The Mobile Digital Self

On a date a few weeks ago I found myself really connecting to the girl I was out with.  We were at a bar in Nob Hill and were texting some mutual friends.  After a while, she decided to take the liberty of using my iPhone to text on behalf of both of us.  As she explored my phone, she started going through my contact list and noticed that while almost all of my contacts are people’s full names, there are a handful of one-named contacts.  In every case it’s usually a girl’s name: Courtney, Danielle, Emily, Jen, Jill, etc…  She jumps to the (correct) conclusion that these are all phone numbers of girls I’ve been out with — or at least, as she guessed, girls who had given me their number.  I laughed it off and hoped that she was kidding.

Luckily, she didn’t get too deep into the folders of apps on my phone or she would’ve found my OKCupid app (which has 8 unchecked notifications on it).  We didn’t meet on OKCupid, we met organically, so I have no idea what her attitude towards the site is.  Most people are okay with it, a handful are not.  At the same time, I didn’t want her to get the impression that I’m some sort of guy looking for a one night stand or a “player.”  I’m not.  In fact, only once in my life have I ever dated more than one girl within the same time period (I’ll get to that in a later post) and I felt overwhelmed and kind of guilty about it — though I wasn’t exclusive with either girl.  The girl I was out with seemed like a great person and the last thing I wanted to do was have her think I’m looking for a one night stand.

So that begs the question: what steps, if any, should you take to make sure your smart phone is date-safe.  By that, I mean, do you want to have all the text conversations from your old girlfriend deleted?  Should you delete or at least try to hide all your dating apps so they can’t see what you’ve been up to?  How long should you wait after you stop seeing someone to remove their contact info from your phone?

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here.  In fact, it’s probably pretty rare a girl is going to go through your phone on the first date.  But it’s probably something that’s worth being prepared for.

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