“Should grown men use emoji?” asked the New York Times recently.
Given their resemblance to the stickers that adorn the notebooks of schoolgirls, not to mention their widespread adoption as the lingua franca of tweens and teens everywhere, some people wonder whether grown men should be using them at all.
John McWhorter, a linguist who teaches at Columbia University, said that some men shy away from emoji because, as he put it, “Women use them more.” That may not continue to be the case, he added.
“Women tend to be more overtly expressive in language,” he said. “But something women start in language has a way of making it to men. Men would benefit from using emoji more.”
Emoji, he said, allow for an expressive, human way of translating the spoken word into text, with the goofy symbols providing a texter or tweeter with the means to convey tone. “There should be male ways to use emoji,” he added.
No, no, emoji are for WOMEN and CHILDREN and WOMAN-CHILDREN. If only women did not insist on sneaking language that they use into the conversation that men have!
Grown Men use emoji?
Perish the thought.
But if men dare, here are some rules — like the rules for fight club, they are extensive and manly. Consult them when you have doubts.
1) Only use emoji when the alternative is death or dishonor.
2) The only acceptable Masculine Emoji is the stone head, gazing stoically leftward.
3) Thumbs-up and thumbs-down emoji are acceptable if you are texting a gladiator about his fate.
4) Praying-hands emoji are acceptable, but only if you are Drake’s arm.
5) Poop emoji are acceptable, though not for business communications. Real men defecate with pride.
6) When texting a woman, the only acceptable emoji is ;), which baffles and confuses the recipient. This is good. It is good to baffle and confuse a woman, as you would in the wild before dragging her back to a cave.
7) The smiling yellow emoji with sunglasses is acceptable because it establishes that you are a cool dad.
8) The emoji of a fist punching out of the phone screen is acceptable, although if you have access to a real fist, punch the text recipient with that instead. Manlier.
9) Bicep emoji is not acceptable. It is not manly to protest too much. Also, it lacks tattoos.
10) The anchor emoji is acceptable because it is something a sailor might tattoo on his arm. (In general, this is a good rule for Grown Men who wish to use emoji. If a sailor would tattoo it on his arm, you can use it.)
11) This does not go for the red dancing woman, however.
12) The faceless emoji that resembles the Facebook icon is acceptable because it betrays no feeling, like a real man.
13) Emoji that depict the earth and moon as they are are sufficiently manly to be acceptable, though a crude charcoal drawing or ASCII image is preferable in either case. Emoji that show the earth and moon as smiling faces with feelings are unacceptable. The earth and moon feel nothing, like Grown Men.
14) Floral emoji are acceptable, but only if you have forgotten to bring a gift to the woman you are texting. Men are forgetful and women love flowers and emoji, so you can do a one-two punch here. One-two punches are especially manly.
15) Emoji of animals depicting them in attitudes that give you a manly hankering for their raw or roasted flesh are acceptable. Cute puffy emoji of animals with large eyes, intended to evoke sympathy, are not. Grown men are hunters, and their emoji must reflect this. The emoji ram falls in between and it is a judgment call. If you fear you have backslid in your emoji use, carry a real carcass with you and strike your recipient on the head with it the next time you encounter him or her in person.
16) Cycling emoji is unacceptable. To ride a bicycle is not a manly feat.
17) Preferable to sending any emoji at all is recording the sound of yourself grunting, then sending that to the recipient instead.
18) Or throwing a rock through his or her window.
19) Or spear.
20) Gun, bomb, knife and money emoji are all acceptable. Violence is more acceptable than tenderness.
21) Heart emoji are right out.
22) Emoji of money flying away are acceptable for the texts of sitcom husbands and dads.
23) Toilet emoji is acceptable only if seat appears to be up.
24) The emoji that says “JOHN APPLESEED” on it in tiny letters is technically acceptable because no context in which you could plausibly use it exists.
25) Flags are acceptable. Grown men are patriots. Convey as many thoughts via flags as possible. Better yet, use semaphore and bypass texting altogether.
26) Those strange emoji that just say words like “NEW” “UP!” “COOL” “FREE” “NG” and “WC” are all acceptable, because they should not be emoji in the first place.
27) Big black X also acceptable. This is how a real Grown Man signs his name.