The Brinjal And The Peach Shall Not Meet

You should know better than to bring these two together!

 

Two emojis.jpg

Advisory: not suitable for the young

By Low Teck Mee

For starters, let me state that the above pairing is for the sole purpose of illustrating the venting in this post. No sexual suggestion or innuendo is intended. Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d say that prior to the Today report yesterday, I have never thought to use a solanum (berry-as-vegetable) and prunus in my social media communication. Alone or together. The brinjal and peach (respectively) are so not alike or harmonising that I won’t even allow them to mingle in a curry.

But apparently people do use them as a pair. On the modern curse known as social media, in particular. The emojis are brought together to suggest such foul thoughts that digital community centres Facebook and Instagram saw it necessary to set new terms of use that say the juxtaposition of a brinjal and a peach accompanied by any salacious text is considered “sexual solicitation”. Will Tinder follow suit?

Frankly, I don’t know why the brinjal and the peach were singled out. I didn’t even know there’s an aubergine emoji. Seriously! Why not the obvious such as the banana, a fruit with such clear associations, I’ve been told some people are embarrassed eating one in public! The peach I can understand. Have you read—not watched—André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name? If only you knew how talented Elio Perlman is with the peach, which, excuse me, resulted in cream of another form! But the brinjal: I can only think of yuxiang qiezi (鱼香茄子 or fish-scented aubergine) and a bowl of steaming hot rice.

How depraved have we become? I really didn’t know until this news appeared. Surely it’s not fake, Today. I looked at all my WhatsApp, Line, and Wechat messages of the past 72 hours, and I did not even find half a brinjal or peach. Just loads of 🤔 and 😅 and 😱. I asked a heavy WhatsApp user if he’s ever clicked on an aubergine emoji or sent one and he asked, “What’s that?” as if I was enquiring about the latest Tenga gadget.

Emojipedia.org has an illuminating explanation of the brinjal emoji—“A long, bulbous, bright purple eggplant… Considered lucky in Japan to dream of an eggplant the first night of the New Year”—until further down, when it then surprised with “widely used to represent a penis”. In fact, it went on to say, Instagram was so upset with the aubergine emoji’s phallic power that they banned the hashtag #🍆 on its search function in 2015. I didn’t know that either!

Even yoked with technology, we can’t untether ourselves from seeing things that aren’t there. Or negate that visual associations can equal solicitations—the brinjal was just that until it became an emoji! I don’t know why but I am suddenly thinking of the old days when the stuff we eat have less socially provocative or disruptive effects, when mothers would make tonics with pig brains to feed their children as exam days draw near in the hope that one brain might help another to get brainier!

According to dictionary.com, “The peach emoji depicts a round, fleshy, orange peach. It is mainly used to represent a butt in digital communication, and so is more commonly called the butt emoji.” 😱 And all the while I have been thinking of the MOS Burger iced peach tea that a close friend of mine loves to drink with fervent regularity.

I don’t need to venture into the territory of the two offensive comestibles coming together for you to know what their union might mean (it’s just one plus one, is it not?). In fact, where do we tread now? I could be the definitive dirty old man by just sending a hotdog emoji 🌭 alongside a taco emoji 🌮, which are, by design, placed next to each other on the emoji selector. What now Facebook and Instagram? Sadly, some visual communications have, in the murky sea of trolling and sexting, lost their euphemistic value. From now on, I must just use text. I know I scare myself, but there may be a day when even an exclamation mark (!) could be considered solicitation. Sorry, the parenthesis! That could be trouble. 😥

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