AN ‘anti-emoticon’ has been created, depicting a firm handshake.
The symbol, -><-, is a graphical representation of a businesslike hand-clasp with absolutely no suggestion of ‘fun’.
It was created by the Institute for Studies to mark the 30th anniversary of the annoying punctuation-based ’emoticons’ which are beloved of feelings-incontinent teenagers and people who own wacky ties.
Professor Henry Brubaker said: “As you can see, it’s a strictly functional symbol. It kind of says ‘I have no feelings of warmth towards you whatsoever, especially within the context of this email’.
“It’s a faceless, cold image, for a faceless, cold age. The perfect answer to anyone who thinks a colon followed by a bracket is a picture of a happy person.
“Also it’s a neat alternative to the growing trend for straight men to sign off their emails to each other with an ‘x’ like they were Italian or something.”
However emoticon fan Nikki Hollis said: “It looks like a cute cat’s face, look at the middle bit, that’s his whiskers. And the dashes are his eyes. Awww.”
There have also been claims from teenagers that -><- looks like two penises touching.
Professor Brubaker said: “Jesus Christ, just what is wrong with people today?”