1. People expect you to have one
This past weekend, I finally broke down and bought an iPhone after years of living with a phone that had no camera or email capabilities. My reasons for not joining the masses with a hi-tech phone are varied. I liked my freedom, I didn’t really need to have internet access 24/7, and I also got a kick out of seeing people’s shocked expressions whenever I pulled out my phone.
“What is that?” A new friend recently hissed at me.
“Oh, I don’t have a smart phone.” I was so used to having this conversation with new friends, I was practically on auto-pilot.
“Wait, what? How do you, like, live?”
“Ha ha, but seriously. You can’t do that, Ryan. You need to join the 21st century like the rest of us have. That’s not cool.”
There was an edge to my friend’s voice that I hadn’t recognized before. Instead of looking incredulous and poking fun at my luddite tendencies, which everyone did, I actually heard a hint of anger. It was as if he was legitimately mad at me for not adapting.
My friend then went on to lecture me about how unprofessional it was to not have an iPhone these days and that you can’t just not answer work emails when you clock out. It was bizarre. It was like this person was secretly doing publicity for the iPhone and had sought out the ones who had been left behind with their brokedown palace phones. “Sir, we got a 26-year-old gay male who works in media and still has a flip phone. Bring back up…”
It was that night (and many similar ones that were to follow) that made me realize that having a crappy phone in 2013 is not only an unwise professional choice, it’s also considered socially unacceptable. Having a smart phone is like having an opinion about Girls: everybody’s gotta have one if they want to survive!
2. You can’t get laid
At a certain point, not having a smart phone was starting to impact me socially, professionally and…sexually. All of my gay friends were beginning to have loads of sex thanks to Grindr—an app that’s basically the McDonald’s of hooking up—and while I’ve always been a ~~~shy gurl~~~ when it comes to that kind of stuff, I couldn’t help but feel a little envious. Hell, I couldn’t even receive dick pics on my old phone because it didn’t have a camera! Once, a guy I was seeing, texted me being like, “Did you like?” and I was all, “Like what?” and he texted back, “The picture I sent you!” I informed him that my phone didn’t “accept” picture texts and he got very confused and agitated with me. Eventually he had to send his dick pic in an email attachment, which really killed the mood. Having to write back “love it!!!” on Gmail doesn’t have quite the same effect as a sext.
3. You need to know what the hell is going on with your friends
In the last year or so, I found myself growing distant with some of my friends simply because I didn’t have Instagram. It sounds pathetic but I missed out on a whole lot of information by not having a visual play-by-play of their lives. i would listen to them talk about certain celebrities’ Instagrams and who liked what photo, and have no freaking idea what the hell they were talking about. Also, I couldn’t receive group texts on my phone, so whenever the plans changed with my friends, I’d have no idea. On more than one occasion, I would show up to the place we were meeting at and wait for twenty minutes before texting them, “WHERE ARE YOU GUYS?” Response: “We’re running an hour late. Did you not get the group texts?” No. When dealing with someone who doesn’t have a smart phone, you should always just assume that they don’t get anything ever. Their phone is not as intelligent as yours is. Their phone failed remedial math and was held back twice.
4. You need to know where things are
Here’s a conversation no one wants to have in 2013:
- Your friend: Hello?
- You: Hey babe, are you by a computer?
- Your friend: Uh, yeah.
- You: Can you look up movie times for that movie about the whales that kill people at Sea World?
- Your friend: What?
- You: I don’t remember what it’s called. Just Google “Murderer whales movie showtimes” for me?
- Your friend: Get a smart phone, you psycho!
A few years ago, I called my friend and asked her to log in to my bank account and transfer money from my savings into my checking so I could pay my weed dealer. GOD, WERE WE EVER SO YOUNG?! (and smart phoneless?)
5. You need Uber
Have you ever used Uber before? It’s an amazing app that allows strange men to pick you up in Escalades and drive you places. I live in LA now and don’t drive so not having a smart phone is no longer an option for me. Regular cabs in LA are sketchy as hell and usually take 30 minutes to show up anywhere. Plus, people will judge you for showing up somewhere in a cab instead of, like, a vintage Volkswagen with “California Dreamin'” blaring from the stereo and white doves flying out the window. With Uber, I feel safe and chic. They give you free water and you don’t have to deal with the messiness of payment because they immediately just charge it to your credit card. (Warning: This is what makes Uber also dangerous. You think every ride is free when it’s really, really, not.)