With Nothing Less Than What You Started: Chapter 6, Excerpt 5


…………………….Why Humor? Humor is for the childish, and the immature. That’s why comedic movies are called lowbrow, while melodramas are considered to be for the thinking and sophisticated audience, right?

 

This touches back on to why I do not use the word confident, even though most people reading this book would probably understand my meaning better, instead of getting hung up on the word cockiness. I choose cockiness because while the foundation of any healthily cocky person is going to be 90% confidence, or an assurance in who they are and what they are capable of, cockiness is that 10% on top that adds a bit of humor to the game. Humor is often a necessity when it comes to creating attraction in a woman.

 

Humor is one of those phenomenon that shows up all around us, but is really overlooked as far as how much power and influence it has in our lives. Yet we all have a slightly different take on what is humorous. While you don’t have to look farther than a 5th grade classroom to find those who consider jokes about flatulence humorous, there are those of us that would scowl at such a base notion as laughing at bodily functions. But perhaps what they find comedic is awkward or situational humor. That’s what much of our modern ‘sitcoms’ (situational comedies) are based on today. Still others don’t find the light-hearted humorous and they gravitate toward what some call ‘dark humor’ which is often characterized by the irony of a tragedy or the disgusting.

 

For as many types of humor as there is, there seems to be just as many definitions, but all humor seems to have a certain common thread: irony. Irony, and Juxtaposition are the backbone of pretty much anything that is funny. Keep this in mind because it is key for producing appropriate humor with all others and especially women. Nobody quite knows why, and forgive me for using such a cliché but they often help when conveying a point, but seeing a man in a suit walking down the street and safely arriving to his destination is not funny. Seeing an elderly man who has trouble walking and is wearing shabby clothing walking down the street and safely making it to his destination is also not funny. Seeing that same elderly man who already has trouble walking, step on a banana peel and fall is again, not funny. But seeing the well dressed man in the suit, step on a banana peel and slip and fall suddenly is funny (told you it would be so cliché it would be painful). Why is this? Irony. Let’s look at each scenario.

 

  1. In the first scenario we see a well-dressed man, presumably fit, and sturdy, walking down the street with purpose, confidence and a suit. In our culture suits, (when worn well) imply success, power, purpose, and confidence. That’s why women love to see men in suits and men who understand that love to wear them. Now it would be completely normal, and predictable for a man conveying all these qualities, to walk purposefully down the street and arrive safely at his destination. That whole scenario fits into the narrative of his life and situation that we as humans instantly build upon seeing him. When things fit and are normal. It’s not funny. Not that there’s anything wrong with normal. It’s just that we’d be laughing all day long at everything if what was considered expected and normal was funny.
  2. An elderly man who has trouble walking and is dressed shabbily. The narrative we build in our minds about this person tells us he’s had a hard life, or perhaps he’s so old his body is giving out. Maybe he had an accident, and doesn’t have much money to get help or to dress better. He walks slowly but he makes it to his destination. This isn’t funny either because we expect to see an elderly man walk slowly, which he does. And even though he walks slowly, we still expect and even hope for him that he reaches his destination. If this scene conjures anything at all it is not comedy, but a slight pity, and a desire to help.
  3. The elderly man who, on top of not being able to get around easily, now steps on a banana peel of a piece of trash, and falls down. This is certainly not funny for many reasons. The man is elderly and is presumably achy and perhaps in pain already. His clothes tell us he’s not in a great situation in life already, and slipping and falling is like the universe kicking a guy when he’s down. This situation also fits in our narrative because at seeing an older person who has trouble getting around, we are already on our guard and fear the fact that they may fall at any moment. They obviously can’t move the way a younger or more agile person can move and a small bump or obstacle could have dire consequences. This only evokes a higher sense of pity, empathy, and even fear. Not humor.
  4. Back to the well dressed, perhaps businessman, walking confidently down the street. In our minds he is sure of himself and sure of his steps. He has power, money, and perhaps great influence. Maybe not, but either way he’s doing well for himself. He steps on a banana peel and falls down. He doesn’t hurt himself too bad, but goes down nonetheless. Now this is funny. It is funny because it is ironic and does not fit the story in our heads. Confidence and strength and power is the opposite of falling. So when you see this pillar of strength, do something that doesn’t fit with the idea of strength, that dissonance often is interpreted as funny.

 

Now that is very very basic, but if you can understand that and keep that in mind, you can see the humor in many different situations and learn to create it when necessary.

 

But unless my goal is to win a woman’s heart through becoming the class clown, why would I want to create humor? That’s simple, because what most of us don’t realize, as we go about our days laughing at some things and being offended by others, is that there is actually a strong correlation between a persons ability to create humor, especially rhetorical humor, and their ability to make personal connections and lead. And whether you are attempting to woo a self-proclaimed neo-feminist, or an old school southern belle, one thing all women are looking for at some level is a man who can connect to them on a personal level and one who can lead them. Just like a fancy car implies money, humor implies leadership……………………

…………………………..

Being able to make a person laugh, especially a stranger, implies that you know how to hit the sweet spot of interpersonal relations to where you understand where the other person is coming from, and can create a psychological and rhetorical connection with them to the point that you know what they will find offensive and have avoided it, but that you know what they will find ironic and funny. And because funny can mean different things to different people, being able to be funny to any particular person, implies a certain type of intimacy with the way their mind works, as opposed to attempting to being funny to all people, which is nearly impossible to do and usually fails. After all it takes a least some level of social skill to know the difference between whether a fart joke will illicit a laugh or whether you should go with the tried and true ‘spelling “hello” upside down on your calculator.” Depending on your audience, both will get you either crickets or applause, or if you’re really lucky, boos.

 

Now while a presidential candidate or a rehearsed speech may seem to be miles away from the idea of speaking with a woman, it’s actually not too dissimilar. Interjecting humor in an appropriate manner with a woman can show her the same things that a presidential candidate is trying to convey in his speech: that you care about her enough to try to understand where she is coming from, that you’ve actually succeeded in seeing where she’s coming from enough to know what would be ironic to her but not in an offensive manner, that if you are perceptive enough to understand her then you may be perceptive enough to understand other aspects of life that she would count on you to know how to navigate. Humor also shows that you have the gal to take a calculated risk, and that you have the creativity to make something new and fresh, that works out of observations taken from your environment. And a shared laugh can create a sense of oneness, even if just for a moment……………………

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1 Comment

  1. That’s really insightful exposition. Commenting on comedy is hard because it’s so subjective to most people. This hits allot of nails on their head.

    One thing I’d like your opinion on is this. I find that what sitcoms and movies are teaching us, increasingly, is that humor at the expense of another individual is the surest way to a laugh. Here’s a scenario. Guy and girl are together at a party. They are talking with a group of friends. Guy makes a joke about the woman taking longer than Charlie sheen trying to solve Einstein’s theory of relativity to get ready. Friends laugh, guy is accepted as “funny” he’s in. Meanwhile, girl is cursing his very soul. And vice versa.

    Sarcasm is too often mistaken for wit. Cutting someone down is always easier than building them up. Yet, this is what we’re told should be acceptable in relationships.

    I think it’s a big part of why so many of them fail.

    Like

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