Thursday, November 08, 2007

How To Talk To Women

I was reading OpenLeft the other day and came across something that struck a bell in a post which discussed the playing of the gender card:

When I was young, around 12 or so, I called a car dealership, and, having a high voice at the time, I sounded to the salesman like a woman. I'll never forget just how condescending he became after I said 'hello'. It was 'dear this' and 'dear that', and I think he even spoke slower so I could understand his fancy car talk.

It could be that the salesman realized he was talking to a child. But perhaps not. I've had that same experience many, many, many times. Otherwise quite normal (usually older) men suddenly losing their ability to speak rapidly or to use long words. This happens simultaneously with a certain change of tone, into a syrupy octave, if such exists, spiced with a certain amount of benevolent condescension. It really is almost exactly the way someone might talk to a child, though even children don't really appreciate that attitude.

Now, I don't think these experiences are as frequent as they used to be (though there are a few neighbors...), or perhaps I'm no longer young enough for that specific kind of condescending treatment. Or perhaps there are fewer older men left who think that there is a certain way to talk to a lady. But I could be wrong about that. What is your experience?

And what was that funny voice all about? I don't get it.