Talking On The Telephone: A Brief Social History

I was thisclose to writing a how to about talking on the telephone (which, let’s face it, would’ve been so boring) when I stumbled upon this hilarious relic from the Paleozoic Era. Watching two middle school girls (one of whom sounds like she’s taken a bar of Xanax) give us a crash course on phone etiquette is not only the funniest thing since Bridesmaids, but it’s also a haunting reminder of how we spent our youth.

I don’t know about you, but I spent the ages from 11 to 15 in what can only be described as a telephone K-hole. Since no one had a license to drive, my friends and I would be forced to dial our way to freedom. From the moment we arrived home from school until we had to eat dinner, we would just talk, talk, and then talk some more. I’m not really sure what we talked about exactly but I have a feeling it went something like this:

Friend: Hello?
Me: Hey. What are you doing?
Friend: Nothing. Just got home from school. You?
Me: Nothing.


Me: What are you doing now?
Friend: I’m watching an episode of Boy Meets World. Turn it on.
Me: What channel?
Friend: Five.
Me: Okay.

We would then proceed to watch three episodes of television together. There would be minimal talking except for the commercial breaks. After we exhausted our television resources, we would go back to our respective rooms and decide to listen to Enema Of The State at the same time. Our parents would interrupt us for something and we would give horrified expressions and scream, “FIVE MORE MINUTES, MOM! WE HAVE TO LISTEN TO TRACK 11!” Oh, we would also talk a lot of shit on everyone in our class. Sometimes we would do that thing they did in Mean Girls and secretly three-way call someone and be like, “So what do you really think of so-and-so?” and of course the person would respond with something evil because 13-year-olds are giant assholes. When you would get off the phone with this person, your friend would just be sobbing and all you could really say was “I’m sorry?” Today, I would be terrified to know if people were talking crap about me.

Everything happened on the telephone. It was a middle school version of a rager. Not being invited to a phone call could be the biggest diss ever. “Oh you didn’t talk to Stephanie last night? I did. For four hours.” Burn.

It’s weird to think about how everyone today can’t even deal with a two minute phone call. All of a sudden an in-depth conversation on the telephone gives someone terrible anxiety. It’s like, hello? I know you were in middle school once. You can do it. It really pisses me off when people are texting you and you’ll just call them to speed the whole thing up and they won’t pick up. And it’s not like they’re at work or whatever. They just won’t pick up the damn phone. Thanks technology yet again for turning us into complete freaks.

So listen, everyone needs to take advice from these two white girl tween rappers about how to be cool on the phone. Trust me. You can use it. (Just fast forward over the part where the blonde girl starts hallucinating. That’s just weird.) TC mark

image – r.plenty.

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Robin V

    1:12 a-  hmph.

  • anonymouse

    Everything is Terrible


  • Bjørn

    I kind of regret that I never went through a telephone phase.

  • joecastagna

    I had my own line in my room and talked on the phone so god damn much it was retarded. I had a speaker phone too which made it even more convenient for me to do other things while on the phone with some girl I was crushing on or something. 

    Also I really hate people that are bad at the telephone, it is one of those things that will make me not want to be friends with you. If I call you and you don't pick up, CALL ME FUCKING BACK.

    People who only text also tend to be socially retarded dimwits who I like to stay a good distance away from as well.

    • P. H. Madore

      Afuckingmen bro! I hardly text because I don't want to be a person who does that.

  • SMH

    I really enjoyed this article. It reminded me of my youth, when all I did was talk on the phone. Come to think… I still talk on the phone all the time.

  • P. H. Madore

    That video just improved my quality of life.

  • mopey P

    I hope there is a followup explaining and/or categorizing people like me who went to middle school and remember such long pointless conversations, but now have an inexplicable aversion to talking on the phone even when it is important.

  • Bazaarguy

    At the risk of sounding impossibly old for the TC demo…..I have two teenagers and they are simply dumb as shit when it comes to talking on the phone.

    I know it's all my fault – dropped the landline before they were old enough to practice. Half the time when I call their cells they don't even say 'hello', they just click the green button and mouth breathe. It drives me nuts and slowly it's turning me into the uncool dad I vowed I'd never be.

    The oddest thing is that they seem less inclined to hang out irl – why bother when they text and FB and their friends' moms usually won't let them out of the house without a tracking collar or some helicopter shit.

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