Monday, December 7, 2015
Fine Female Voices
If there's one thing we're not in short supply of in the information age, it's fine female voices. Sweet and pleasant voices of the non-masculine persuasion are programmed into almost every electronic medium short of your toaster these days, and it's not difficult to see why.
Most of us straight guys --- whether married, single, or of "it's complicated" status --- don't get to hear an alluring non-judgmental woman's voice anywhere near enough or for many of us, anywhere near at all. "You left the toilet seat up, you don't do anything to help me around here, and you better stop having sex with the neighbor" are much more often the auditory fare that greets the typical male ear in his daily existence.
Fortunately there are electronic women of no shape, size, or description other than oscillating sound waves to provide the solace and companionship most of us lack.
The most obvious of these women is Siri, the automatic assistant on Apple phones and tablets. Siri will pleasantly answer any question you can conceive, and I can conceive of quite a number of them just to hear her charming if robotic voice:
She knows my name! And says it so nicely. How many women anymore say my name without the word "Yuch!" following immediately thereafter?
"Siri, what won the Best Picture Academy Award in 1953?"
"That would be From Here to Eternity, Perry," she electronically coos. "Would you like me to read you a little bit about the movie including the names of the actors and inside dope on which ones hated each other?"
Isn't that wonderful? Siri wants to do even more than I asked for extra credit. Where do I meet a Siri in real life?
I don't imagine there's any guy in the free world other than those who are psychologically normal who hasn't asked Siri at one time or other "Siri, are you hot?"
Unfortunately her response is a clipped "I can't answer that." Is it too damn much to expect Apple to program her to say "Yes, I am very hot and I love you, Perry!?" Microsoft, please take note.
At the supermarket, we encounter another fine female voice, the one who helps us check out our own groceries.
"Welcome to Kropotkin Markets! We're so happy to see you here, press start, then begin scanning your items ... ahh, plums, nice choice, juicy and good."
Gee, she's so pleasant! Maybe we could one day share a plum together. But then I start fumbling.
"No, no, no, scan that one again, it didn't register! Please bag all your items promptly; you missed one there! No, moron, you weigh that one, you don't scan it! Ohhhh, don't do anything else, wait for the attendant!"
I guess even the finest female voice in the supermarket has her limit when it comes to male shopper ineptitude. But the longest term use of fine female voices has no doubt been on business phone answering systems.
"Good morning, this is the Rogers Company. Although I am automated, I am very pretty."
That's a good start.
"Press 1 for a menu of options, press 2 for a directory of company personnel, press 3 for a history of the company recited by Morgan Freeman, press 4 for a bunch of weird sounds made by tickling livestock .... press 26 for readings from the Torah, and press 27 for a history of linoleum. There is no way to reach a real person ever. Goodbye."
Fine female voices --- can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.