The “Straight” Voice
by Chad Gurley

It always surprises me the moment I hear it come out of my mouth to hover there like some macho, bowlegged alien with glittery, green scales descending in the air between me and that person whose mere presence has unsuspectingly beckoned it forth from some deep space inside my mind, a outer homophobic dimension within a sanctimonious universe I really thought I had destroyed or left way far behind.

Like the other day when a big, burly repair man in official facilities' coveralls came to our offices to look at a problem with the ventilation unit, and just when I rose from my seat to greet him, inadvertently out popped the sound not quite a bass down from a treble clef but still much lower in octave than my regular voice. In a slower tempo almost "pesante" in a full, deep tone came through my lips the foreign "Hello."

Then when the conversation begins between us, words begin to flow, and sentences start to pick up some speed, my speech fills with words and phrases I never use and becomes saturated in a uniquely odd accent adding the missing flavor needed to succeed in speaking in this heterosexual safety mode. So now the low, deep "Dude, come on into this other office where there's the problem. The vent's right over there, man," is not only peppered with unwarranted masculine addresses but also spiked with a blend of surfer dude, dude rancher and country bumpkin who have gotten together to chew on some fat and plan something manly like replacing the transmission, rotating the tires and changing the oil of either a huge Ford Bronco or muscled up Camero. You can only imagine how utterly embarrassed and humiliated I am if people are around who I personally know hear and recognize this artificial substitute.

Unfortunately, once this strange extraterrestrial voice has made an appearance and been sighted by my dialogue partner, I have no choice but to surrender to its forced abduction, for no matter how focused I concentrate my linguistical power to consciously change this foreign behavior, I find myself simply unable to neutralize the habitual phenomena. In other words, once it's turned on, it's on auto-pilot with no manual overdrive until the final good ole boy, "Bye."

I've heard time after time again, that the first step towards recovery and change is recognizing that this pseudo-macho speak happens and that I have a problem with it. (Check, ten-four, good buddy.) Then with my real voice, boldly yet brightly, seriously yet sprightly, declare my disapproval of this strange established ritual of going on a seeming pro-hetero-conformity mission because I am insecure in my being, falsely thinking the person with whom I am in contact emanates a need for me to exaggerate my male gender role and abolish any effeminate traces or sissy slang in order to maintain peace with the patriarchal majority. Finally, take the last step and commit to increasing self-confidence, work through personal vulnerabilities, and then ending that kind of talk once and for all.

So Mister "straight voice", today I'm sweetly yet firmly giving you notice. Although I am certain I learned you as a child and attempted to perfect you in order to survive in the world, and even though it's really been a lot of performance, impressionistic fun, now is the time to for you to go phone home because your body-snatching days of my true voice are over and done.

 

© 2013 Chad Gurley


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