When did “relax” become a swear word?

The other day I was cruising through the Walmart parking lot (I know what you’re thinking. “She sure goes to Walmart a lot for someone who hates it so much.” Shut up.).

So I’m cruising at a leisurely, appropriate pace, when “Good GOD! That car came out of nowhere!” A guy flies through the parking aisle (is that what they’re called?) and slams on his brakes just short of my fender. I shoot him a look that says “What the F dude? This is a parking lot!” He mouths the word, “Relax.” I could feel the steam spewing out my ears.

Relax? Relax?! I would have rather had him flip me the bird.

  • Relax is the word my masseuse says when she’s trying to work out a stubborn knot in back probably due to all the the douche-nuggets who tell me to “relax” when they almost hit me in Walmart parking lots.
  • Relax is the word my mom would say when I’d get all worked up about say, a boy who punched me in the back of the head and called me a freak.
  • Relax is the second R in “R&R” used on some beach travel destination websites.

It’s supposed to be soothing. It’s supposed to be a positive word. Used to console me. Ahh, yes. Relax. Breathe. And Relax some more.

Outside the aforementioned scenarios, when someone says to “relax,” it just fuels my fire. It feels condescending and rude. It’s used not necessarily to calm people down anymore but as another way of saying “You’re acting bat-shit crazy for no apparent reason.”

Hell, I use it myself in that specific, negative connotative way. I didn’t even realize it until one day I made dinner and Logan said it smelled “disgusting.” When I reacted, “What? It does not. It’s delicious!” Logan responded (before he could say his l’s): “Re-wax, Mommy. I will eat it.”

Logan’s words took me back to the Walmart parking lot where the carefree, reckless driver had (angrily) told me to “relax” but really meant something entirely different.

To Logan: “Don’t say that. Instead say, ‘I’m sorry Mommy, I will eat it’.” I’m pretty sure that worked in the short term but before long we’ll all be telling each other to “relax” escalating our fights (loud discussions) to whole new level psychological unrest.

3 thoughts on “When did “relax” become a swear word?

    • Why? Because you assumed he was mad at you? BTW, the correct way to put that is “I would have “throat punched him through his windshield.


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