Part 13: Mobile Phones

When you are single the mobile phone is simply a miniature dense box of plastic, metal and safety glass held together with magic that lets you communicate with your friends and family. If you’ve got a posh one you will also be able to read The Guardian and The Daily Mail on it for free.

For the single person wishing to stay connected to the spinning world, and tapped into exciting current affairs (such as the exact dimensions of Reese Witherspoon’s baby lump) the mobile is an invention sent from the gods. In fact, I am well disappointed in God that He didn’t have the wit and prudence to invent it himself, and instead waited some 14 billion years before rectifying His oversight in failing to give us telepathy by giving us Martin Cooper, the man with the sensible name who headed up the team responsible for developing the first handheld, wireless, telephone device. I don’t know why you haven’t heard of him before. He clearly deserves some kind of sainthood.

The ability of the mobile phone to deliver divine depths of unbridled joy obviously depends on your Internet browsing skills (oooh, you’ve found this site, so you must be rather talented there – well done!), and the strength and quality of your friendships – fortunately, I have done well in forming mine. Just this morning, I was woken by the single extended violin note that alerts me to the fact a text message has been received. One of my friends had sent an early morning text, apropos of nothing, which read:

Think my ultimate fantasy is being fucked by a Roman centurion. x

This was a major LOLZ way to start the day, and would not have been possible without the aid of mobile technology. Thank you, Martin Cooper.

My ultimate fantasy, should anyone care to know, involves bare feet with toenails of richest red, a beach with fine, white sand, a leopardprint string bikini, and the legendary snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan. Anyway, I digress – the point I want to make is that the mobile phone is a source of information and fun for the singleton. The only drawback to having a mobile phone when you’re unattached is the monthly bill, which if you’re not careful, can sneak into the hundreds of pounds, and steal valuable food money from your current account.

However, it is one of the perplexing laws of physics, and a glitch clearly overlooked by Mr Cooper and his team, that when you become in any way romantically involved the mobile phone mysteriously shape shifts from benign communications device into a complex weapon of love-warfare.

In the initial stages of a relationship, the mobile is at its most deadly; hardwiring itself into your nervous system, so that every unanswered text message, or unreturned call, sends shivers of toxic rejection fluid straight into your self-esteem. And then, if you’re on the other side of the unanswered text message scenario (i.e.the rejecter, rather than the rejectee), every bleep of the phone causes a bit of cringe-juice to leak from the porous cavities of your soul as you are reminded of the eager grimmace of the date you kissed goodbye, and are forced to survey the cold apathy of your heart towards their expectation.

This is all made worse, of course, by the hideous ‘rules’. A set of guidelines for the unhappy singleton hoping to hook a mate, which few of us have read, but which have still, somehow, managed to shape our dating behaviour. The ‘rules’, written in the days before women had any backbone, dictate that ladies are never to call first, or have sex on a first date. She must always leave him waiting by witholding communication, and then, helpfully, the ‘rules’ remind us that, ‘if he does not call, he is not that interested. Period.’ FFS! No wonder my generation of women are so OVER relationships. The ‘rules’ and their reinforcement via horrendous Sex in the City/Friends style sitcoms have made us into neurotic ice-maidens, who are so obsessed with playing it ‘cool’ in public that we’ve probably spent days of our valuable lives in private turmoil over potential dates who just lost our number, or who were not sure enough about our ardour to call us, but who would have been delighted to hear that we wanted to see him again. Promptly. The ‘rules’ have taken all the fun out of mindlessly staggering your way around the city dressed in sequins and doused in gin, and turned being single into a serious character flaw. One which necessitates engaging in a sport in which you must bag your opponent – but one where you have no idea of the opponents tactics, and no control over your own game. They have made using a mobile phone the equivalent of operating a ‘he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not’ rejection-gauge.

When one does, finally, manage to ‘win’ a partner the mobile phone becomes a more subtle, but equally potent form of armoury. When things are going well, you are attached to it as though it is the literal arm of your lover; it might, at any moment, bring word of their whereabouts, or an invitation to join them for drinks. You daren’t leave the house with a half charged battery, for your love might wish to know when you’ll be home, and if your battery dies and you decide to stay out sampling all the red wine in Stoke Newington before falling asleep in your own sick on the porch, there will be a massive row.

When things are going not-well it’s even worse; stinging, bitter text messages received in the wake of an argument that cause you to have a mini cry in the toilets at work before an important briefing. Days of no-missed-calls-no-new-messages silence, like a rusty nail to your beating heart. If you’re dating a nutcase (I’d recommend it, if you’re thinking of ignoring my advice and pairing off, for its entertainment-in-the-retelling-of-the-madness bonus), they might also use the contents of your own inbox against you; involving you in a three hour ‘I don’t know why I put five kisses on that text message to Alex’ argument that makes you question your own mental stability.

The best you can hope for from your relationship, in terms of mobile phone use, is mediocrity. At which point your mobile is not so much a weapon, as it is a functional task sharing device, and a barometer of your averageness; storing thrilling correspondence such as ‘be home late.X’, ‘car has a flat tyre!’ or ‘pick up toilet roll from Sainsbury’s’.

It is all enough to make you want to check out of the ‘game’, use your weekends to get wasted on tequila shots, and shag your ex whenever you get overly sex-starved. Much more fun than engaging in ALL THIS BULLSHIT. And you never have to worry if your battery dies unexpectedly.

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2 thoughts on “Part 13: Mobile Phones

  1. fingerspolishmania says:

    As I read this, I am staring at my phone wondering why he hasn’t replied to my text from yesterday morning. How mind blowing this post is in it’s correctness. So in touch with reality. I wonder how you know these things! Your writing is just perfect.

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