Humor and Pain

Does Pain Plus Time = Humor?

ManandWoman-SerioustoHilariousHave you ever noticed that women and men are different?

Well, I hope so.  Because If you haven’t, I bet you’ve been having a very difficult life.

Talking about HOW women and men are different can be dangerous ground, so let me hasten to assure you that I am talking in broad generalities.  Don’t shoot!!!  I am completely willing to concede that individual people may not fit the general rule at all.

There are ways that I don’t fit the traditional gender norms myself.  For instance, at the age of 10 some hapless neighborhood boy tried to flirt with me by stealing my brown bag lunch at the bus stop.  Being completely clueless, I chased him down, threw him to the ground, and haughtily retrieved my peanut butter and jelly.  As fate would have it, I was quite a bit stronger than he was.  It turned out that this was quite the faux pas.

Fortunately my husband learned early on not to stand between me and food!

Back to the generalities, I contend that there is some humor that men find funny that leaves women cold.

Evidence of the difference…

Anecdotal evidence number one: Consider the fan base of the Three Stooges?  Male or female?

Do I need to tell you the answer?  Well, just in case you don’t know who the Three Stooges are, the fan base is almost exclusively male.

Anecdotal evidence number two:  Back when I worked in corporate America, a male co-worker, call him Steve, often rallied people from neighboring offices in to watch the latest funny video he’d found on the Internet.  Being in the office next door, I was often rallied to admire his latest find.  The male employees seemed to enjoy his selections, whereas the one other female, we’ll call her Terri, and I were mostly repulsed.

The videos combined humiliating circumstances with physical pain, strikingly similar to the Three Stooges.

Steve’s  favorite video was of a young man trying to break a block of wood for his karate black belt test.  The block slipped and ricocheted, bouncing so hard into the side of the kid’s head that he nearly blacked out.  He dropped into a defensive crouch and warily scanned his surroundings for his attacker.

The guys thought it was hilarious that the poor kid had no idea that he had bonked himself and that the whole thing had been captured on video.

Terri blurted out, “That’s not funny.  That’s just painful.”  Those were my feelings exactly.

Girlwithlunch-SerioustoHilariousBut evidently the typical man can find physical pain funny.  I have even heard a number of male humorists claim that “Pain plus time equals humor.”  I beg to disagree! I suspect that many women would.  I don’t care how long ago it happened, it does not entertain me at all.

So if you are giving a presentation to a mixed gender group, I’d suggest you avoid jokes that incorporate pain.  Unless of course, some little girl beat you up when you stole her lunch and you are still carrying the grudge.

In which case, Dude, I’m sorry already!  Okay?

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