trophies of the truly chic

Are You Even Cool Enough to Use a Flip Phone, Though?

Photo: Getty Images

The flip phone is currently up for consideration as the trend accessory of the moment. Some factors to consider:

Demographics: Time reports that 15 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 13 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds don’t have smartphones as their primary phone. That is approximately the percentage of people who are cool in each age group.  

T9: Do you even remember how to T9? Of course you don’t. 

People We Know: At Matter, writer Chiara Atik’s extremely cool friend Judith has a flip phone and wears plum lipstick. My extremely cool friend Natalie has a flip phone and also wears plum lipstick. That being mentioned, my grandmother Edna has a flip phone and no plum lipstick. This is inconclusive (re: cool vs. not cool people I know who use the flips).

The Question of Normcore: Apparently, flip phones are both normcore and not normcore.

The Question of Being Basic: Flip phones are literally basic (as in, they only have basic functions and Snake, if you’re lucky) but not actually basic (because they are, at present, outside of the mainstream).

The Fwap of the Flip: Inimitable.

Aloofness: Neither Edna nor Natalie texted me back with thoughts on the trendiness of their phones. This is very cool and unavailable of both of them. It confirms Atik’s point: “A flip phone represents the ultimate luxury: inaccessibility.”

Neediness, a Paradox: Flip phone users are both needy and not needy. They don’t exist for validation from social media and they are not desperate to be contacted at all times. However, they often need directions and turn to the aid of people who have mobile everything-machines. The archetype of the “fool” figure in literature is a person who is protected by the world around them, so he is free to do his madcap thing. They hold power over people by their very helplessness. So, who is the fool? The innocent flip-phone users or those at the whimsy of the flip-users?

Purported Unaware Tendency Toward Chill Choices: The trendiest thing about the trend of flip phones is that the trendsetters who are participating in the trend barely understand how trendy it is. Everyone whom Time reporter Laura Stampler spoke to said “that they aren’t making moral statements by owning flip phones, but rather these are simply what they have for right now. They’ll switch over when it becomes necessary for a job or another compelling reason.”

Conclusion: They have a secret club and they want trend-writers to back the hell away from exposing it. Evidence 1: still have not received texts back about this trend from either flip-phone user in my life. Evidence 2: the quote in Time from a flip-phone owner who says, “It’s not like a fashion statement on my part or a statement about society, it’s just my fucking phone.” People with flip phones are very good at conveying that they wish you would leave them alone.

Are You Cool Enough to Use a Flip Phone, Though?