And no I am not talking about their dental hygiene, I am referring to the almost total absence of swear words in their vocabulary.
I kid you not, it's probably been a good few months since I was in the company of anyone who swore publicly! Coming from England, where I don't think you'd get through more than a couple of hours without hearing someone swear, it is quite bizarre.
When I first moved here, I had to make a really conscious effort to clean up my 'potty' mouth and not shock the locals rigid. The hubster was very shocked on his visit to England at the level of cussing in general conversation, and especially the casual use of the 'f' word by us Brit's. And I come from very much a upper middle class area of the UK, with good schooling and values; but it doesn't stop us swearing like troopers on a daily basis at home, socially and at work.
We had a pub lunch with a group of my well-educated, highly successful and nicely raised girlfriends and some of their partners one day during the hubsters visit. Afterwards he was in total shock at the way the 'f' word was just used as a general verb numerous times during lunch. I hadn't even noticed until he pointed it out!
But apart from under my own roof in private, I can't remember the last time I heard anyone say it here! In fact I know people here who will take offence and vocalise it to you, if you take the Lord's name in vain. Something that nobody would even blink at in England.
I actually believe the thing that has the most influence here on the public behaviour and language of the majority of the people, is the high attendance rate in church. This is something that is in serious decline in England and has been for many years, and I now believe this does have a direct correlation with public behaviour. I would never have agreed with that statement before, had I not seen the evidence in my own daily life here.
I now find myself watching reality TV shows here closely, to see if shocked participants ever say "oh my God" in the heat of the moment. Well 99% of the time they will say "oh my gosh" instead, I can't ever remember saying this before I moved here, but I certainly do now! I was even shocked last night when a mom on 'Extreme Home Makeover' slipped and said the former.
It seems they just have more polite, publicly acceptable cuss words; like darn and friggin', although I think we all know what they're actually thinking. There was even a discussion on our local radio station this morning about local High School Football coaches using the 'f' word during games, and the problems this causes the radio station. There I was thinking 'good grief, you'd all have to wear ear plugs at an average British soccer game'!
In the heat of the moment I will revert instantly to my Brit' persona, and now I spend all day around the little people, I am very conscious of what comes out of my mouth as I get stressed. Where I used to work, we'd have all been standing around casually discussing and cussing to our hearts content.
I once as a Substitute Teacher, told a 4th grader to "sit your ass on that chair and keep it there". Not only did he do as he was told, but he and the rest of the class were so shocked they never mis-behaved again! I later heard he'd told his mom, who had actually found it highly amusing and told all her friends. It would never have occurred to me not to say this, but now I use butt instead!
It does make a pleasant change to not hear children running around the supermarkets swearing, a regular occurrence in Tesco! If a child swears in school they are instantly and severely reprimanded and so it's very rare.
Now I wonder if there is an awful lot of 'underground' cussing going on behind closed doors here. Who knows, maybe the air is deep blue when they all close their front doors and they can finally relax. But Okies in general, certainly keep up the very strong impression that they might just be the cleanest mouthed people on the planet!