Life Lessons from Nacho Libre

My whole note writing life has been a lie! For the past 20+ years I’ve been signing letters with some variation of “xo”. Sometimes with an emphasis on “x”s, sometimes the emphasis on “o”s –all depending on the intent of my note closure. Confident in the way I was handing out penned hugs and kisses, I’ve carelessly x’d my little heart out (often excluding the jezebel “o”s completely), thinking that I was sending out tons of huggable love. But no. At 33, I have learned that all of these years, I have been wrong.
We were watching Nacho Libre over the weekend when Jack Black’s character narrated a letter he wrote to his Nun-crush that ended in a series of “xxooxxoXooo”s, which he read one-by-one..”hug- hug-kiss-kiss- hug…”. I commented to the BF, “They screwed up. He’s reading it backwards. The x’s are supposed to be the hugs and the o’s for the kisses. Duh.” To which BF says, “Ummm, no they didn’t.”
“Yes!”, I say. “The ‘x’ is for the crossing of the hugging bodies and the “o” is for the kissing mouth.”
“Noooo”, BF remarks, “the “o”s are for the arms wrapping around someone and the “x” is for marking the kissable spot.”
“Seriously?”, I say. “But all of my life I’ve been writing it the opposite way.”
“Seriously.”, he says.

This realization has me cataloguing every letter, note and e-mail I’ve ever written. Is is because I signed a note “xx” (what I thought to be, hug-hug) to the boy in 4th grade who was clearly “just a friend”, that he suddenly asked me to “go around” with him? Surely the actuality of my “kiss-kiss” verbiage must’ve thrown him! Would signing “oo”, which looks vaguely like boobs BTW, have been any less confusing? Does the fact that I across the board, tend to use more “x”s than “o”s make me seem less warm and more hussy-like? Seriously people, I’m totally a hugger! Furthermore, is the inner turmoil caused by this newfound clarity, evidence of some sort of lack of social maturity on my part?

I do not know, friends. I. Do. Not. Know.

That is all.


18 Responses to “Life Lessons from Nacho Libre”

  1. LaVerna

    It totally makes more sense your way.I am thinking I need to research who came up with the designation of x for a kiss and o for a hug.Very interesting and thought provoking.Can ya tell I am easily amused?LOL!Love your blog and can’t wait to try your new yarn.

  2. beth :)

    Hugs and Kisses
    From Wikipedia

    Hugs and Kisses is a term for a sequence of the letters X and O, e.g. XOXO, typically used to express affection or good friendship at the end of a written letter or email.

    It is debatable which letter represents which act. Some interpret X as the crossed arms of a hug and O as the puckered lips of a kiss. However, the interpretation assumed in the following, in which X represents the four lips of a kiss and O the four arms of a hug, is more common.

    The use of XOXO goes back to the use of an X or cross, which was considered as good as a sworn oath in times before most people could write and therefore used the X in the same way a signature is used today — a mark of one’s word.

    An X at the end of a letter or document was often kissed as a seal of honesty, in much the same way one would kiss a Bible or kiss the fingers after making the sign of the Christian cross, thus the X came to represent a kiss in modern times.

    The origins of the O as a hug are not generally known, although it is speculated that it may represent the arms wrapped around someone being hugged. Another thought is that it came from Jewish immigrants who would sign with an O instead of an X because they did not wish to mark their word with the Christian cross the X represented.

  3. Marnie

    I think the lesson we’ve learned is that no one is totally sure, so you might as well use equal parts of each so as to simply seem very affectionate without any bias. Then, if you see the person, make sure to do air kisses, very française, so as to seem sincere in your XO usage. 😉

  4. Isela: Purling Sprite

    you brought a smile to my face with your post, I needed it, thank you. I remember watching Nacho Libre and laughing so hard…I love kid’s humor movies.
    And imagine how you made the kid’s day back when you were in 4th grade, you wanted to kiss him…I bet he felt sooo great!

  5. Jenny

    I dunno Vickie, after breastfeeding four [yes. four.] chillins, my boobs more closely resemble really long J’s than O’s.

    I’m just sayin.

    Oh, and xxoo sistah.

  6. Monika

    Well crap! I’ve gotten it wrong all these year too. I’m a big hugger, but apparently I’ve been smooching my way across the internet and US mail. Wow…I’m feeling a bit brazen myself.

  7. Debby

    I guess I will just continue my x’s and o’s and let people guess what I mean. People are always trying to figure out what I mean anyway.
    Thanks for the info.

  8. saja26

    That’s so cute. I think I learned the meaning from my grandma…that x’s were kisses and o’s were hugs. You’re ability to see something in a different way just adds more weight to the proof that you are a creative spirit! =) xoxo!

  9. jaime

    OMG!!! that is so hysterical! i’ve always used a little heart just above the J in my name, b/c i didn’t know which designated which!!

    and in retrospect. you’re totally right–i shouldn’t have lead with the pronouncement that it was 7 degrees here when begging you for a KC appearance. apparently the cold weather froze the part of my brain that uses logic!

  10. Anonymous

    Who cares! You have spread affection across the years to many. How could that be a bad thing? Relax.


  11. Sheila

    That is very funny! Have you tried the XOX in Fair Isle knitting? Now there’s some hugs-n-kisses.

  12. Shannon

    I just got an email from one of my British friends today. It was signed “XX”. So…does that mean “kiss kiss”??? I’m sure she’s a huggy and not a kissy person! I agree with you Vickie…X’s are hugs, O’s are kisses. Love your show. It singlehandedly inspired me to pick up my sticks after almost 15 years. Rock on, sista! (or, ummm…knit on!)

  13. Vickie Howell

    OMG gals, your responses mage me giggle!

    Beth- Thanks for the info–that was actually realling interesting!

    Marnie–I agree!

    Isela-Glad I could be of service. 😉

    Jenny–Sadly, I know exactly what you mean.

    Monika & Debbie- Well, at least I know I’m not alone!

    Saja26- That’s totally how I’m going to look at it now! 😉

    Knitxcore-Good plan. I’m thinking about making up my own sign-off symbol. Perhaps a dash and a star…

    Jaime- Re: weather report– I
    m just sayin’

    Anonymous–I don’t *really* care, I just thought it was funny that the great “ox” mystery was revealed to me at this age. 😉

    Esther-From now on can you walk behind me everywhere saying things like that? It would do wonders for my self-esteem!;-)

    Sheila-No, I have seen it, but haven’t tried it. Where is that project again? Knitty?

    Shannon- Well, the kiss-kiss thing is very European…


  14. Anonymous

    I cannot believe anyone in their right mind would not know that X means kiss – bizarre