To X Or Not To X

A few months ago I was liaising with a Telecoms representative (you know those people we love to hate) about some business mobile phones. He confirmed what we discussed via a long and tedious email. I somehow managed to get to the end of it at which point it became a bit of a jaw dropping moment for me. After a sentence similar to this “I look forward to doing business with you,” he added a smiley face. One of these.

Smiley emoticon

Call me old fashioned but I did not know this guy from a bar of soap and I only spoke to him once on the phone. One five-minute conversation and I got a smiley face. So it makes me wonder what I would have gotten if we had actually spoken face to face?  But mostly, a smiley face makes it less professional. This guy was not my friend, not even an acquaintance. He was trying to sell me something. He was from Telstra which perhaps is my real issue!

Okay, so I am not a stick in the mud. Smiley faces are quite harmless. And I concede that in most situations they are fine, in context, even professionally. I use them myself. But what happens when a smiley face graduates to an X?  Or what if the X just starts appearing one day?

My dilemma is when do you start to X someone you know? After you have a few coffees or drinks? How long do you have to know a person before the X’ing starts? Can you X people you work with, your boss? And at what stage can you start adding more X’s?

I generally never X men (except for hubby). There are only two other male friends I would X. I do believe they X’d me first (just friends) so then it became ok to X back. What if I started X’ing a male and they got the wrong idea? Or the other way around? See what I mean; it’s confusing. Males being males, they probably wouldn’t even notice or give it a thought whereas if I had accidently X’d a male, I would be mortified. Because whatever the situation, once you have X’d, you can never take that back.

So perhaps the rule is if I meet up with a friend, someone I would greet with a kiss or two on the cheek, then it’s OK to X them. But I would only be able to apply this rule to women of course.

I got thrown a curve ball earlier this week. I was X’d by a mum of one of my son’s friends. I communicate with her occasionally via text to arrange playdates. We have never met and I wouldn’t have a clue what she looks like. After a few text exchanges, she X’d me on the last one! Didn’t know what to think of that one, to be honest.

With besties and family, it is a different story though. You can have as many X’s or O’s as you want. Although I have never X’d my mum or parents in law. Not because I don’t X them, it’s just because I don’t. But even if I did start, it’s okay because there are no hidden agendas (as they are family).

In certain situations, even if you don’t know people very well, it may actually be ok to X. For instance, if they got some sad news, it would be okay to say “sorry to hear x” or if it’s someone’s birthday, you can say “happy birthday x” But generally I would still reserve the X for females only (unless it was for my two-ok-to-X male friends). You have to be careful though because I do receive and send the occasional C (but never a Z) as those letters are closest to the X.

Maybe the real solution is that I should just X everyone and see if they notice. Maybe that’s what the Italians do. (Friends – new and old, if you are reading this, it’s still ok to X me – honest!)


All this X’ing is giving me a headache, so here’s a recipe for you all. I came across it while surfing about on the Ipad and it looks so delicious, I am going to share it with you.

Chocolate Sourdough Cake

(Sourced from:

Chocolate Sourdough Cake from

Chocolate Sourdough Cake from The Gingered Whisk

  • 1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder, optional
  • 2 large eggs

In a large bowl mix together the starter, milk and flour.

Cover and allow to sit for 2-3 hours (it won’t bubble but will expand a tiny bit).

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Trace 3 cake pan circles onto parchment paper.

Grease 3- 9″ round cake pans with butter, lay a parchment circle in the bottom, grease that and then tap a layer of flour in.

In a medium bowl, beat together sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa and espresso powder (the mixture will be grainy).

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gently combine the chocolate mixture with the starter-flour mixture, stirring until smooth (this will be really goopy at first, but as you continue to beat it, the batter will smooth out).

Equally distribute the batter among the three cake pans.

Bake 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Turn the cakes out onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting (slightly adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

  • 3 (8oz) bricks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.

Add in the vanilla and salt and mix until combined.

Slowly begin adding in the powdered sugar, mixing until all the sugar is added and combined..

(If the frosting is too thin, add more sugar – if too thick, add a tsp or two of water).

This entry was posted in Food, Random Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To X Or Not To X

  1. Mine and Me says:

    I struggle with this! I am always conscious of something I type sounding a little nasty or negative, so I figure, if in doubt add a smiley! That will fix it! Such a great strategy for a 37 year old! I think it is not appropriate from a company, for any reason. Businesses should remain professional at all times. I will be trying out the chocolate cake! Linking up from Blogs and PR- Talk to us Thursday.

  2. Liz says:

    I have studiously avoided ever finding out how to add a smiley face to anything, comment, text, email etc etc that way I can never apply it inappropriately … but then I worry that people miss it and that to not smiley face some things is just rude….

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