Tag Archives: Smilies

I Don’t Do Emoticons



I don’t do “high five”s.

Well, every now and then, if I can’t avoid it, I do.

If some event causes a hand to be in the air, facing me, waiting for me to smack it with the palm of my hand, I do. I always wince. It never feels authentic.

I never, ever initiate a “high five”.

I was never comfortable with “groovy”.

I was a child of the sixties; I knew the language. I could say “cool” with exactly the right amount of nonchalance to convey the fact that whatever I was responding to was fantastic…but that I was way too cool to let it show. “Far out” was reserved for those occurrences that deserved a bit more enthusiasm. “Bummer” was appropriate for times and happenings that were sad, unfortunate or boring. I still use these words and phrases, though it causes my baby sister to smile at the quaint, “old-fashioned” sound of them.

“Groovy”, though, always seemed contrived. I felt it would be the right word if I were ever on the verge of a drug-induced trance, but since I didn’t do drugs, it never felt right.

A friend asked, a while ago, why I couldn’t just respond with a “You GO, Woman!” to a bit of good news she’d told me. Two other female friends had given her that exact response, I was told.

I said things like “Great!” and “Oh, that’s wonderful!”. I may even have thrown in a “Far Out!”.

Evidently, “You GO, Woman!” is not something I’m comfortable with, either.

Finally, I don’t do emoticons.

I don’t do the little bobble-head ones that grin or wink.

I don’t do the mixture of punctuation marks to create smiles or frowns, winks or hugs.

I knew a man who would push and push: sarcasm and insults and under-handed comments, until I finally called him on it. Then he’d say, “Well, hey, I was only joking around!”

Sometimes those little smiley faces seem to be doing the same thing.

As if a colon combined with a half-parenthesis will take away the sting of a hurtful comment.

I suppose they come in handy.

There have been a few times when the meaning of my words on the page were misconstrued. It’s hard to sort out. What words made it seem that I was unhappy? What did I write that gave the idea that I was angry?

It’s hard to convey the subtleties of human language with the written word. Was that humor? Sarcasm? Was it done in friendliness or was it mean-spirited?

I think smiley faces were invented to solve those problems of miscommunication.

I just can’t do it.

It’s kind of like the exclamation point. After a while, it seems like every single sentence needs one. If not an exclamation point at the end of this statement, then why does that other statement deserve one? Is one sentence less deserving of enthusiasm?

If I were to start using emoticons to let readers know how I’m feeling, I would need them everywhere.

“Yes, that last sentence sounded a little bland – no exclamation point, even – but no, look here, I’m still smiling!”

Nope, I won’t.