As you can imagine, the life of a young professional working gal in her mid-20s is as fabulous and fashionable and superficial and everything Friends/Sex and the City/The Hills told us it would be. Am I right, ladies? ;)
See that "winkface" there? Do you understand what I was trying to convey using that cringe-inducing combo of a semi-colon and a parenthesis? (By the way, if I have to spell it out for you, just don't bother reading past this point). This brings me to a very pressing topic that I'd like to delve into in detail, and then open up to the floor (floor = comments section): Emoticons. Specifically, the use of emoticons by dudes.
I happen to be of a certain school of mind, along with the majority of my close girl friends, that it is seriously lame (and a potential dealbreaker) for a dude to use an emoticon in any form of written communication. However, at the outset of any budding relationship (whether it's a post-hook-up text or date-planning email) 9 times out of 10 the dude is going to use one (or is it just LA guys? Because this definitely seems to be a phenomenon I've experienced with more frequency the past three years I've lived here).
Okay fine, at the initial stage of any relationship, this is (and I say this begrudgingly of someone in the anti-emoticon camp) perfectly fine. I mean - the dude probably doesn't even realize he's doing it - I imagine him just switching into that mode of his brain where he's like "I'm talking to a girl, must write things in a way so that the girl will know my intentions, and thus, if I use a winkface emoticon, she will know that I am being both cute and sexually suggestive. And this can eventually lead to sex. Sex. Maybe on the kitchen counter." I mean, I don't think the dude is actually thinking all that, but I would surmise that when a guy is about to communicate with a chick, he transitions into a manner of addressing her that would be different from how he would his male friends or platonic female friends. I mean - he has to. Duh. Thus, the use of the emoticon.
I would almost argue this is necessary. In this day and age, when texting seems to be the most prominent form of communication in the casual relationship (at least at the start) how else can a guy get his point across? He wants to let the girl know he's into it, without being so blatant as "I am into it" or "Let's bone" or "I wanna do you on my kitchen counter" - because, let's face it - guys are apprehensive of rejection too (side note, dudes - sometimes being explicit works in your favor. So if you're waffling over whether or not to tell the chick you are interested in that you'd like to do her on your kitchen counter, she might be more receptive than you think). It's my theory that the emoticon serves as a sort of emotional insurance - he can put himself out there, suggest something with a degree of ambiguity, and hope that the girl picks up what he's putting down, without the risk of anyone's expectations blowing out of proportion. It's also a way for the dude to gauge her interest - he throws out the emoticon which could potentially influence her response, and if she interprets it the way he intends it, then eventually they might just go to Poundtown on his kitchen counter.
Great. But here's the deal. Dudes using emoticons? LAME. And while it's permissible during the first stage or so of text messaging (so like, the first one to two texts sent), if it's a pattern that continues, I know that for me, and most of my friends, we're going to be a lot less interested in a guy who's using emoticons. Emoticons = dealbreaker.
However, I speak only from personal experience, and from talking with my select sample of friends - so I could be way off base here. In fact, I'm curious - what do the rest of you think? Are we cold ice queens for feeling so staunchly opposed to emoticons? Are dudes even aware of the fact that they're using emoticons? Is it merely an issue of personal interest and it shouldn't be examined as a representation of the general male psyche, at least when it comes to dating and relationships? And is the fact that I find emoticon usage so repellent a tell-tale sign I'm going to die single and alone?
Before I write myself off a ledge - please, please, please weigh-in in the comments below. I'm super curious to hear how everyone else feels about emoticons.