Punctuation, Acronyms, and Emoticons

March 11, 2014 § 3 Comments

REPEAT ALERT: This post was first published on 3/9/2011 (almost 3 years ago to the day!) Recently a friend of mine was trying to dissect a few texts from a prospective lover and I thought we could all use a little reminder about textequette. Enjoy. 

Five years ago, I was against text messaging. I wasn’t alone. I was fighting the good fight along with some other people who just plain didn’t want to give the mobile companies a dime more than they had to for basic service. With the help of the Blackberry, an epidemic occurred. Our non-confrontational culture cowered behind 26 characters and a handful of punctuation marks. Text messaging, email, and whatever BBMing is joined the textual phenomenon of chat rooms and instant messaging. Texting has now evolved to include an acronym for just about any phrase, and little smiley faces to convey emotion robotically (I feel hap-py). Yet, how is it we still don’t have a sarcasm font? That’s the fatal flaw of the text.  And now, cursive has been stripped from elementary curriculum. There are 8 year olds out there who cannot write their names, but BBM faster than an executive in a company issued sexual harassment workshop. We’ve created these monsters.

I have to say texting isn’t all bad. It’s an incredible way to pass information. Addresses, phone numbers, a “hey, I’m here” and a “I can’t talk right now” are excellent examples of the usefulness of this tool. Asking a girl out via text message is an example of using it to be stupid. Talk about impersonal. Although somehow, we, the modern ladies of this world, are allowing it. Most women, if they were being honest, would really rather a phone call, and will try to condition you to do so, hinting at it whenever possible. But if you’re going to be stubborn about it, let’s lay some ground rules.

A little grammar goes a long way. You are basically writing me little love letters, spelling and punctuation count. If you’ve graduated from college it’s pretty much inexcusable. If you’ve earned your masters or above, there better be some five dollar words in there and plenty witty articulation.

You shouldn’t rely on emoticons and punctuation for your expression. We realize as a gender, you are nearly incapable of communicating your true feelings. If you are going to deny us the inflection of your voice, or reclusive body language you are going to have to try a little harder than a bold yellow face drawn with the skill level of a first grader. The over use of smiley faces and exclamation points tell me you have the vocabulary of a chimp and cannot expand your vernacular to include adjectives. Get a dictionary, there’s an app for that.

I hahaha, I do not lol. In fact, I’m pretty much oblivious to all acronyms. LMAO, DWIM, TXUL8R, BTW, OMG, WTF, ROFLOLTSDMC, and my favorite: BUDWEISER (because you deserve what every individual should ever receive). This is not, nor will ever be, the English language. You are slaughtering it.   The over use of acronyms gives you the likeness of a computer, generating a preprogrammed retort instead of a sincere reply. Flat out: texting in acronyms is annoying, call me, mister. Use your words, choose them wisely.

As a general rule, proof read your texts. Doesn’t take much. Auto correct could be the difference between and date and a slap in the face. When you assess the text and realize you have more than one unwarranted exclamation point, ellipsis or emoticon, just omit them immediately. And if you’re taking too long to compose a text, or type out an explanation, you should’ve probably just called in the first place.

You have to think about how a text reads: Hi Internet Bachelorette (wink face) it was nice to meet you (exclamation point) Let me know if we can hang out soon (exclamation point) But alone this time (El-oh-El) and (Bee-Tee-Dubs) You me and a bartender (El-em-Ess-oh) But for real (ellipsis) Give me a call (exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point) (smiley face) Talk soon (ellipsis) (wink face).

It doesn’t even sound human. This is not a joke, you sound like this. And why am I the one who has to call?! Are you that busy? Should I schedule a conference call with you and your mama? Is chivalry really that dead or are you just that much of a pussy? Guys, really, don’t be girls. There are enough of them, step up to the plate, be a man. Get your phone out of you pocket, go into your contacts, touch my name, hold to your ear, and listen for the ring. It’s a gamble, but you might get lucky and get my voicemail. Or you might reach me, live and have to have a conversation in real time… gasp!

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§ 3 Responses to Punctuation, Acronyms, and Emoticons

  • Betty says:

    First off, the Damn You Auto-correct website makes me laugh so hard I cry. So entertaining, it passes my time at work and puts me in a better mood.
    Secondly and most importantly, boys and men of the world, all women want to be romanced and there is nothing more romantic than being asked out IN PERSON on a first date. We like our men to be men and take control. Give me some old school class please, if you see something you like say something, I may turn you down but every woman likes to be complimented.
    A word of advice for the ladies, my silver fox asked me on a date in person, yes he is from an older generation, but I also refused to call him for the entire first year we dated. In my mind, if he wanted to see me he would call, and call he did, everyday, multiple times. Not texting, CALLING to set up our next date, and our next date… And by me NOT calling or texting I was all the more “mysterious”. Don’t give in to their emoticons or feeble texting, make them grow some balls and call! Or better yet show up on my doorstep with flowers.

  • Kathleen Dodge-DeHaven says:

    I was highly amused and gratified by your essay on “Punctuation, Acronyms, and Emoticons”. I’ve often spoken out against the evils of sloppy grammar, misused or excessive punctuation, and erroneous spelling. Are we not worth more than a fleeting thought, a casual glance, or a hastily worded instant message, email, or text? If we respect one another, we will take care to communicate with thought and purpose. By the way, I once broke up with a man because after months of serious dating, he misspelled my name on my birthday card.

    All the best to you,
    Kathleen

  • […] of the ice off my heart with a mere smirk, I told him find me again. And he did. Now I’m normally against text messaging, but the Ginger uses 5-dollar words, sprinkling adjectives with a snappy whit and rapid recall. […]

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