Its fairly common knowledge that i love listening to This American Life and on This American Life two of my most favorite contributors are Sarah Vowell and Starlee Kine. The reason for this favoritism, aside from the obvious (them being entertaining, informative and pretty much brilliant) is that I feel like i share something with them - the fact that we all have very young sounding voices.
Now... I have always looked pretty young and I have always sounded young. As a teenager it would drive me around the bend. My mother would take full advantage of it. A favorite story of hers is how angry i would become when she would try to make me order off of the readily offered "Kids Menu" at various restaurants.
Even at my first year of university, people seemed to think that maybe i was some sort of child prodigy who had skipped up to three grades. No such luck. Aside from my youthful appearance, i was normal.
Even to this day the frustration continues. When people phone my home, especially telemarketers, they ask for my "mommy". I am in my late twenties. Being asked for my "mommy" should not be something that i am commonly subjected to, yet this is the case.
As you may have guessed, this is, and always has been somewhat of an issue for me. What can i do? I could attempt to lower my voice by speaking in a reverse falsetto (is there an actual word for that? if so, let me know) but i honestly sound much stranger, kind of like a muppet monster from sesame street, which would not help my plight one bit.
Here is another grand example of just how young I sound: A few weeks ago, a much younger friend of mine was home from school for the holidays. I called his home and his mother answered.
"Hi, is Conor there?"
"Um... yes, just a minute please"
Then a pause... and a slightly muffled voice "Conor, its for you... its a girl...? She sounds REALLY young."
Another pause then...
The tone of his mother's voice seemed to communicate more than she probably intended. Something along the lines of "Are you sure that you aren't calling for my youngest son?"
Now to get back to Sarah Vowell and Starlee Kine, their voices show me a brighter future. Despite the sound of their voices, people listen, and take note- it gives me hope that maybe, even with this voice, people will be able to take me seriously, or at least take pause, and not immediately write me off.