You’ve heard it. You may even have been found guilty of it. It could have been when your friend answered her phone to her boyfriend and you knew immediately it was him because the sound of her voice changed as soon as she said hello. Or maybe it was when the couple sitting in front of you at the movie theaters playfully argue about who will buy popcorn this time.
Oh, you’ve heard the baby voice.
It’s the voice that couples use when they are talking to each other. It tends to be an octave higher and a little whiny so that the significant other can tune into its frequencies and the dog down the street howls as the sound of it. There is also a code of pet names used in the exchange like “honey bunny” or “sugar booger.”
And if the word “babe” isn’t used in every sentence, the other person isn’t quite sure who the other is addressing. “Babe” helps clears up who the conversation is directed towards. No one wants any misdirected communication to the best friend who is the third wheel at the movie. Meanwhile “third wheel” best friend is just hoping that either “honey bunny” or “sugar booger” makes a decision about who is buying the popcorn, so the baby voices will end. Because at this point the people who are sitting behind the couple are plugging their ears and are curled up in a fetal position just rocking themselves all the while thinking “How am I going to survive these ‘Hunger Games?’ ‘Sugar Booger’ just go buy the popcorn so this baby talk ends!”
Extreme response? You tell me. It is used as listening torture to those within a 5 foot radius. The sound of the baby voice makes you twitch a little like you picked up a tick from your time in Vietnam. After the repeated “babe” ear offenses, one starts getting a little nauseous like they just got off the “Tilt ‘O’ Whirl” at the state fair.
The inability to talk normal apparently does not exist in the confines of a relationship and those outside of it will never understand nor can tolerate it for more than a few minutes.
So my question is why, oh why, do we use the baby voice?
I agree the aforementioned interactions can be distracting and detracting from activity or conversation, especially when they are done seemingly for attention (which can be annoying!).
However, there is something to be said for attaining a level of comfort with someone that breaks down walls of insecurity or self-consciousness. Having people – partners, friends, otherwise – which you can be open and comfortable with is quite a gift. If such connections result in nicknames, inside jokes, or nonsensical sounds shared between folks, please use/share with discretion 🙂
FYI, Seinfeld had an episode that had this as a story line – great visual for your post! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BFXa4CNyEk
Joe! Thanks friend for reading, and I appreciate your comment to my satire! I do agree with you that inside jokes (b-unit) and nicknames (TOB) are a great addition to growing any friendship or relationship. Thanks for sharing!