Dilemmas are not uncommon with me. I deliberate over which side to wear my hair parting, and often take at least two minutes to decide an answer to the question, ‘Tea or coffee?’
But these are the big decisions in life, aren’t they? After all, if I was to wear my parting on the left side, my fringe would engage in its natural inclination to skim my left eye, flop completely over my right, thus simultaneously cutting off half my vision and transforming me into the love child of Robert Plant and Gerard Way. Meanwhile, deciding whether to have tea or coffee is comparable to choosing whether to embody the persona of the Dalai Lama or Tyler Durden.
Maybe I think too much. After all, a choice about my appearance or state of mind only affects me.
But the conundrum of kisses – or X’s – and whether to end a text with one, is a decision which affects not only me but the recipient too.
So what is polite? Back in the day, when I was a novice mobile user, text rules were an unfamiliar concept for me. I would text using full words, sentences and punctuation, and it certainly never entered my mind to end these communications with an ‘X’. It was just a message, after all. And it’s not as if people exchange kisses so readily in person…
You can just imagine the awkwardness, can’t you? ‘How are you today,’ I say, before planting a smacker on the chops of my school/uni/work/sports friends and acquaintances.
“Yes, I’m good thanks,” they say, before returning the favour.
“What’ve you been up to?” I say, once again diving in for another embrace.
“Oh y’know,” they say, before once again reciprocating.
You get the picture. And it begs the question, where would it all stop? The deeper the conversation, the longer the smooch. Do confessions of secrets constitute a snog?
Back then, a friend politely inquired as to why I don’t end my messages to her with kisses when, after all, such affections were permanently at the end of her’s. ‘I’m sorry,’ I said. ‘I never thought about it.’ Concerned as I was for the offence the absence of my ‘X’ would potentially cause, an ‘X’ was from thereon at the end of every exchange with her. And it progressed to others: anyone who kissed me would be returned with the compliment.
But what about the quantity of kisses? If someone ends their text with one ‘X’, should we also? And what about two? Or three?
After giving it some thought, I figured a straightforward guide to the meanings behind text kissing was a must for anyone who, like me, really needs to cut down on their non-essential thinking time.
No kiss: ‘I am your manager or professional acquaintance.’ Or, ‘I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.’ Or, I’m annoyed with you right now.’ Or, ‘You know we’re just friends, right?
X: ‘I am your manager or professional acquaintance, but I’m a friendly person too.’ Or, ‘I like you less than I did, so I’m slowly withdrawing affection.’ Or ‘I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.’ Or, ‘I’m a bit annoyed with you, you’re only getting one!’ Or, ‘This is a courtesy because you’re a woman and I’m a man.’ Or, ‘I have to dash!’
XX: ‘I am your manager, but do boundaries in texts really matter?’ Or, ‘I’m happy with you!’ Or, ‘We’re women, we’re friends, this is what we do.’
XXX: ‘I am your manager and I’ve got a drink problem.’ Or, ‘I am excited!’ Or, ‘You’re a friend and I am here for you.’ Or, ‘You’re not a really good friend, and neither am I, but I’m covering my tracks by overcompensating.’ Or, ‘I love you and I’m drunk.’ Or, ‘I fancy you and I’m drunk.’ Or, ‘I don’t fancy you, but I’m drunk and I’ll probably regret this in the morning.’
XXXX: ‘You might want to consider taking out an injunction against me’, or, ‘I’m under the age of 21.’
So you see, the art of text kissing is a sensitive one, and one which should be approached with serious caution. The lesson to learn is, if someone sends you a text with any number of kisses, and this makes you, a) Question yourself for not feeling an equal amount of affection for humanity, and, therefore, b) Fear for your professional/personal relationships/friendships or life as a result, just pick up the phone and call them. It might add years to your life expectancy.