GOING PHONELESS: MY WEEKEND WITHOUT APPS
Save Intimacy is your guide to exploring barriers to intimacy. With devices an everyday presence in our lives, we set out to question our habits and examine the relationships between technology, personal connection and intimacy.
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I like to think I’m not a phone addict. I scoff at couples who scroll and ignore each other in restaurants. I lug heavy books with me on trains. An elderly passenger once tapped me on the shoulder and said, “It’s so nice to see a young man reading.” I thanked her smugly. But I didn’t tell my girlfriend the story because I know she reads a lot more than I do. I tend to find out about crucial news, articles and dog videos from her too, because she, unlike me, is a self-confessed phone addict. I asked if she’d do this challenge with me. But she said she didn’t want to miss out on watching another Labrador holding hands with its human so I necessarily opted to do it alone.

Friday

We caught up with friends at a bar. Initially, the best thing about the challenge is that you get to talk about the challenge. As the conversation went on, it hit me that my girlfriend and I text each other a lot. Anything vaguely interesting happens and we’re on our phones right away. When we left, I wanted to whistle for a taxi, Breakfast at Tiffany’s–style. But my girlfriend had already clicked an app.

Saturday

I took our new dog for a walk in the park. Usually I’d plug in my headphones but that day I listened to kids yelling and the wind in the trees. We’re so obsessed with this dog that I probably would’ve sent my girlfriend videos of any time it sniffed a tree. Instead, I just watched it bound about happily. It was so calming that I took the long way home. I picked jasmine that was hanging over an alleyway fence and arranged it on the kitchen table when I got inside. Later, my girlfriend and I sat there and debriefed over a glass of wine. I told her about the weirdly affectionate tension between the dog and a cat we came across on the walk. With no video to back me up, I was forced to describe what had happened. The way I told it reminded her of a funny story from her day at the café. The sweet smell of jasmine wafted between us.

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Sunday

My brother and his fiancée invited me to a wedding tasting in a borough I don’t often visit. I wrote the address on a scrap of paper. The venue was off a semi-familiar street, so I was confident I could find it – so confident that I neglected to tell my brother I’d be phoneless. As I jumped on the bus I heard church bells ring, which meant I was running ahead of time, so I got out my heavy book and read. After a while, I looked up from a new chapter and panicked. I was on the wrong bus. Luckily, I was near a train station that would help me correct course.
About three stops in, I realised I was on the wrong line. I got off, switched platforms and plunged some change into a phone box. I called but no answer. So I texted saying I’d be late. By the time I got back to the city I was totally flustered so I called again. When my brother answered, he was giggling. The tasting was in three days’ time. But he’d received my strange all-caps payphone message and had contacted my girlfriend to try find me. They were both thinking of driving to the venue to pick me up. They thought I’d be wandering around, confused and alone. I love them both very much.
 
On Monday, I put my phone in my pocket and left for work. I read my heavy book on the train and realised that doing a weekend-long digital detox wasn’t as hard as I’d expected. But I wonder if that’s because everyone around me was still connected.

This article was written by a member of Skyn UK's editorial team.

Save Intimacy

Inspired by SkynFeel, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SkynFeel here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr and Mrs Smith gift card each week for the duration of the campaign.