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”
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”
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”
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?
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!