To whom it may concern:

In an effort to stem the proliferation of unnecessary and excessive exclamation mark use, I would like to inform you that I will no longer be using exclamation points. My own use of this enthusiastic punctuation has spiraled out of control in recent years, and I have come to the conclusion that cold turkey is the only way to beat this addiction.

It wasn’t always like this. As a younger woman, I was able to use exclamation points responsibly, to adorn a surprising bit of information, or to emphasize a strongly felt sentiment in a letter written slowly on stationary and sent through the US Mail. But as emails, texts, and DMs have taken over as our primary means of communication, I have fallen prey to the temptation to absolutely mash that shift-1 button way, way too often.

Friends, my emails look absolutely berserk. Upon review of a recently-sent email to an editor whose favor I wish to curry, I counted no fewer than 114 exclamation points. Salutation: exclamation point. Greeting: exclamation point. Hopes that her holiday was lovely: Well, you get the point. The whole thing bristled with demented, manic glee, in the hopes that I would come across as friendly and “relatable.” No more.

No more will I feign enthusiasm in hopes that a male editor will think I’m safe and approachable. I gave up faking orgasms a decade ago; it’s time my communiqués followed suit. No more will I festoon my pitches with false cheer, in hopes that the editor fifteen years my junior will be fooled into thinking I’m not an old bag. You know what? I am an old bag, and I know a thing or two, missy. I don’t need you to like me, I need you to respect me, and more importantly, I need you to pay me. On time.

And look, if we’re being honest, I’ve wasted more hours dithering over how many points to use as it is (if I use one, does it look like I’m yelling? Does three make me look like I’m being sarcastic?). I could be doing literally anything else with my time and it would be an improvement. I have a tub that needs caulking, and that’s a thing I know how to do because I am a grown-ass woman, and I don’t need to dazzle you with a bunch of punctuative hoo-ha.

I am 42 years old. I am a wife, a mother, a pillar of my community. I am good at my job. Let the young and untested whip their words into a frothy confection devoid of taste or nutrition. I, for one, will lay my exclamation points aside until such time as I really need them. As I am no longer surprised by just about anything, I expect that will be never.

Thank you for your time. Period.


PS: I will also no longer be using emojis in text or otherwise, with the exception of the clown and eggplant ones. You all know why.