In case you thought I was lying.
I inherited my mother’s penchant for guilt by the way.
Anyhow, this week as I was filling out all the Christmas cards to Andy’s family I was very conscious of the fact that I still refuse to ‘X’ my greeting - which brings us to yet another Britishism…the ‘X’.
When I was a kid, I learned that ‘O’ meant ‘hug’ and ‘X’ meant ‘kiss’. I also learned that S.W.A.K. meant ‘sealed with a kiss’ but that is so tremendously lame there is no wonder that any high school boyfriend who used such frivolities was not long for Dating Moe. When I was a kid, I used ‘O’ and ‘X’ greetings very sparingly. Truthfully, the only time I ever used ‘O’ and ‘X’ was filling out cheap Target Valentine’s Day cards to my class of 13 (well, 12 if you exclude me). I might have used ‘O’ to hug a friend (hi Beth!) and if I was feeling particularly daring, I might sign my name with an ‘X’ to a boy I liked. Honestly, I don’t think I was ever that daring. Basically, ‘X’ was off limits – until you had firmly secured a guy as a boyfriend. But then, ‘X’ away. I think I might still have a high school love letter where half a page of college ruled paper is filled with X’s.
With this understanding, you will know why I was a bit shocked when I received my first Christmas card from my first British friend and he had signed his name with an ‘X’. How cheeky! I wasn’t even romantically involved with this guy and he’s sending me kisses in the mail?! Wow!
This is the point where I inform my American readers who might not know, the British sign their name with an ‘X’ for EVERYTHING. Well, I suppose not in a business setting as that would be weird. “Hi Glen, Can you fax over those financial reports by the end of the day? x Steve.” I still didn’t know the extent of this ‘X’ phenomenon until I received not one but TWO texts from women in my playgroup who both signed their names with X’s. Honest to god, my first thought was, “Why do these women want to kiss me? They know I’m not gay, right?”
I obviously figured it out. I think it finally hit home when Andy’s mum asked him to sign some card thing to his male cousin in Australia and she chastised him for not signing his name with the ‘X’.
Now that I’m fully aware that all these random British people have no desire to grab me for a quick make out session in the wardrobe (I’d say ‘closet’ but there is no such thing here) I’m a bit more relax….no, no, it still fucking freaks me out. I know there no logic behind me being weird about it, it’s just there. Kind of like people who are afraid of birds because a goose nipped their finger once when they were three. To me, ‘X’ will always “I want to make out” and not “here’s a friendly kiss on your cheek, we’re practically French.”
Seriously, I don't think anyone really enjoys this practice.
Which brings me back to filling out Christmas cards to Andy’s relatives. Like I said, I refuse to sign my name with an ‘X’ but I was left with paranoia that Andy’s relatives will open their Christmas cards and think, “What an icy bitch! Look Nora, there’s no ‘X’. Where’s the love? Bloody Puritan colonist!” On reflection, this is probably why my Tesco Christmas card display is so empty. Damn you X!
Our Christmas Family Photo
On a side note to that one high school boyfriend (you know who you are); I know you were thinking you were being all sexy signing your card with an ‘X X X’ but really, all I thought was, “why is he sending me some moonshine?”
Not that I'd mind...