emoji

You're Using the New Emoji All Wrong

Absorb this information so you don't embarrass yourself in the group-chat.
31 January 2020, 9:00am
emoji 13.0

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

"There are decades where nothing happens," Vladimir Lenin once famously quipped on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, "and there are weeks where decades happen."

Vlad might have been referring to weeks like this: the UK finally leaving the EU, the announcement of Trump's terrible "Deal of the Century", the leak of a Lady Gaga song and now, just when we thought we couldn't take any more incidents of historical significance, the publication of Emoji 13.0. What happened to this supposed "end of history" we've been hearing so much about?

Emoji are flexible in their meaning, and open to interpretation. Did the designers ever imagine that the wholesome aubergine would come to be a stand-in for the penis? Did they think the peach would come to symbolise an arse? Did they predict, for one second, that those dear, innocent little splashes of water could come to signify someone cumming on your face?

The inventive depravity of the emoji-using public knows no bounds, and it means we can only guess what this new bunch might come to mean. But in an effort to get ahead of the curve, here are some usage suggestions, for a choice cut of the 117 new emoji on offer.

PEOPLE HUGGING

I don't know about you, but to us, this looks like the 48 percent of the British public who voted Remain embracing their European siblings for one last time, as a slow-motion, minor-key version of "Ode to Joy" slowly fades into silence.

No, YOU'RE crying!

MX CLAUSE (THE GENDER-INCLUSIVE SANTA)

Hold tight for some nostalgic-for-Section-28 dickhead getting absolutely livid about this in a Telegraph column. They'll describe it as "compelled speech" and bemoan the fact the traditional Santa emoji, a cornerstone of our Christian culture for millennia, has been banned. Apparently Santa and his lovely wife aren’t "woke" enough for the gender extremists! This, obviously, makes the emoji a good thing.

Use this if you're non-binary and feeling Christmassy, I guess.

PINCHED FINGERS

People are saying this looks like a fisting emoji, which is simply absurd – there are already, like, three different fist emoji you can use if you're intending to put your hand up someone's arse, which would convey that idea far more effectively. No, you want to use this if you're doing something Italian, like eating spaghetti or stringing a fascist dictator up from a lamppost.

DODO

Use this when you're talking about something extinct, irrelevant – something that is gone and never coming back, like getting into media as a viable career path, or Katy Perry's career.

WORM

I think we all know what we're going to be using this one for, amirite ladies!! ;)

It's the perfect emoji to use when you're planting hydrangeas in the garden and you see a little worm wriggling cheerfully in the grass.

FONDUE

How about fon-don't! Haha. But in all seriousness, isn't fondue due a revival? People like doing stuff ironically, right? I feel like an all-black decor place called "ZÜRICH" would do well in Hackney for as long as six weeks. Swiss fromagers, call me.

NINJA

This emoji is going to be all about proclaiming your own deftness and quick reflexes. It could be the speed at which you leapt away from the fridge at the exact moment your flatmate walks in to find you drunkenly spooning their hummus directly into your mouth with a look of dazed ecstasy. It could be the 0.5 seconds it takes you to notice and delete the arse shot (or video of you crying to a Lorde song) that you mistakenly uploaded to your main Instagram story instead of "Close Friends".

You could also use this emoji if you're the kind of person who takes so much pride in their job that they refer to themselves as an "Spreadsheet Ninja!" or a "Photoshop Ninja!" or a "Writing-Extremely-Contrived-Topical-Listicles Ninja!", but we'd advise against it.

ELEVATOR

Two men standing next to each other, one with a top sign and one with a bottom sign? Nope, sorry, we can't think of any other uses for this ;)

DISGUISED FACE

In the age of social media, of "likes" and "selfies" and "memes", aren't we all wearing a disguise? Isn't the person you pretend to be for the benefit of your Instagram followers a mask as cheap and flimsy as any Groucho Marx-style fake nose and moustache? You could use this emoji to convey the feeling of slight unease you get when scrolling through your own posts and end up thinking, 'That's not me... that's not me at all.'

You could also use it for situations demanding less metaphorical emoji, like bumping into your ex at 8AM while staggering home from an afters, or sneaking back into your local Wetherspoons after that time they barred you for giving someone a handy in the utility cupboard.

PERSON IN VEIL AND MAN IN VEIL

Rather than anything to do with actual marriage, this one is best deployed when a relationship is going really well and you could, conceivably, hear wedding bells on the horizon. It's for when you want to brag to the group chat that the guy you're in a "situationship" with – the one who chucks you out of his flat after you have sex, every time, even if it's raining and you've missed the last tube – has replied with a single "haha" to the meme you sent him eight hours earlier. You're in there!

WINDOW

This – strikingly beautiful – image should be used when you're beginning to recover from a depressive episode. It's the air you let into your fetid room. It's the first rush of serotonin after days spent double-dosing 5HTP and Googling "can comedown last for ever??" It's the sense of achievement you feel when completing a simple task, like finally washing the mugs that littered your bedroom floor, or making it through a half-hour Netflix comedy without switching tabs. It'S the possibility of a better future.

TRANS FLAG

When should you use this one? Why, when regularly and vehemently expressing your unwavering commitment to trans rights, of course!

POLAR BEAR

This one's all about climate change. Look at this polar bear, with his sad, reproachful eyes. Use the emoji to scold your flatmates for putting plastic in the wrong bin, or to shame your friends for getting that cheap flight to Ibiza, instead of a three-day train, coach and ferry trip, as would be the ethical thing to do.

TEAPOT

If you're the kind of white British guy who "stans" Elizabeth Warren and refers to Lizzo as his "spirit animal", you'll probably going to use this one to announce the impending delivery of some "scalding hot tea", which is in fact just an anodyne opinion about RuPaul's Drag Race. That, or you're a Conservative Party press officer.

@jamesdgreig