Deborah Francis-White

  • 31 July 2006

This article is from 2006.

Whether you believe they are ruining or fulfilling our lives, mobile phones are going nowhere fast. Deborah Frances-White talks her way through the messaging minefield.

I got my first mobile phone in 1997, and received my first text message on New Year’s Eve 1999. I didn’t know what it was and accidentally deleted it. I find it unsettling then, that for the last five years I, and everyone I know, have grown to see texting and other mobile-related activities as a full-time job. The fact that mobile phones became popular in 1997 leads me to believe that they were distributed by New Labour to distract us from what’s really going on. If so, it’s worked. Since we are all embroiled in this cellular love affair we might as well establish some best practice. I leave out, of course, those who don’t have a mobile phone as they are irritating individuals who unreasonably expect the rest of us to make arrangements and stick to them.

1) Look through your phone address book. You will find a handful of names which mean nothing to you. Delete them now. If ‘Chris from K’s party’ means nothing, and you can’t even remember who K is, or even recall the party, chances are you’re not going to call him (if Chris is even a him). Cull, exfoliate, delete.

2) Do not be tempted, ever, to cull an ex. If your ex phones you, your ‘hello’ absolutely must be bright, breezy, sexy and successful so you must recognise their number at all costs.

3) Point 2 poses a problem. If you don’t delete your exes how will you avoid calling them when drunk? The answer: keep the number in your phone but store it under ‘D’ for ‘Don’t call.’ So ‘Nick’ becomes ‘Don’t call Nick.’ That way the clue will be in the title: ‘Don’t call Nick? Why not? Oh, that’s right. Nick evil. Nick stole my soul and then went down on his parole officer.’

4) Text flirting is desirable and the restorer of romance. Men swear it turns them into daredevilish poets who confess their feelings in a way they would never do if a woman were actually in the room. Women can text sentences that, if they were said over the phone, would require a premium rate number.

5) Finally, if you are over 35 & u r txting lk ths, stop. You are not fooling anyone. You are mutton texting as lamb. Go predictive.

I would write more, but in the time it’s taken me to write this, seven texts have come in and I simply can’t resist.

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