Whistling is the sound of jauntiness leaking out of your body. People who walk around whistling are like human ice cream vans advertising the good things inside them with a merry tune. They are also assumed to be two sandwiches short of a picnic.
It’s impossible to be depressed when you’re whistling but it’s very easy to depress other people. Tuneless whistling is an audible sign that the whistler’s brain is idling in neutral. It’s also the sound you’re left with if you remove chewing gum from the kind of person who chews gum.
You can measure job satisfaction by the amount of whistling you do while you work. Not surprisingly, it’s difficult to imagine a whistling lawyer. Builders are famous for whistling. When a woman passes a building site, they will often whistle at her to draw attention to the quality of their brickwork, concrete pouring etc.
Men seem to be better at whistling than women. That’s because men have a deeper fascination with their bodies as musical instruments. When the young woman is developing her social skills, the young man will be seeing what noises he can emit from various holes in his body. A powerful whistle is one of those things that every man is quietly very pleased to own. However, at crucial moments like hailing a taxi, men can suffer from embarrassing whistle dysfunction when it comes out as a feeble blowing sound.
There are many different whistles. The simple lip whistle is where you arrange your mouth round an invisible straw and then blow rather than suck. Advanced whistling is done with two fingers in the mouth and can direct a sheep dog at half a mile. The Tibetan six fingered whistle can drop a yak at a hundred paces.
Whistling is the lowest form of music. Even humming is better because you can pretend you’re actually singing but don’t know the words. You’ll notice that there is precious little whistling in classical opera. Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle has absolutely no whistling and is much the poorer for it. If there were a minor character who came on and whistled for a bit, the Twilight of the Gods wouldn’t seem such a big deal.