Gnarled Maws and Text Faux Pas

Perhaps it is the writer in me but I find it remarkably difficult to write emails and text messages in “online-shorthand.”  It’s just too much work for me to bother learning chat acronyms and net lingo when I am already an exceptionally fast typist.  I am incapable of understanding it and am regularly perplexed by chat vernacular.  Anytime someone sends me a text using it, I usually assume they are drunk or suffering from a recent bout of violent head trauma.

The upside is that these people often include other emoticons that help you make a swift assessment of their current mood.  This is actually pretty useful when someone is being sarcastic but winks can come across as unsettling if mishandled.  In real life the winking of an eye normally implies a joke, a secret or eludes to some flirtatious advance.  However, when texting or chatting, some people throw around winks like an insecure person throws around their affections and the end result often gets muddled.  Frankly, a misplaced wink can even come off as downright sinister to a person with a slightly overactive imagination.

Emoticons have their uses and I often like to see smiles and winks in a message but we can’t just go around using these things all willy-nilly.  People will get confused or made to feel uncomfortable.  Although no amount of textual creepery can hold a candle to the real thing.  I was once complemented by an older gentlemen in several, increasingly uncomfortable ways.  I was putting fuel into my motorcycle on one of those mostly cloudy but still gorgeous and mild days, when he shambled over and commented on how much he liked it.  I told him that I appreciated the complement and quickly went back to watching the pump.  Before too long he told me that he liked my jacket too.  Putting the nozzle out of my tank I made a joke and then thanked him again, not realizing that he wasn’t quite finished.  He got a little closer and said, “You sure do look good on that thing.” and gave me a wink.

It is absolutely wrong to judge a book by it’s cover but, in some instances, that is all you can really do.  This particular book’s cover was about as scary as you could imagine, smelled like soup and seemed like it was making advances toward me.  He had, what could be loosely described as, a “hodgepodge” of teeth.  It resembled the mouth of a lamprey or hippopotamus more than that of a man.  It was like teeth were everywhere other than the places that you would expect them to be.  It was a sincerely unconventional arrangement and, several hours later, it was still all I could think about.  The bizarre circumstances accompanied by the intense visual stimuli had branded the event into my memory.  I’d imagine that mouth telling me awful things and then the right eye dropping down in an attempt to seal the deal.  Despite the experience being brief and not nearly as epic as many of my other adventures it has, to my dismay, embedded itself into my memory.

In conclusion, please be careful with your winks.  You never know what kind of irreversible harm that you might be doing.

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27 Responses to Gnarled Maws and Text Faux Pas

  1. nrhatch says:

    Ooh, that sounds like the old man down the street on The Family Guy. Positively creepy the way he’s always after Chris.

    No wonder you have a paranoia about winks.

    BTW: Like you, I’m a fast typist and cannot be bothered to learn all the text lingo floating around out there.

    But I do like BTW, by the way. ; )

  2. Jessica says:

    LOVE the comic. I read about someone who thought LOL meant lots of love…
    “I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother, LOL”
    For the longest time my mom thought it meant laugh a lot. I still think of it that way whenever I see it.
    I don’t think that man’s wink could possibly be misconstrued. You obviously reminded him of himself as a youth and that made him nostalgic for a simpler time. I hope you gave him a ride…on your motorcycle.

  3. ialeks says:

    couple weeks ago i actually had a fight with my friend over using the “u” than actually spelling it out. I absolutely hate it and find it to be disrespectful to the person you’re texting, because it literally takes a second to type in the other two letters which shouldn’t be such a big deal if you’re already dedicating time to text that person. in return i got smashed down for usually not capitalizing words or names. at the end i run out of arguments to support my view.

    • Posky says:

      It’s comical because it has everything to do with taste but some of us take it so seriously. Next time I’m going to consider resorting to sending completely incoherent text messages as a response until they start using actual words and complete sentences.

      “2 R BD, MAN! $%LA ME UP 1111MR TIME! DNT FRGT TO ^DATE ur HOUZE %@!”

      Keep fighting the good fight.

    • nrhatch says:

      LOL . . . U R BD, MAN!


  4. ragrobyn says:

    Maybe it is my age, but I agree that chat short-hand is too difficult and annoying to learn. My fear is that we are on the cusp of a language evolution. Language isn’t static, or we would all be speaking with ‘eths attached at the end of every word and that would sucketh. The great language apocalypse maybe upon us, r u ready 4 it?
    OR we could subscribe to the Darwin theory and weed those people out.

    • Posky says:

      If you’re suggesting mass-murder, I cannot openly support that….

      However, I will be willing to meet someone and discuss it in private.

  5. I find texting not just weird and unappealing, but also symptomatic of the lack of real engagement with language–especially the English language. People haven’t the engagement with language that allows for interesting and multi-level word-play, word-craft, and word-art. Basically texting confirms my thoughts that many people, will only comprehend this when I use the word “suck”–suck at reading, writing, and comprehending language and are incapable of exploring any of its potential.
    Many people only think of drugs with the word “ecstasy”–or of homosexuals when the word “gay” is spoken. Does anyone else recall that gay is another word for happy?
    Sorry for the rant in response to your very entertaining piece–but, hey, it certainly elicited a response.
    Texting Away–oh so not.

  6. Amy says:

    I use correct punctuation, capitalization and complete spelling in every text. It takes me longer to figure out the short-hand than it does for me to just type the full dang word. I realize this makes me sound old and “out of it” but I really don’t care. You kids get off my lawn!

    Oh, and a wink from a guy (any guy, hodgepodge teeth or not) is skeevy. Refrain.

  7. Good point and great story! I have similar issues with particularly disturbing images not going away.

  8. necrokitten says:

    I’m one of those people that actually annoys my friends because I have to type every single word out.

    …And maybe because I always point out when they use your instead of you’re.

    Um, my spelling nazi self aside, this made me giggle. My parents are the WORST for texting because they use a million punctuation marks or say LOL when something really isn’t funny. I will admit that I DO use little online faces a lot. ^-^

  9. justincaynon says:

    The winking face actually has gotten me in some trouble. You say something with a shifty connotation and the wrong emote and BAM, you’re in trouble. Actually the tongue out face has gotten me in trouble too, but for a different reason.

  10. Lady Raine says:

    I think it’s safe to say that “winking” never comes off as anything BUT creepy in real life.

    And yet it’s totally fine in emoticons.

    Chicks are safe to use those however they want to, though. Men have to be a little more careful I dare say.

    • Posky says:

      I am always careful.

      Then again, I almost always wink to creepy someone out.

      • Lady Raine says:

        Matt said:

        I am always careful.

        Then again, I almost always wink to creepy someone out.

        Quite honestly, I think it’s just as weird when women wink (except in emoticons). There’s something about it in general that makes my skin crawl. I’m pretty sure you are successful in “creeping someone out by winking”.

        But not as much as if someone licked their lips. There’s no going back from “creepy” after that. None. I don’t see how someone could keep a straight face to do that, though.

        *PS: Why did you think I’d NOT want you to comment at my blog after reading yours?? I kept waiting to come across some sort of horror here and found only fun and stuff that I enjoy. Did I miss something?*

        PS….S: I’m glad to find a fun blog that isn’t full of rage and seriousness. We need more of these.

  11. Lady Raine says:


    I just noticed “Amy” said winking is “skeevy”.

    That’s the absolute best way to describe it.

  12. haha! so glad to find someone as finicky as me when it comes to chat-speak in text messages! it makes me feel so old! everyone below the age of 30 seems to talk(write) that way.
    but i love the tongue-stick-out emoticon so much. ironically though, only the younger ones get it. older people can never figure out what it means, and really you can’t explain what you mean by it, since it has such ambiguous connotations (none of them at all sleazy in my dictionary, tongue-in-cheek perhaps, but never sleazy)
    how sick to get hit on by someone with so many weirdly placed teeth :P i wonder though, would it have been a better experience if it had been a younger, well-built, more good-looking guy?
    just curious ;) lol.

  13. catereena says:

    YES!!!!!! Finally someone who feels the same way about text winking and acronyms!!!! This made my day……….;)
    just kidding. I’m not a creeper.

  14. Pingback: Technology and the Ruination of Humanity | Posky's Blog

  15. milieus says:

    I remember back in junior high when I used to type like that. Now I’m a big kid with a big kid’s university degree. I can’t help but wonder why other well-educated people still insist on writing that way. Do you really not care about me enough to use full words?

    I have to admit, there are times when you need to use abbreviations while texting. We are only given a certain number of characters, and when you have just one more word to fit in, sometimes it’s easier to make another word shorter than to start a whole new text. That, for me, is the ONLY exception… Oh, and when I’m driving and shouldn’t actually be texting but need to get something out quickly before the cops see me. Oh, I said that out loud, didn’t I? ;) <-Proper usage of a wink emoticon.

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