuck as a thing that is quite the same as, say, your car, your meal, your race, your mind, your success.

Could it be the association with the individual, since it takes two to fuck? Well, how about Did you like our fuck? Hmm. Still creepy, in my eyes. No, I think it has much more to do with the particular semantic qualities of fuck. It’s not a mass object, like shit or success; you can’t say Would you like some of my fuck? (I mean, I guess you could, but it would be a deliberate semantic reconfiguring for effect; we don’t normally think of fuck that way.) It’s a countable thing, but it’s not a unique thing. It’s not a signal event, like a wedding – Here’s to your wedding – or a race – Here’s to your race. By specifying it with a possessive pronoun, we imply a certain identity. It doesn’t have to be the only fuck of your life, but it has to have the status of a non-fungible event, one with an individual identity, something important in its singular self. Your fuck.

Making a fuck public, recording it as an instance, doesn’t seem to make the difference. We don’t say of porn stars I watched their fuck and it was pretty good; we say I watched them fuck – we think of it more as an activity engaged in, a verb. And yet we can say I watched your race. How about another kind of event: Here’s to your test? If you say that to someone with a big test coming, that works fine. But if you say it to a university student at finals time, the response may be “Which one?” and perhaps “I have several of them; today’s test isn’t more special than the others.”

And that, I think, shows us the key. The implied infinite iterativity and fungibility of fucks. Any one fuck is not unique enough to be my fuck. We would never want to think we get only one! Or even pretend that one matters so much more than the others (really, whose fucking business is it anyway?). And, in our society, fucks are not typically events with public identities. Pubic, yes, but that automatically implies not public. We can say How was your dinner last night? but I don’t think in your life you would hear How was your fuck last night? A truly intrusive person might say How was sex last night, treating it as an instance of a mass object, not giving it a unique identity.

So there we have it. Fucks are countable but not accountable.

13 thoughts on “The possessed fuck

  1. sumacandmilkweed August 12, 2016 / 3:46 am

    “Wait till you experience my fuck.” Fucking terrific! Absolutely loved this read tonight.

    Like

  2. John August 12, 2016 / 4:52 am

    Skull fuck that… Heh. 😜

    Like

  3. Gloria Hanlon August 12, 2016 / 7:36 am

    I didn’t think I led a particularly sheltered life, but I’ve never heard of either of the ‘classic phrases’ listed here!
    Now if I can just figure out a way of making more use of them in my daily speech… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Duncan August 12, 2016 / 12:30 pm

    “Any one fuck is not unique enough to be my fuck” … that’s quite a thought: a defining fuck; the fuck to end all fucks; the fuck that will pass into legend. Well, a man can fucking dream, can’t he?

    Like

  5. dialmformara August 12, 2016 / 4:27 pm

    Slave to the Cooperative Principle that I am, I interpreted the “your fuck” in “here’s to your fuck” as either:
    –“an act of fucking, soon to commence, that involves you” (like “your race” or “your test”), or
    –“the other person who will be involved in this imminent act of fucking” (as in the unutterably crude and sexist “she’s a good fuck” that shows up occasionally in bro movies).

    Like

  6. chamekke August 12, 2016 / 5:30 pm

    The funny thing is that fucks possess all the time (“Oh, for fuck’s sake”). It seems unfair they’re so rarely possessed in turn. At least you’re narrowing the gap for us!

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  7. Matt August 12, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    Is it not more general? Do we get ‘fuck’ with any determiner? These all sound bad:

    In the pornstar scenario:
    1) #the fuck was good but the mise-en-scene wasn’t

    2#that fuck was as good as the scenery was bad

    Commenting on a range of scenes:

    3)# Every fuck was good
    4)# At least one fuck was good
    5)# Some fuck was good

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  8. SB August 12, 2016 / 9:41 pm

    Well, and there’s the whole “behold the field in which I grow my fucks, for lo it is barren” and variants on counting how few fucks one currently possesses.

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  9. Adrian Morgan August 13, 2016 / 7:37 am

    On the other hand, “it’s been a long time since my last fuck” sounds more plausible (although I sense that it’s less likely to be spoken in real life than to be attributed to a fictional character). What other words might you insert between “my” and “fuck” with similar effect?

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  10. Ben Turrell August 13, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    I would argue that part of the reason that fucks aren’t possessed is because they are usually mentioned in conversation (as a noun) when custody of the fuck is being transferred, and therefore is between possessions (when a fuck is being given). There are some people, however, who choose not to give their fucks.

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  11. Stuey August 13, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    Of course, there’s also the use of “fuck” to mean “person”, in a use approximately equivalent to “schmo” in that it can be used either to indicate uselessness or just to genericize the referent. (I’m thinking of the use in phrases like “that fat fuck” or “that stupid fuck”; I think “dumbfuck” is related but not quite the same use?)

    Usually this use is not possessed either, but I think only because it’s used for distancing in the first place — you could, as with “schmo”, use it in a way that highlights that infelicity for humorous effect: “Well, he may be a stupid fuck, but he’s OUR stupid fuck.”

    May or may not be particularly related to the aforementioned sexual-evaluation use “he’s a good fuck”?

    (In fact, until I watched the actual snippet, I assumed Frank in Blue Velvet was using “fuck” in the “schmo” sense, playing on that in substituting “fuck” for “friend”, on account of the script did not have a comma where it should have. 🙂 Which is how I got started down this tangent of fuck-as-person rather than fuck-as-activity.)

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