We've all seen this guy: Bluetooth device in his ear, phone holster on his belt, un-holstered phone on the dinner table. You know what you rarely see with this guy? A woman.
That's because women notice the technology choices men make. It's not as simple as Apple versus Android (though opinions on brands run strong). Often how you use your technology sends her signals you didn't intend.
Some of these are obvious. Everyone (or mostly everyone) knows to turn off his or her phone in a movie theater. And most people agree that Apple products are hip. But did it ever occur to you to turn your phone off on a date? It should.
I figured I knew it all on this subject. I consider myself a savvy guy when it comes to tech etiquette — "tech-i—quette." I don't even like to talk on my phone when I'm in line at the grocery store. It's rude. And I don't text in the movie theater because I know the light from the phone is distracting. Also, I've never been a holster man. I assumed I was in the clear.
Then I started asking around. It turns out that the women I spoke to — from school teachers to television producers to stay-at-home-moms — had far more insight about what a man's technology says than I ever expected.
#1 Accessorize at your own risk
You'd be hard pressed to find someone without a mobile phone these days. They are ubiquitous. Like a NBA player without a tattoo, someone without a mobile phone is a unicorn. But it starts getting tricky when men buy accessories for their phones. Most women may not care about the brand, but they seem universally opposed to one item: The Bluetooth headset.
"I'm low maintenance - and I like low tech guys - unless you're at work. But the Bluetooth? Men who want to be connected to someone else all the time will not connect with me," said Tina, an artist living in Maryland.
"Can't we even say hello to one another at the coffee shop or while walking down the street? If your argument is 'I'm a busy man, I'm conducting business' you're either working too hard or need to get back to work."
#2 Know when to put your phone away.
True story: I was watching the evening news last week and the anchor had her mobile phone sitting on her desk. She was not waiting on a late-breaking Tweet. She was not quoting from a script written on the device. She just had it there, as so many of us do when we sit down at a bar or coffee shop. Someone must have noticed because the phone was gone after the first commercial break. You know who else notices when a phone is out but shouldn't be? Women.
"Take off the earpiece, no phone on the table during dinner — I don't care what phone it is. Holsters on the job site only," said Rebecca, a high school English teacher from Rhode Island.
Opinions varied, but the prevailing attitude as I asked a range of women about men and their toys was clear: If a man is too into his toys then he is not into his woman. So put the phone away at dinner.
#3 Is your man an iMan?
Some of the women polled didn't care what sort of tech a man carried. The ones who did care, however, are Apple freaks. They flew the flag immediately and it seemed to all come down to one thing: Style.
"I would say that I have the biggest 'oh no he didn't' reaction to Bluetooths and belt holsters. And I do like an iPhone on a man," said Lindsay, of Philadelphia.
The consensus: Apple is for cool kids, and people want to be cool — especially people who use tech for work and play. But what about the casual tech fiend? How do they see it?
Monica of Boston broke it down for me. "iMac equals artsy and/or techy and both are OK. PC equals low-maintenance user. Good. Or gamer — run for my life!"
Which leads to one of the more surprising findings in this unofficial study. The problem of haters.
#4 Haters gonna hate
Haters in the video game world are well known. People swear by their Xbox or Playstation and have contempt for those who disagree. It's no surprise to find the same venom through the fangs of the Mac and PC crowd. But you'd think the proliferation of mobile devices and casual technology would escape such distinction. Not so.
"I'm a Machead but I don't mind what a guy uses — as long as he's not one of those irrational Apple haters," said Chris, a journalist living in Florida.
That's the funny thing about Apple products. They dominate the phone industry — at least as far as hype and product awareness is concerned — yet they're still considered cool. You would think there would be a surge of anti-Apple folks — a punk rock tech movement — raging against that machine. If it's out there, it's awfully quiet.
"I'm a Apple girl all the way. If a guy has a PC I will show him how great a Mac is," said Jeanette, of Rhode Island.
"I showed my fiancé and he was skeptical at first but now he says he would never buy a PC again. And he is now a Mac advocate himself."
Note: This was written by Victor Paul Alvarez, a Digital Crave contributor.