It happened at one of those luncheon parties for gays. Everyone around me had tapped open their iPhones to see if the waiter was on Grindr, and then someone stared at me.
"I don't have an iPhone."
"oh" A tiny pause.
I produce my battered Nokia.
"How... retro. Look! How 2000s." There is cooing. And clucking.
Not having an iPhone has become... well, it's become like some kind of deliberate anti-fashion statement. Or, in my case, because I belong to T-Mobile.
"Why don't you change network?" one of my exquisitely-haired friends tuts.
"Because I've got the most amazing deal." Seriously, there is a special T-Mobile Discount for "I've shagged the manager of a call centre on his water bed" and I'm not letting go of it.
But it does mean that "T-Mobile iphone" is one of my periodic hopeful google searches. Along with "Avengers blu-ray", "cancer-free cigarette" and the name of a particularly vile ex-colleague with "RIP" after it.
The other day, I hit pay-dirt on one of these. No, not the chance to do the Numa Numa dance on a grave, but T-Mobile now stock the i-phone. Well, kind of. You wouldn't expect them to rush headlong into the 2010s, now, would you?
If you click the existing customer button at the bottom of the page, it asks you to log in and then offers you a google android thingy. "What iphone?" it shrugs.
It has to be an iphone. I'd like to join Grindr before all the gays have moved on to dating via wireless hair-product. Already an A-gay friend of mine's informed me that "Grindr is ovah". But then he's now dating a sushi chef, so it could just mean the sudden rush of carbohydrates has driven him mad. I'm still recovering from the dinner party where the friends I'd invited over casually arranged their own dessert on the way out. This left me mildly stunned (there are other gays in my apartment building? is it the guy with the really tiny dog? or the guy who appears to live on Waitrose pierce-n-ping?).
Anyway. I'd like an iphone. So I make the mistake of ringing T-mobile customer service. This is like hell, if hell had voicemail. It's broken, and constantly spins you around in a loop while sending you helpful automated texts ("Why not log into our website?"). Eventually, after two minutes of stabbing the star key and yelling with a pent-up rage I haven't felt since my days of lower-middle-midle-lower management, they put me through to someone in a call center in a galaxy far far away.
This does not go well. The line is so faint and her accent is so strong and I'm so cross that neither of us can understand the other. At another time, if I hadn't just spent five minutes pressing 1 to hear those options again, I might, just might have found the fact that she pronounced it "pissword" funny. But not today. Today I'm like a freshly-microwaved Daily Mail of hate.
Finally I am transferred to a nice Valleys Girl called Kate. She's no-nonsense and will have none of it. "We do have the iphone" she admits, and we can transfer you to it. Hosanna. But it is quite pricey... hang on. She's checked my account. Actually, with the discount you've got... there's awe in her tone (I suddenly wonder if he took pictures). So, I'm left wondering... should I do it?
I email a couple of friends. One of them has just become the marketing manager of a major phone network. He promises me an even bigger discount. And this time it doesn't involve horizontal trampolining.
"Cool," I say. "How much?"
"Ah," there's a pause of about a day. "I don't know. Let me check the figures and get back to you."
"Hang on, you're the marketing manager of [blank] and you don't know?"
"I know your phone number. Just you wait."
"Was that a threat?"
So. I'd like an iphone. But I still don't have one. And the nearest I'm getting to meeting temporary afternoon husbands is a sudden stream of texts from people called things like Tiffany explaining that they're bored and appear to have lost all their money and their clothes.