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sXe refers to a lifestyle that started within the hardcore punk subculture whose adherents make a lifetime commitment to refrain from drinking alcohol, using tobacco products, and taking recreational drugs. The term was coined by the 1980s hardcore punk band Minor Threat in the song “Straight Edge”.

The letter X is the most known symbol of straight edge, commonly worn as a marking, symbol or tattoo on the back of one or both hands, though it can be displayed on other body parts as well. Some followers are known as “hardcore kids” referring to the hardcore and punk music scene in which straight edge is prevalent. Some followers of straight edge have also incorporated the symbol into clothing and pins. According to a series of interviews by journalist Michael Azerrad, the straight edge “X” can be traced to the Teen Idles’ brief U.S. West Coast tour in 1980. The Teen Idles were scheduled to play at San Francisco’s Mabuhay Gardens, but when the band arrived, club management discovered that the entire band was under the legal drinking age and therefore should be denied entry to the club. As a compromise, management marked each of the Idles’ hands with a large black “X” as a warning to the club’s staff not to serve alcohol to the band. Upon returning to Washington, D.C., the band suggested this same system to local clubs as a means to allow teenagers in to see musical performances without being served alcohol. The mark soon became associated with the straight edge lifestyle. In recent years, more music venues have slowly been adopting this system.

A variation involving a trio of X’s (xXx) originated in artwork created by Minor Threat’s drummer, Jeff Nelson, in which he replaced the three stars in the band’s hometown Washington, DC flag with Xs. The term is sometimes abbreviated by including an X with the abbreviation of the term “straight edge” to give “sXe”. By analogy, hardcore punk is sometimes abbreviated to “hXc”. The X symbol can be used as a way to signify a band or person is Straight Edge, by adding the letter to the front and back, for example, the band ‘xFilesx’.

Edited by Itterashai on 27 May 2010, 15:19

Sources (view history)

everyone knows that sXe isn’t actually pronounced sexy. - go ask sxephil

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