It's 2016, and if you're not using emojis to express your every dream and desire, you maybe shouldn't be allowed to own a phone. It's incredible how quickly our little pictorial friends went from a mere expressive digestif to the proverbial roast turkey in the middle of the table. There are some real gold standards out there: the 100-Points emoji, those Praise Hands, and the Eggplant -- y'know, for penises!
Then there are the other emojis... the forgotten emojis that play second fiddle to the smiley faces and transient red hearts of the world. And it's a damn shame too, because with so many legitimately useful meanings and real-world applications, they're entirely underrated. These are the emojis of our lives. Use them! Express yourself! Take your text conversations to heights heretofore unheard of.
15. Dark Moon
Maybe you accidentally texted your mom instead of your girlfriend, or butt-dialed your boss, or sent some pretty ruinous Snapchats at the bar. Hey, maybe you even used the wrong "your" in a sentence. Dark Moon is sympathetic to the foibles and f-ups that plague humanity. He's the cheeky, lovable follow-up you send when you're embarrassed. I mean, just look at that face. How can you stay mad at that?
14. Black Check Mark
Black Check Mark is the 100-Points emoji's underrated little brother. He's swift, he's sturdy, and he's all about getting to the goddamn point. It's the emoji equivalent of getting a form notarized. Use Black Check Mark when you don't feel like typing out "OK sounds good" or "Yeah, that's fine" and revel in all the time you save.
You have to be a real cocky son of a gun to use the Sunglasses emoji, but it's also an endearingly self-deprecating way to acknowledge when you're being kind of a douche. Be fully aware that if you use it you're going to get shit from your friends for being so overconfident. This works even better when you make a particularly bad dad joke.
12. The Peach
Women are blessed with the Eggplant emoji as their choice sexting aid. Guys get the Peach, but don't utilize it. Why? Maybe because we don't realize the Peach resembles a plump rear-end, or maybe because we’re too busy making sure the lighting is just right for our next dick pic. In any event, the Peach is a no-frills way to express your interest in sex and cuts out all the painful, obligatory chatter that preempts a hookup. In the words of Nicolas Cage in Face/Off... "Peach, I could eat a peach for hours." Jesus, what a great movie.
11. The Gun
Where the Peach emoji is used to cut through the fat and tell somebody you like them, the Gun emoji is used in the same way -- except out of hate. It's the kind of emoji you'd send someone you would like to threaten IRL, but have to refrain from doing so because you're fundamentally nonviolent in nature and would never deign stoop to such amoral lows. Still, when your second cousin goes on a huge political Facebook rant that's rife with spelling errors and ends with "Thanks a lot, Obama," whip that Gun emoji out and show your dad's cousin's kid what you're made of.
There are monsters out there who don't like pizza and will refrain from using this emoji when presented with the age-old question of "What do you want for dinner?" People like that probably wish there was a kale emoji. People like that ruin America. Consider it your patriotic duty to text your loved ones the Pizza emoji, because without the bonds of pizza to unite us, we're no better than Russia. Let's make this nation great again.
9. Shout Man
Welcome to the ultimate passive-aggressive shutdown. Look, I've never personally received Shout Man in a text message, but I'd be really upset if I ever did. Shout Man is a call-out to being a shouty person, but not in the cool outspoken way. You get it if you're spinning your wheels like a blabby little sourpuss jag with a righteous 'tude. Shout Man is best used in a public space where a crowd of agreeable friends can view and comment, like Twitter. You can also use Shout Man in a group text, when someone thinks they're the cock of the walk. Or is it caulk of the walk? No, it must be the first one; no one's made of caulk.
What, sometimes you just want flan and don't feel like spelling it out.
7. The Cool Button
I dare you to find a more millennial emoji out there. The Cool Button is absolutely rife with sass and sarcasm. It's the emoji you use after you've been stood up on a date and the girl's like "lol, I fell asleep." It's what you text your friend after his overly detailed explanation of how his favorite plant is the cactus because of how little water it requires. It's the emoji you use on a rainy Sunday afternoon when the cable has gone out and Netflix won't stop buffering.
6. Mouthless Face
What does this face look like to you? Shock? Complete and utter disgust? A human torn apart by a saturating uncomfortable and awkward feeling? Welcome to the Mouthless Face, an emoji that can be used in response to inside jokes you don’t get, incorrectly used memes, or when somebody types out "expresso" or "irregardless." Let this face do the talking -- yes, we realize the inherent irony of allowing a face without a mouth to talk.
5. Shruggy Bird
Shruggy Bird-popping-out-of-the-shell is like dark moon's immature cousin. He makes mistakes and he takes responsibility for them, but -- in the end -- he doesn't really give a crap about your feelings. You have to be careful with Shruggy Bird, because this little fella can burn bridges at a moment's notice. You might think it's funny to send Shruggy Bird unaccompanied into a minefield of harsh words, but those who receive him won't. Use at your own risk and then bask in the glory of irreverence.
Pro tip: funnier when used in large quantities.
4. Shy Monkey
There's way too much lewd content making the rounds these days -- in dating apps, texts, Snapchats -- and Shy Monkey is the least awkward way to tell somebody, "Oh boy, I really wish I hadn't seen that dick pic." Shy Monkey is also great for when something is delightfully ugly, distasteful, or otherwise not-OK. Furthermore, it makes for a great follow-up after you reveal something excessive or embarrassing, but want to maintain some sort of humility in that cute way self-aware people tend to do.
3. Fried Shrimp
Fried Shrimp is everything. Fried Shrimp is nothing. It is meaningful and meaningless. It is whatever you want it to be, except it is never to be used when you actually want to eat fried shrimp. That's the sort of thing you say with words. Fried Shrimp can be used in any Instagram comment and it’ll immediately make you seem as knowledgeable and wise as the Dalai Lama himself. Some say he was the one who invented this particular emoji, others swear that Steve Jobs was behind it. Only I know the truth, but I'm not in much of a rush to disclose its actual meaning.
2. Dancing Lady in a Red Dress
You don't have to be a dancing lady in a red dress to appreciate the fiery emotive magic of Dancing Lady in a Red Dress. She's your girl when someone asks if you're going out and the answer is an unequivocal "um, yes." If Dancing Lady had a theme song it would probably be something by J.Lo or the 1993 hit "Rhythm of the Night." She always brings her A-game and can also be used to make light of garbage Tinder dates on which you turn and run full force in the other direction.
Deep in the recesses of the emoji menu, hidden amongst a bunch of reject farm animals and useless lizards, is Poodle. Just look at this friendly motherfucker! Poodle is the tongue-wagging image of sincerity, a well-groomed fluff ball of enthusiasm. Did you just make plans with someone you like? Are you definitely going to keep those plans? Are you excited about it? Conjure Poodle!
Poodle looks this generation's flaky, apathetic malaise straight in the face and says "no more!" No more cancelled plans, no more ghosting, no more sadistic, nihilistic give-no-fucks. Poodle keeps his promises. He's the ultimate stamp of approval, the patron saint of making fun things happen.