Sometimes, when I write ‘Love Just’ on the end of an email, I get an urge to include this disclaimer:

(Note: If you are uncomfortable with use of word ‘love’ please downgrade to ‘Cheers, Just’ If you are disappointed with the absence of xx’s . Please add them in your head.)

How much do you read into the x’s people put on the end of emails and texts? If a girl I’m remotely attracted to puts one on the end of an email I’ll get all excited. Then, if she puts the same x on the end of a group email, I’ll deflate somehow. Maybe there needs to be a new international sign for ‘a kiss and hug that isn’t my normal friendly kiss and hug but a more intimate kind of operation.’ I’m a culprit, so if you’re mildly attracted to me, don’t be deflated. I’m gonna spend all night up to my shoulders in wing dings looking for the right signs to say what I mean, muffin. (these are lyrics to a new folk ballad I’m writing.)

According to my mate Matt ‘More than 3 x’s and its sexual.’ While another pal Dion has concluded that three lower case x’s is just being heartily platonic, while xXx, means something more, especially in a text message, as the person has gone to more trouble. I personally find three lower case x’s more intimate than upper case X’s, and I’m not really sure what that says about anything exactly.

The combination of xoxo, is a vague, legal minefield. Going by the high school rule, x’s and o’s on their own are simply friendly symbalia, while an x inside an o means, to remain true to teen dialect, you want to root said person. Some textsmiths are want to be liberal with their xoxo smorgasboards, leading to all sorts of bewilderfusion.

One time I got a text from a girl I thought quite a lot of, which was concluded with a xoxo combination of between eight and thirteen characters, memory pending. Going by Matt’s aforementioned theory, one could be forgiven for adopting the crude translation of – ‘I want to be embroiled in a one-on-one weeklong spiritual Greco roman buddhist wrestling and horizontal line-dancing seminar in a Swedish sauna with you, plus shagging.’ Without going into detail, I, in a ‘commonsensically challenged’ state, attempted to scientifically determine the DNA coding of the data, through a simple test which included the vocalisation of a grammatically appropriate sentence made up of a combination of common Australian/English words including, but not limited to, ‘you’, ‘kissing’, ‘like’, ‘do’, ‘feel’ and ‘me.’ For the few integral seconds following the initialisation of the experiment, the subject’s blood pressure, breathing, eye movements, perspiration levels and kinetic permutations were all closely monitored. These readings, in conjunction with the subject walking away, led to an overwhelmingly conclusive result, and the entire experiment was batted away with the dexterity of a Federer forehand, much to the detriment of gonzo science.

To conclude the textual and emotional minefield which has no conclusion – I would like to nominate an alternative form of symbolised regards – to be used by boys or girls, such as this – ‘****#####’ which means ‘I have an extremely vivacious personality and ever-bubbling sense of warmth and affection for mankind, but I’m never, ever going to sleep with you.’ I’d also love to see a range of keyboard symbols for men. For example:

% = handshake
%%% = that awkward blokey hug blokes do where they slap each other on the back and don’t know where to put their heads.

And other general purpose combinations:

x$ = i’m not really that fond of you, but you’re good for cash.
xXx* = i would like to sleep with you, but by god i’ve got baggage.
##xx = i want to sleep with you when I’m stoned.
ooo = no kissing, I’m a prostitute.

Please feel free to offer your opinions, and nominations of potential international text message and email abbreviations in the forms provided below.