Let me start off by saying that I’m aware it’s not really the iPhones that are bad, it’s the behavior of the device’s users. It’s clear that the iPhone is a very useful device in many ways, but the users’ bad behavior overshadows any benefit from the technology at this time. That will change some day when people discover their boundaries when using the device in social settings. Every new innovation or technology brings with it the need for new social structures and etiquette. For example, we’ve learned over time to make sure toilet seats are down in a home with females. Don’t drive drunk. Don’t forward every e-mail joke you receive. Stuff like that. It seems like most owners of handheld devices think they’re exempt from the need to be polite in social settings, particularly gay iPhone owners who have the Grindr application.
Grindr is a program you can put on your iPhone that detects every other person with Grindr on their iPhone. Sort of like a locator beacon that gays can use to hook up. I would contend this application is a major force driving iPhone purchases in the gay male community. Some of you may be horrified at the idea of broadcasting your location to everyone nearby, but believe me it’s extremely popular with the gays, particularly with the attention-deficit disordered and sexually compulsive.
Recently I was at a five-star restaurant with great food, fantastic service and lovely atmosphere with a group of four. The place was a bit pricey and I don’t go to such places very often, and such an event is certainly not the kind of place where I would want to squander the experience. Three of of the gays at the table had iPhones, two of them with the Grindr application. During cocktails before the dinner the two with Grindr had located a hatchet-faced truck driver 19 miles away, and were competing for the truck driver’s attention. I guess that’s fine during cocktails but after a while conversations centered around your handheld device or a stranger none of us has met gets kind of old. Discussion about your handheld device certainly shouldn’t dominate any conversation. But I let it pass.
But when we were seated at the restaurant the devices came out again not long after the entrees were ordered. Again they hungrily tapped on their devices to see who could get the hottest response from the truck driver. I looked around the restaurant and noticed no one else was holding a handheld device. It was a nice restaurant and most level-headed adults knew you shouldn’t do that sort of thing at the dinner table. The two at my table were the exception. Or they thought the other people at the table would make an exception for them.
At one point I had to relieve myself and was told by the other odd man sans Grindr that there was complete silence while I was away, because the two wooing the truck driver were so intent on chatting with someone somewhere else.
The entree arrived and was delicious and they stopped tapping for a while but still addictively glanced at the screens tucked in their laps like strung out coke fiends looking for a fix. And before the dessert menu arrived the devices were pulled out again so we could all learn about what the truck driver from 19 miles away was thinking. One of the two finally realized he was being rude, but the other one would not stop. Finally I had to say, “Listen: if the company at this table is so boring to you, clear your check and get out of here.” If it was so important that he hook up with the hatchet-faced truck driver, then let him go hook up as far as I cared. Dinner conversation had been squashed an hour ago by attention to the devices, rather than to the actual, real, physical people at the table. Yet another tragic casualty to socialization and person-to-person communication due to improper use of a handheld device.
I would wager that none of these rude iPhone users would do such a thing among straight company, or at a work function. Ignoring the people at present company in lieu of someone 19 miles away is not only rude, but inherently homophobic as well. Why? Because some gays think they can be rude to fellow gays but we wouldn’t be as rude to heterosexuals. Straight people wouldn’t put up with it and you’d look pretty addicted to the device and appear sexually compulsive from their perspective. Feel free to challenge me on this but I’ve noticed gays are more apt to be rude [while fondling handheld devices] to fellow gays than they would to heterosexuals. It’s a channel of homophobia as far as I’m concerned. Anyhow, I hope such an experience doesn’t happen to me again, but I’ll try to avoid such situations in the future by being more selective with whom I dine. If they’re known compulsive handheld device abusers they won’t be invited out to eat because it’s usually very clear they’ve lost the ability to socialize.
Other things I don’t want to hear:
- Your iPhone bleeping every time you receive an e-mail or text message.
- “OMG Grindr burns so much battery power.” I’ve heard that 50 times already. Boring.
- “OMG this hot guy is only 50′ away in the next building.” Again, I don’t care, and you’re probably not actually interested in hooking up with him anyway. You’re just looking for validation.
- Leave it at home, turn it off. You don’t need to be connected 24/7.
- Don’t assume everyone wants to talk about your iPhone or your latest application.
- I don’t care if your iPhone broke or ran out of power, so don’t mention it on Facebook or Twitter.
In fact, the rest of us are really tired of hearing about your iPhone, so put it away, thanks.