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How to replace the exclamation mark

How to replace the exclamation mark

I hate guys using emoticons, as I’ve said before.  They’re manipulative and they show a lack of confidence in what a man speaks or writes.  The typical emoticons really burn my collar when I see them online (especially some schlub boosting a femme’s ego by saying “Beautiful!!!!!!” to her latest self-shot photo from above and to the left), but there’s one item that I consider an emoticon, but isn’t classified as such: the exclamation mark.

Why are exclamation marks horrifying.

Just like emoticons, I still find myself abusing the exclamation mark, and I cringe the moment I hit carriage return and read what I wrote.  Exclamation marks, like emoticons, are useless for the man.  Are we ever that excited to say something?  Is it that important for us to exclaim something with joy or anger?  Confidence means being level-headed about what you do, what you say, how you act, how you dress, etc.  The emoticon is unnecessary (even counter-productive, as it’s a “tell”), and the exclamation mark fits all the definitions of the useless and dangerous emoticon.

Exclamation mark examples

Maybe you’ll disagree, so I find it advantageous to give some examples, ripped right from the Facebook pages of others.  These are always from interactions between a female and a male…

Woman: ”Looks like I’m free next Tuesday for sure.”

Man: “Cool!”

or Man: ”cool”

See the difference?  The first man’s reply is all about a kid opening up his Christmas presents and can’t believe he got the great Toy Story 3 socks he was pining for since July.  The second man’s reply is a guy who opened his Christmas presents and got…socks.

Woman: “I got a flat tire today, FML.”

Man: “Shitty!”

or Man: “shitty”

See?  The first man’s response is really enthusiastic about his sorrow.  The second is almost condescending.  With just one little line and dot, the difference is palpable.


Woman: “I really love you!”

Man: “Ditto!”

Man: ”ditto”

As you can see, it does make a difference.  The second response from the man is less cringe-worthy.  I also dropped the initial capital letter, which can be borderline emo, but not as bad as the exclamation mark.

The worst combination of emo

If we combine all of the no-nos (capitals, emoticons, exclamation marks), we get the ultimate schlub emo versus confident man comparison:

Woman: “Do you want to get out of town this weekend together?”

Man: “SURE!!! :)

Man: “sure”

I rest my case, your honor.

Related posts to peruse:

  1. A Reminder to Man Up
  2. Democracy doesn’t have to be a monopoly decision
About A.B. Dada

A.B. Dada resides in Chicago, Illinois and manages a multitude of businesses involved across a wide range of industries.


  1. JJ says:

    I’ve never considered this interpretation of the exclamation mark as an equivalent to an emoticon and I’m frankly surprised. New adition to my list of don’ts.
    Great blog, btw. I discovered it through the CH blog. Congrats and keep going.

  2. Mark Slater says:

    I have been perusing the personal notes of General George S. Patton, and I find few examples of exclamation points and even fewer of ALL CAPS…

    There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is, “To use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wounds, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.” In case of doubt, ATTACK! — *The Unknown Patton*, Charles M. Province

    Likewise free-market economist Peter Schiff:
    “Any Congressman who gives lip service to a balanced budget Amendment but votes to raise the debt ceiling is a hypocrite. No one needs constitutional help to hold the line on the debt right now!” — “Raising the Roof on Debt”, LewRockwell.com

    Much like Tabasco — which I’m not sure is used much by Northern Illinois Yankees anyway — the key here is discretion and moderation.

    As you have indicated, the ones most likely to overdo “all caps” and exclamation points are women, supplicating Betas, and those others who are inept at governing their emotions. I can certainly understand why a man of your sophistication would find such things to be off-putting.

  3. Rob says:

    I agree. I avoid using the exclamation point, though I don’t consider it an emoticon. Your examples were texts. To go further, using an exclamation poor is just poor writing.

    But what would you replace it with? You never say. And simply not using the exclamation is not replacing it.

  4. Eric Disco says:

    Good post. I agree completely. I also leave off question marks. I tend to avoid questions at all over text, but if I do, I leave off the question mark.

    “What was it?” – sounds like a little kid.

    “What was it” – sounds more aloof and manly.


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