While most grown women's voices have mellowed to sweet, softer, lower tones by their twenties, mine has stayed firmly at the pitch of the average nine year old. It's so girly sounding, but I can't help it — it's just the way it comes out. For the most part, I embrace my distinct voice as an integral part of myself.
I haven't always loved my cutesy voice, though. It has taken a while to get to a point of self acceptance about it. I used to cringe at the accidental good girl tone my speech would take on of it's own accord — but then I'd think of Marilyn Monroe's husky yet girlish vocal tones, and I'd smile. I quite like my voice's ability to shock, or make someone do a double take. I enjoy playing with people's expectations. I like that, along with my rather long and flowery name, my voice definitely helps people to remember me and listen to me. I love playing with my femininity in my visual appearance — mixing boudoir inspired pieces with relaxed sportswear, putting glitter or sequins on my face, wearing silly amounts of tulle — and I like that my voice can act as an incidental accessory. It almost empowers me, a wispy bit of armour in my uber-femme panoply.
A cafe owner once told me my voice will make me famous one day (I'm actually about to voice a cartoon cat for the pilot of a new animated show, so he's not totally wrong). But sometimes being initially judged on my voice becomes tiring. People form inaccurate first impressions. They are rude or presumptuous, as they can be to anyone who has a unique characteristic. Here are some of the bizarre, annoying and horrible comments I, and other ladies with high voices, have to put up with on the regular.
1. "Hello darling, is Mommy there?"
Yes, really. This happened quite often, both over the phone and in person, at my last place of employment where I did a lot of admin work. No, douchebag my mommy is not here, I'm employed here, and I am 25 years old, how can I help you?
2. "Can I see your I.D.?"
For fabric scissors? For razors? For kitchen knives? Srzly?! Do I sound that young?
3. "Did you just SWEAR?! How sweet! Oh my god, say it again!"
Yes. Yes I did swear. I often do swear actually, but you just don't notice because of my voice. I'm swearing because I'm cross. It's not really anything to write home about. And if you ask me to say it again, I'll be even more f**king f**ked off!!! When did I turn into a Circus attraction, mate?
4. "Sing for me!! I bet you have an beautiful singing voice."
Erm, I mean, thanks for the compliment, but actually, I can't sing to save my life. Also, as mentioned, just because you think my voice is sweet, it doesn't mean I'm a performing monkey.
5. "Pardon? Sorry? Can you say that again? What??!!"
I am speaking normally! I DON'T KNOW HOW I CAN SPEAK ANY MORE CLEARLY. Why can't you understand me? My friends do. My colleagues do. My family does. Just because my voice is high it doesn't mean I am speaking Martian.
6. "You're just so....cute."
Thanks, that is very sweet that you find my voice pleasing to the ear, but I promise there are more interesting things about me. Let's chat. What's your favorite novel?
7. "When I first met you I thought you were an airhead, but then I got to know you. I was shocked that you're quite articulate."
This (or words to this effect) has actually come out of the mouths of a few ladies I have had the pleasure of conversing with. When is it not going to be alarming for a girl to be both feminine and intelligent? Surely wehther a woman expresses her opinion on Georges Bataille's theories on eroticism in a girlish squeak or a husky drawl, she is essentially saying the same thing? Even if she also has pink hair and is wearing sequins.
That is all.
9. "I knew you were here already, I could hear you from outside."
If you have unique vocals, which are also high pitched, you will understand that this means you will stand out from the crowd, no matter how quietly you're speaking. Somehow your voice just...carries. This can be handy if you've lost your friend at a crowded party. Not so handy if you're trying to catch up on some sex-gossip, in a bar, whilst loud music is playing.
10. (When you are with children...yours, your mate's, your younger siblings, kids you babysit) "Wow, you're young to have kids!"
Whoa now. OK, so if I was, as you suspect, a teenage mom, when would it ever be appropriate to say that?! Just because my voice has more in common with my charges' than yours doesn't make me the same age.
11. "You're always so happy!"
It's lovely that you think I am a sunny being, but I assure you I am human. No one is a bag of sunshine every day. In fact, I'm actually quite sensitive a lot of the time, and I cry at least twice a month. Fact.
12. "I can't imagine you being angry!"
You kind of are making me angry now.
13. "Goodness! Your house is haunted! Oh no it's just you singing in the shower."
Based on a true story. This won't apply to every woman with a girly voice, but I will tell you anyway for the LOLs — My friend arrived at my house while I was in the shower singing to myself. Because of the acoustics in the bathroom and my "childlike" voice, my friend was genuinely freaked out. She said the sound emanating from the top of the stairs was just like something from a scary film. This is not the first time a comment like this has been made.
14. "You sound like an Edwardian child's ghost. You can work in my haunted house anytime."
Last year I did a Kickstarter, and this was a comment by a friend of a friend on the link to the promotional video for it on Facebook (I narrate the entire thing.) Maybe I, and my fellow small-voiced females are missing out on a career opportunity here? Anyone want to hire me for a ghost train? I could do a good "Ooooooooooooooooo!"
15. "I really can't imagine you being sexual, you sound too sweet. You're so innocent."
Comments like these are quite hurtful, actually. Ouch, man. A woman can have a cutesy voice and still be a carnal creature! Just because I have the voice of a pixie, doesn't mean I don't have the sexual appetite of a siren! And anyway, it's actually not your place to judge me — it is none of your business, nor does it define me!
16. "You should really consider starting a sexline. You'd make a killing."
Make your mind up world, do I sound nun-like or sexy because of my girlish manner of speaking? Hey?! Hmm... I am kinda broke though. Maybe I should round up us girlish voiced ladies. Maybe there's a niche market for men who get off to chatting a la telephone to auditorily prudish/blatantly sexual, Edwardian ghosts...
Images: Flickr/Guardian Screen Images;Giphy