Monday, November 9, 2015

Reclaiming the Exclamation Point!

I'll admit it. I was among the first to abandon exclamation points back when it was discovered by pretty much an entire generation of stunned college freshman that their presence in your writing implied immaturity, excitability, and a story that probably just wasn't any good.

Right around then was also when social media took a running leap and astounded everyone with a flawless Triple Pike into our pockets. From 2006 on, no matter who you friended or what you liked, you were guaranteed a frontal assault of pictures and updates that let you know everyone else was having a much, much better time. But this is all ancient history by now.

Hot on Facebook's trail, of course, were the dating apps. I can only speak from a gay man's experience, but let me tell you: few things irrationally turned me off more than a well-placed exclamation point - or two, or three - in some guy's message about how fun Dolores Park was that afternoon (and don't get me started on 'lol'). For whatever reason, an excess of excitement conveyed a level of childish eagerness that took me down a path of second-guessing a guy's self-proclaimed masculinity. Maybe it's just me being insane - and it probably is - but the more "!"'s I saw in those little orange text bubbles, the more I felt sure I wouldn't be into their brand of manliness.

Indeed, the guys who did compel me most were the ones who had mastered the art of DoucheText. For the uninitiated, DoucheText is accomplished by sending only the bare minimum of words required to convey a sentence - and you can straight-up forget about punctuation. The whole point is to make it seem as though they're spending as little time and energy conversing with you as possible. And, if you're anything like I used to be, that was a substantial turn-on.

An example of someone who would annoy me: "Dolores was great! Super sunny!! Tons of fun!"

An example of someone I'd want: "was good"

So AJ, you're asking, how is it all connected? What's your fucking point?!

Well, I'm not sure it's all connected other than that the exclamation point has gotten a bad rap by yours truly as of late. I'm taking a stand now, though, because too many people have caught on. It's one thing for me to go around popping the joy balloons other people let fly, but it's quite another when there aren't even any left to pop because no one's putting them up anymore in the first place.

The main culprits are Facebook and Instagram captions these days. You know what I'm talking about. Maybe you have a super privileged friend who never seems to work and is always photographing - and then POSTING - like banana splits at 11AM on a Tuesday and shit. Or maybe he's even shaking hands with some startup mogul in the secret back room of some awesome new bar or something. Either way, you know he's stoked on it, because why else would he post it and force us all to contemplate his excessive good fortune? THE REAL KICKER HERE, though, is that I guarantee the caption is some version of DoucheText.

An example: "Banana splits on Tuesdays. Good."

An example: "Steve Jobs and I with the Stanley Cup. Was cool."

An example: "Roof top view from our hotel in Athens. Not a bad way to enjoy a glass of wine."

YOU SMUG SHIT. GET EXCITED. What has happened to us as a people when we can't own the very reason we're sharing something? Bah!

And so yeah, that's basically why you're going to see a lot more of the old EP (maybe a snazzy acronym will make them cool again) when I take photos of sunsets and milkshakes from now on. Because I'm stoked, goddammit. And I want you to know it.

Join me next week as I wax venomous on another pressing topic: the #liveauthentic epidemic!