The Evolution of XOXOs

Friday, March 09, 2012 Andrea Lo 0 Comments

Why do even Tory Cabinet ministers put kisses at the end of their emails?
— Daily Mail

Why has putting kisses and hugs after emails and messages become such an epidemic these days? As a rule, I refuse to put Xs at the end of text messages or emails. Ironically, the only exception I make to this is if someone I don't know well messages me and ends it with various XXXs and XOXOs, in which case I feel rude not to reciprocate.

Xs are so complex. Supposedly dating back to the Medieval Ages in which a cross were drawn on letters to mean sincerity and honesty — which is then kissed by the individual signing it — they have somehow found their way to the 21st Century and appears on emails and messages across the globe.

To me, they look so juvenile and somehow startlingly impersonal. One X seems far too aloof to an individual you are close to, yet overly affectionate to someone you don't know. XXs are a curiosity; a middle ground between a peck on the cheek and a full-blown sloppy kiss, perhaps? XXXs are strictly reserved for the A-List members of your family, with lots of love thrown in for good measure. My Mum sends me XOXOs, which always makes me think of her sizzling secret recipe to homemade Chinese XO sauce, but it seems they actually represent hugs and kisses. My aunt, who is computer-illiterate, threw a bitch fit because she thought my sending her of multiple XXXs connected her to a link for hardcore pornography. But then again, this is the same aunt who thinks referring to me as an animal is 'cute', so never mind.

An ex-boyfriend used to put a single X after every text message and Facebook comment, which drove me batshit insane. At first it was endearing, but then when I realised he did it to everybody I just stopped feeling special. I only started single-Xing back because I didn't want to seem unaffectionate, but then by the end of the relationship when I did want to be unfriendly I placed 'fuck you' after every message instead. Maybe there was a simple solution to this, after all.