Not So Great
by Mad Dog
The important finding wasn’t just that men and women have
different tastes in humor — think The Three Stooges vs. The Family
Circus — but rather that women actually enjoy a good joke more than
||It should come as no great
shock that a recent study found a difference between men and women. The
shock is that it had nothing to do with asking for directions, putting
the cap back on the toothpaste, or coming down with laryngitis when
asked, “Do these pants make me look fat?” No, the study performed at
the Stanford University School of Medicine (motto: “Take an aspirin
and call your loan officer in the morning”) discovered that men and
women have different senses of humor. You can stop laughing now, that
wasn’t a joke.
The important finding wasn’t just
that men and women have different tastes in humor — think The Three
Stooges vs. The Family Circus — but rather that women actually enjoy a
good joke more than men. And no, that comment you just made about it
being because women get the joke more often than men wasn’t the least
bit funny. Not one bit.
The reports didn’t say how the
researchers decided what constitutes a good joke, but apparently they
have their well documented academic methods which I suspect involve a
copy of Reader’s Digest they swiped from the dentist’s
office. Sure it was the August 1987 issue, but if humor was the best
medicine then it’s probably still the best now. Well, as long as no
one’s started genetically manipulating jokes to improve them, in which
case Frankenjokes would be the best medicine now, though generic ones
can safely be substituted if your HMO won’t pay for the good stuff.
way to look at it is that women think jokes are funnier because they
have lower expectations than men, which probably helps explain how women
manage to put up with guys in the first place.
The point is, no matter what the joke, women will enjoy it more
than men. This is, the researchers say, because women don't always
expect a joke to be funny. When a man hears the words “A rabbi walked
into a bar with a duck on one shoulder and a priest on the other”
he’s immediately prepared to laugh. He’ll sometimes even consider
waiting until the end of the joke. A woman, on the other hand, takes a
wait-and-see approach. She wants proof, as in, say, a funny punch line.
And women wonder why men think they can be hard to please.
The researchers explained that women
are more analytical in their response, weighing the humor pros and cons,
parsing the punch line, and diagramming the setup. Sounds like a lot of
work to me. It makes sense that after all the time, energy, and work
they’ve invested they’d feel more pleasure should they decide
something really is funny. In other words, men are easy.
Another way to look at it is that
women think jokes are funnier because they have lower expectations than
men, which probably helps explain how women manage to put up with guys
in the first place. Not that I’m complaining. Hey, there’s nothing
like having low expectations to make me look good.
expect the weather forecast to be accurate, free weights to be free, and
airplane seats to be comfortable no matter how many times we’ve flown
and know otherwise.
expectations aren’t a bad thing. In fact, they can be very good.
There’s little question life can be easier to get through if you
don’t expect much out of it in the first place. But the truth is, as
humans we have high expectations. We expect that year after year we’ll
be more successful, make more money, and prove Einstein wrong by somehow
finding more time in the day. We expect good customer service, high
quality products, and fair wages for workers. We also expect low, low
prices. We expect to find our soul mate, and hope to hell it’s the
person we married. We expect our leaders will do the right thing. And
tell the truth. Okay, so there are times when we really should lower our
expectations, but please, try not to do it during a presidential
expect a movie sequel to be as good as the original, even though it’s
never happened. That’s because if we’re nothing, we’re optimistic.
At least we are when it comes to what we hope to get in return for our
$9.50 ticket, $8 tub-o-popcorn, and $5 gallon of Diet Coke. We expect a
product that comes in a package which screams “New and Improved” to
be, well, new and improved. Or at least to contain an explanation for
why they promoted an inferior product as the best money can buy for so
many years. And we expect the holiday season to be about love,
friendship, and spirituality, not rampant commercialism. Okay, I’m
just kidding about this one. There are some things no one in their right
mind could possibly expect.
We expect the weather forecast to be
accurate, free weights to be free, and airplane seats to be comfortable
no matter how many times we’ve flown and know otherwise. We expect
product claims that arrive by email to be true, vacations to be
relaxing, and of course if you’re a guy, you expect a joke to be
funny. Come to think of it, maybe it would be a good idea if we all took
a tip from women and lowered our expectations, analyzed things deeper,
and worried about whether our clothes make us look fat. Now that’s
©2005 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them with low expectations.