As someone who does radio things, I have occasionally met people who have only heard my voice, and not seen it directly coming out of my mouth. I find these interactions usually disconcerting, because:
a) I think that my voice is much more impressive and assured than my body language (I never know what to do with my hands, and I used to wear a lot of clothes that didn’t fit)
b) People usually comment that I “look different from how I sound”, which usually means they are disappointed. (I went on a single date with someone who only knew me from the radio, which was disastrous - I do not wish to elaborate on this point)
More than anything, I am a huge consumer of radio. I used to listen to about 20 hours a week, though I will have to cut back now with grad school work. And I am almost always surprised to see a voice that I have mentally created a person around coming out of some other body I hadn’t visualized. (This last sentence makes sense, right?)
Today, I attended a panel hosted by Sam Tanenhaus, who also hosts the excellent New York Times Book Review podcast. I had deliberately not looked him up before now, for the reason that he might contradict the image of him I had built up in my mind. As it turns out, he is almost exactly how I had mentally pictured him. This has never happened before.
(For reference, here he is, appearing on Charlie Rose)
Here is my question - why do we create images of people we only know from hearing them? This is not just for radio listeners - I also develop images of people who I have only communicated with via email, or whose writing I have read in some other medium. This is common, right? I’m not alone on this one?