“All right then sir, we have you booked for 2:30 to have your bangs trimmed.” That was the last bit of communication to come over the phone about a month or so ago when I decided my hair would look much better with thicker bangs. I’m sure you caught the “sir” in there; I know I sure did. Honestly, when in the world has a dude ever booked an appointment for himself, identified multiple times as ‘Michelle”, to have his bangs done? Do guys even have bangs, like ever? I think you see the problem. In spite of the nature of the call, and enthusiastic identification as female, I was read right over the phone. Naturally I thought I was using my girliest voice.
It’s not good when one’s girliest voice makes people wonder if that’s Ron Perlman standing behind them. No one likes being mistaken for Ron Perlman, especially when they identify as female. My real problem is that I actually think I am doing a female voice because that is the way it sounds to me. Not so much, however, when it’s played back on tape. Dear lord do I hate that! Sure, fooling myself works wonders for allowing me to actually speak to people, but that doesn’t buy me a whole lot in terms of passing as female. Like I don’t have enough strikes against me in that department. Yeah, it was time to woman up and do something about that.
My ex, who has an amazingly talented singing voice and superior vocal control, attempted to give me some pointers. This was frustrating. Very frustrating. It kind of went along the same lines as when I attempt to talk her through something highly technical over the phone with a bad connection, and both of us are eating extra crunchy chips. While I totally trusted everything she had to say on the subject was rock solid accurate, I also had little to no idea what any of it meant. My initial efforts sounded like the love child of Minnie Mouse and Goofy. Not so good. It didn’t take long to give this up, which was probably for the best. It’s not like this process has been super easy on our living situation to begin with.
I tried taking the next easier route and did some Googling. Ah the web, where anything you want is absolutely free, unless of course you want it to be accurate, and then it costs. I found plenty of sales pitches for computer based modules, modules on CD, DVD instruction, and even VHS and Betamax instruction. I’m not sure why these are still being sold, but whatever, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Learning conversational Tagalog using the Rosetta Stone seemed more simplistic. That teach yourself shit never really works for me, because as with everything else, I usually zone out and stop paying attention in less than a minute. Know your own drawbacks, right? Even the guys who work for me know to covey the relevant point in 20 seconds of less or face glazed eyes. I digress, and probably lost everyone out there who has my own attention span. Serves me right!
No, I was going to need professional intervention and took the roundabout way of looking for it. “Say, anyone else going to vocal therapy?” No answer, as typical anytime I reach out of the local trans community here. With a notable exception or two, I get the impression there are not a lot of writers among us. I was finally directed to an actual medical intervention option. I liked the sound of that, because it carried hope that my insurance would cover it. Sweet. I gave them a call and immediately found that I needed a prescription. Seriously, a prescription. For vocal training. Yes fine, I’ll call back when I have one. Jeesh. Luckily I had my endo appointment that week and she was very happy to run one off for me. I’ve come to notice that doctors get really excited when you dramatically increase your health and fitness levels when under their care, and they can be soooo accommodating after! Glad I started with her when I was a big hot mess.
Well, I just went to the first appointment and my therapist is a real peach and shares my sense of humor. Apparently in my wretched attempts to sound more female, I actually sound more male than ever. Well, that’s just great. Now I’ll never speak publically again! It was OK though, she promised to help me make dramatic improvements. The best part is that she has equipment. Fancy equipment that only runs on a Window’s 95 machine for some reason. It lets me see my tone, pitch and inflections plotted against a red line that divides perceived male from perceived female. While I can’t hear the difference, the machine can, and I understand the difference of what my mouth feels like when I’m on the female side of the line. Sure, I’ll never have the melodious dulcet tones of a Diana Agron or even Bea Arthur (someone the therapist explained had a better voice than I did), but I also won’t have legions of Ron Perlman fans asking me for an autograph unless my reflection is worse than I think also.