Real life

I don’t do WhatsApp, and that’s final

When I need a minicab, it's time for HelloMelissamylovelyyouwannacarmy-love?App

1 August 2015

9:00 AM

1 August 2015

9:00 AM

‘No, I do not do WhatsApp.’ That’s pretty much all I ever seem to say to people nowadays. They ask me if I do WhatsApp, I say I don’t do WhatsApp and they never bother with me again.

I deduce from this that not only can we not now meet in person (so 80s), we cannot talk on the mobile phone either (so 90s), and nor can we email each other (so noughties). We have to do WhatsApp.

I don’t know what WhatsApp is and I cannot bring myself to find out. In answer to the next person who asks, I say: WtfApp! WhocaresApp?! GetalifeApp!!

I was full up with pointless technology when I got as far as using an iPhone. So befuddled am I by dictating incoherent text messages into its voice recognition function, I cannot possibly start logging onto instant messaging sites or downloading apps that will get me into trouble — because I always get into trouble when I try to do digital jiggery-pokery.

The social networking is bad enough. They should never let people like me on Facebook. There ought to be a screening process at the log-in stage, like parental control, to stop emotionally unstable women in their mid-forties from posting ‘status updates’.

I’ve managed to get myself estranged from one family member and two dear former friends by shooting my mouth off on Facebook. And each time, all I did was say what I thought instead of posting some dreary garbage about how great I thought they were, or how wonderful their picture of their dinner was.

Note: if a Facebook friend posts that they are clinically depressed and then remarks that they are off out to get drunk, again, you are supposed to say: ‘Oh no, you poor thing! I know the heartache. There are angels in heaven looking down on you. Remember you’re amazing! Huge hugs! Xxxxxx’ — plus a smiley. You are not supposed to post: ‘Don’t get drunk you idiot, alcohol’s a depressant.’ Because then your so-called FB friend will unfriend you, and report you to the administrator for trolling.


Obviously, I don’t dare go on Twitter. I posted a photo of my new car on there once and even that prompted a deluge a complaints.

I have to face facts. I don’t give good digital. Imagine the carnage if I started downloading apps?

People should be grateful I’m not on WhatsApp, given my propensity for disaster. And yet they seem baffled by my lack of apptitude — you see what I did there? The other day a friend asked, ‘So, if you don’t do apps, how on earth do you order a taxi?’

I’ll tell you how. I go out into the street and raise my arm. This is known as GoingoutsideApp. Otherwise, I pick up Alexander Graham Bell’s exceedingly good telephonic device (yes, I have a land-line) and place a call to the earthly headquarters of Balham’s finest minicab emporium, a procedure known as HelloMelissamylovelyyouwannacarmy-love?App.

No. I cannot and must not do new technology. I recently joined Airbnb, the site where you rent a room to a tourist, and got myself digitally lynched by a man who wanted me to give him seven nights for the price of five and then told me a few hours before he arrived that ‘by the way’ he would be bringing his five-year-old child.

I told him to get lost, because that is what you would do normally. I made the mistake of thinking you can socially network someone as you would talk to them. Online, however, you are meant to couch every utterance in hand-wringing political correctness.

‘How dare you speak to me like that!’ he declared in a message to my Airbnb inbox, before reporting me to the administrators, who gave me the most polite, Americanised telling off I have ever had.

‘Your guest recently reached out to us and communicated that he had to cancel his reservation as the listing no longer met his needs,’ said the sunny email of admonishment from the customer experience team. ‘As you know, Airbnb is a platform that connects two humans as members of a community. I am hoping that this will be a learning experience for both parties involved.’ Yes. Lesson learned. Don’t go on Airbnb.

Then there was the slow car crash that unfolded when I joined match.com. Oh dear. I think I had better save that for another day.

But suffice to say, all the men I reached out to and communicated with replied by asking me to join them on WhatsApp.

‘I don’t do WhatsApp!’ I said to one.

A few hours later another one said: ‘You don’t do WhatsApp?’

‘Are you people all sitting in a room together plotting to make me miserable?’ He didn’t reply. I suppose I sounded paranoid.

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Show comments
  • Hironimous Nostril

    What’s app is great. You can keep facebook and twitter.

  • Freddythreepwood

    What on earth do you do with your iPhone if you don’t do WhatsApp? It’s a wonderful App. And it’s all free!

  • DaHitman

    Melissa who cares if you don’t do WhatsApp, are you being paid to type this rubbish to make up a gender balance or something because I just can’t see the point in this?

    • freddiethegreat

      You hit the nail on the head – gender balance

      • Liz

        What gender balance?

    • Liz

      Do you actually read what the men of this mag write?

      • DaHitman

        So you want to change it into womens hours then or one of the hundreds of women’s magazines, sexist.

  • freddiethegreat

    I don’t do phones. The other person never calls at an appropriate time: “Oh, I just called to um, er, uh, to um, uh………….ad infinitum (people who use phones seem to put their brains in neutral).
    Whatsapp I treat like text.
    I do email.
    Facebook is for people with lots of time but no life.
    Twitter is for twits.

    • And http://www.telegram.org is for us old folks who like to send telegrams! Don’t need to know morse-code either! And that billionare Facebook feller can’t intercept it, the way does with the kiddies Whatapps!

      I just sent a telegram to Cary Grant! “HOW OLD CARY GRANT”
      So far he hasn’t replied. I think he may be dead…

  • Precambrian

    I suspect that there are many of us who do none of these things; sad strange little mutant freaks that we are.

    Note: I don’t know what whatsapp or whatever it is called is either.

  • jeffersonian

    ‘There ought to be a screening process at the log-in stage, like parental control, to stop emotionally unstable women in their mid-forties from posting ‘status updates’.’

    Hear hear!

    • Liz

      She doesn’t sound remotely emotionally unstable. Just prone to using sexist cliches.

  • ViolinSonaten b minor.

    Friends use these social networking sites constantly whereas I avoid them like the plague. Telling them that conversations are more fresh face to face, emails are allowed. But sometimes when you se people, or those publically you don’t even know
    you see their fingers itching to play with the mobile and the latest app.

    Its apparently addictive.

  • Generic commenter

    I don’t do WhatsApp either. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. Or blogging. Or email. Mainly because I have no friends to talk to 🙁

  • julia stephenon

    Funniest article I have read in ages… quite agree, whatsapp a step too far….

  • Sean L

    I don’t see your point – WhatsApp is just instant messaging on a phone but entirely free wherever you are. And you can’t be that averse to mobile technology if you’ve already invested in it to the extent of paying out for an iPhone…

    • Malus Pudor

      You are exactly the sort of geek who would use it…

      • Sean L

        Ha ha not at all mate – I’m the opposite of a geek. I got it to message family abroad as texts were costing 30p a pop.

  • Mongo

    what a trashy excuse for an article. Is this what the Spectator has become?

    This almost sounds like a parody article I would expect to read from Polly Filler of Private Eye

    • Liz

      But articles about Tacky’s japes with prostitutes and Cosmo’s bedtime shenanigans and liddle’s rabbits and mice are a’okay.

      I suspect you judge women more harshly than men, because you don’t like them. Your problem. Get over it.

  • David S

    You should try Whatsapp Melissa. I don’t do Facebook or Twitter or any of the other narcissistic social media inventions, but whatsapp is a lovely free way for my family to share photos and brief comments about their daily lives. It has allowed our daughter to send us gorgeous photos of our baby granddaughter’s development from day to day – priceless!

    • grimm

      I don’t own or use a mobile phone and don’t use WhatsApp (or any other App) or facebook, twitter etc. However, I have heard many people boast that, far from using WhatsApp to exchange lovely family photos, they find it perfect for swapping supposedly hilarious obscene images and video clips

    • Nonsense! Mark Zonkerberg is a BBBillionaire from selling kiddies this Whatsapp nonsense, so he can spy on them!
      Try the peoples’ choice: http://www.telegram.org

  • alexandru

    You’re adorable Melissa. Your aversion towards digital socializing is funny. You implied that Facebook has an admin. You can report on Facebook to Facebook, but there’s no admin.

  • Wots App, mate? Bah Humbug!

    I don’t do this silly Whatsapp either. But I DO DO (doo-doo?) http://www.telegram.org

    Telegram.org is the APP for us old geezers. It works on cellphones AND yer old Windows XP! Not sure about Windows 3.1 though…
    With TELEGRAM.ORG, I talk to my Grandkids with their Smartie-phones- I kin yell at them to GET OFF MY LAWN! (all day long it seems) -AND!
    And, I can send a text message to old Jeb on his Windows-7 to tell him “meet me at the pub at 5PM!”

  • Philip Neeves

    I’ve moved to Australia and Whatsapp is a free group messaging service which has been invaluable in keeping in touch with the folks back home. You don’t text just one person but you can maintain an ongoing conversation with your whole family, or whomever you chose, and you don’t get charged a penny. There’s no fool like an old fool.

  • Bruce Crawford

    I don’t do Wahtsapp whatever it is either. Can’t we just pick up the phone, have the conversation, and then, if really necessary, confirm what we have just agreed in an e-mail? I’m not hanging around for 2 hours for a back and forth of e-mails or SMS messages when we could have a 4 minute phone conversation, and then enjoy the rest of the day!

    Would you like to meet for a coffee, Melissa? Give me a call!

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