I have a special phone voice. Well, not so much a special phone voice as that my voice is special, and that quality particularly translates well via the telephone. Now, I know there are many things that make my unique voice wonderful (thank you, Patsy Rodenburg), like the fact that in my opinion, I enunciate my words clearly and speak a somewhat educated version of English (unless, of course, I am calling you 2+ martinis in the bucket). But perhaps its most special quality is the fact most people think I am a woman on the phone. Yes indeed, a woman. Not even a girl, not a young, pretty thing, but a full fledged woman. As my voice teacher Will put it, I have a "grande dame" quality about me (this came in quite handy for my audition on Tuesday that consisted of a monologue from Love! Valour! Compassion and my Judy-inspired version of "Smile").
Now, as a young male-child growing up in rural Indiana, this specialness really bothered me. Countless times, tele-marketers, family, and some of my mother's more colorful friends would ring up our home on 400 South and immediately greet Susie and ask how she is and such. From some of these greetings, one would get the impression that my mother is a very fun gal. And while I thought such mistaken identities would end after puberty, I now know to answer any phone but my own with, "This is Bradley." After initial embarrassments, I have moved on, moved out, and moved East where I capitalize on my superpowers whenever possible. Many times at work, owner Johnny has called upstairs to "discover" the cute, female bartender has developed a cold. No she has not; the person on the other line is Bradley. Or yesterday, as I waited on hold, begging Chase to give me even more credit, I was referred to as "Ma'am" for the majority of the phone call, despite the fact that my name, address, spending habits, shoe size, and who knows what else lie in plain sight on their computer screen in Mumbai. Even this morning, I unknowingly played a trick on the man delivering my omelette (in fact, it's on its way now). He wanted to know what I would like, kept calling me honey, kindly asking me for my phone number, address, and how I liked my coffee. Considering he now knows this personal information about me, he may be somewhat disappointed to discover that his mid-morning coffee date was with a fairly hairy Midwestern boy by the name of Bradley. Alas, no worries. He never has to know. When singing, my friend Esther and I have generally agreed that most times I sound like a mix of Elaine Stritch and Stevie Nicks, with a few moments of show choir boy clarity. Of course, this is all fine and dandy, both these grande dames earning equally impressive accolades for their vocalizations. But when I try to tell a casting director I am a young Stevie Nicks, it for some reason just does not communicate all that I want it to. My fine-tuned whiskey voice of a 50 something woman works great when I give an inspiring performance of "Poor Unfortunate Souls" at Uncle Charlie's, but somehow falls short when attempting "If I Loved You" from Carousel. However, this is no means for alarm or caution, for my talents are many. It's often been confirmed that I have the best legs in Astoria, and there are few waiters who have given such rousing renditions of the daily specials as I do each night at Locale. Boy, oh boy, a man of many talents am I. Oh, I think my omelette has arrived! I hope he doesn't mind I didn't shave this morning.
If any of you out there should ever be taking my breakfast order:
1 Spinach Omelette
Made with Egg Whites
Fresh Fruit instead of Homefries
Coffee with Skim Milk and 1 Splenda on the side
or if I am really hungover and/or being a fucking fatass:
1 McDonald's Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit Combo
Very Large Diet Coke
(and if it's a really unhealthy day)
1 Breakfast Burrito with Hot Sauce