XX marks the spot

This is just a thought really.. but have you ever stopped to appreciate the power that the letter X holds in Britain? I have been growing ever more curious of the delicate little letter, that we as a society have become accustomed to using to sign off personal messages and greetings. We all use it every day – the letter X is everything but just a letter. It’s mathematics, the unknown, a generation, size, sex, love, kisses. But we never speak about it. It’s almost like it rests in taboo territory, yet we appeared to create it.

Having never read about it or seen it mentioned, and myself being a ‘digital native’ I have never really given it any thought. Nowadays I just find it strange, how the number of xxxxxxx’s can fluctuate in response to emotionally important issues, such as anger, love and support. For instance, I told my friend some bad news over text message, and was shocked to receive 11 x’s at the end of the message, when I usually only get one. To be honest I was a little offended, although I know she was just showing her support. Why is this? 11 x’s aren’t going to change a damn thing.

If we look back in history, it appears that the X links back to Medieval times, as it became custom to place an ‘X’ to sign off envelopes, notes and letters, as a symbol of sincerity. A kiss was then placed upon the cross by the person who signed the X, as a sworn oath. Over time, this is how it has become synonymous with a kiss.

Nowadays it is everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if receipts started issuing xx’s at the bottom in a few years to come, just to make customers feel that little more loved and appreciated. Even in a professional environment I’ve received xx’s at the end of emails from media professionals, and I often don’t know how to reply.

Have you ever messed around with the X? Next time you message someone, don’t put any kisses on the end, or why not put 20? Just because you can. You will probably receive a message enquiring if you’re drunk. For the most part, the general consensus I’ve found is that two xx’s at the end of a message is now ‘normal’ – but I’m not sure. If anyone else can shed any light on this for me I would really like to hear it.

Bye xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (now you feel weird, right?) point proved.

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