Q: What should I say on my online dating profile to get boys to like me?

A: If you're looking for love, say exactly what's true about yourself! If you surf and you're into say, giant stone statues, put it in your profile. That way, your true connection won't begin with any false pretenses. (Who wants to have to explain a circus big-top fetish late in a relationship?) On the other hand, if you're looking for hookups, post bikini pics and kissy-face selfies.

Q: I have a new gf, and when I sleep at her house during the weekend I have to poo in the morning ;) then I have to leave even though I don't want to. How can I preserve our morning time without totally grossing her out????

A: The ethics of guest-pooing can certainly be...slippery, especially with a new romantic partner. Some day down the line, at least the emoji hope you will feel comfortable enough around her to drop off the kids in her pool. But until that day comes, here’s a trick: Just ask if she'd like to go out for a walk and a cup of coffee (romantic!) and then you can do your business at the nearest café.

Q: How many beers should I have on a first date?

A: There is no correct answer to this question, because I don't know you or how you handle your drink. But I do know different numbers of beers will send different messages to your date. One means you may only want a kiss on the cheek at the end and have every intention of going home alone, till next time. Two beers suggests you're probably in the market for a real kiss (possibly more). Three beers speaks the universal (emoji and otherwise) language of Jackpot!, meaning you're open to the possibility of sharing a bed that night. Four beers announces you're def DTF (like a bunny? mouse? rocket?) and wishing emoji packed a toothbrush.

Q: My girlfriend has way too much stuff in her apartment. Mostly clothes. I told her I want to help her clean out her hoard. Her response was, "You can just call it my clothes you know!" with a mega glare and cold shoulder for days. How can I repair the situation?

A: So you offended your girlfriend with a poor word choice--it's fixable. Clearly you care about her feelings or you wouldn't have turned to emoji for advice. Start to compliment her outfits and individual items, including her kimono and her green-bowed Easter bonnet thing. Since she's clearly a person who values what she wears (and feels judged by you for this priority), you need to show her you value who she is, clotheshoard or no clotheshoard.

Q: How can I keep my long-distance relationship going strong?

A: Don't let the flame die! Try using emoji to keep things fun and exciting. Turn these utterly innocent tiny symbols--eggplant, trophy?--into sexual innuendos that are yours and only yours. (They are what you make them, and I've really been wanting to use that little blue whale.)

Q: What do you do when you have so much delicious cereal and no milk?

A: You know who drinks milk out of bottles? Babies. Quit being one. Make cereal pizza!!! Celebrate in dance.


Emoji Major No. 13: Your Emoji Life Coach

This week, before the holidays come and your issues get way too big for small emoji, Zoe Mendelson plays shrink.

Had emoji been born in an English-speaking country, they might as well have been called shrinks. They're the very definition of shrinky, from their literal stature to the representation of Jungian archetypes to their utter subjectivity based on personality. It's almost too easy to id-ego-superego out emoji...

...or analyze a Freudian slip (drunk text) in the medium:

So, before the holidays arrive and your issues grow beyond the reach of small pictographs, welcome to the emoji shrink shack!

This week I turn Emoji Major No. 13 into Emoji Maven No. 1, where cartoons of tiny bananas and I will attempt to answer questions submitted by our beloved (and lost and confused) readers.

Because advice is always better when it’s adorable?

No but really, why not do advice in emoji? I figured it would approximate the way we often receive advice in real life: We tend to think it’s something totally cryptic or abstract, when in fact it’s simple and straightforward.

For example, it took me until last year to figure out that "You can’t have your cake and eat it too" just meant "You can’t have things both ways when those ways are mutually exclusive." That’s a lot like reading emoji. If you don't have the reference in your head or you read too deep, you end up either mired in the literal or mining for metaphorical significance.

My editor’s husband (An illustrator! For god’s sake, the man deals in images!) provides a perfect example of this. He cannot seem to get the hang of reading the emoji. Sure I'd be able to show him the light, I sat him down with the lyrics to Lean on Me, which I’d written out like this:

Looking at my phone, he read out loud, "Pineapple goes left and right?!" No, the pineapple is leaning and the word on just means on. "Lean on!" Get it?

And so goes life advice I think. The dispenser always thinks their advice is way more straightforward than the person receiving it does.

So I thought I would just take the process and make it real: call for questions and answer them actually in code, symbols that the recipient can and will interpret different ways for better or worse. Maybe the pineapple does move left and right. Who knows? Sometimes a fruit is just a fruit.

With the disproportionate number of love- and relationship-related emoji (also, back to Freud, poo, too), I knew I would have a lot to work with at least for that contingent. The other thing that got me excited about an advice column was the cosmically convenient casting of the didactic-looking woman-with-her-hand-extended as the maven herself.

But she's just the face of the operation. The emoji aggregate provides the wisdom.

How big of a question can the little guys effectively answer? Were you wise to turn the unresolved issues in your lives over to them? Take a scroll through the slides above and judge for yourself.

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