So I was having a text conversation with a friend today, and she ended one of her (always intelligent and salient) texts with a winky face emoticon. It seemed like a natural conversation conclusion, and I was being screamed at by my boss to ‘get off your bloody phone for once and do some sodding work!’. I expect she was having a woman’s period or something (okay, two points here; 1/ its a Red Dwarf line and B/ my boss has been extremely supportive and sympathetic to me whenever I have any ailments. Ailments like ‘my bald head is cold’ or ‘I think I may have have a sympathy pregnancy for that girl I met down the chippy that might have actually just had a glandular issue’. You’re the best, SC). So anyway, I thought it was probably best that I get on and do some actual work. Now emoticons have always left me a tad cold. They’re reducing the ridiculous and wonderful English language to a simple pictogram. If the mighty works of Shakespeare, Dickens, the Brontes and Archer were to be reduced to hieroglyphics, it might be easier to read, but might loose something in the translation. However, they do punctuate and add otherwise potentially confused context to any statement. Like actual punctuation, and written content. However, I realise that waiting for Edison’s new gramophonium whilst working out sums with an abacus wasn’t going to drag me into this brave new world of Tinder, Grinder and electing comedy haired TV business people to high office. So I decided to return her text with a winky face of my own (it only cost me three hours and a mortgage payment in the swear jar). I had done something new. I was learning new things. I was growing as a person. I had cast off my chrysalis, and become a new, social interaction savvy butterfly.
But wait. I had now replied to a wink with a wink. This was surely some kind of web based singles bar interaction. We had exchanged winks. Virtual winks, but winks none the less. Do repicricated winks mean something different in the virtual world than it does in the slightly less virtual world? God, how was I to know? Was I now responsible for some unintentional cuckolding? (at this point, I should probably mention that my friend is married to a very handsome and intelligent man who cooks a great prawn). I was in way over my head. I quickly sent a new emoticon that had less powerful social implications. I sent her a picture of a paperclip. I hope that this allowed me to withdraw from the ugly situation without destroying my new-found web cool.
But it wasn’t enough. What if her husband fund out? What if I was to be the star witness at some great court case? What would I say? Could I admit that I was a texting neophyte that just wanted to be part of the cool kids for once?
Shit Hot Lawyer
Is this your winky face emoticon?
Me (wet patches under my arms)
Yes, but I can explain.
Shit Hot Lawyer (now significantly taller than previously)
You can explain? A returned smileyface emoticon? That is the single most widely used emoticon sent before hideous and burning adultery. Just hovering over the button is enough to send you to the Scrubs for a year!
(and at the Scrubs, all sex is non-marital sex)
Me (with wet patches elsewhere)
I didn’t know, I was only trying to be cool. I didn’t know! Please believe me!
Shit Hot Lawyer (still taller, and now appreciably richer also)
Members of the jury, I give you… THE GUILTY.
Send for my black cap.
I just wouldn’t cope with it. It hung over me like a black cloud. So I texted her husband and apologised. He then came back with his own winky face! What does that mean? Duplicated winky faces might mean one thing, but triplicated? What were they asking me to do? Was I now to be part of a social media trifecta? Oh ye gods, I was in way over my head. I was an infant in a world of grown ups, unable to understand their adult emoticon ways. I had to weasel my way out, somehow, some way. Maybe if I overplayed my ignorance hand. Yes, The ignorance hand. My trump card (not sure that this phrase can be used anymore).
ME. I can’t cope with these emoticons. I don’t know what I’m doing (Bolivian flag, interracial family, an 8-ball, pitchfork)
HER HUSBAND: Lol (laughing face)
ME: It’s all so confusing, I’m so sorry (ice cream sundae).
ME: I told your husband we winked at each other. I’m way over my head! (egg timer)
HIS WIFE: He loves to wink. I think I picked it up from him.
ME: I’m so confused right now (mahjong tile)
And so both conversations ended. I think I managed to squirm my way out of it without any minor relationship breakdowns. I was in the clear. I was free to live a life of fulfilment and the pursuit of happiness. I shall obviously now have to avoid them. It’s far too much to ever see them again. I shall move to Estonia, grow out my moustache and answer only to the name of Pablo. It’s small price to pay.
PS. To regular (!) readers, my apologies for my absence on these pages recently. I have neglected my written duties, but I’m hoping that more regular service will be shortly continued. Suffice to say, there’s been a massive river of foul smelling water that had run under my bridge since last time we met. I may bring you in on some of it. But probably not, over-egged posts on emoticon ignorance and social embarrassment are more my wheel house.
Love y’all, Stevo