X marks the spot…

*deep breath* – Crumpet here. I’ve been working on this for ages actually. It’s turned in to pub banter, IM arguments… hell it’s even happened + confused me whilst I’ve been writing it. I’m feeling a bit vulnerable about this post because… IT’S JUST ME TODAY. No Panda on this one. And my words might be a bit lonely so I dun a picture too. BUT FEAR NOT. We shall be reunited (also in REAL LIFE – OMG!) again later in the week. So here y’go…

The significance of an “X” at the end of a text message is not one to be taken lightly.

I’m a big fan of texting. It’s fun, it’s a nice way to carry on conversations with computery friends when it isn’t computery time. It’s a nice way to speak to people you actually know without having to actually… yknow… call them up. It’s a nice way to be able to say more than you would in person or on the phone… none of this is particularly good or healthy because of course in an ideal world everyone would be brave and awesome enough to say or hear everything everyone has to say. But for now, in this lifetime, we have text messages. And all the confusing unwritten rules that go with them.

I’ve ended up discussing this with loads of different people in the past couple of weeks whilst trying to write this post. When squeeeeeeing to my housemate about an unexpected upper-case X at the end of a text I’d received whilst we were at the pub the other night, he couldn’t understand why it was a big deal, or why I was umming and ahhing over which sort of “x” to use in my response. Other people at our table joined in the discussion which I’ll come back to in a while – but suffice to say it ended with a girl slamming her fist on the table demanding that “Someone needs to write this all down”. I explained that I was already trying to… so here ya go.

So you get a text. From a guy. You might be unsure where you’re ‘at’ with each other… maybe the messages are a bit flirty. Maybe its early days and they’re just plain old friendly. But is there an X at the end of it? is it an UPPERCASE kiss? Is it AFTER the full stop? It’s all massively important and significance and anyone who thinks the recipient of their “x”‘s isnt analysing what they’re looking at is VERY deluded.

I think an uppercase X has a lot more weight to it than a lower case. Although if a lowercase kiss falls after a fall stop then it has an impact all of its own. Because phones default back to uppercase after a full stop so the sender has taken the time to change the case of the kiss. To minimise the impact? For aesthetic reasons? Or because it’s a friendly peck on the cheek where a capital X might be one on the lips? 2 lower case kisses with no full stop feels somehow more playful to me than just 1 uppercase kiss. 3 or more lowercase kisses are just silly and girly and fun… although if they’re spaced out or in some sort of uppercase-lowercase-alternating pattern then that’s flirty. A lowercase FOLLOWED by an uppercase is just the loveliest thing ever because it’s taken some time to create. The uppercase has had to be specifically selected after the initial friendly less-impactful lowercase kiss which means the sender spent a moment considering the significance of what they’re sending and how it’s going to look on the recipient’s phone.

I have a few recent examples of this in practice. The first, hilariously, is someone who I’m sure is reading this – who without knowing I was writing this sent me a lateish fun but sweet (I don’t want to say flirty because that kinda cheapens it but he IS lovely so I’ll stick with ‘sweet’) text with 3 kisses in a little pattern at the end. I replied by complimenting the kisses’ artistic value… and received the greatest response ever which was basically a kajillianbillion x’s of varying case, interspersed with other random letters and ending with sleepy zzzzz’s. It made me laugh and made me realise I HAD to finish writing this (so thank you!).

ZOMG HE DUN A X

ZOMG HE DUN A X

Another recent pub-based encounter, which I wrote about in our “The One What Got Away” post, resulted in me receiving not only emails with uppercase X’s with spaces between them (though has to be given to this creation, dontchya think?) – but also in me being sent this Frank Skinner sketch about the importance of receiving X’s on text messages. You need to watch it.

So to get back to the discussion I had the other night at the pub… I mentioned to my housemate how excited I was to have received an uppercase post-full-stop X at the end of a text from a guy I quite fancy at the moment… I wasn’t sure how to reply but explained about the ‘follow my lead’ theory (when in doubt – respond in light of what you have received – simplest approach in my opinion). Anyway he stopped me to tell me that what I was saying was bullshit, that no body really thinks like this, and that he never ever puts X’s on the end of any messages EVER. I told him I knew that, as I had never received any from him during nearly 2 years of friendship including some slightly not-strictly-friends-only times. I showed him messages with various examples. From boys I like. From boys who like me. From boys who are friends. From flirty guys where nothing will ever happen. From girls. All different, all changing, all with his eyes getting wider and his mouth more open in confusion and horror as he realised he had never ever responded in kind when receiving X’s from girls he liked or had been having long strings of text chat with. Maybe this is why they’d thought he wasn’t interested?

Whilst starting to write this I was IM’ing a friend on FB chittychat who agreed that he’s equally baffled and takes great care in how to reply or start his X’ing. He said he likes to stick to 2 with his current lady… as she has her own little pattern of signing off X’s and he doesn’t want to just copy hers to respond in kind… he said sometimes he uses “xxx” but I said I never like how that looks. Too porny. If it’s a 3 X situation I mix it up with an uppercase xXx as it makes a pretty pattern and looks less like a sex shop sign. He’d never considered it before but agreed I think.

What do you think? What do you do? Personally – I instinctively add an x (lowercase) after almost every message I send to anyone I’m friends with be it to make plans, to ask them a question, to just say hi etc… The uppercase or full-stop or pattern-making scenarios are reserved for boys… but it varies depending on the situation, the mood, the content of the message…

Your thoughts/feelings/comments/suggestions appreciated. PLEASE HELP. Because texting is HARD. X

(see what I did there?!)

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13 Responses to X marks the spot…

  1. Tom says:

    Even with my propensity to overthink things, I try to ignore the X – too complicated to go in to. I rarely end messages or emails to my significant other with a kiss.
    Will I complicate things by asking your opinion on ‘O’, which apparently represents a hug?
    So XOXO is a veritable barrage of cyber-affection. BUT DOES IT MEAN THEY WANT YOU?

  2. Megan says:

    Up until I started my correspondence with Bobski on myspace oh so long ago, I had never received an “x” at the and of a message. I had only ever gotten xoxo’s. So when I met other Brits and they did x’s I was very confused. This caused jealousy and at least one fight because I had seen x’s at the end of messages to other girls that Bob had sent. *JEALOUS RAGE ensues. Once it was explained to me it was fine. But being in the dark about these kinds of things is hazardous to any relationship. I myself go with 1 lower case x if you are my friend, more if I particularly love you. x x x X <—(look at all that love!)

  3. Rich A. says:

    I always end with a lower-case “x” or two, separated with a space. Can’t say I’ve ever really thought about it, besides the fact that an upper-case “X” looks clunky to me.

    You’ve now got me worried though… should I stop adding them to the end of my txts in case it’s interpretted the wrong way? CONFUSION.

    x x

  4. Leftlizard says:

    Oh god, I’m really glad you wrote this – I DON’T KNOW EITHER!! Worse than receiving a confusing x/X/xx/XX/xxXX whatever combo from a boy is working out which is appropriate to actually send to a boy! Do they get that adding kisses is an automatic thing that girls do at the end of texts? Do they over-analyse it too? To them does a simple xx make them think you fancy them when really you meant it as a friendship thing? Is that why they mysteriously don’t text back? Or do they not think of it at all – like your housemate – and it therefore contains no significance anyway, like our automatic xx’s? Aaaaargh!! Reckon a ‘xXx’ combo definitely signifies like-age from whichever party though – hurrah! I wish we could colour-code them, think how much easier that would make things.

    Good solo post by the way, you did it!! xx

    (ps – that’s just a friendship ‘xx’ btw, heheh)

  5. Jenny says:

    I am very careful about x’s at the end of everything because we even send them at the end of emails to colleagues at WORK. Even in work emails, mine are very meaningful: “xx” is standard; “x” if I’m not impressed; nothing to boys (unless they’re a. @JohnnyA10, or b. copied in on something).

    In terms of boys, I think I’ve got myself in trouble by putting “xx” at the end of texts to boys I think I’m friends with but they think it’s more. Oops. And @petrolpete and I are standard “Xx” at the end of texts and a multitude of “XXXxxxxxxx” etc sins at the end of emails. Because we seriously love each other.

    The end.

  6. The Tank Gyrl says:

    Meggerific is right – there is a distinct difference in the Text “X” from country to country. Here in the US we tend to go straight to xo as a rule to express a friendly expression of luffs.

    Personally, I used to go straight to the double “xoxo” but then that moronic Gossip Girl starting spouting off about it and every tween in North America started using the double hug/kiss combo. You Brit types, I’ve noticed do tend to go with the single “x.” At first I was confused as well, because here if you go to the single x, it’s generally thought to be more romantical.

    I once got a text of nothing but a single “x” from a boy while I was at the market. It was so small yet completely distracting I forgot what I was going in to buy. Seriously. I told him that. (Which caused him to write back with one single word – “lick” – which nearly made me fall over in excited convulsions.)

    From then on, unless you’re one of my British friends, I’m pretty much of the mind that an “xo” is for friends, an “x” is for lovers, and the overzealous application of “xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo…..” is for friends who are feeling a bit down.

    Then again, if someone ever sends me the super sexy Triple X while I’m in the market, I will probably telepathically explode all the fruit.

    xo

  7. Joe says:

    Check out a video a made which discusses this exact issue!!!!

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=25745327713

  8. For me I use “x”s like so:

    x = friendly female friend
    xx = someone i’ve got a crush on
    xXx = corny “luv ya really” after insulting someone
    xox = hugs and kisses (upset female friend)

  9. Wonderful post, Ms. Crumpet. You’ve done well.

    Gee whiz, I’m really out of touch. I didn’t even know this was an issue.

    I tend to send “(heart)” when wanting to convey sympathy/empathy/strong feelings of support/care. Other than that, goofy smilies are about my limit.

    x (Is that right? Argh! Now I don’t know. meep.)

  10. KFed says:

    Dear Crumb Pet,
    Frankly I used to be of the mindset that a giant X was ugly and that lowercase letters of all kinds were cute. However. I too have begun to intentionally break up the dullness of years of xxx or .x with the occasional XxX for those that are lovely enough to deserve a little extra attention. I guess after 11 years of having a mobile phone, you need to mix it all up a bit anyway. if my phone had keys and not just a screen, i would probably end more things with xxxxx (like a cuddle or a soft kiss on the head) as its easy – but with the touch screen you have to intentionally tap the thing for each one so i naturally give less. i personally only use the big X as a kind of visual barrier – like ‘you’re right stop worrying about it etc. X’ , basically saying ‘that is all i have on the matter. thanksloveyoubyedon’twriteback’ it has to be followed with a little one Xx to suggest a little flirt.

    IN CONCLUSION: i think if you really like someone, make them a card and send it through the post.

    thanksbyeX

  11. Jonny says:

    Really…I think its important to not read too much into these things. I had an argument with a girlfriend once who complained that I didn’t finish my text messages and emails in an affectionate enough manner. I told her I could configure my phone to add a standard signature of “love you x” to the end of every message I sent, but then wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of showing affection.
    She didn’t get my point. But then, I am a boy and we are very different about these kind of things.

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