Sealed with a ‘x’

Diary date: 15th March 1985

On this day 28 years ago I was on a public payphone chatting to my mum and dad  about what I’d been up to at University. I seem to remember working hard and remaining relatively sober featured strongly in my account of what was happening, but there may have been other things that I chose not to share.

I even remember my mum suggesting – correctly as it happened – that I wasn’t really bothering with shaving too much because she could hear the crackle of my stubble against the receiver. ‘Lots of love!’ she said brightly at the end of the call, just as my money was running out.

These days I get more ‘lots of loves’ than I know what to do with. They’re nothing to do with popularity, just the pay-off line of almost every text message I receive. I can’t quite remember when it was that ending every communication with an ‘x’ (or ‘xx’ or ‘xxx’ – depending on how you’re feeling) became obligatory, but it clearly has. I even had one ‘xx’ from a colleague at work the other day – although he did apologise afterwards.

One of my daughter’s friends was explaining last week that she actually prefers texting to talking on the phone, specifically because of the ease with which she can add a kiss to the end of the message. ‘After all,’ she said – looking very exasperated – ‘how do you put a kiss at the end of a phone call?’

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