Butt dialing is a dangerous game — it’s no longer the innocuous accident of early cellphone yore, but rather a ring wrapped up with more potential for anxiety than an unknown number calling the landline while you’re babysitting.
My dad once pocket-dialed his sister. He left one of those muffled crunch crunch slam crunch voicemails that most would identify as a PD but she took to mean: he’d been kidnapped and was trying to call her while bound from the trunk of a car. Once she figured out he was alive, she was furious at him for causing her to panic. Rational? No. But the fault of my reckless pocket-dialing father? Absolutely.
The truth is, we’ve all been purse/pocket/butt dialers at some point in our lives. And we’ve probably almost ruined someone’s day because of it. But as with many problems in life, the first step in finding a solution is addressing the issue. So. Let’s hold hands and get through this together — ready? What kind are you?
Top of the Alphabet Dialer (TAD)
TADS are the most common kind of pocket dialer because phones are logical and apparently asses are too, calling the first few individuals who sit at the top of everyone’s contact list.
But just so you know…you are the bane of all your A-named-friends’ existences.
The only thing more awkward than getting a butt-dialed FaceTime call is answering a butt-dialed FaceTime call. It’s like running into someone on the street that you didn’t want to see, and one or both of you is naked.
The Recent Callers-Caller
I get it, easy mistake, you were just on the phone with this person and probably didn’t hang-up properly so your phone immediately called them back. But be careful: because you just spoke, the other person is far likelier to pick up, which means that you have a serious chance of being caught talking shit. And the excuse, “Oh, I was talking about the otherrr Dikembe Mutombo,” usually doesn’t work.
Look. I get it. These phones have a mind of their own and can make a call to the West Indies from your purse when you swore that shit was on lock. It’s not your fault…but the recipient will blame you regardless.
The Cover Artist
If you’ve ever accidentally called someone, and then they’ve answered, you have two options: 1) hang up or 2) attempt to cover it up. “Oh HEY Carol…yes it is strange that we haven’t spoken since I ran over your pet turtle with my lawnmower but you know, I was just wondering what you’ve been up to and thought I’d give ya a little call.” Guys. Be kind. Just hang up.
Butt dialing is no joke and using it as an excuse is insensitive. Besides, “Oops! Didn’t mean to butt dial you!” typically does not work when you’ve called your ex a casual 800 times on repeat around 3 AM, unless you’re someone’s grandma, in which case, we defer to “the possessed.”
The Voicemail Leaver
I’ve already illustrated above how leaving a rogue voicemail can be dangerous, but to those 45-and-under, it’s mostly annoying. Checking voicemail is awful. I would rather play frisbee with a steak knife than check mine. Even worse: because no one’s going to open the message for at least 3 weeks, your stupid butt-dial will contribute to his or her iPhone’s acne problem with that god-forsaken red dot signaling, “5 new voicemails!”…from your butt.
The Non-Pocket Dialer
If you’ve never pocket-dialed someone, then you’re probably a highly upstanding and organized citizen who miraculously doesn’t do other common things, like lose one sock in the laundry or forget to shower. Who are you, and can you teach us your ways?
In these sartorially glorious days of pockets-aplenty, where walking around like human kangaroos is a reality, it’s almost impossible not to accidentally butt-dial your boss. Who cares. Everyone does it.
Just pray you don’t fart.
Illustration by Charlotte Fassler