Pleasant or Annoying? We Break Down Montana’s Whistling Habits
It was recently brought to my attention that Montanans are apparently more prone to whistling than people in other states. The topic was raised by a new co-worker who is originally from the midwest. We'll call her "Rachel". Rachel said she's never encountered so many male co-workers who whistle at work. "Why do all you guys whistle?", she asked.
This brings up important whistling questions. Do men whistle more than women? Do Montanans whistle more than other states? Why do some people whistle all the time?
Over 70% of the guys at our office are allegedly whistlers.
According to Rachel's observation, it appears that well over half of the dudes in our building are bonafide, no-apologies, we-can't-help-it whistlers. It was only after she pointed it out that I realized, I too, fall into the whistler category. For me, it's apparently some kind of subconscious tick, that just pops out. I don't even realize it's happening. And don't get me started on the best place to whistle at work fact (the men's room). The tile in there provides the best whistle echo ever.
Men whistle more than women.
There has been surprisingly little research done on whistling. A 2011 research paper titled Whistling: Yet Another Gender Difference noted that men generally whistle more frequently than women and of the women that do whistle, they decrease their amount of whistling as they age.
Why do some people whistle all the time?
Humans have been whistling for thousands of years. In fact, one researcher has found 70 groups of people around the globe that incorporate whistling in communication (source BBC). For one Himilayan tribe, whistle-speak is often a form of teenage flirtation. A University of Chico study concluded that many people whistle to distract the brain from overload.
Not everyone enjoys hearing the sounds of whistling at work. If you suffer from a condition called misophonia, or "selective sound sensitivity syndrome", the sound of certain annoying things (like humming, whistling, a fork scratching on a plate, etc) can drive you crazy. The Financial Times even wrote an article outlining what you can do if someone's whistling is driving you nuts at work.