Tilde of Whimsy

The tilde is a versatile grapheme with several purposes in various languages and scholarly disciplines (especially math). It has no place in proper English writing. However, the humble tilde has seen colloquial use as a modifier of words and even entire sentences, an expression of what can be most accurately defined as “whimsy”. The trend has its roots in Japanese otaku culture. The Japanese language sometimes uses elongated dashes to represent drawn out vowel sounds, as well as tildes (called “name dasshu”), and since 99% of Japanese words end in vowel sounds one frequently sees anime characters whimsily trail their words out. It’s the difference between “hello” and “hellooooooo!”
    A simple dash does not capture the whimsy, so the actual form of the tilde must be taken into account. It’s like a dash that is leisurely meandering along its path, unconcerned with the serious business of being a straight line. In other words, the very shape of the tilde can be interpreted as whimsical. Most tellingly, readers first encountering the Tilde of Whimsy usually don’t even need an explanation as to its correct use – it’s immediately understood on an instinctive level, because all humans have a pressing need to express their innate sense of whimsy, even if they do not discover it until encountering the tilde.
    Later, English-speaking nerds also began using the Tilde of Whimsy occasionally in Internet writing. Soon, other people (not otakus themselves or at least closeted ones) appropriated the symbol for ironic use. However, like telling the occasional racist joke or flirting with an underage chick, casual ironic indulgence quickly becomes a sincere and persistent habit.
    Now, the Tilde of Whimsy has firmly established itself in the grammatical lexicon of the internet, and it is unlikely that the trend will die quickly. People can now communicate their whimsy quickly and effectively, and though they had never known the need before, they now find...