Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Vocal Fry Club

I've complained before about some of the other mothers in our area that my sister and I see at play group and what a bunch of nuts they are and before you get yourself in a bind over me "judging" mothers or whatever, consider that these are the same women I wrote about at the country club which you all loved hearing about then. This is no different. Same idiots. Different setting.

My sister and I have met some nice, normal moms too but we usually have to go one town over to find them. That would be the less expensive town over. Here where we live, my sister and I seem to relate more to the nannies. Our town is full of bone thin women who wear yoga clothes, have unusually straight hair and are never seen without a Starbucks skinny something in hand. They drive Range Rovers. They croak like frogs.

My sister and I started noticing this peculiar way these women have of speaking immediately and of course we pounced on it and began imitating them at once.

I had noticed a few of my students starting this creaking thing a few years back but uptone, or ending every sentence as if it were a question, was more common and equally annoying. Sometimes the two are combined and this makes me want to scratch at my ears.

Why are grown women in their 30s and 40s speaking like Valley Girl teens? Why? It's hideous.

It's called Vocal Fry, we learned. Here is a New York Times article about it and here is a hilarious video demonstration. 


We noticed that the women who do this are all wealthy and were probably popular girls in high school. They were the mean girls. They still are. When my sister and I arrive, they don't even acknowledge us or our children. We aren't one of them. We don't fry and you know what? The meaner they are the more they fry. I also observed that the more they are bragging to each other or trying to outdo one another, the more they amp up the creaking. For example, I watched one mother discuss her yacht club membership with another mother who had canceled hers and it sounded like a pond of bullfrogs on a summer night. 


This seems to prove the theory that vocal fry signifies dominance. The alpha-females do it more and that makes sense. Rich white people have always affected different speech patterns to set themselves apart from the common masses. They used to talk like Katherine Hepburn and Thurston Howell, III. Now they sound like the Tin Man after a rainstorm.


I find it irritating and laughable. I've even heard toddlers imitating it, which is disturbing. I don't like vocal fry for its inherent bitchiness and whereas uptone makes you sound dumb, vocal fry makes you sound like an asshole.


Why do they do it, apart from dominance? Do they think it's sexy? Cute? Why?


I've got it. Their low fat diets are causing it. These women are too skinny. They're creaking like old doors because they need oil! 

Update: I fixed the link to the video. Sorry about that.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree.

The Kardashians put me over the edge..for many reasons. This being one.

According to this video they're probably going to end up with the vocal cord damage they've earned:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsE5mysfZsY

Gina said...

I haven't heard anyone talk like that since the 80s (thank god), but then, my town is pretty far removed from the rich areas. I'm sure it's coming, though and I fear for my sanity.

Books & BS said...

Oh I know what you mean. My sister in law talks like that. And I can't help but to just stand there and stare at her like she's an idiot. It just makes my skin crawl. Of course she's so into her low fat diet of processed crap maybe that's what is making her sound like that...

kerry said...

I think they'd drive me crazy, too! I will have to watch the video so I know what you're talking about.

Better to eat an avocado and talk like normal people and hang around nice people. :)

Anonymous said...

You are hilarious, Victoria. I am sure there are some nice ladies in your area; you just haven't found them yet.

Me. said...

Hey, just FYI, the link to the hilarious video goes to the NYT article. I want to see funny weird women!

Melanie said...

I bet drinking heavily would help your vocal fry sound like the best on the block! Not that you would do that, or even want to.... but...... I'm just saying'.....

girl unraveling said...

Yep. And then, they come to me for Speech Therapy. :)

kerry said...

Oh, my gods, that's horrifying.

ohsoang said...

Too funny. You area sounds like that new show Suburgatory. You should totally check it out and see if it's true to life, lol.

LifeBliss Lisa said...

My goodness, how did you read my mind? I too live in an area that is overpopulated with yuppiesnots who fit your description to a T. Nice to know there's someone out there who is as annoyed by this whole act as I am.

jenjellybeans said...

I used to work with a girl who did vocal fry to indicate that she found someone to be tiresome and annoying. . . thereby making herself tiresome and annoying. She didn't see it.

Anonymous said...

The first time I ever noticed it was watching "The Philadelphia Story" and Kate Hepburn (Tracy Lord) did it in some of the beginning scenes. Came off more as a "purring." Then in the mid-90's an attorney's wife I know was making the same sort of vocalization but it was grating, not "purring." That's when I really started to notice it more. I'm with you 100% - they should hear themselves on a recording and maybe they'd stop doing it. Infantile.

Anonymous said...

Vocal fry makes me want to scream. When it is combined with baby girl voice, well, I question my very existence.

Idiocracy cometh...........

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