Ethan, a student in business school, said that when he was active on dating apps, he immediately swiped right on guys who mentioned the Oxford comma. Ethan thinks it shows “a certain level of erudition. If you care about Oxford commas, you care, so that’s good to be up front about.”Sara, who works in television in Los Angeles, told me that the usual suspect is “always some hipster dude who isn’t posting shirtless ab pics, so they need something to set themselves apart.” They’re hoping to come off as “smart and cute” by mentioning the Oxford comma, she said. That’s probably the message: .”Besides, as Ethan pointed out, “Calling yourself a ‘grammar Nazi’ can be icky.” It hints that you’re annoyingly pedantic, on the level of correcting text-message grammar.
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“Maybe the serial comma is kind of like a bow tie or a button-down collar.
Something that’s neat and structural in appearance.” It signals “someone who knows what she wants.”What many people want, evidently, are word nerds and grammar geeks. ”Dean, a New York-based lawyer, said that it’s “always at the end of a list like ‘dog mom, shower singer, Oxford comma enthusiast.’ So kind of cleverly self-referential.
On the Tinder subreddit, which has 1.8 million subscribers, one user lamented that the Oxford comma features in “like a quarter of bios ’round my parts.” Another said, “It’s everywhere.” Even a journal entry on Tinder’s own blog mentions it: “Honestly, I’m not sure how compatible I can be with someone who is anti-the Oxford comma.”To date in the 21st century is to endlessly encounter the same recycled phrases, clichés, and “interests,” in a kind of algorithmically curated romantic groupthink. The blue-blood punctuation mark, named after the Oxford University Press, acts as a social signifier, a sieve for the bookish and studious (and, perhaps, pretentious).
It suggests personality traits that extend far beyond punctuation preferences.
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Oh, you’re a “world traveler” and you “love to explore the city”?
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