Saturday, 19 May 2007

May I call you 'Madam', Sir?

Viet Le, a dear friend from my UWC times whose blog I follow (and borrowed the word 'miscellany' in the name of my blog from) has a great entry about doing a double-take after being "Sir'd" by some congresswoman's press spokesman.

'Apparently, my telephone voice has a feminine lilt so it's always "Miss" or "Mam" or even "Veet",' Viet blogs. Got me started thinking about the whole phone voice thing.

I remember in my early teens the frustration, when I answered the phone and everyone thought I was my mother speaking. I also remember the genuine indignation I felt when correcting people. On the other hand, I could make funny calls to people and pretend I am an adult woman, rather than a child of 12.

I remember a few more men whose high-pitched voices were subject to discussion: my male friend working at a travel agency who is always referred to by callers as a Ms. and sometimes doesn't bother explaining and a former classmate of my mother, who she said everyone though was gay due to his high pitched voice until he got married and fathered two kids.

There is evidence (reference, anyone?) that people with deeper voices appear more trustworthy and I think I came across someone mentioning a study of effects of a deep voice on earnings.