Sunday, June 2, 2013

Punctuation Is the New Sexy

Well, I thought that I had solved the mystery of why my forty-year-old ass can only attract men south of 30, but then a further study of the use of ;) blew my theory.  

At first, I thought that maybe these youngins were attracted to my maturity, independence, and confidence.  Then I began to wonder if the draw of older women stemmed from icons as featured in Sex in the City as well as other popular celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, and Halle Berry who are all gorgeous, successful, and “older.”  I was optimistic in thinking that now younger men see being with older women as a badge of honor, something to brag about, something that makes them feel more like men.
I learned quickly that that theory was not true. So, I moved onto the idea that "sleeping with an older woman" is in the top five of all guys' bucket lists and that they interpret "maturity" as "a good lay." 

But I am angry and am willing to concede that biases are heavily in play.

Recently, I thought that I had discovered that the reason I am so effective at pulling twenty-something tail is because they all believe that I am going to have sex with them immediately. I believed that this misinterpreted guarantee stemmed from my use of ;) or for those of you with iPhones, emoticons.

And because written language in any form is defined as "symbols" to represent an idea, emoticons' definitions are as fluid and generation-based as slang.  What my generation means to communicate with say ;) is not how it is interpreted by the younger generations. More specifically, the younger generations have another meaning for ;) depending on the context it is used in.
Wonderful. As if there aren't enough ways for me to complicate my life.
I use the ;) in the same way that I use LOL: as a way to indicate that I am being light-hearted and funny.  If these young guys would actually have a phone conversation, they could hear it in my voice, but since they avoid that like they avoid capitalization, I am limited in my tools for expression. Yes, I could resort to word choice and old-school, vanilla syntax, but I feel that these guys will think I am speaking a foreign language.
So, I use the :) and the ;) to keep things simpatico. You'd think I'd use :-L or some other form of angry face as well, but I prefer "fuck off" instead. How can one construct a middle finger with characters?  00l00
But I digress.  
Recently, while I was sitting in the lounge with my colleagues, one shared her miscommunication with ;).   She, as do many teachers, set up  a Twitter account in order to send students reminders to study for a test, finish homework, don't take ten hits off the bong before school ... you get the idea.  Well, my colleague tweeted a reminder to "do the extra credit by the end of the week ;)" utilizing the winky face characters to soften her tone (BTW, Twitter, shorter sentences tend to make the tone bossy, bitchy, and cold, hence the need for these *%!# emoticons).  

Thank God my colleague's students love her.  The following day they came charging in telling her that ;) means "sex."  Her tweet meant that her students had until the end of the week to have sex with her for extra credit.  

This new-found knowledge added some clarification as to why 
cubs try to get me home, naked, and in the sack within the first hour of the first date: I used to think it was the gnat-attention-span generation revising the three-dates-before-sex rule of my generation, but my initial investigation of the ;) made me believe that it's because during the text-courting stage, I unknowingly assure them that I'll be putting out immediately.  

I thought I had a handle on things, but further research has since debunked that theory.

Recently, while asking my students to explain the definition of "ratchet" to me, I decided to get some verification on ;).  I learned that as with all language, emoticons' definitions vary depending on the context of the message.  It only means "sex" if the context of the message asks the receiver to meet the sender in a "private location."

For example, "Meet me in my car at lunch ;)" means "Let's have sex in my car during lunch."  

But then I asked, "What if I texted: 'I'll see you at the house party ;)'?  That wouldn't imply to have sex because house parties consist of a zillion people."

"That depends," a student clarified.  "If you can find an empty room at the house  party . . . "

There's always a hitch. One thing the English language is good at is not being consistent.
I inquired no further.  I am certain that my use of ;) is never in the context of asking some cub to meet me in a private place.  So, the mystery of why I am a cub magnet is still an open case.

But, now I wonder what my colleague's extra credit was to lend her tweet such an interpretation ;).   

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