I found the part about the "desperate rummage" very fitting! Your Phone Is a Shield And How You Carry It Has A Lot To Say About You JAKARTA -- The only things most of us carry around that we didn't use to are our cellphones. I remember titters from my colleagues when I bought my first one 11 years ago, but now even my most cave-dwelling friends have given in and carry one. That's quite a shift: I can't think of anything since the introduction of the wristwatch more than 100 years ago that became such a required accessory. But it begs a further question: How, exactly, do we carry our cellphones -- and what does that say about us? Nokia researchers based in China, Japan and Finland have looked at just that. The answer, it turns out, isn't as simple as it sounds, and the conclusions contain some important pointers to our lingering ambivalence about being at the beck and call of others. First, it's probably no surprise that men carry their cellphones in their front pockets, and more often than not in their right pocket (most people being right-handed). It's about the most accessible place a guy has at his disposal. It's also why you may find an elbow in your face/stomach/groin if a co-passenger answers his phone in a crowded train. My tip to solve the elbow problem: Persuade pant designers to make pockets with openings that face forward rather than backward. Men could then store their phones in the opposite pocket to their dominant hand and reach across their bodies to grab the devices, rather than elbowing other people. Try it: It works. Plus you feel like Clint Eastwood. This would also help solve another problem for pocket carriers: The team's research suggests that 30% of such people sometimes or always miss incoming calls. This is nothing, however, compared with the problems that women face. Nokia's research concludes that 61% of women carry their mobile phone in a bag, usually a handbag. As a result, half of such people regularly miss an incoming call because, in the words of one of the researchers, Tokyo-based Jan Chipchase, "it is not noticed, or...even if it is noticed the phone cannot be retrieved in time -- because the phone is buried deep in the handbag." Technically speaking, this is called The Desperate Rummage, and I'm sure many of you have done it a few times, in the middle of cinemas, religious services or job interviews, trying frantically to throttle that silly ringtone you installed the previous evening in a moment of high spirits. Not being a woman, I don't have a glib solution to The Desperate Rummage. As Mr. Chipchase points out in an essay accompanying the research, there's a fundamental contradiction between the preference for the handbag-cellphone-stash and advances in one key aspect of cellphone technology: miniaturization. As new cellphone models get smaller, and drop the external aerial, they get harder to find, partly because they're so small, and partly because they're a similar size and shape to other objects in the bag, such as a mascara box or name-card holder. Obviously one solution is to wear a Bluetooth headset at all times so incoming calls can be heard directly. Women seem averse to this, perhaps for the same reason that they're not flocking to another male preference: the Belt Pouch. The Belt Pouch allows the mobile phone to be attached to the waist. But it's really quite geeky-looking, and so doesn't seem to have caught on in fashion-conscious cities like Tokyo, where the Nokia research could find no one wearing a belt pouch, or Milan, where only 4% of people did. While 19% of respondents in Beijing had one, the percentage doubled in the more remote Chinese city of Jilin. As Mr. Chipchase puts it, "perhaps this reflects a preference for convenience over elegance" in the sticks. Women, needless to say, give belt pouches a wide berth: Instead they go for straps. These are usually bands that are threaded through the top of the devices, allowing them to hang around the neck. Variants include dangly pendants that help facilitate tactile discovery during The Desperate Rummage. Here regional variations are clear: Phone straps are big in North Asia but aren't elsewhere. Seoul seems to have the most straps -- 71% of phone users have one there -- with Tokyo only slightly behind. Compare that with only 11% in Delhi, 9% in Los Angeles and 4% in Kampala. Mr. Chipchase reckons the phone strap is "an immediate, nontechnical and obvious way of projecting oneself and one's values." In other words, for the average South Korean or Japanese, the dangling cellphone is a great way of saying who she is. Presumably your average Indian, Californian or Ugandan has found other ways of conveying the same information. Or perhaps people who wear a phone around their neck simply want to be reached by the people who are calling them. Which brings me to what I think all this tells us: Most of us still aren't sure we want a device that we will notice every time it summons us. Mr. Chipchase recognizes that some of those missed calls may have been intentional -- because we're in a situation where to answer the phone would be rude, or because we don't recognize the number and don't want some weirdo calling us for a survey on where we stash our cellphone, or simply because we just want a bit of time off. In short, where we stash our cellphone -- pocket, belt, strap or bag -- may say as much about how easily we want to be reached as about our fashion sense or what culture we're from. As with all technology, we need to remain in control, and if we can't do that directly, we will erect barriers to shield us from it (the shield, in this case, being a chaotic handbag or deep pockets). The consideration for Nokia and others, as they design the next wave of devices, is to give the shield element as much priority as the communication element. Or, as Mr. Chipchase concludes: "We could design a device where incoming communication is impossible to miss -- but should we?"