Wednesday, January 21, 2009

phone voice

When we were little, my brother and I noted something interesting about our mother. She could be irritated, sad or tired yet without fail when she answered the phone she summoned up this bright, enthusiastic "Hello! This is Sally" followed by an "oh hi!" when the person on the other end identified themselves. We jokingly called it "phone voice" and being the delightful little children we were would mock her for it. Please note the heavy sarcasm. I'm trying to remember to apologize to my parents when I remember some of the things I did as a child that were really extremely obnoxious or rude.

Nonetheless. I work in an office, and many of my friends don't live close enough that I can have long conversations with them in person so I've been talking on the phone more this year. And I realized that I've developed "phone voice." I inadvertently pitch my voice higher, especially when I'm talking to my family, people I don't know very well, or people I haven't talked to in a while. I do a better job staying within my "normal" voice when I'm on the phone with close friends.

There's a couple things that I've been chewing over about this.
1) The fact that I unconsciously pitch my voice higher on the phone sometimes.
2) The fact that I consistently to pitch my voice lower intentionally.
3) The fact that I let it bother me.

Does it really matter what my voice sounds like in the long run? I've done my fair share of transgender navel-gazing. I self-criticize the way I walk, the way I set my shoulders, tuck my butt, minimize hip swaying, try to wear certain types of pants a certain way, layer shirts, choose shirts based on how they fall from the shoulder. I am almost constantly aware of how I hold my hands, cross my legs, tilt my head, suck in the gut. I will stand in front of a mirror and deliberate on different ways of walking to see what hides my hips most. I'll observe my posture, from different angles.

Yes on some level this is what almost all of us do. We all pick out clothes that we feel good in, we observe what we look like. Sometimes I feel like I take it a little overboard and I try to let go.

Back to the "phone voice" then. It bothers me that I do it, because I feel like the phone is one of those places where the only thing people have to go on is my name and my voice. And Dylan isn't really all that feminine of a name, I feel. I know it can be a boy or a girl name but still. Not like Amy. I guess it wouldn't bother me if I didn't pass on the phone in and of itself. I think what is frustrating is that I hear myself modulating higher than I typically talk and I have to sometimes constantly think about my voice.

Anyways. It was just an interesting observation. And won't really be pertinent for long since my estimated start time for hormones is April. In the meantime, if I'm on the phone with you, please don't bring it up. I'm just trying to ignore it.


margaret said...

um. your voice is quite lovely. just an fyi.

Mugsie said...

Oh man but wouldn't it be fun if I talked in a really high squeaky voice every time I was on the phone with you just to be a total dick?
No, really though - I don't think your voice sounds too high on the phone. Plus, I think everyone I know has some phone voice. It happens.

Anonymous said...

mugsie, you should be glad i love. =) but yeah, you're right, i think everyone has a little phone voice in their life.