Fausta's blog

Faustam fortuna adiuvat
The official blog of Fausta's Blog Talk Radio show.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hitchens searches for "the sweet surrender of female laughter",

and he gets mine!

Hitchens ponders Why Women Aren't Funny
Be your gender what it may, you will certainly have heard the following from a female friend who is enumerating the charms of a new (male) squeeze: "He's really quite cute, and he's kind to my friends, and he knows all kinds of stuff, and he's so funny … " (If you yourself are a guy, and you know the man in question, you will often have said to yourself, "Funny? He wouldn't know a joke if it came served on a bed of lettuce with sauce béarnaise.") However, there is something that you absolutely never hear from a male friend who is hymning his latest (female) love interest: "She's a real honey, has a life of her own … [interlude for attributes that are none of your business] … and, man, does she ever make 'em laugh."
In this article, Hitchens is, indeed, to use his own words, very funny, generating - at least in me,
real, out-loud, head-back, mouth-open-to-expose-the-full-horseshoe-of-lovely-teeth, involuntary, full, and deep-throated mirth.
However, one thing he failed to notice is that women like men that are funny because men, who are normally guarded, are very revealing when they are funny.

Here's the situation (listen up if you're visiting from Planet Oprah):

Guys don't like to talk about their feelings.

But a guy will tell you a lot about himself and what he thinks about you, and how comfortable he is when he's with you when he says something that makes you laugh. He may not be trying to be funny, but you can find great honesty in humor.

And then there's the fact that the more comfortable a man is with somebody, the more things there are that become fair game to laugh about.

I mean, what woman wouldn't want a guy like this? (and he's got the beer chilling, too!)

So let's thank all the fun and funny guys who like "the sweet surrender of female laughter".

This woman doesn't think Hitchens is funny at all, and neither did her commenters.

What say you?

Update, Saturday 9 December Reading Jeremayakovka's lovely post, Charm School: Fausta-, Dorothy Parker-, and Grandmother-Style, I must clarify that I place a premium not on honesty as of itself, but in the comfort zone that brings in humor, self-disclosure, and a sense of fun. You can't have fun when uncomfortable.
And Jeremayakovka's right when he talks about charm.

(technorati tags )


At 9:28 AM, Blogger Greta (Hooah Wife) said...

Quick wit, a good laugh, and a sense of humor are admirous qualities in BOTH SEXES!!!

Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Eliane is setting up 2 friends & they each ask her to describe the other.

She tells the lady that George has a great sense of humor & she says right off the bat - is he ugly? And same went the other side.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

It's hard for me to know what to say about this, Fausta.

I agree with many of his observations, but at the same time as a woman and a writer, I find some of them rather depressing. I hate the way that sounds, but having thought it over for several minutes, it represents what I think so I suppose it will have to stand.

Years ago one of my sons was in eighth grade and had a crush on a lovely girl who, as far as I was able to tell, liked him back. I asked him why he wouldn't take her to the school dance. He replied, "She's smarter than I am."

I felt the same way the same sense of dismay then as I did reading Hitch's statement that men don't want women to be funny b/c they don't want the competition. WTF?

I thought humor was about enjoying life, not one-upmanship.

Or maybe this is a sign of my general humorlessness :p

At 1:09 PM, Blogger adrian said...

That's a great commercial, one of a series of which here's my favourite.

Bloody Aussie men.

At 1:14 PM, Blogger adrian said...

Oh, and this one too...

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Bleepless said...

Q: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: That's not funny.

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

Hitchens is dead on target.

It is a feature of the masculine psyche that we men keep our emotions on a very short leash. There are sound evolutionary reasons for this. As the dispensers of violence for the human race, to unfetter ourselves would be disastrous for general tranquility.

Humor, however, has an exemption. It's our release. It's always about pain or embarrassment to someone. It defuses tension. And it can be damnably hard to pull off, depending as it does on exactly the right context, characters, and timing. (Hey, have you heard the one about the tour bus full of Chartered Accountants that got stuck in a rock slide at the foot of Kilimanjaro? Neither have I.)

To essay a joke is to take a risk. It involves the depiction of pain, so if it fails to come off, it leaves the jokester looking cruel. But we take the chance, not only because it's our emotional safety valve, but also because that nice lady across the table deserves to know that we're not all bullets and bombs and hobnailed boots all the time. Who knows, she might even smile.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

Hitchens was fine.

As to the idiots who excoriated Vanity Fair, I say this:

Why is Hitchens less offensive in Vanity Fair than Mullah's at Harvard and other public forum?

I guess being part of regime where the promise to 'finish what Hitler started' is perfectly acceptable in some circles.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Fausta said...

she might even smile
I liked the Kilimanjaro joke, Francis.

Here's an engineer joke:
A nun, an accountant, and an engineer arrive in Scotland by bus. They see a black sheep. The nun says, "Look! The sheep in Scotland are black."
The accountant says, "No Sister, you can only say that there's at least one black sheep in Scotland".
To which the engineer clarified, "Actually, all you can say is that there's one sheep in Scotland that is black on at least one side".

This also proves that Hitchens is right.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

Not bad, Fausta, but here's one you might not have heard:

A mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, and a software engineer were driving home from a ski trip, down a steep mountain road, when the car's brakes failed. The mechanical engineer, who was at the wheel, exerted all his skill and driver's acumen, scraping the car repeatedly against the mountainside to slow it. When the car finally reached the bottom of the slope, he was able to bring it gently to a halt.

The three got out, quite shaken, and discussed what to do next.

The mechanical engineer said, "Well, I have my Swiss Army knife with me, so I'll just strip down the brake system, find the fault, and correct it."

The electrical engineer said, "No, that's premature. Let me trace the electrical system first, to see why none of the warning lights went on."

The software engineer said, "Wait a minute, guys. Don't you think we ought to push the car back up to the top of the mountain, get in, and see if it happens again?"

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a software engineer.)

At 4:10 PM, Blogger JMK2006 said...

Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Fausta. This subject should be tender and evoke many a smile. It should - for all the effort put into it, that is.

I tried to tie in Fausta's post with Dorothy Parker's if not humorless then very wry (and weary) poetry. I think the secret is charm. Not guile and not seduction, just charm. That - in the right spirit - will elicit the humor, the honesty, the pathos, etc. that we're all looking for (or should be looking for).

At 11:49 PM, Blogger JMK2006 said...

Also recall the eulogy scene in Mr. Saturday Night (for Mr. SN's mother). Hitchens obviously never considered it as he wrote his piece.


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