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Go Go Gadget Girl!

"I'm not ashamed of my love." - Satchel Pooch

Ask anyone who has known me long enough and they will tell you I love gadgets. I used to have a ton but I have learned to appreciate quality over quantity. I am speaking of electronic gadgets, like cell phones, PDAs, iPods here. I used to have a bunch of kitchen gadgets but the more I learned about and loved cooking, I realized less really is more. True of my electronics too. Which got me thinking. I know a lot of girls do not like tech gadgets. Those are "boy things". "Yeah, right." I would say to them. But there has been a divide that girls get accessories and guys get electronic gadgets. As a girl who loves computers, video games (War of the Monsters for PS2 ROCKS!) but also designer clothing, Prada bags and cute shoes, I began thinking about this divide and how it has less and less basis in reality. I like a lot of things that have been described as "guy stuff" yet I can be quite the girly girl. Electronic gadgets are the accessories of the modern girl of today, but that is no excuse for them to be boring. And that's when I realized that electronic gadgets and fashion accessories are like dogs and wolves. Not quite the same, but very closely related.

See, electronic gadgets actively do their jobs and accessories passively do their jobs. With a cell phone I can call people, organize my day, send reminders and alarms, surf the web, you name it, and still be very stylish. Sunglasses are equally stylish, but it is by wearing them that they filter out harmful UV rays from your eyes. Scarves are stylish and their use, at least mostly, is to keep your neck warm. I think it all started with watches, the ultimate useful accessory, but all watches have far surpassed their utlity to become fashion accessories. All depending upon your taste, you can get a simple watch that does nothing more than tell time or a blinged out watch that that is a fashion statement and also just happens to tell you what time it is. I can't speak for all women, but for myself, I always leave for work with my cell phone and MP3 player. I used to carry my Handspring PDA religiously, but my cell has taken over many of it's duties now that it rests lovingly in my desk drawer most of the time. My digital camera comes with me when I think about it. I love it and it's 5 megapixel capacity, but it's large and heavy enough it's not a constant companion. My friend Mark just bought a little digital Elph (SWEET!) that is small and easy to carry everywhere. This too is a feature many phones have incorporated, but most of the phones capable of good pictures are still firmly out of my price range. As they become better quality and more common though, they will become more affordable. I saw a show on Tokyo about how the cell phones they have are all at least a year ahead of our technology and many have video capability and can even be used like a debit card to buy items. And almost all of the Japanese cell phone industry is driven by a very powerful force: teenage girls. But back to here and now technology.

I am seeing more and more technology ads in fashion magazines. A quick check today through Vogue today revealed 7 pages of ads for Samsung cell phones, 6 of the 7 featuring a young fashionable woman, a model, around NYC with her cell phone. Sometimes they will have features with models, designers or actresses asking what's in their purse, or what do you never leave home without. Everyone lists a cell phone, many list PDAs or iPods, maybe small cameras and a few go so far as to mention laptoip computers (iBook seeming to be a favorite). So obviously items that were once considered NERDY are now Geek Chic and a daily necessity. Which brings me to my new phone. I love my phone. I carry it everywhere and feel a great deal of anxiety if I accidentally leave it at home when I go out. I went from a small brick model, made of plastic, to my new little Samsung E105 flip phone. It doesn't take pictures, but it's a great little phone, small, sleek and well made. It's body is mostly metal, so it certainly has more heft than my previous phone. I plan to personalize it a bit though (shameless plug for my next essay Pimp My Phone!).

Perhaps my love of the new phone is nothing more than a 30-something attempt to define who I am through the gadgets I own (and accessories). As Cynthial Heimmel said (paraphrased) no one wear clothes to stay warm. If that were true we would have no fashion. We wear clothes to advertise who we ARE (or want to been seen as). Otherwise we'd all have to carry signs that said, "Hello, I'm a forty-something leftist single mother vegetairan" or something to that effect. But what you wear says that for you (and thus what accessories and gadgets you carry too). A guy could be walking down the street and say nothing to you, but his clothes clearly say "I would prefer you think of me as athletic". So what does my choice of accessories say? I'm not sure. "Semi-tech-savvy 30-something who loves dogs, fashion and coffee" perhaps. Perhaps I am still figuring that out.

Anyway, so we define ourselves (or who we want to be) with what we wear, carry and drive. True, Tyler Durden was right when whe declared, "You are not your fucking khakis" but the nudist alternative isn't very appealing to me (though I would work out a lot more).

Ok, I'm getting off tangent here. Anyway, I just started writing an article about how much I love my new phone. Now if I can just find some green rhinestones or perhaps a Burberry pouch...

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