Hoo boy, all I want to do is get a new
cell phone. Our contract is up and our old phones keep their battery
charges about as long as a gay bartender gets to stand still. For a
week now, instead of disassembling the patriarchy or doing something
equally useful, I have spent my evenings researching this little
What I really want is to sign on with
CREDO, which donates to progressive causes. I was with them for
years, but when I went all-cell-all-the-time, they didn’t have
coverage for my area. Now they do. It’s too late, though, as
everyone I know is on Verizon, which means no charges for talk time.
Verizon is said to be the undisputed king of coverage, another factor
I deem important. It’s unfortunate that for Verizon customers not
in the market for a smartphone, the pickings are sparse.
Is choosing a phone this hard for
everyone? In the recent olden days, I’d get a free Nokia and be
thrilled. Verizon doesn’t even carry Nokias anymore, although I’ve
read they are the most reliable phones. Hmmm – connection there?
Last time we got the very adequate Samsung Alias. A friend has the
Alias 2 and loves it. Samsung has replaced it with the Zeal.
The names they give phones are unreal.
Well, except for the Samsung Reality. But, no, really, the Fascinate?
Intensity? Octane? Gravity, Citrus, Flipout, Charm? Who exactly would
buy a phone because it’s called Eternity? Maybe it’s got a speed
dial to someone’s Galaxy?
Here’s what I want in a phone. First,
no required data pak! I’d rather send the $30.00 a month to Credo
to help fight the Defense of Marriage Act. Second, a QWERTY keyboard;
texting has become the communication mode of choice for enough people
that I, gritting my teeth, have begun to text. Unless a phone has a
cute little slide-out, touch screen or dual-hinges, texting is an
But why pay to, essentially, e-mail
someone? One answer is that not everyone is wired into a computer,
smart phone or tablet 24/7. Or maybe I jst lke the txtng language,
with its short-cuts and appealing, Twitter-like brevity.
I texted my niece, an enthusiast of the
medium, and asked what kind of phone she has. I expected her, as a
Gen Xer, to be somewhat of an expert. “I forget,” she tapped
back. How could someone forget? I study major purchases like a little
boy with baseball stats. I may never forget the specs for the Kin
Two “m” which started as a smart phone and has been downgraded to
a feature phone – with benefits, like Wi-Fi.
I posted a friend at work, also a Gen
Xer. “I have an LG with a keyboard,” she e-mailed back. OK,
maybe, I thought, her husband picked out her phone. She said she
really liked it, so I was interested enough to send her a list of LG
feature phones to see if any sounded familiar. “It just says LG,”
she replied. Maybe I should ask a Millennial, like Wonderboi, but I’m
pretty sure Millennials all have iPhones.
My third, and final, requirement for
this new baby, is that it doesn’t call people from my pocket. I
stash so many objects in there that the phone keys have to be
covered. My sweetheart carries her phone in a back pocket or else
leaves it lying around the house never to be found again, but it
never calls me by mistake.
I’d be concerned about battery
strength if it wasn’t a lost cause. It'd be logical that strong,
clear sound would be a priority for telecommunications
manufacturers. It’s not, but you can’t get that kind of
information from reading the company web sites. You have to wade
through consumer reviews that rave or rant or curse or ramble. If I’m
lucky, I get a pretty rounded picture of the pros and cons of a
specific phone. Sometimes the reviews warn me off, sometimes they
give me both a problem and a fix, but mostly, they just confuse me.
Techie reviews are even worse. There is much tossing around of
undecipherable concepts like dumb phones, sim cards, removable
memory, GSM and jailbreaking.
Next to an iPhone, the gadget I most
admire is the Samsung Convoy, a ruggedized phone built to military
specifications and oh so butch. Apparently butches don’t text as it
has no usable keyboard. I’m stuck with a scrap pile of poorly
reviewed devices that Verizon offers in an obvious ploy to force
customers to choose smart phones and pay higher monthly fees.
Maybe it’s time to build a better
mousetrap. A rugged little machine with fabulous voice clarity and
easy texting that we could dub the Gayphone. It would come in
lavender or lavender camouflage and the default ringtone would, of
course, be Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way.”
[Editor's Note: Lee Lynch is the author
of over 12 books. Her latest, Beggar
of Love, was called “Lee
Lynch's richest and most candid portrayals of lesbian life” by
Katherine V. Forrest. You can reach Lynch at
Copyright 2011 Lee Lynch