The Real Meaning Behind Your Ring Tone

By: Gonzalo Baeza H

As if there weren’t already enough tags for our identity, it’s suggested that I should personalize my ring tone!

I tell you, Alexandra Graham bell must be rolling over in his grave. I’m sure he never intended his invention to become such an invasion in our lives. In fact, he found the phone to be such an intrusion in his own life that he didn’t even have one in his study.

But that was then and this is now, and now it appears that not only is our identity tied into our clothes, hair, purse, shoes, but also the sound emanating from our cell phones.

This information led me to observe today’s cell phone users, which meant everyone I came in contact with.

Being as inconspicuous as possible, I began hanging around malls listening to teenagers, following business men down the block, drinking cup after cup of coffee at my local Starbucks, lingering in front of school yards. All in the name of research, mind you.

And it does appear to be a fact. A cell phone no longer simply rings, but blasts into the universe with songs, sound effects and sometimes just plain silliness. And the choice of one’s ring tone does appear to be in direct correlation to one’s personality.

After much data collecting, I have categorized a few of the most common types.

The Control Freak: This person has a different ring for each person that is calling. Thus, they never have to look at the caller ID. For their mother-in-law they may have one of many songs referring to that beloved person. The most common being that popular Mother-in-Law song by Ernie K-Doe. To indicate their husband is calling it could be “Take Out the Paper and the Trash.” Or perhaps “Money” or “Can’t Buy Me Love,” depending on the state of one’s marriage. For bill collectors you can expect to hear the sound of a flushing toilet.

The Networker: This personality trait is often linked with the high achiever gene. Most popular ring tones for this type are the “Mission Impossible Theme Song,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” and the blare of a tooting horn.

The Single in Seattle Type: Today’s world is full of online dating individuals. What better way to advertise that one is single than by a ring tone? For instance the wanna be bride could have “Take Me To The Chapel” on her phone. If it sings out while in line at the bank, she can smile coyly to the man behind her and blush. He might get the hint. But then of course, his phone might ring to the tune of “Dancing Queen.”

And then we have The Chameleon Type, the person who likes to blend into her surroundings. During the holiday season, she’ll set her ring tone to play “Jingle Bells.” In the summer she may switch to “Surfer Girl” and in the fall she may have the sound of falling leaves.

The Eternal Optimist prefers “Don’t Worry Be Happy” as her tone whereas The Pessimist would choose the sound of stampeding cattle.

As you can see, ring tones are now just as particular to the individual as is an email address, a user ID and a good fitting bra.

So this leads to the question: who am I?

Well, I’ve decided that for now my ring tone is going to be “The Theme from the Twilight Zone.”

Because if you ask me, it’s all getting a bit out there.

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44 thoughts on “The Real Meaning Behind Your Ring Tone”

  1. Hi, Janie: So normally, I don’t ride the elevator down after my aerobics class, but I was chatting with a friend and she does. We got on, the doors slid shut and I said, “This elevator smells like…smelly socks.” And then, I heard a piece of classical music. I said, “And now, it has Musak.” My friend removed her phone and said, “Ringtone.” Too funny.

  2. Hmmm, I think I am a control freak, single networker, optimistic chameleon type. Yeah, it’s complicated. Super fun post!

  3. Funny stuff! I’m not the norm then because mine is usually on vibrate but when it does ring it is just a low beep. Once {before I knew how to change rings} my children recorded themselves with a scream followed by them yelling “answer the *#+@ phone” and yes I was shocked! Hahaha!

      1. I tried that once and it’s the sound of our house phone and my husband got confused! A song would drive me crazy. There is enough noise in my life that’s why I like the low beep.

  4. OMG I am a control freak! With 5 kids and 13 grandkids someone has to be in control right??
    My 12 yr-old grandson calls me and for him I have ‘What ya gonna do with that big fat butt’ Yeah I forgot to shut my ringer off in a board meeting this morning. Embarrassing.
    It was stuffy in there anyway…

  5. Fun post, Janie! I like TV and film themes myself. X-Files is for Halloween, the James Bond theme only for my brother, who’s a lifelong 007 fan, and all year round, I choose from Mission: Impossible, I Spy and Man from UNCLE. Hmmm…I’m sensing a “theme” here. 🙂

  6. Funny AND true. I don’t have any special ringtones, but now when my phone goes off, I can’t tell if it’s a text, phone call or Facebook message (which I didn’t even know I could get on my phone!) Oh the madness. May have to find my personal tone soon to sort out the confusion!

  7. Oh….my ringtone is a Rimshot and my phone vibrates to the beat of the theme song from Sponge Bob Square Pants…. Now that is something for the psychiatrists couch.

  8. I think it’s sad that some people need to be called so they can listen to their favorite music (or to get a good vibration)! As an engineer, I consider this an inappropriate use of technology. 🙂

  9. I used to have Beethoven and then just to be pretentious God Save the Queen. Now, with all the things I have to learn to operate my phone, I just do a regular ring so I don’t confuse myself. Great post Janie!

  10. Great run down. You gave me some good ideas. But too many ring tones and I’d be even more confused than I am now.
    I have one of the basic sorta-musical ring tones that come with the phone. People are always telling me to answer my phone because I don’t hear it in a crowd of three or more.

  11. I know someone who’s ringtone was a crazy voice creaming at ever-increasing volumes, “Hey, pick up ya phone!” Classic! On the other end of the spectrum, I think I mostly have my phone on DND. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the ringtone.

  12. I don’t have a special ringtone for anyone but now that I read your post, maybe I’ll just do that so I don’t have to look at the phone! Gee, thanks for the suggestion! – NOT.
    I use the built-in ringtones that I can select from but, again, maybe I should buy a special one that I’ll enjoy when it rings. Hmmmm. Thanks, Janie.

    1. My granddaughter just changed mine and it sounds like I’m at a spa, wrapped up in warm blankets. As always, it’s wonderful to hear from you, Patti.

  13. My ringtone is the theme from “The X-Files.” My Facebook notification is the dum-dum sound from “Law & Order” and my text tone is Quagmire going “Giggity” from “Family Guy.”

  14. You are NOT the Twilight Zone! You’re definitely “I’m Sexy and I Know It.” Duh!

    I used to have ring tones for different people and I have to admit it was nice. I could know who was calling without even looking at my phone, so I knew if I really needed to anwswer it.

    Now the only specialized ringtone I have is for my husband. I’m not using it right now but I have one that sings in a rap voice “It’s you husband….pick it up, pick it up!”

    Now that I think about it, I’m totally going back to that method! Don’t worry. I’ll make a special ringtone for you.

  15. I used to know a guy whose ring tone was the scream music from “Psycho.” I jumped every time I heard his phone go off.

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