Texting 2: Revenge of Emoticons


A survey of any cell phone quickly reveals that texting has become a popular form of communication amongst Generations X, Y, Z and the fast approaching AA. In this second entry on the subject, one vital element of pre-“send” operations is discussed at length: emoticons.

There is good reason incomprehensibly juxtaposed combinations of letters and punctuation have become so prolific within text messages. Although Johannes Gutenberg would shudder at the ease and indifference with which we now employ the written word, the lack of human subtlety in a text message retrogrades the depth of our correspondence back toward smoke signals and carrier pigeons. Much of the nuance and inflection necessary for proper interpretation, taken for granted in the antediluvian era of voicemail and high-fives, has been lost. However, an emoticon can add subtext and save a possible miscue from creating devastating consequences, especially between lovers. Cf., for instance,

“You suck”


“You suck ;)

If we ever hope to have elevators that emote themselves into sulking in the basement, we must start by bringing our text messages to life. For this reason, and for consistency, consult the guide below.


:) – Happy Face

“I am happy about what I am saying.”

:( – Sad Face

“I am sad about what I am saying.”

:D – Ecstatic Face

“I am ecstatic about what I am saying,” or “LOL’ing.”

:P – Tongue Face

“What I am saying is silly,” or “I want to lick you.”

:-* – Kissy Face

“I kiss you.”

:o – Surprised Face

“What you just said shocked me.”

;) – Winky Face

“Get it?” Best used after a double entendre such as “You suck” or “We should hook up later.”

;.( – Winky Sad Crying Face

“After I hit ‘send’ I’m going to buy a gun” or “I’ve suffered a stroke on my right side.”

;D – Winky Ecstatic Face

“I know you ‘get it’ and are also enjoying my clever subtlety.”

;.o – Surprised Inverted Mysterious Crying Weird Face

“I am saddened to learn that you did not know I had suffered a stroke on my right side before this colloquy.”

V.v.V – Lobster

“I did or plan to enjoy lobster for dinner.”

80I-< – Gummy Bear


The recitation above is not exclusive, of course, because emoticons will continue evolving as we find new ways to digitally express feeling. ;)



[1] The proper way to include a face within a parenthetical is with hard brackets: “[blah blah blah :) ]”. This avoids double chins and unibrows.

[2] Using a colon [ :) ] versus an equal sign [ =) ] for the eyes says much about a person. A colon is preferred because when deploying a Winky one can be consistent. See, e.g.,

:) becomes ;)


=) becomes ;)

To use an equal sign for the eyes one must always compromise or never wink, becoming either Connecticut or a cyclops. Neither result is desirable.

EXCEPTION: Any emoticon after 1:35 am is a booty call. Close.