Ever since Kim Kardashian-West announced that she would be making her face, body parts, and favorite things into an emoji keyboard, I think that part of me knew that in some dark moment of betrayal, I would lose my man. I just didn’t know it would be like this.
Last week, I came home early from a conference in Chicago to a horrific sight. Before I even put down my suitcases, I heard a thumping in my bedroom—the bedroom I share with my longtime boyfriend, Chris. Curious, I followed the noise and opened the door. There he was, sweater on and pants askew, masturbating, his iPhone facing him on the bed. He stared up at me in horror.
Of course, I’ve walked in on him many, many times—dozens of times, maybe hundreds—maybe even thousands—or millions. But this time, something seemed different. There was real fear in his eyes. It was enough for me to march over to his phone and snatch it to see what was playing. It wasn’t porn. It wasn’t even a sexy photo. And it certainly wasn’t the pencil sketch he drew of me in a bikini a few years ago. It was a Kim Kardashian emoji.
To be specific, it was the emoji of a cartoon ponytailed Kim upside down on a stripper pole. You know that one? From arm’s length, it looks more like a beige pelican atop a piece of marsh grass. And he was jerking off to it. Most embarrassingly, he had his iPhone keyboard open and was just relentlessly typing the emoji over and over in the Notes app while he did the job. He was apologizing profusely, but I could barely hear him over the sounds of my disgust.
Now, I’m not trying to knock masturbation. I think self-love is natural, and fun, and beautiful. But there’s something upsetting about finding your boyfriend pleasuring himself to a keyboard of small cartoon women who were not me. And really, what IS wrong with that pencil sketch of me?
I slept on the couch that night, masturbating for hours just out of spite. When I woke up, the anger had faded and been replaced with hurt. What’s next? If he’s already this attracted to 400 square pixels, what’s next? Other emojis, like those little dancing girls? ASCII smiley face emoticons? These symbolic images have cartoonishly simple features that I will never in my wildest dreams live up to.
We’ve decided to go to counseling together; him for his self-diagnosed sex addiction, and me for my self-diagnosis of his sex addiction. I genuinely hope this is something we can move past together. All I know is, I never want to see another Kimoji again. Unless it’s the waist-cincher one, or the solo cup, because my friends and I love to send those to each other. You can’t get through something like this without friends.