Those in the D.C. region are no strangers to swearing.
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Residents of Maryland and Virginia have a lot of things in common, like a shared enmity for Metro delays, exhorbitant home prices, and a preference for "coke" over "pop." According to a report, however, there's one thing that distinguishes the two states: the use of curse words.
Maryland ranks as the second most profanity-prone state in the nation, behind
only Ohio. That stands in stark contrast to Virginians, who were among the least likely to curse in the country. Only the relatively polite states of Washington, Massachusetts, Arizona and Texas were less colorful in their use of language.
The data was compiled in May by the Marchex Institute — the data arm of the advertising firm Marchex — and resurfaced again this week by The Atlantic. It includes the analysis of more than 600,000 recordings of phone calls made to consumer-facing businesses across the country over the span of 12 months.
In other words, they aggregated all those instances where callers heard the words "your call may be recorded for training or monitoring purposes." Companies included in the data ran the gamut from cable service providers to auto dealerships.
Also included are some other tidbits which aren't likely to surprise anybody who has ever had to sit on hold with a customer service representative. Cursing is much more common in calls that last more than 10 minutes, and early morning calls are twice as likely to prompt obscenities than those in the afternoon and evening.
It remains unclear whether a willingness to shout expletives while speaking to customer service translates into a more general use of dirty words in everyday life. And for that matter, Virginians may well be saving their four-letter words for driving on the Beltway.
Because while Maryland residents may be prone to profanity, they also ranked in third place in a second important measure of manners: the use of "please" and "thank you."