The history of the invention of telephony reads like a captivating detective novel, but even more intriguing are the events that contributed to the worldwide adoption of this technology. In this series of columns on IQ.HSE, Anton Basov, HSE Faculty of Computer Science editor, discusses how telephones have become an integral part of our everyday life. The final episode of the series recounts how men were unable to cope with telephone operator jobs and were replaced by tall and polite young women. However, as telephone networks expanded, the role of the intermediary became unproductive, eventually rendering the switchboard operator profession obsolete due to automation—not the first nor the last time such a thing has happened. As for Alexander Graham Bell, he used the earnings from inventing the telephone to promote science, educate people about the world around us, and pursue new inventions.