Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Start spreading the news: New Yorkers have the sexiest accents?

British Airways, in what I suspect was a completely non-scientific survey of UK-based travelers, found that the sexiest American accent belongs to New Yorkers.

Say what?

Let’s face it, the accent most closely associated with New York is that of large and small screen portrayals of Italian Americans, mostly those associated with the Mafia.

From Mean Streets, to The Godfather, to Goodfellas, to The Sopranos,

It’s Luca Brasi sleeping with the fishes. It’s the car talk patter of Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. It’s Tony Soprano ordering some gabagool. (That’s capicola to you, and yes, I do know that Tony Soprano and the gang at the Badabing were from New Jersey.)

Maybe they were thinking about the posh flutey voices of the one-percenters in Depression era movies. You know, the ones swanning around in white tie and tails while everyone else was selling pencils and apples on street corners. Katherine Hepburn’s plumby haute-Connecticut voice.

Is that what people think of as New Yorker sexy?

In either case, I don’t quite see it. Or hear it.

What other New York accents are there? The Marx Brothers? The Three Stooges? Howard Cosell?

I also don’t quite understand why anyone would say that the Boston accent sounds the most intelligent, which was another finding of the British Airways survey.

Just who do they have in mind?

Cabot Lodge Saltonstall IV? The ultra refined, jut-jawed tones spoken in Brahmin drawing rooms or at Locke-Obers on the day the Harvard-Yale game was played in Cambridge. (Fight fiercely, Harvard!)

Were they thinking the Kennedys? Hmmmm. I’ve lived in these parts my entire life, and the only people on the face of the earth who actually had a Kennedy accent were the Kennedys.

Surely survey respondents, in designating Boston the most intelligent accent, weren’t thinking about the classic blue collar Southie way of speech.

Yous know. The local vocal yous heah goin’ and comin’ which some of us think sounds cretinous, but which others (othas?) seem to find wicked f-in’ pissah.

Or maybe they were just thinking of me and my friends. Intelligent, well-spoken Bostonians all!

We may not be sexy, but we’ve got brains!

1 comment:

Frederick Wright said...

Wholeheartedly agree - the brains of Boston men make them the sexiest, by NYC guys aren't too far behind with their wit, razor sharp and honed. The accents? Not so much. For that you should go to Ireland, especially along the Antrim coast where neo-Posh British mingles with classic Gaelic brogue. I was entranced.