Phone texting reveals sensitive new "metrotextual"

LONDON Tue Nov 3, 2009 12:43pm EST

Business workers use their BlackBerry devices during a meeting in Canary Wharf in central London March 6, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Business workers use their BlackBerry devices during a meeting in Canary Wharf in central London March 6, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - Men have become so openly affectionate with each other using mobile technology they've taken to signing off text messages to male friends with a kiss (x), giving rise to a new generation dubbed "Metrotextuals."

New research from mobile phone firm T-Mobile reveals nearly a quarter of men (22 percent) regularly include a kiss on texts to their male mates, T-Mobile said in an emailed statement.

"Metrotextuality" is most widespread among 18-24 year old males with three quarters (75 percent) regularly sealing texts with a kiss and 48 percent admitting that the practice has become commonplace amongst their group of friends.

Nearly a quarter of this age group (23 percent) even appreciate an "x' in a text exchange from people that aren't close friends.

But it's not just younger men that have become Metrotextuals -- one in 10 men over 55 often completes a text to another male with a kiss, according to the poll.

The research also revealed there's a certain etiquette within metrotextuality. A lower case "x' is the preferred sign-off for most (52 percent) compared to 17 percent for a bolder upper case X), with one in three sharing the love in a big way with multiple lower case kisses (xxx).

Clinical psychologist, Ron Bracey, said that men have traditionally been reluctant to share their emotions with friends and tended to keep their feelings bottled up.

"However, the advent of mobile phones and social media means more communication is done non-verbally, and through this it seems men can more easily share their feelings with others -- especially their male friends," Bracey said in the statement.

Confirmed Metrotextual Nick Kirkham, aged 25, who works in insurance, said he and his friends have been sending kisses to each other for years.

"In fact, apart from my boss or a work client, there's no one I wouldn't send a kiss on text to," he said.

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