When I was about 12 and 13 we used to call boys. It was forever and a day ago, but I remember some of the conversations quite clearly. It was the pass time; it was the thing to do. One of us would be designated the “talker” while the others would laugh and giggle and perhaps listen on another line. (I wonder what girls do now when they get together.). I don’t remember the boys ever minding these anonymous conversations as the game was never to tell them the person with whom they were speaking.
To date, I am not sure that any of the boys we called knew who the girl was on the other end of the phone. I wonder if they would be surprised to learn that it was me. For whatever reason, I was the girl designated as the speaker in my group of friends. I would carry on prolonged conversations with this and that boy as they attempted, at times, to learn my name. I don’t remember minding playing this role, but I do find it interesting that it was mine when the phone came into play. I usually enjoyed talking to them… and the conversations lasted for longer than 5 minutes.
I often wonder if other girls did this. Did boys do this? Was this just a crazy thing that my friends and I did when we had the opportunity?
But adults do it too in an odd way. Granted, most adults don’t find the phone number of a particular person and call them to chat without revealing their name, but we do talk to strangers on the phone. We do use the phone to get to know one another. Hey, we even learn to use the phone and our voices to our advantage or for profit. I, for one, have called this or that customer service line only to have the man on the other end telling me about his favorite football team, his home town, or other details of his story. I am sure that this is something that happens to others, not just me; it is not a function of my voice or winning phone personality!
Or is it?
About two years ago a man decided that I really needed to use my voice and get into radio or advertising. Now, I didn’t bite nor did I really buy into his statement because, well, I think he was attempting to get his way with me and he thought that would work. It didn’t, but it was a good try.
I have never thought much about my voice. It is a voice, plain and simple. Sure, some people like it while others don’t think twice about it. I have learned to use it to my advantage (as have most women and men I know) but it is, in the end, just a voice.
A few days ago as a man and I were talking about this and that and the economy and the salary structures in the area for the upcoming FY, he suggested that he knew a way for me to make a few extra dollars – you know, to support my Kennedy Center habit. I could make $.44:$1.00. If you figure it out, the pay is pretty good. All I would have to do is use my voice.
My voice? That’s it…
The power of the voice. The textures, the variations, the utterances… how much we can infer and communicate simply through the way we manipulate the voice. Apparently he figured I could manipulate a few men to spend a lot of money just to hear my voice.
The idea that men pay money to hear a woman’s voice intrigues me. I mean, I don’t fully understand it – and I am a big fan of the male voice. But I don’t quite understand why men engage in such activities with an unknown and abstract voice.
It is an intriguing academic exercise… why…???And what about the women who lend their voices to such companies?
In the end I wondered, honestly, whether the fun I do have with my voice in flirtation or banter or conversations would be minimized should I use it for working purposes. Right now, I can pick up the phone and flirt away knowing the person on the other end and with full understanding of the reaction I am or am not having. Would I enjoy using my voice with strangers? Would I still enjoy using my voice for fun?
Luckily I have a secure job with a fine salary that allows me to get my theater fix and still use my voice for fun and not for work purposes!!
(Thus, if you are a man out there trying to find me and my sensationally tantalizing tones… don’t bother as things haven’t hit that point… yet!)