relationship

The Many Flavors of "Okay"

When ‘k’ isn’t okay...

It’s 2016, when ‘k’ is no longer ‘okay’ or even okay.  We’ve all been texting long enough now to know good texting is all about showing effort, so anything too short comes off as snippy.  Text ‘k’ to someone and be prepared for anything.

For those of you who aren’t fluent in the many flavors of ‘okay’, you might want to read on.

How someone reads your single word ‘k’, ‘ok’, ‘okay’ or ‘okay..’ text usually depends on the person.  So firstly, know your audience.  Generally, the younger the person you’re texting, the worse things sound.  Same rule applies the closer that person is to being a girl you’re wooing.  So, text “k” to a college-aged girl making date plans, and you could expect an internal diatribe like the one above.  On the other hand, text that to your middle-aged father and he’ll probably appreciate your succinctness.

There’s no surefire route through this minefield of potential miscommunication.  Much depends on personality and context, like what the exchange leading up to this conversation killer looked like.  But below are some rough translations…

That’s all for today’s lesson…mmkay?

The Different Type of I Love You's

There are lots of ways to express your love and respect for someone. The most timeless expression, “I love you,” however now holds varying degrees of gravity thanks to texting.

Let’s take a look:

1.

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The most common variant of the standard “I love you.” It’s also the safest one too. It’s been used so much that it has lost its significance as a declaration and a milestone in a relationship. Based on my personal experiences, “ily” has become synonymous with a thank you.

Thanks for buying me breakfast, ily!!!

2.

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I luv u, I luv you, I luv ya. All usually mean the same thing. It’s a flippant expression. This variation takes away the big commitment of the standard “I love you.” It’s both a term of endearment and a closing message. “Luv ya” is reserved for a friend.

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3.

This is the one with the most substance and meaning. This is the real deal. Once you press the send button, there’s no going back. Saying it over text is definitely easier than saying it online but still holds some degree of nervousness. You say this when you mean it. Don’t forget to include that period!

OH, don’t forget “Rawr!”

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That’s debatable though…

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5 Emojis We Need to Stop Using IMMEDIATELY

  1. “Face With Tears of Joy”
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What it is: Presumably, the face one makes after winning the lottery, or watching a particularly hilarious comedy, or whilst sobbing uncontrollably and under the influence of nitrous oxide.

Why it’s egregious: This is probably the most overused expression in the emoji canon. I’ve seen far too many unfunny memes, recycled text posts, and Vine compilations accompanied with some inane caption and an unending chain of these crying faces. When was the last time you honestly laughed so hard that you CRIED at the sight of a litter of puppies, or some twelve-year-old lip-syncing to hardcore rap, or some wannabe Wilt Chamberlain wiping out on the basketball court? This face is the poster child of lowbrow Internet humor. This face haunts my dreams. This face must not be used unironically in conversation with ANYONE, or your texting partner will be running for the hills. Branch out, people.

  1. “Information Desk Person”
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What it is: Surprisingly, a pseudo-secretary/receptionist type holding up an invisible tray of drinks, NOT a sassy bellhop or snarky woman intent on correcting your grammar. This young lady is engaging in some super fun pantomime!

Why it’s egregious: It’s blatantly misused. Far from an expression of flippancy or cheek, this emoji actually connotes a mindless willingness to serve that is totally antithetical to the self-reliance associated with White Girl Sass. I would avoid using it casually over text, lest your texting partner call you out for being too "basic" or "servile." Unless you meant to say, "How may I help you?," steer clear of this tired cliché.

  1. “Weary Face”
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What it is: An expression of tiredness, dissatisfaction, and/or grief. Its pain resonates almost viscerally. I want to give it a hug, and tell it that it's all going to be fine.

Why it’s egregious: Like the aforementioned crying/happy face, this old chestnut is overused as accompaniment to generally unfunny web content. Its misuse has been so widespread that Weary Face has now become associated with a highly charged sensual pleasure. We all have that one friend who can't post, tweet, or text about pleasures ranging from chicken nuggets, to devil's food cake to Kate Upton without tacking this face on, too. Its cries have become your yearning moans. Terrifying. Make it stop.

  1. “See-No-Evil Monkey”
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What it is: Mizaru, the first of the three wise monkeys/mystic apes. If you're into Japanese maxims or don't live under a rock where no capital-C Culture can possibly reach you, you're probably well acquainted with this willfully blind macaque.

Why it’s egregious: It's constantly being used to represent a mushy unwillingness to not look at or admit to something. ("I'm such a fragile little creature; I don't want to see that!") Not only will your texting partner immediately call you out on your tackiness upon incorrectly using our old pal Mizaru, but you'll end up feeling like a fool. There is nothing endearing about a misuse of a Japanese proverb just so you could feel cute for a hot second.

  1. “Clinking Beer Mugs”
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What it is: The Convergence of the Twain: two beer steins become one. The happiest of unions. The consummation of a toast, no doubt. A light "ding" for the ages. Both cups runneth over with foam. Cheers indeed.

Why it’s egregious: Usually people text me this emoji even though I know they're just drinking alone. Sad. Avoid such an impulse; be truthful with your texting partner and send them the solitary Beer Mug instead.

Happy texting, and don't forget to #GetCrushhed!

5 Emojis with Untapped Potential

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Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 2.14.23 PM

1. “Smiling Face With Open Mouth and Cold Sweat”

What it is: This (seemingly) happy fella has a countenance that smacks of mild embarrassment, casual defeat, and/or an unusually intense enjoyment in perspiring, depending on how you see it.

Why it’s so much more: Use this emoji as an opportunity to transcend cloying cutesiness and instead hit your texting partner with a cognitively dissonant one-two punch. For example, consider typing “Whoops! Just realized I deleted the entirety of my thesis from my hard drive!” and then adding in our moist friend here for good measure. Alternatively, if some clown won’t stop messaging you and can’t take a hint, consider sending, “I’m moving to Nepal and giving up all earthly possessions! Please never text me again!” and hit them with the sweat-smiley to soften the blow. In any case, you’ll be engaging in some next-level emoji-ing.

2. “Smiling Cat With Heart-Shaped Eyes”

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What it is: This emoji certainly lives up to its name. A favorite among feline lovers, to be sure, or people who mistakenly think that cats are capable of positive emotion.

Why it’s so much more: The weirdly vast cat emoji library comes with its own social baggage. Opting to use these instead of standard smileys is a sign of growth and comfort in any relationship. Throw your texting partner one of these as a display of commitment, as in, “I care about you so much that I’m going to scroll past those boring yellow faces and express my love to you via this happy tabby.” After all, cats can be playful sometimes, right?

3. “Upside-Down Face”

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Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 2.03.34 PM

What it is: A subversively brilliant inversion of what our culture has come to recognize as a “smiley face.” A 180-degree transformation of all we thought was possible. What the normal happy emoji would look like if we all lived upside-down, like bats. A revolutionary symbol for this generation.

Why it’s so much more: Last fall Buzzfeed praised this emoji’s utility in regards to levity, passive-aggression, and sarcasm. The slight smile, the dead eyes, the refreshingly novel orientation of the face—it could literally mean anything. That’s why you should take more stock in this little guy. It could be a space filler, a sassy retort, a stand-in for an apology, or an expression of thinly veiled disgust. This is the Swiss army knife of emojis. Respect its hustle.

4. “Man in Business Suit Levitating”

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Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 2.20.36 PM

What it is: According to Emojipedia, the web’s most exhaustive Emoji Bible, this puzzling figure is meant to represent an exclamation point modeled after the "rude boy" logo made famous by English ska band The Specials. This is a weirdly specific explanation that itself merits an explanation.

Why it’s so much more: Let your texting partner know that you are firmly in the domain of "IDGAF" when it comes to messaging by using this little guy. If they're too confounded by this symbol--is it Tommy Lee Jones from "Men in Black?" A jazz cat in a zoot suit? Some sort of snappily dressed magician?--then consider if you even want to continue texting this person at all. If they can't handle Man in Business Suit Levitating, how can they handle a deep conversation with you, or even a casual flirtation?

5. “Aubergine”

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What it is: I mean, it’s an eggplant.

Why it’s so much more: Ahh, eggplant emoji. You beautiful, gently curved, overtly phallic vegetable. It's so widely recognized as a visual euphemism that you can't search for pictures on Instagram via "#🍆." Soon, booty calls and dating apps will be all but defunct once we all realize we should just be sending each other eggplants. So as not to be cis-male-normative, see also: "Peach," "Pear," "Honey Pot," "Bento Box," etc. Whatever floats your boat re: visual codes with your partner of choice.

Happy texting, and don't forget to #GetCrushhed!

XOXO: You’ve Been Kissing the People You Should’ve Been Hugging.

We all know what XOXO means. Ending our letters and goodbyes with a stream of x’s and o’s is something we all do. Remember how Gossip Girl ended every blog post: “You know you love me, XOXO Gossip Girl.” But let’s take the acronym apart for a second. Now, you know that one letter signifies hugs and the other kisses. But which is which? From what I can tell, most people think that “X” means hugs and “O” means the kiss--75%, to be exact. They’d suggest that the “X” looks like two people embracing so it should signify hugs while the “O” looks like a mouth puckering up for a kiss. But according to history, those people are wrong.

Two centuries ago, not a lot of people were literate. Some of them didn’t know how to sign a document with their own legal names so they would simply sign a “X” and it would be regarded as their signature. They would then kiss the “X” as a bible was usually kissed to express the importance of it. This led to the “X” mark symbolizing a kiss.

Tracing the history of the “O” is a bit more difficult and this theory is just speculation. When Jewish immigrants arrived to the U.S., they refused to use the “X” because they claimed it invoked Christian beliefs. Using it didn’t sit well with their own beliefs. As a result, illiterate people who came to the U.S. would sign their documents with an “O.” Over time, the "O" came to represent a hug.

At the end of the day, what something means is determined by the people who use it. I guess for most people, swapping makes more sense. And if we follow the traditional meaning of Xs and Os, the saying should really be “kisses and hugs, kisses and hugs,” which doesn’t have the same ring as “hugs and kisses, hugs and kisses.”

Just make sure the person on the other end knows what you mean, or just do it in real life.