Sunday, May 21, 2006

I say tomato, you say to-mah-to

There is a certain group of actors that enthrall me, simply by opening their mouths. Alan Rickman. Colin Firth. Hugh Grant. Ralph Fiennes. Kenneth Branagh.

Are you noticing a theme here? ;)

Like so many women around the globe, I’m a sucker for a man with an accent. Hell, I’m married to a Brit. The first time we had a telephone conversation, I missed at least 75% of what he actually said because I was too busy swooning over his voice. And that accent! Guh…I used to describe it as molten lava down my spine. I swear, all he had to do to get me in the mood was utter a single word in my ear, and I was putty in his hands. Very wet putty.

Ahem. What was I saying again?

Oh. Right. Men with accents.

You would not believe the kind of attention my husband Craig gets. We were actually married in the UK, and I lived over there until summer of 2004. There, I was the novelty, with all of Craig’s male family and friends asking me to talk, simply for the sake of hearing my American accent. Strangers coming to the door would stop and talk with me, based purely on my accent. Here in the US, our positions are reversed. People hear my husband talk, and everything just seems to stop. Women are constantly chatting him up, and even men will comment to me that they love the way he talks. (I’m completely serious with that; my daughter’s softball coach couldn’t stop going on about Craig’s accent the entire time I first met him.)

There’s a downside to it, of course. Often times, people won’t understand something Craig says. It’s quite common in our household for him to stop in the middle of a phone conversation and hand me the receiver where I then have to give our address/phone number/some other information that the other person needs and can’t quite get right because they can’t figure out what he’s saying. Even my mother won’t talk to him on the phone because she says she can’t understand him without seeing his lips moving. And one time at an amusement park, he had to deal with a young girl at a frozen lemonade stand for nearly ten minutes before she got his order right. (She kept thinking he was saying “full” instead of “four” and kept scooping more frozen lemonade into his cup before finally exclaiming, “I can’t get any more in!” Craig had to hold up four fingers finally to tell her what he wanted.)

But why is it? Is it the grass is greener theory that makes people go all gooey at an accent? It doesn’t even have to be a foreign one. I had a guy friend in college who was born and raised in New York. Without fail, every single girl he dated (and how he found them all, I don’t know, because we went to college in Michigan), had a Southern accent. Because he thought Southern accents were so exotic. To each his own.

Give me your theories. Because I still haven’t figured out why it is that even my husband whispering the words, “hand me the remote” in my ear can turn me into putty, even after being with him for nine years now. Other than, you know, the whole loving him madly thing. :) As a bonus, everybody who comments today will be put into a drawing at the end of the day for a DVD of “Love Actually,” one of my favorite romantic movies, chock-full of English accents.


Blogger Dee said...

Ah, Vivien, having a guy around the house with a accent is wonderful--you lucky woman! I love a British (and Scottish and Irish) accent myself.

For having been born and raised pretty much in the South, my Jack has no accent. I can turn the Southern accent on and off, and sometimes fall into it without thinking. A guy did admit to Jack once that he thought my voice and accent were sexy when he spoke to me on the phone--and I was simply asking for directions.


9:48 AM  
Blogger snowflake said...

Vivien, Love Actually is one of recent favourite movies and it's on my list of DVDs to get. The interlude about the guy who flew to Wisconsin to get hitched really fits with your blog topic today. LOL

I absolutely love British accents and their sense of humour. One of my former lit tutors was a Brit and to this day I miss his sense of irony. I too am a big fan of Colin Firth's acting. That man makes my heart thunder just by opening his mouth.

Another British actor I have to mention is Daniel Day Lewis. I haven't watched any of his films but I was very impressed by an hour long interview they did with him on TV. In every question he answered, he was able to make the audience (and me) laugh seemingly without effort. It shows a really quick and brilliant mind and that's so so sexy.

10:50 AM  
Blogger KimW said...

I love to listen to people who have accents. It's something different and usually very distinct. The individuals who speak with English, Scottish or Irish accents seem to me like such warm people and their voices are so inviting. Probably not something you want to hear if you are married to one. haha! You're lucky to be able to listen daily.

One of my good friends is from the UK and I love to listen to him. He has a great sense of humor. Often times he slips in words that I don't understand or misuses American words. It's made for some really good laughs.

Funny about your mom. Maybe she just says that because she wants to see you both more often. LOL

11:18 AM  
Blogger LSB Author, Darragha Foster said...

It's the Scottish accent that does it for me. Sean Connery's voice. Yum.

I'm an Icelandophile and can pick an Icelandic accent out of a crowded room. It is another accent that just turns my cookies. It's not gutteral like the Danish, it's very soft and smooth. At one point, a linguist questioned whether Iceland was a country of asthmatics, because of the way their spoken language draws in air. Whispers are common. And it's pretty sexy when you're standing face to face with a blonde Viking god giving you directions with his low, soft voice...

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the draw of an accent for me is that it represents the less known and therefore mysterious. We tend to know our own countrymen's habits, etc. So the thrill of discovery as a concept factors into the appeal to me. Even after a long acquaintance the accent often remains charming and attractive. Of course I do find some accents sexier than others.

Good blog topic. No need to put me into the draw. I own the film, it is a personal favorite.

Little Lamb Lost

12:01 PM  
Blogger robynl said...

Oh, I don't have that movie yet; great contest.
I think accents just add to the package deal; they are one of the many things to add up and make a whole package when you love the person.
Individually, just hearing an accent from someone that perhaps you don't even know, there is a 'mystery' about that person and the accent just adds MYSTERY to the person and we humans are inquisitive about such things.
I understand the not knowing what is being said and yet it is alluring.

12:42 PM  
Blogger blackroze37 -tami said...

scottish , whew baby

i have such a thich heavys outhern accent, my and AA car place ,had to go through a ,who's on first type thing, over a flat tire
, im like its those round things that make a car more, cause basicly my 'tire' is like tar ,but worse

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Adriana said...

Vivien, I am a complete sucker for an Irish accent. My friends laugh at me because we go to irish pubs here in SD and I get all googly eyed when they ask me for my order. I've been known to chat up the guys just to hear them speak.
I was in hog heaven when I was in Ireland in 02. I am a quiet person by nature but I was striking up convos with just about anyone.
Liam Neeson? Guh! Bono? oh jeezus..drool.

2:11 PM  
Blogger fae said...

i love accents too, i think they are hot. always have, always will! i'm glad you are so happy with your hubby. cute! i'd love the movie, the accents make it better!;)

2:13 PM  
Blogger A J Matthews said...

Hmm! Being English myself I'm flattered to know my accent is considered sexy :) I have friends in the US, and Vivien is right about folks stopping and staring when I speak to anyone there. One lady at a writers' conference actually did ask me to recite something so she could hear me speak. What happened next is another story ;)

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hee! I'm a sucker for accents too. Looking back over my serious relationships I sense a theme-- there was Patrick from Ireland, Jose from Mexico...

I've noticed a lot of americans feel that way. For example my local alternative radio station has an announcer (as far as I can tell) strictly on the basis of his english accent.

And I fully support that list of actors. Especially Colin Firth!

2:43 PM  
Anonymous spikealicious said...

I think I got pretty good at understanding accents when I was in my early 20's. I used to work at a travel wholesaler, where the agents from across the midwest would call in to book their client's travel on our Hawaiian and Mexican (later, European) packaged tours. Now, you'd think that midwest accents would be fairly generic, but there were tons of agents whose first language wasn't easy. Strangely enough, some of the European accents were much easier for me to understand, than say a strong Southern accent. Slavic accents were hard, too, but pretty much anything else, I could understand.

Now, as for what I find sexy...right there with you with the English (Ralph still, my heart!!!)accents having sex appeal aplenty. I don't think I always thought so, though. Pretty much, finding myself in the thick of the Buffyverse/Spikelove did that for me. *Not only that, but I'm now well versed in British slang. I smile to myself everytime I watch some movie made in the U.K., and hear all the familiar slang.

In my 20's, I had a period where all my boyfriends seemed to be European - Greek, German, Austrian, and even a Swiss boy *a short, but very memorable time when we were both transplants in in San Diego, him in San Francisco.* For some reason, I just think European guys got me so much more than American guys. But, that's another story.

It is funny, when you're the one with the accent that stands out. Nobody every thinks 'they' have the accent, do they?

Funny story about full/four. Sheesh. Some people are just so thick, they can't 'hear' anything else unless it's spoken exactly like they're used to hearing it.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Jolene said...

i guess an Australian accent to me is hot and sexy.. just seems like i see a very rugged outdoorsy man when i hear australian men talk.. grass is always greener somewhere else i guess..
i think it just sparks an imagination of a sexy life we havent lead and wish we adventure of sorts...

2:47 PM  
Blogger Rae Morgan said...

Well talk to LSB Mike sometime. He is Irish. I love Irish. Pierce Brosnan anyone? Sean Bean?

Yep, accents are cool. Or hot, depending on your mood.


3:48 PM  
Blogger Amy S. said...

I love men with accents. Heath Ledger and Ed from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I love his accent.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Cherie J said...

I understand the appreciaition of a good accent. Being a former New Yorker who now lives in the South I really appreciate the difference in accents. Even though my husband was born and raised in the South and he is cajun on his mother's side, he really doesn't have a strong accent. Once in awhile he will have a little bit of a drawl which I think is so cute but I teased him that if he could speak in a cajun accent I would just melt and be putty in his hands. I remember meeting some of his family in Opelousas, LA and how much I enjoyed listening to them talk. So I can honestly say I understand where you are coming from

6:13 PM  
Blogger Pamk said...

OOh I love a good Irish accent. But I fell in love with a australian accent when I was in college. Where i worked we had a guy that came in at least one a week with one. I could have listened to him all day as long as I didn't have to look at him lol He was way old or at the time any way.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Danaid said...

Goodness, I've always been a sucker for a British accent. There are a few others that yank my chain, but it's the Brit that does me in every time!

I was recently watching an episode from the tv series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in which the writers temporarily made a scholarly role-model character into a 'Brit Punk', complete w/ dodgey slang. Oh my! He went from dependable to 'break me off a piece of that,' in a moment! *winks*

My problem is that when I'm around someone w/ an accent (British or Irish, especially) I unconsciously start to pick it up and project it back. It's absolutely not intentional but happens more often than not. As one might sit on their hands to prevent stealing, I have to bite my lip to keep quiet.

(Too off topic?!)

Whatever the case, I too raise my glass and cheer the accents that drift into my life. ;)

7:29 PM  
Anonymous missus_grace said...

Hey Vivien, I'm also married to a guy with an accent; he's from Nicaragua. It seems like the longer we're married the less I understand him! Good thing he's so patient with me.

Although I love him dearly, his accent doesn't turn me on. In fact, he's fairly taciturn, so he doesn't talk too much. But when he reads out loud to our children or to me, I have to keep from laughing because he sounds JUST LIKE Ricky Ricardo. Thank goodness my name isn't Lucy.

8:31 PM  
Blogger LadyVampire2u said...

Accents are a turn on to alot of people. The rolling tones of an accent seem to affect some part of us with the beautiful, musical like quality they have. I admit I love it. Heck, the man I am going to marry has an accent also.


8:44 PM  
Anonymous Tuesdaywriter said...

I think one of the reasons I love accents so much-and especially British accents, is that I associate them with eloquent words and intelligence. Maybe I've seen one two many Jane Austen novels in play or movie form, but hearing witty banter and thoughtful prose come from a British accent makes me feel like I am another person living in another time and place.

10:15 PM  

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