The Man Whisperer

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Dinner Table conversation

Recently I was invited to a dinner event  with people who spoke French in varying degrees.  I don’t pretend I am fluent, myself – I get French mixed up with Nepali these days…. always thinking of how to reply or say what I am thinking, in one or the other but it doesn’t always match the language we are speaking at the time, an odd situation to experience. It does funny things to my head and I wonder how people who speak six languages can keep them all straight.


Among other things, there was a lively discussion as to why women with French accents were so attractive.  Appealing. Mysterious. Sophisticated. Surprisingly one of the French women present was a bit affronted, since she had devoted years to eradicating any trace of a personal accent when she spoke English. She took a great deal of pride in having *no detectable French accent whatsoever* (which was true). She rejected the idea that to add it back when speaking English would make her any more attractive than she already was. To that I had to agree, she had a valid point.

And besides, she said, women with an Italian accent were probably sexier than those with a French lilt.

Whoa! Mais non!

The Horse Whisperer

Well, maybe she has a point there…. I suppose it’s not the *accent* but more the tone – I think French requires a way of rolling a the “Rs” ……  rrrrRRRRrrrrrRrrrrr …………………..  How could a listener fail to respond to a woman purring like a kitty? regardless of the language? It implies a conspiratorial tone to all one-to-one conversations…..

And when it is a woman, I think men are more attuned to the cooing lullaby of a woman’s voice, than most American women would consider. It’s okay for a woman to talk plainly and not put on airs, in the USA – but I sometimes think this is a lost art that should be revived. And the mamzelle across the table from me would still possess that ineffable dulcet tonal quality in whichever language.  Conversing with her just made the shared food so much more enjoyable – an aid to digestion!

The Man Whisperer

Here’s a tip to every woman I know: don’t underestimate the power of using your voice in a tone apart from businesslike matter-of-fact speech, to get guys’ attention. I know it sounds anti-feminist, but there is a difference between men and women and as the French would say, vive la difference! I wrote about this phenomenon in my book, a certain person I met in Nepal used to do this quite well.  It worked for the sirens in the Greek legends, after all. ….. Here’s an experiment. Next time you are with somebody trying to have lighthearted fun, try whispering in a conspiratorial voice, with an accent if you can muster one,  and see what happens.

It’s like the Horse Whisperer, only better – a properly trained male will carry out hundreds of commands.



Filed under Honolulu

2 responses to “The Man Whisperer

  1. John Casken

    I trying to remember who it is that steps in where angels fear to tread as I suspect this is one of those situations.

  2. Mark Schnell

    Since one of the masculine ideals is the being the “strong, silent” type, the challenge for me would be to remain silent, conspiratorially of course, with a French accent. I don’t mean emulating M. Marcel Marceau, the celebrated mime, though his silence spoke volumes of Frenchiness, particularly when he was trapped in those invisible boxes. Rather, I had in mind something closer to an “apache”, replete with horizontally striped jersey and rakish beret, slouched against a wall with an arched eyebrow and an insouciant demeanor. Wait. Let me clarify that last sentence. The GUY has an arched eyebrow, not the wall.

    Helas! (as the French might exclaim). Such a project must be abandoned in the interest of pulmonary health, as it would require me to smoke beaucoup Gauloises. C’est dommage. Not to be confused with “C’est frommage,” which is something completely different.

    Instead I shall have to content myself with responding to automated queries with an accent. If you have every opened a case with computer support, a few days later you are sure to get an email asking you to rate the service that you received in resolving your problem. So it was with me and Oracle. Only Oracle made the mistake of offering a choice among many languages in my reply.

    I couldn’t resist, especially now that we have the magic of Google translate at our fingertips. I gave Oracle the highest ratings, but I did so in Hungarian. (One should strive to be delphic with Oracle, and what better than Google Hungarian for this purpose?) Gosh. I hope I got it right. There was a question that asked if I would like to receive a call from a manager about my case. I meant to say no, but if I erred, I am not sure I am ready for a follow-up with Zsa Zsa Gabor’s accent, darlink.

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