Once again, National Punctuation Day is upon us. And that means I am going to talk about one of my favourite things—punctuation! But I’m going to change things up this year by talking about punctuation as it (may) relate to love. Because we all need a bit of love (and punctuation) in our lives.
I’ve talked in the past about my desire to bring the interrobang into common usage. I even dressed up as one for Halloween a couple of years ago. I’ve also talked about standard punctuation marks—along with a desire to formalise the kissend. And, many of you may know that I am a staunch supporter of the amazing Oxford comma. (Use it. It’s the right thing to do!) Today’s punctuation doesn’t really have anything to do with Oxford commas, but there is a slight tie-in with interrobangs and kissends. Slight. (You’ll see.)
To that, I want to talk about the point d’amour—or the love point as we’d say in English.
The love point was first proposed by Hervé Bazin in 1966 in his essay “Plumons l’oiseau” (Let’s pluck the bird), along with five other new forms of punctuation: the certitude, authority, irony, acclamation, and doubt points. The love point was to show a statement of affection or love to or about another. Sadly, like the rest of Bazin’s proposed punctuation forms, it didn’t take. (Happily, the Unicode guys seem to be working on it.) It combines two side-by-side question marks with the left one facing backwards so that they form a heart. They then share a single lower dot. (See, hearts and sharing … this is obviously love!)
As for the tie-ins, well, the love point uses a question mark, as does the interrobang. And it’s a sign of affection, like the kissend. (Hey, I didn’t promise strong relationships between them. So work with me here, OK?)
OK, so we know this lovely bit of punctuation is about love and affection. But what does that have to do with my love life (or lack thereof)? Well, it’s really about my desire to have a reason to use a love point; my desire to have a love worthy of writing such sappy romantic prose.
Only with more than six years of widowhood under my belt, I am starting to realise that dating just isn’t for me. Or, rather, finding someone I want to go on more than one date with seems to be a challenge. Or, worse, finding someone I want to go on more than one date with—who also wants to go on more than one date with me—seems to be impossible.
And so here I am, a 41-year-old widow with absolutely no prospects for using a love point. (Unless it’s a platonic love point. In which case, I’ve got my Mum and Dad [enter love point here].)
I have to admit that I have been a little down about it all, too. Not because I feel that I need a man in order to be complete or to be happy … but because my life is mostly complete and I feel that all I’m missing is that special person to laugh with.
But I am holding out hope that maybe by the time National Punctuation Day rolls around again, I will have a romantic use for the love point. And if not, I’m sure I’ll be able to write a missive about the doubt point. Or maybe I’ll create a new bit of punctuation called the lonely point. (Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!)
And now, my challenge to you: Go out and use the love point! The best way to do this is to write a wee note of affection to someone you care for, ending it with the groovy little dual-question-mark-and-a-dot. Write it on paper; write it on the mirror with lipstick; write a message in the sand… just go forth and express your love—with punctuation!
[Image note: This is a hand-drawn love point by yours truly. Please feel free to use in an effort to help spread the love!]