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What Do Girls Talk About on their Cell Phones?

By: Mike Liem

Date Posted: 2000-09-01

I canít think of a single piece of technological marvel thatís changed every day living as much as the cellular phone. This is probably more so in Japan than anywhere else in the world. Here, having a cell phone is by far the rule rather than the exception. It seems everyone, from high-powered business executives on the go to chatty teenagers, owns and uses a cell-phone.

The cell phone has taken the long-standing tradition of communicating on the family phone and thrown it out on the streets. Iím not picking on any gender or age group in particular, but remember when your sister or daughter would tie up the phone line for hours chatting with her friends? I donít know if anybody uses the home phone much anymore, but Iím guessing that a cell phone is standard issue for the hip and trendy. Nowadays, if I see a young girl walking around without a cell phone in hand or dangling from somewhere on her person, Iím inclined to think that either the poor kid is a recluse or her parents just donít care about her social life.

Iíve never understood what it is that girls like to talk over the phone about, but apparently they have to not only discuss it thoroughly, but right there and then as well, even at times when it seemed least opportune or appropriate. The other day I was having coffee at a nearby cafť and there were two girls seated next to our table. One of the girlsí cell phones rang, and she duly answered. After a while, it became clear to me that she wasnít about to cut the wireless conversation short in deference to her friend seated across the table. Her friend, I would assume out of sheer boredom or a sense of abandonment, whipped out her cell phone and dialed up her own dialogue. This went on for about 20 minutes or so, and went on even after their orders arrived at the table.

As I mentioned earlier, Iím not gender-biased on my view on cell phones. For guys, the cell phone has been a liberating means of sort. While shopping at the grocery store last week, I heard a man call home to ask (I presume) his wife what he needed to pick up and bring home. At first I thought this was pretty cool, since heís sure to not forget a thing. But the guy called three times to find out what to pick up, once in the produce aisle, once in front of the meat case, and once in the dairy department (he needed no help in the potato chip aisle). Say goodbye to the grocery list, say hello to high cellular bills.

Cell phones are also great for guys who donít like to take directions from a map. Last weekend at the Mihama shopping center in Chatan I saw this guy talking on his cell phone and I heard him say: ďOK, Iím standing in front of the Makeman store and Iím lookiní at the McDonaldís. Where do I go now?Ē I thought, wowÖthatís great, we no longer have to take the ultimate embarrassment known to all men, that of having to ask strangers for directions!

Cell phones are getting so sophisticated now that they can do things like send e-mail. Now thereís a novel idea, write and send a message using your cell phone instead of talking through it. Isnít that sort of like passing notes to your friends in class when the teacher isnít around to stop you from talking to them? But then again, if you wanted to do all the talking without the other person getting a word in edgewise before you finish, what better way is there than to send him or her a message on their cell phone? Itís also great if youíre not on talking terms with someone and you want to remind the person that youíre still not speaking to one another.

On a recent TV program about the new breed of high-tech cell phones, there was a story of how one enterprising woman used her cell phone to facilitate an otherwise everyday chore. She gets on her home PC to locate favorite recipes on the internet, which she downloads and e-mails to her cell phone. Then, when sheís at the supermarket, she opens the e-mail on her cell phone and scrolls down the screen to find out what ingredients she needs to buy for the recipes. I thought that was a rather neat and clever idea. But as far as high-tech cell phones go, I think Iíll wait till they make web-browsing ones thatíll download and play music files, and display neat 3D graphics (morphing gophers on a diminutive, monochrome cell phone screen just wonít cut it!).

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