Stunted By Reality Just another know-it-all talking about life, business, technology, sports and music.


Why men are funnier than women

I'm a staunch believer that behavioural differences in human beings are most often dictated by culture rather than by genetics. My view firmly includes most racial and gender differences.

So sometime ago I read some comments made by Adam Carolla an American comedian, writer and radio personality who said that men are funnier than women. A shit-storm had promptly started around this topic with all the shit squarely aimed at Carolla....well maybe not squarely... but as well as one can aim a shit when it's hit a fan. In the end Carolla's words were somehow being interpreted as to say that women are not funny; period. No pun intended. The suggestion that Carolla meant that women are incapable of being funny is not something that I observed. Merely that they are just as capable but are less likely to be funny.

Anyway Carolla said something I'd never seriously thought about, but having read it all I could think was 'that of course they are, it's cultural!' I'm not going to bore you with stats to try and prove the fact, but I will instead just appeal to all those who disagree to put away their blinkers and face reality. Women are not as funny as men NOT because they are born that way but because they mostly never have to court men in order to go out with them.

That's right folks, the act of actively trying to woo someone of the opposite sex is one of the hardest things known to men.  It is so difficult that I think the phrase 'it's not rocket science' should be replaced by 'it's not courtship'. Lets face it the success rate of rockets being sent to space is probably much better than the 'pull' rate of any man you know. No doubt you may know a genuine local stud or may have had the pleasure of being a wingman to such a guy but one thing is for sure, on an average night a guy on the pull will have more wrecks than the number of times NASA has had failed space missions. In short, the chances of success are indeed harder than rocket science.

The fact that we only remember details of the successes of our courting activities shouldn't take away from the overall difficulty of hooking up with someone.  It is natural that people block all memories of failure and therefore think themselves as more successful than they actually are. That's because memory block is in itself a coping mechanism designed to keep spirits high and maximise the chances of future success, despite the sad reality.

One thing is for sure, whatever the intention is when a guy tries to attract someone it all starts with the girl having done a half second check that results in a virtual green or red light. But that in itself is no guarantee that a guy will actually get himself a new girlfriend, because that mental note is normally only based on such superficial things as looks, dress sense, dance ability, muscles or whatever gimmick a guy will have used to initiate contact.

It is after this stage that the ability to engage a woman is crucial. After all, even when meeting someone in a nightclub, quite a number of women are misguided enough to picture a lasting relationship based on face, dress sense, dancing or muscles. Needless to say a man's ability to offer insight into the Greek financial crisis will not engage most women.... not even if that woman is Angela Merkel. As well as an appealing face it is always best for you as a guy to be able to provide a woman some sort of relaxing conversation, mostly to keep them from focusing on your bad points. It is my observation that the success of a relationship is dictated by how long we can keep the other person from dwelling on our individual short comings. No pun intended.

My theory is that even a 40 year old aspiring rapper with an unsuccessful drug dealing sideline can hold down a relationship if they can guarantee a woman plenty of conversation, punctuated by frequent compliments and laughs. Next to sex, no other feeling generates an inner sense of fuzzy warmth, than laughter. Unfortunately to get sex (or a relationship as women call it), one has to have somehow demonstrated an ability to generate said warm fuzzy feeling. Which is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Fortunately for women, most societies have long dictated that they should enjoy spiritual, moral and other intangible benefits which men should not. The ultimate benefit being that women do not have to actively seek out partners. This is an allowance which is afforded to them by various unclear traditions. Therefore, catch 22 or not, it is for us men to;
(a) blindly seek out a woman whose half a second check we passed and not her friend (because that sort of thing is hard to recover from)
(b) maintain her attention at all times,
(c) keep women distracted from whatever deficiencies we may have,
(d) make sure that our women only conduct or act upon as few half a second checks as possible by being all the man she needs.
Yep, it's tough being a man! But it's all a lot easier if you can make a woman laugh.

In practise, the fact that from an early age girls only have to sit back and watch wave after wave of desperate young men try to attract them, means that they are far short of training in being funny. Thus my theory is that the funnier women are more likely to be gay, ugly or impatient about being hit on. Which is just as well because I believe there are many kinds of sexy and that for a not-so-good-looking woman being funny is an equaliser. The blonde joke phenomenom is an illustration of this. Society may not be saying it as such but what it implies is that pretty women don't need to be smart to be attractive. Or funny. Personally I'm one of those guys who believes that personality can be sexy. So yes, I'll admit that once upon a time when I went on dates I felt like wearing a t-shirt saying 'she's not ugly, she's funny!'

As you can tell this article is a non-scientific observation of my version of reality, but one thing that is true is that humour is the result of several cultural factors and that it can be developed later in life as a coping mechanism. It's not a bad thing if women are not as funny as men, in fact it would be very hard for them to be equally funny given that women generally do not have the benefit of years of practise. Being funny is also about recycling jokes from one courtship to another, seeing what works, mostly as a result of being knocked back and trying to vary the jokes one unsuccessful relationship at a time. All of that is hard enough without our friends constantly seeking to highlight any perceived lack of sexual activities in our life. You see, men don't talk about sex to each other, at least not the actual act of doing it. Most sex-talk between guys is around the lack of sex one of our friends may be experiencing. Usually that's as a smokescreen to our own lack of sex. Again this ritual is easier to deal with if one develops a sense humour.

Beyond romantic comedies I have no insight into what women talk about amongst themselves, but I struggle to think that their conversations about sex or any other topics are as laced with humour as ours are. I'm led to believe that sex is serious business to most women. So serious that young men find it hard to get some and that when a young lady finally has something to report, her friends want to know every detail. That said I'd actually suggest that an ability to be tactful is much more useful to women than a sense of humour given how readily they are to mistake jokes as 'snide comments'. Can you imagine being the girlfriend who joked that a low-cut top makes a friend look easy just as she's about to go on a first date? That is borderline 'you're trying to steal my man' territory and were that accusation ever to rear it's head, God help the neutral friend that will try to play down the situation with another joke.

It is for this reason that I envy peacocks. Everyone knows that they are much prettier than the female of the species and why. If God ever created the world again, I really hope he would solve the courtship problem in humans just like he did with peacocks. All it would take for Adam Carolla to defend himself is to whip out his lush multi-coloured tail-feathers and invite any doubting females.....'honey, look at yours then look at mine...' .

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