Illustration by Rob Beschizza
When Brian first brought his iPhone home, it was like he’d taken a mistress. All day, all night, he fondled its touchscreen and gawked at its shiny face. He couldn’t keep his eyes off of it for more than five minutes at a time. Like a good Japanese girlfriend, I let him get the lust out of his system instead of trying to stop the inevitable. I pretended not to care while he lay in bed smoothing his finger across the unlock bar, and sat stoically at the other end of the dinner table as he and the iPhone whispered sweet nothings to each other.
I get it. It’s exciting to be in love with something new. But after several months of this, I started to question whether something was being lost because of my boyfriend’s intense iPhone infatuation. Did we still have stuff to talk about other than new apps and ATT’s shitty cell phone signal in our neighborhood? Was I just hating because I subconsciously want an iPhone, too? After he got over their initial honeymoon phase, we decided to lay down some ground rules. It took nearly two years to figure out the right balance, but I think we’ve finally got it down.
Rule #1: It’s not romantic to have an iPhone in the bedroom. Brian once said that every time he goes online, he feels like he’s meeting a bunch of friends. Well, I don’t want a bunch of friends in our bed. He tried to use the “my phone is my alarm clock” excuse, but it was worth investing $10 in a cheap alternative at Walgreens not to have a phone in the bedroom, especially one that commands so much attention.
Rule #2: It’s not cool to invite the iPhone over for dinner every night. This one’s a bit tricky, because as much as I despise sitting at a table with someone who is tinkering with his phone the entire time, anything longer than a half hour without it makes Brian antsy. It’s a delicate balance. I usually let a short half-minute peek slide every now and then, so he can scratch what itches.
I don’t mean to sound like a luddite. I also like to send text messages and check email during the random intervals in my life. I just think that for a relationship to work, we can’t forget to make real human connections, especially in bed or over a good meal.
Advisor is a new weekly column about how to juggle technology, relationships, and common sense. Got a story to tell? Email it to mango [at] tokyomango [dot] com.