IF YOU'RE AFTER a sign that it's time to quit Planet Earth, then a study which found that people who use emojis have more sex is the signal to take a running jump out of the atmosphere and into the deep beyond.
A symptom of bringing you news dear readers, means here at the INQUIRER we're always listening out for all manner of dumb-f**kery, ranging from the government's bonkers porn-blocking scheme to Trump toss-pottery.
But the research conducted by academics with far too much time on their hands from The Kinsey Institute in Indiana University and the Department of Psychology in Lake Forest College in Chicago, and subsequently published in the PLOS ONE journal, takes the proverbial biscuit.
Some 5,000-plus Americans were surveyed by the researchers, with the results showing that those who used more emojis in online communications had a more successful dating life, and by success we take that to mean making the beast with two backs.
"We demonstrated that people who use emojis more often may be better at forming connections with others, as measured by the positive association between frequency of emoji use with potential partners and more dating and sexual behaviour," said the researchers.
Now we all know that an emoji of a juicy peach not only denotes a fondness of a fleshy fruit, but also indicates that one has a bountiful booty. And there's no doubt that a purple aubergine is used to indicate one has a hefty dose of arousal, normally in the form of a throbbing trouser tent.
But the idea that frequent emoji use is actually leading to more sex is, arguably, a sad indication of the times and how our minds are being truly rogered by smartphone software.
According to the research, people are motivated to ejaculate emojis all over messages as they "give text messages more personality", "make it easier to express feelings", and "are faster and easier than writing a full message", as well as being trendy; no please don't punch your display just yet.
Let's give those points a wee tickle and reach around. Firstly, if you think an emoji of a grinning poo with eyes and a unicorn traipsing around is a good way to communicate personality, then we feel sorry for you; if you think it's a good indication of another's personality, then get in the sea.
Secondly, if you express your feelings with a sad/happy/weird winky-face-with-a-tongue-stuck-out, then probably best to go back to school and learn how to be an adult.
Thirdly... well, we can't argue that emojis are a faster way to communicate. But it's a damn good way to indicate you're lazy to a potential partner; then again some people just want to get to a roll in the hay as fast a possible.
Fourthly - phew - just because something is trendy doesn't make it good; being a t**t on Twitter is a trend but not something that's desirable.
There's an argument that we're being a little curmudgeon here, perhaps because "did it hurt when you fell from heaven" has seen us leave dates empty-handed.
It's also worth pointing out here that this was a survey of Americans, a nation in which a lot of folks tend to express themselves with semi-automatic weapons and eating vast amounts of food covered in fake cheese.
So, we take their survey answers with a pinch of salt. If you're an American and don't like this then you're more than welcome to pop over to Blighty and have a word with us.
That aside, as a website that enjoys using actual words, we can't help but feel the emojis are a step closer to the death of communication let alone romance. And let this be a warning when you forget the word for felati... fela... oh s**t, what was it again? µ
You could soon buy that ivory backscratcher on Marketplace in a few taps
Just in case you're too posh for Whole Foods
Borked butterfly mechanism is dead
AI nirvana in the cloud