Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Humour - Not For Women?

You'd be perfectly entitled to think that, at the ripe old age of forty three, these bombshells wouldn't hit me anymore. It's not that I know everything, more that I feel as though I learn things that I really should have figured out when I was in my twenties. Perhaps the advent of the internet and the easy access to knowledge and information has got a lot to do with this. Or maybe it's just that I'm intellectually insecure, if that term exists.

This time I can't blame it on the boogie internet, it's more that the vague hint of a theory came to me, like a sharp and focused mist, out of thin air. For fear of being attacked, ridiculed and isolated by any of the female brand of readers I must state that this is not meant as a sexist or antagonistic post, it's a genuine inkling that I'd really like to pursue and discuss with intelligent, perhaps some not so intelligent, people.

What dawned on me the other day is a simple, obvious but barely acknowledged fact; women have a totally different approach to a sense of humour to the way us men approach it.

What do I mean?

Well, to put it a bit more bluntly, by and large, women just don't have humour like men. It's not as important to the everyday woman as it is to the man.

Here, like in the margin in an exam, is all my working out:

Us men, apart from the really serious ones like Dinidu, amble through life attempting to be funny. We crack unfunny joke after unfunny joke in our attempts to make each other laugh. Many of us look for humour and laughter in just about any situation and take great pride in our ability to be as quick witted as Michael Schumacher driving around a German joke factory. Of course, if you're a regular here, you'll know that I'm not one of these fellows.

A night out for men with other men MUST involve jokes. Jokes about farting are preferred but ones about belching, sex, women and religion are also acceptable. Women probably don't know this as their presence will usually make one of these groups of men change their behaviour, just a little bit.

If I'm with a group of blokes we're usually all battling to be funny. Of course I'm invariably up there on the podium at the end of the evening but there's always a race going on. When with women, I find that I'm often the only person attempting humour, usually unsuccessfully.

I don't claim to be a representative sample of all menkind but, in my own life I know and have known many women. Some are brilliantly intelligent, some are highly stimulating conversationalists, some are great fun and some are all of the above. There have been stupid ones, sexy ones and there have been funny ones.

But, the funny ones I can count on the fingers of one hand, a hand with two or three fingers missing at that. On the other hand, when I look at my male friends, sometimes referred to as men, the majority of them I would consider to be funny.

The dating/romance/partner, whatever you want to call it, thing is interesting too. Studies and serious articles in intellectual magazines like Hi!! tell us that the ability to make his woman laugh is possibly the most important attribute in a potential Mr Right. Certainly it's way up there in the rankings, perhaps after "looking exactly like George Clooney".

On the man's side, we tend to look for a woman we can laugh with. That's the official line. The truth is that "laugh with" means "laugh at our jokes", even the most feeble ones. We want a woman with a sense of humour, not one who can tread on our territory by coming up with jokes herself.

This may be the key to the phenomenon. Territory and manliness.

Comediennes are often funny. I can watch Jo Brand and other comediennes and merrily laugh my sides off. I can sit there and guffaw at their jokes with the best of them. But I'd be quite scared at meeting one, let alone dating one.

Taller than me? No probs, most women are anyway.

Smarter than me? See above.

Better looking than me? It's boring now but see above again.

Funnier than me? Hmmm...now that's a serious threat to my manhood.

Ladies, Gents, what do you think?

Are women just not funny?

Do men just think they're funny?

Or am I just talking total tosh?

Answers on a comment please.


Indyana said...

You are talking total tosh,and men just think they're funny...OK?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Indyana - Why do you say it's tosh? The fact that most men think they're funny is part of the concept. I reckon we strive to be funny in a way that women don't.

Indyana said...

Well,most men I find are in fact rather serious,while some do try to be funny,they consider themselves the king of comedy, probably something to do with that male ego thing!I didn't mean any offence!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Indyana - No, no offence taken at all, I'm very interested in people's views on this. I'm beginning to think that humour is a big part of the male ego, the root of all the problems.

Indyana said...

Well, if some men(or even women) use it,unconsciously or not,for laughing at others just so as to feel better abt themselves,I guess that's an ego problem alright! But sometimes laughing too much at oneself also can seem like compliment mongering!OK now I'm talking Tooo much!

Jerry said...

Egad, EVERYONE does it?


Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Indyana - I think laughing at others to feel better about oneself is one form of humour, one that I'm not a fan of but is very common. However, I don't think all humour is of that variety.

Jerry - Pls explain, don't know what you're referring to.

Gypsy said...

Hmm interesting post, R. I don't know about anyone else, but I think humour is hugely sexy. I love being with someone who I can laugh endlessly with, and believe me, I laugh A LOT. In that regard, I would be the perfect girlfriend, in your book :P

Haha. Other than that, I think the main difference is this attitude with men - they feel that they MUST be funny or witty or massively sarcastic. It works sometimes, and other times it just doesn't. Women don't feel the need to impress someone with their humour. They use it if and when it tickles (!) their fancy. Not saying either way is better - it just is. Of course this again is a generalization.

I also think it has more to do with where you live than gender. People are just funnier in Britain or in Australia than they are in Sri Lanka. I don't know - just another way of looking at it I guess.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Gyppo - thank you for the long comment. It was all looking so good until you said that Australians are funny!

Makuluwo said...

I was thinking along the same lines a few days ago actually.. o_O
See here.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Makulowo - Apologies, I hadn't read your post and would certainly have credited you if you'd given me the idea. I only hope that I hadn't read it, then forgotten it and fooled myself into thinking the idea was mine. These things do happen at my age!

Either way, it seems like we were both thinking along the same lines.

niroshinie said...

Dude you think gals arent funny? You should hear a bunch of gals dissecting a poor bloke!Why do you think girls giggle so much? :D IMHO mostly gals are funny with other gals - but not in front of guys. This may be because what you noted - maybe gals instinctively know guys dont like them to be super witty? hmm..

Sam said...

Boys have to be funny to be loved. But girls don’t have to take such a terrible path. It is as simple as that.

Cadence said...

Gypsy has it SPOT ON!

Makuluwo said...

Pff dude don't apologize, I'm sure a lot of people think about these things all the time! :P

Sam makes an interesting point though.. maybe society is such that women in general just have no need to charm the crowd with humour (it's rare a woman is complimented on her humour as opposed to her other assets), so they have no need to sharpen their comedic skills.

Men however have comparatively fewer means by which they can appear charming (humour being one of them), if I may be so sexist. :D

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

I think this is the crux of it. Us men have to resort to humour, probably because we don't have all the charms women possess. Damn!

Makuluwo said...

You sound sarcastic! :D
Well maybe men aren't lacking in charms but rather, women are usually impressed by good humour, while humour isn't usually the foremost thing a man looks for in a woman.

Java Jones said...

I know some women who are a lot funnier than some men - and vice versa, so it is difficult to generalize.

Gerald said...

I meant ALL men resort to humour to impress others.

David Blacker said...

Hey, RD, I was thinking about this after you mentioned it the other day. I'm beginning to think that it's not that women don't have a sense of humour, just that that it's totally different to what men think of as humour.

For instance, men think jokes are funny. When a bunch of guys get together, we tell jokes. Do women do that? Not really.

Have you noticed that when a guy tells a joke, he KNOWS it's funny; there's no doubt in him. But when a chick tells a joke, she'll look at you and wait for you to laugh. It's as if she BELIEVES it's funny, but doesn't really know for sure.

So all that suggests is that women don't necessarily see jokes as funny.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Makuluwo - No, really. I mean it. I think, very seriously, that men are so much more basic and primeval than women. Humour is now some kind of indication of manliness, unless you're Brad Pitt.

Java - I know a few funny women also, but do you think it's fair to say that men try more to be funny than most women? That it matters more to us.

Jerry - Ok, understood, and agreed with.

DB - Yes, or that humour is a much more fundamental part of being a man than it is in being a woman. This has made me think a lot, and I reckon part of it is that we (the average man) are not as evolved as women. I suppose we should admit it. Part of the paradox lies in the fact that men tell jokes to each other, as you sadi, women don't (we think) but many want a man who'll make them laugh.

David Blacker said...

I'm not sure "evolved" is the right word. It takes intellect to have humour. Certain higher animals like dogs, dolphins, chimps, crows, etc have a sense of humour. Doesn't mean they'll laugh at a joke though. I think women are just different.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

DB - That's interesting, I didn't know animals had a SOH. I guess evolved may be the wrong word yes, but men are more basic, would that be more accurate?

David Blacker said...

Again, I'm not sure about 'basic'. It makes it seem comparative, and I don't think that's fair. Most women enjoy shopping. Most men are bored by this. Games of strategy like chess are mostly enjoyed by men, but women find it uninteresting. However most brainless online shooter games also appeal to men while women fail to see the point. Does it mean one mind is more complex or basic than the other? No, just different.

I guess mars is pretty different to Venus.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

DB - Yes, fair point, perhaps comparisons are fruitless. Maybe it's just best to recognise that the sexes are different and that's that.

I'm going shopping on Sat, where shall we meet?

David Blacker said...

Can I hire a Russian hooker to stand in for me?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

DB - Hmmm..ok, but not Mikhail, that one with the beard again.

Lee Avery said...

I was just having a heated debate with my girlfriend that stemmed from what she considered a sick joke on the tv. I just commented that it wasn't sick and told her that in the all male environment to which she is not privy that the joke she was offended by was tame by comparison. She became very defensive and stated she worked with men all her working life and wouldn't concede that men, as I'm 100% certain women do, have a world that only men are invited to. I think perhaps it is born out of a primeval necessity to find humour whilst in a dark and dangerous place and not just to make potential mates laugh. The fact is, however politically correct a man is trying to appear, 99% of men find 99% of women unfunny. Humour is the most important and endearing quality between men and it is quite insulting when its importance is put down or belittled usually by people with no sense of humour or an inability to make people laugh however hard they try. Most female comediennes jokes are telegraphed, regurgitated and predictable. I sound like a woman hater but I swear that I'm not and I do find woman very funny but not usually when they intending to be so !