Life Mysteries

A grown man's guide to developing his own Bitmoji

May 23, 2017

Good news: Last night, I became the last man on Earth to properly develop his own Bitmoji. Well, I developed most of it anyway — my wife commandeered my phone to properly sculpt the hair, chin, ears and, most specifically, enormous nose.

That was the weirdest part, actually trying to sit there and maintain an air of icy reserve while she inspected my face, which is turns out is not something that happens very much. And she sat there, uncomfortably inspecting my face shape (read: flaws), and then inputting the information into a cartoon version that I could use to conveniently communicate to people without talking. My 13-year-old son took one look, opined that I looked too much like Harrison Ford and demanded a revise. “The hair color’s right, but there’s too much of it. Do they have anything older?” he asked, gaining steam. “Where are the XXXXL noses?” He’s very funny, the 13-year-old, and he got to think of plenty more jokes during his night in the garage.

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Bitmojis, of course, have been used by millennials and other annoying people long enough that I basically sound like an overall-wearing Hillbilly Jim type for even bringing them up, but I am loath to pick up such technologies because I am 41 and there are legions of minefields involved with adopting technologies when you are 41.

I had a Snapchat account for a week, before feeling basically like I was the fortysomething at the college bar, swigging back pitchers like everyone wasn’t looking at me. We hosted an exchange student for a few weeks, and my young cousins followed him on Snapchat, something that instilled me with a low-level hum of cross-cultural dread. Was he posting pictures of our house? Had he posted any of me? “This place is filthy, and the 5-year-old cries all the time.” (According to my cousins, the worst he managed was cursing in photos of a monster thunderstorm, but as English was his second language his cursing was lightly inaccurate and thus mostly adorable.)

Naturally, I was asked/demanded to pitch in on my wife’s Bitmoji too — I’m not letting her convert my various facial flaws into cartoon form without some sort of retribution. And I found that unsettling sense of unfamiliarity went the other way too — you’d think you’d know your own wife’s face, having stared at it with some positive regularity over the past 20 years, but close your eyes and try to think of her ears, chin, the shape of her nose. The collective face is there, but the individual parts are surprisingly tricky. Is her chin more square or rounded, do her ears point out that far, is she going to be mad at this nose?

She’s going to be mad at this nose. I am deleting this nose.

So my wife and I sent Bitmojis to each other all day, me in a coffeeshop where I assuage myself that I’m being comfortably ironic, her in an office full of younger people who are probably like, aw, look, the cute old couple figured out phones. I’m telling my spin class instructor about it. Look out, world.


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