Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rites of Passage. AKA: The WoMAN Voice

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I finally did it—even after years of careful listening—I mistook my friend’s 11 year-old son for his mother.

I firmly believe that a milestone in life has been reached when a pubescent boy experiences a stretching of limbs, facial features, and vocal chords—making him sound akin to a grown-up woman—not too dissimilar to an adult Michael Jackson.

“Hey *Becky, how’s it going?”

“This isn’t Becky, this is her son, *Joey.”

Verbal Faux pas.

I felt instantaneously terrible for what I’d done; I quickly began to backpedal, talking about how I couldn’t hear properly because the stereo was up far too loud, my windows were down, passing traffic was flying by in the opposite lane, a sonic boom had just thundered down from the heavens, the air-raid sirens had suddenly started blaring signifying a nuclear fallout, and aliens had stolen my eardrums and replaced them with cotton swabs.

As I apologized I though back to the days of my own mom-voiceness, and the numerous callers that would mistake me for my mom. This started to happen so frequently that there came a point where I either wouldn’t answer the phone, or would intentionally lower my voice several octaves so that there would be no way on heaven or Earth that I could be mistaken for her.

It usually didn’t work.

In fact, I can remember one day when I was so sick and tired of saying, “This isn’t her; this is her son,” that I decided to simply roll with it. I carried on a complete conversation with a salesman who was trying to get us to switch our life insurance playing the part of my mother.

I was amazing.

Luckily, this awkward period quickly passed, and I was never mistaken as my mother again.

I arrived back at the present.

“So anyhow, that’s how come I couldn’t tell it was you.”

“Oh, that’s okay…” he responded with a trailed off voice.

I just couldn’t bear to tell him that he did sound like a woman on the phone.

However, maybe I should have. After all, it is a rite of passage…

*These are not their real names; I wanted to protect the identity of both Stephanie and Tanner.

I originally 'aired' this post at Four Perspectives.

Photo shamelessly pilfered from here:


Joan said...

One of the interesting things about teaching 12/13 year old boys is all their changes. I rarely ask them to read aloud. I never know what I"m going to get!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I am sure you are not the first to have made that mistake...btw, does his mom know about the comment?

Kimberly said...

I'm so glad you protected their identities. :) We haven't reached this rite of passage here yet ... something to look forward to, I guess.

dbs said...

But then comes the day when people phone for your son and mistake you for him.

elysabeth said...

I can do you one better than that - and it isn't mistaking a young boy for a grown woman. When I would call the house when my daughter and my youngest son were little, I could never tell who answered the phone - they sounded exactly the same - young female and young male - I'd always say something like "Benjamin, let me speak to your daddy" or "Hailie let me speak to your brother" or whomever I was requesting to speak to, and I would constantly get - "This isn't Benjamin, it's Hailie" or "I'm not Hailie" - and now that my youngest son is 17 and has gone through his changes, there is no mistaking him for a grown woman but I can't tell his voice and my 26-year-old son's voice apart on the phone - that is scary how much they do sound alike, and it's not even on the phone since I hardly talk to my oldest on the phone, but in person. (This actually happened about a week and a half ago when my oldest came down for a visit and I had just talked to him outside the vehicle and the youngest was in the passeenger seat and hollered out the window to ask me something and I totally was freaking out since I saw my oldest get into the driver's seat and I couldn't believe he was talking to me from the passenger seat - talk about freakazoid.) - so beware when you have young kids who are close in age too - they can sound alike on the phone. - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
The Proposal (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance
Bride-and-Seek, a paranormal romance
The Tulip Kiss, a paranormal romance
Butterfly Halves, a YA fantasy

Ma America, The Travelin' Maven
Author of the JGDS, 50-state, mystery, trivia series and Train of Clues (the predecessor to the series)
Where will the adventure take you next?

Kristina P. said...

Wow, I don't think I have ever done this, so I am definitely laughing at you. :)

Mamma has spoken said...

I drive my sons CRAZY because they all sound the same on the phone AND like their dad. When I call home, it's a guessing game trying to figure out who I'm talking to. Many times whoever it is will pretend that they are the first name I said making for some interesting phone conversations!

The Blonde Duck said...

Poor kid!

Glen said...

To go the other way - my wife had an argument with one caller who demanded to speak to her mum or dad, though at the time she was 34, married and a parent herself.

Karen Peterson said...

My brother used to get so upset about being mistaken for me and for our mother that some of my friends started doing it to him on purpose. It's kind of amazing my brother still speaks to me.

wendy said...

I am sooooo glad you took the feelings of Sephanie and Tanner into consideration (tee,hee)

I think that probably happens a fair amount eh. Like you said...sort of a rite of passage from "son-motherhood, to manhood"

And, remember when I said you should write a book, and you said you didn't know what about.
about all your "teaching experiences, stories, tales" of
Life With Joey

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

This made me smile BIG.

Laura said...

Oh the things I have to look forward to!

M-Cat said...

It IS a right of passage. What I could never understand is that I would answer the phone and some dumbass from the ward would ask to speak to Melissa. REALLY??!!? THere are NO OTHER GIRLS LIVING IN THIS HOUSE!!

*shakes head*

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

When my son answers the phone (which is under extreme duress) he always drops his voice an octave to say hello. Now I know why.

Stacey said...

I have been dreading when puberty hits in our house with our 9 year old I'm actually looking forward to it - one more thing to make fun of!

Anaise said...

My nephew pretends to be his mom all the time!

Rhoda said...

Hahahahahahahah...Oh man, I am making sure everyone I know reads this post!

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