The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Jack and Jill: Unattended cell phones: are they off limits?

At least once in every relationship, a man is faced with an ethical dilemma.

You get up to use the bathroom and accidentally leave your phone behind on the couch. I know you’re probably going to be in there for a while anyway, so I need something to pass the time.

There are two thoughts that I have. Either one, I’ll look through your phone and start looking through your text messages and find nothing incriminating. Yes, you’re complaining about me to your friends about all my small annoyances, but that’s nothing I’m going to get offended by.

But the other thought that I have is while looking through your phone, a text message from some guy named Matt Meuer is going to pop up saying “I miss you babe.”

And unless you’re stuck in the 1990’s and don’t have a smartphone, I could check your Facebook, Twitter and email to see how else you could be sneaking behind my back.

There’s a possible Catch-22 here. If I look at your phone and catch you cheating on me, I’ll be hurt.  But if I don’t look at your phone and you are cheating on me, I’ll ignorantly continue the relationship. What I’m hoping for of course is that I find nothing and the day will come when I steal your phone for the exclusive purpose of using apps I haven’t downloaded yet.

To get to this point though, I need to gain your trust to have possession of your phone.

Yes, in our courtship phase I should probably lay off looking through your phone. I’m still looking to gain your trust during this stage and catching me red-handed with your phone isn’t the best way to say “loving boyfriend.”

Once we’ve been going out for a few weeks, I don’t think there’s much harm in me looking through what you have on your phone.

I know I probably shouldn’t check through your phone. After all you trust me to do the right thing when you’re not around.But I also trust you to be a loving girlfriend.

If there’s nothing bad in your phone that you’re hiding from me, then what’s the point in not letting me look? Odds are I’ll probably start playing Temple Run once I’m done scanning through your text messages.

I already know you’re looking through my phone too. Let’s be honest, I’m not the most creative person when it comes to setting up passwords for my lock screen. Have you found anything incriminating in there yet? Of course not, because I would never do that.

If and when you catch me with your phone, try not to freak out about it. I’ll carry my honesty with me and tell you what I was doing with your phone and we can get on with whatever it was we were doing before you left.

Worse comes to worse, I’ll probably go on your social networking sites and put up an embarrassing status about how careless you are with your phone.



My cell phone is like my underwear drawer. It’s private. I would feel the same way finding you looking through my lacy thongs and boyshorts as I would if you were searching through my pictures and text messages. It’s just wrong.

We’re dating. To me, dating implies respect and trust. The only reasons you would feel the need to go through my phone is either because you don’t trust me or you don’t respect my autonomy. It’s never justifiable.

This may be shocking to you, but I do have a life outside of our relationship. That’s a good thing; otherwise you’d be referring to me as a “stage-five clinger” and probably running for your life rather than dating me. This life may include talking to other people (read: other men) and you may not always know them or about them. It’s not because I’m hiding them from you – they’re just not that important. You don’t tell me about every girl you meet—same goes for me.

This is not to say that I don’t want you to ever see my phone.  If I show you something or ask you to text someone from my phone—do it. I won’t be mad if you see something that’s right before it or next to it. Like I said before, I’m not trying to hide things from you.

That, however, is different than if I give you my phone to help me draw a cowboy in Draw Something and I catch you peeking at the last time I texted my lab partner. First of all, the information you get out of the conversation (the date of the test, what part of the assignment he should do) is not worth the fight we will end up having.  Second of all, you can always just ask me. I’ll tell you what his deal is, who he is, whatever I know.  It would hurt me more if you just kept everything inside and bottled it up to use as ammunition in a later fight.  Openness… also an important part of a relationship.

There’s always an exception to the rule – I am hiding something from you.  Hidden in the back of my drawer is always an old pair of granny  panties that you are NEVER supposed to see. It’s just embarrassing. Same goes with my pictures. Somewhere hidden in the multitudes of completely normal pictures are the pictures I took with my roommate that one day. The ones where we’re making funny faces and our hair looks like rat nests because we hadn’t showered yet. They’re super unflattering and there’s really no reason you should ever see them – or want to for that matter. But I don’t even consider that hiding; more maintaining your attraction to me.  Chemistry…another HUGE factor in maintaining our relationship.

Don’t get me wrong…I’d love to share everything with you and I practically do.  I’m only asking for a little bit, for the sake of maintaining everything good about our relationship.

My cell phone, and my underwear for that matter, isn’t always off-limits. You just need permission.

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