“Unless you’re like, already a celebrity, you’re not going to be successful in voice acting unless you have a variety of voices.”
I nodded my head at the grown woman who was speaking to me in a voice probably best suited for an animated dolphin. It was the fourth voice she had used so far, and we had only been at the restaurant for half an hour. I took a large sip of my beer. How could this have gone so wrong?
I had matched with a kinda cute girl on tinder, and after talking to her for a week, I suggested that we meet up. She immediately recommended a sushi place that had an unlimited beer special for $25. It was literally my perfect idea of a date. Even if she ended up having a bad personality or was a catfishing bridge troll, drinking a ton of beer is something I’d be okay with doing on my own anyway. Plus she had talked a lot about her voice acting job, which sounded super interesting compared to the usual accountant or law school student that I date.
Stella and I agreed to meet outside of the East Village restaurant. I was early, having to time the Long Island Railroad trip so I wouldn’t be late, where she was able to just hop on the 6 from the Bronx. The venue was quaint, definitely not too busy for a Saturday evening. When she arrived, we had the “wow you do/don’t look different than I thought” conversation that occurs every time you meet someone from the internet and both agreed that we got what we expected. She was a 23-year old Puerto Rican, skin tone matching mine exactly but with lighter, wavy long hair. I was feeling a good vibe from her, until the waiter informed us that they didn’t do the unlimited beer special anymore. Stella asked the waiter if we could have a moment and used her first voice of the night, Reggie Rocket. “I didn’t even really want sushi that much. This is a bummer.”
Up until then, I was thinking that having sex with a voice actress could be pretty hot. Like a slightly less weird version of people who cosplay at comic-cons, dressing up as characters and boinking in costume and persona in the hotel after. But what I forgot was that for every Jasmine from Aladdin, there’s someone out there voicing Diglett. Fucking Diglett.
Unfortunately for me, her voice acting repertoire was mostly children… and like, gremlins or something. She had a few okay normal voices, including (what i hope) was her natural voice, high and soft with an ever so slight Bronx Latina flair. But the voices she insisted on using throughout the date were things that would have me rushing out of the bedroom if she ever happened to talk dirty with them. I had asked her to try Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender which she did a great job at, but wasn’t practiced enough to hold a conversation with. So my “Let Quinn Dominate Me in The Bedroom” fantasies started to seem exceedingly unlikely to occur.
After some deliberation, we decided to stay at the sushi place but barhop around the Lower East Side since we wouldn’t be able to get our booze fix there. Stella’s voices were irritating, but I really did enjoy hearing about how voice-over unions worked and how she got her start, doing fan dubs of Japanese Anime. Maybe she took my interest in her career path as, “I definitely want to hear you speak like Finding Nemo for the rest of the night.” I was drinking a lot, thinking that maybe I was too uptight. If I got a stronger buzz, I would start laughing at her voices with her instead of taking them so seriously. But she was matching my drinks, and the drunker she got, the wilder her voices became. Bad idea.
She went from childlike teasy voices once every few sentences to loud, dramatic, monologues that couldn’t possibly be mistaken for her natural tone. People started staring at us. I began to think it was some sort of cruel joke. Stella couldn’t have possibly thought I was enjoying her voices. But after I strongly suggested that we find somewhere else to go after she probably convinced the patrons of the third bar that she was Steve Irwin’s replacement on The Crocodile Hunter, I realized that she was just super fucked up and definitely shouldn’t have been trying to keep up with an anxious fratboy who’s worried that people think he’s on a date with a freak.
Stella was stumbling drunk now, and I wanted nothing more than to go home, but there was no way I was abandoning a girl who at this point literally thought she was in an Australian Nature Documentary. I told her we should stop drinking and she agreed. She didn’t seem like she was gonna be sick or anything, so I figured it wouldn’t take too long for her to come back to her senses. So I walked with her north, along the 4/5/6 so at any time she could get on the subway and go home. I talked as much as I possibly could, to avoid hearing another of her voices until we reached 33rd street, where I told her that I’d have to turn to get home.
“I was kind of crazy, wasn’t I,” Stella said in her normal voice.
I blinked. “You’re a really convincing Australian.”
We kissed goodnight, and told I her to text me so I know she got home safe, which she did.
I never spoke to her again.