Sunday, January 2, 2011

Social Magic and Voice Samples

I've been asked a few times phone sex callers if I can read minds. Not... exactly... but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve, most of which I only realize I'm doing in hindsight.

I come from a family of social magicians: my father could make anyone feel fascinating, appreciated, and loved. My mom can put anyone at ease by telling a funny story that makes her audience feel she is one of them. My sister has an almost unnerving ability to dial her charm up or down at will. And me? In high school, I regularly amused myself by casually saying or doing naughty things around people who only knew the straight-A good girl side of me - I got energy from their shocked confusion.

The methods of social magic don't feel hidden to me: in person, if you want someone to be at ease, you look them in the eye when they're talking, ask questions to show you're listening and interested, and match body language when it makes sense to do so.

In acting class, we experimented with expressions: What's more threatening? 1. A person yelling, "I AM ANGRY YOU DID THAT!!!" while flailing and pounding and stomping, or 2. a person who takes a deep breath, sets their jaw, straightens their spine, tightens their eyes a bit, and says calmly, "I am angry you did that" in a pitch a few tones lower than their normal speaking voice.  /shiver Ugh. Wow. The mental picture of my acting coach doing that still fills me with terror. Do. Not. Want.

When I was a kid, Mom could tell who I was talking with on the phone because I was such a mimic. I don't try to do it, but I unconsciously find myself matching pitch, tone, speed, accent, and vocal mannerisms with the person I'm talking with. If I'm talking with someone British, I have to work to stay sounding American.

On the phone, I answer, "Hi, I'm Galiana!" with a cheerful, but essentially neutral voice. Once I hear the person on the other end, though, I think I probably sound completely different for every caller. When it's clear the person I'm talking with is chemically altered in a mellow way, I find myself saying sleepily, "heeeeeeyyyyy, it's good to heeeear from you." But when I'm hit with a fast, clipped, high-energy east coast voice, I ramp up and articulate through the rushing.

What made me think of it was my last caller; he has a smooth, calm voice and loves to tease and explore. I feel like I'm floating in a pool of pure luscious-ness with him, relaxed and sensual, all arching and stroking and sucking and coming.

After I got off the phone, I returned to sending follow-up notes, and the next on the list was a submissive who begs for me to be more commanding and stern with him, so I spend our time together barking commands and growling at him to shut the fuck up and take his punishment like the slut he is.

And I thought, "How the hell can I give someone a voice sample?"

I am amused.

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