Sorry ladies, the news is in. A study of 80 dudes somewhere in America, as reported by world class science journal The Metro, concluded that men don’t want you to have a sense of humour. Well, they do want you to have a sense of humour, but one which means you laugh at all their jokes rather than coming up with your own.
It’s a shame, because for so many years we straight girls have been desperately trying to earn the right to write ‘GSOH’ on our dating profiles. Guys might complain that we’re taking an hour to pick an outfit before a night out, but they don’t realise that while they’re tapping watches and rattling car keys we’ve spent forty-five minutes putting the finishing touches to our favourite version of that Aristocrats story.
I’m joking, of course, but you’re not obliged to laugh.
Here’s the deal: some people are hilariously funny to me. Their humour gels well with mine, probably because they grew up on the same diet of Rik Mayall and Viz magazine. Other people are unutterably tedious, and I find their jokes about as funny as an Arrested Development marathon.
See that bit about Arrested Development? I will probably get more shit from people who love it than I usually get from “Men’s Rights Activists” when I write about feminism. For a very good reason: if comedy matters to you, it really fucking matters. I’ve known people who’d break up with a partner if they didn’t like Python, or stop speaking to them for a month because they couldn’t agree on the best episode of Red Dwarf (I probably wouldn’t dump you over a Red Dwarf argument but I would hit you hard and fast with a major – and I mean major – leaflet campaign).
There are loads of couples for whom making each other giggle is fairly low on the priority list. They share loads of other cool shit – comfort, great sex, a sense of adventure, a passion for tasting all the different cheeses they can buy from the local organic market, whatever.
Humour is like sex to me, and it matters as much and for the same reasons: it’s personal, it’s powerful, it’s something raw and open and intimate. If you do things to me in bed that elicit a shuddering climax, you’ll have my attention. The endorphins, the connection, the sheer physical joy of letting yourself go, blah blah. For the same reason, you’ll get my attention pretty quickly if you make me laugh.
Equally, when we’re fucking, you’ll quickly lose me to boredom/sadness/someone else if the best reaction I can get out of you is a barely-disguised yawn. I want sparks, whimpers, bangs, and a veritable firehose of jizz. I need a similar level of enthusiasm when I tell you a joke.
If you don’t find me funny, don’t fuck me
Onto the survey, and the reason why it’s tosswank. The 80 men they spoke to about their GSOH preferences may well have been indicative of the general population. It might be that straight dudes in general don’t want girls to tell jokes. I seriously doubt it, but fine. For the purposes of this argument, please file that fact in the ‘could not give a shit’ folder.
It doesn’t matter to me what the majority of men want, and if you’re a straight girl it absolutely shouldn’t matter to you. Look: often the majority want really awful things. They want to watch Del Boy falling through the bar in Only Fools and Horses for the seven thousandth time. They guffaw at grandmas falling over and showing their knickers in hilarious ‘caught on camera’ TV shows. And while we’re on the subject of awful, tedious drivel, you know what’s been voted ‘Best Comedy’ at the National Television Awards for fully three years in a row? Mrs Brown’s Boys.
If you’re looking to find the love of your life, or even just the love of your Saturday night, don’t go doing what the majority want. You’re not a trawler casting as wide a net as possible to catch a whole bunch of just any old fish. You’re looking for a really particular kind of person: someone you fancy who fancies you back. If all you want is a fuck, you can doll yourself up and smile prettily at everyone, bite your tongue when you think of a witty remark and cross everything you really want off your ‘fancy’ list – you may well end up getting laid. But is it actually going to be any fun? How much are you going to enjoy fucking someone if they respond to your jokes with a glazed look or a polite cough?
Here are two messages I received when I was registered on OKCupid:
Message 1: “I don’t get it when girls try to be funny on sites like this.”
Message 2: “I’ve never laughed so much at a dating profile before.”
Guess which guy got laid?
The Metro article is bullshit because it rests on the idea that the results of this survey actually matter. It’s written as if straight girls who read it will have some kind of revelation, and immediately change their behaviour in order to snag a guy who’s a proper catch. In reality, jokes matter to some but not all of us. If you’re not that funny, you won’t need someone to laugh at your jokes, because there’ll be other things you value. If you are funny, or you aspire to be, you’ll be fully aware that not everyone gets you.
Listen up: straight guys, Metro journalists, and scientists who tell jokes for studies: the world isn’t divided into men vs women, with one gender getting the mic and the other sitting in the audience. Your job isn’t to mould us into people so bland that anyone could reasonably look at you and go ‘meh, you’re OK.’ The point is to find someone who gets you so hard that they cannot tear themselves away. Whether it’s your warmth, your lovely arse, your political ranting, or your awful impression of David Cameron.
I don’t expect you to find me funny, as long as you don’t expect me to fuck you.