X Marks the Brits

google images x“You know, you Americans say we Brits are so cold, but YOU’RE the cold ones.”

This was coming out of the mouth of Jon, the live-in landlord who despite dust and dirt everywhere, would freak out and scream if there were drops of water on the counter near the sink.

He continued. “You never put an x at the end of your texts.”

I wasn’t following.

“Well an x is a kiss, right?”

Yea and xoxo means kisses and hugs, so?

“You never write it at the end of your text.”

In time, I came to see that Brits do indeed put an x at the end of their texts. No matter what the person is writing about, there’s the little x. “I’m gonna stay home tonight, but thanks for the invite. x.” “Please pick up some milk. x.” “You’re a flipping cunt. x.”

When I lived in Italy, Italians wrote “baci”, which like the chocolate, means kisses.And I don’t write “baci” or “kisses “or  an “x” and I don’t write flipping “dry hump”, either.

This meant there was a flaw in The American Character?  I really hate representing the reputation of an entire nation. Besides, it’s just a letter: x.

And why, anyway, does an x represent a kiss? An “o” for a hug I can understand, I mean visually, you can get that – my arms around you, yours around me – an “o” more or less. But what kind of person makes their lips into an x – even if I am kissing you and you’re kissing me, where’s the flipping “x”? I’m sitting here in front of my computer, looking at a mirror and trying to make my lips looks like an x. The closet thing I can do is a bit of a fish mouth.

Ok. Time to google. Here’s what Wikipedia says: “The common custom of placing “X” on envelopes, notes and at the bottom of letters to mean kisses dates back to the Middle Ages, when a Christian cross was drawn on documents or letters to mean sincerity, faith, and honesty. A kiss was then placed upon the cross, by the signer as a display of their sworn oath.”

Texting “Meet you outside of Jubilee Library 4pm” isn’t something I feel the need to swear an oath by. If I’m gonna swear an oath at the end of the text, it would probably be more like, “Meet you outside of Jubilee Library 4pm, asshole.”

And yet, one does adapt so that if I look thru my texts, increasingly, I have come to, in fact, include an x at the end of texts.

I went back to google to see if others had my questions. On quora.com, a website that is like the university-educated version of Yahoo Answers, someone responded to the question, “What does it mean when British people put an X at the end of text messages or emails?” with:

“No X = for a person you know you will not get an X back from / if you are annoyed with someone / a guy you don’t really know
X = standard for any friend / a girl you don’t really know
XX = a girl you like
XXX+ = flirting / playing a game with someone / going overboard

Two funny caveats of this are;
1. Some people really do take notice of the amount of Xs they are getting. If you send XX to a girl, you may get XXX back, but if you drop back down to an X after, you almost certainly will not get XXX back again
2. People can get offended if you provide no Xs, unless you are renowned for being a no-Xer”

Best be careful or one might become “renowned.” Who knew.

And really, it’s supposed to be a little x, however for me and my iPhone, that’s extra work. If I end my sentence with a grammatically correct period, that damn auto corrector will make that x capital. So do you go back and delete the capital x and put in a small case x? I’m not saying I have answers… all I have are questions.

Cuz I don’t know.

I’m inquiring.

Go ahead, look at your texts. Isn’t there an x at the end? And when there isn’t doesn’t it feel a bit … off?  And if the other person usually ends with 2 x’s but this time wrote only one, should you read into that? I kinda doubt it but what do I know, Dumbass American that I am. x

google x

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