EVERETT — Some people like saying the f-word.
Sandy Boo likes wearing it.
What’s up with that?
The four-letter word is woven into her socks. It’s embellished on her backpack and on her shopping totes.
“The baggers at Safeway say, ‘Where’d you get that?’ ” she said. “The TSA agents always laugh.”
Boo, 50, a career social worker, also has aprons, umbrellas, scarves, sunglasses and cellphone covers adorned with her favorite expletive. She designs the merchandise for her sideline business, My Curse Purse.
“I wanted a purse that had the f-word all over it, that’s how I got started,” she said. “I have a mouth like a sailor.”
She figured, why the @$#*%! not?
“I decided I am going to take this curse word and make it attractive and put it on pretty things,” she said.
The $70 purse also has polka dots. On most items, the pattern of profanity is discreet, not glaring. The word is barely obvious on the $16 sunglasses, unless you get really close. On the $20 socks, though, it’s clear as hell.
F-word only. No substitutions. No flipping, frigging, fricking, freaking, feck, fudge, flaming.
It’s not about fornication, it’s about fashion. According to the internet and my ears, it is one of the top swear words people say.
The f-wares are sold online and at shows, such as this Saturday’s NerdFaire in Lynnwood, a mini con for all the things nerdy and geeky.
Boo started My Curse Purse after her mom died in 2018, as a kind of catharsis to help deal with her grief.
“I was a burned-out social worker,” she said.
Boo worked for the Veterans Administration in her home state of Virginia and later in Loma Linda, Calif. She transferred to the Seattle VA in 2017 with her husband, Dave McCalley, who does home remodeling. The garage of their Everett home is a division of his and her very different stuff.
“This had been formulating in my mind for years. I was thinking of a purse and that’s it. After I got the pattern done on the computer I was placing it on different items I was like, oh, this had endless possibilities,” she said.
“I wasn’t surprised,” her husband added.
He is her roadie at events, not her model.
“I don’t use the bags,” he said.
A neighbor’s dog wears one of the f-word bandanas, but Boo hasn’t accessorized her three cats — yet.
It’s all perfectly legal, no matter how many legs the wearer has.
In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the public display of the word is protected under the First and 14th amendments and cannot be made a criminal offense. In 2012 it was listed, for the first time, in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
It’s not allowed on FCC-governed TV during certain hours, and it’s rare to find it in mainstream papers in its true form. Editors fear all the phone calls they’ll get (even ones who say it a lot). Please call me instead.
Boo said the hard part was finding somebody to fabricate her items. She was turned down several times before she found a Mukilteo business.
“I said, ‘Hey, before we go any further, do you have any problems printing profanity?’ And he said, ‘F no,’ ” she said.
Weekends are spent at vendor events, peddling her posh profanity. She has a sign that says, “Items on this table contain profanity.”
She will be at the Stop & Shop Valentine’s Bazaar at the Marysville Boys & Girls Club on Feb. 9.
“I’ve gotten turned away from events,” she said.
My Curse Purse even has competition of sorts. Knotty Nest, a Gold Bar vendor, sells mugs and dish towels with adult humor.
“We’re friends,” Boo said.
Buyers are mostly women, she said. Moms get things for their teen daughters. One woman got sunglasses to wear at her assisted living community home. An Iowa nurse bought socks for the care team of an f-bomb dropping cancer patient to celebrate his final chemotherapy.
“Last year, my first full year, I did around $10,000,” she said.
She returned to her career field by day, working at a psychiatric center.
Boo said her use of the word has increased since she started the biz.
“Not as a stream of cussing coming out of my mouth. It’s more of a matter-of-fact thing because I have to explain all of this to people,” she said.