Are semicolons a girl thing? Salon editor Sarah Hepola wants to know. When Editrix interviewed her a few weeks ago, Hepola said without hesitation that her favorite punctuation mark is the semicolon. As she writes in Broadsheet, a Salon blog:
To me, the semicolon has a certain elegance, like a vodka martini; I don't whip it out every day, but on occasion, and with great relish. So it was with shock that I read a recent Boston Globe article suggesting that my favorite punctuation mark is ... girlie?
To put that assertion to the test, Hepola assembled a panel of Salon writers (Page Rockwell: "I love the semicolon. But then, I also love the eyelash curler").
Personally, I've always thought of semicolons as masculine--effete masculine, perhaps (the tweedy professor pauses for effect, but doesn't come to a full stop), but XY nonetheless.
You want feminine punctuation? Well, a (male) creative-writing teacher used to fill the margins of my papers with admonitions to "get rid of that schoolgirl dash." That's right, the em dash: that long straight line leading to a literary ejaculation. Schoolgirl?
I'm sticking to my em dashes--and my semicolons, too; thanks very much. The real girly mark, for me, is the excessive ellipsis. You know ... those sentences that just ... trail off ... like the annoying rising inflection at the end of a sentence ... all vaporous and ... oh gosh, what was I saying ...