Sunday, February 5, 2012

Am I joking?

I have always wondered why women were tagged as having little sense of humor despite their ability to break into a roar of laughter at the slightest provocation. The recent watching a of television commercial set me into action to probe further.

The teenager in the ad is cosy with her sanitary napkin at all times, be it the ritual of Indian bride- bridegroom meeting before marriage or a photo screening prior marriage. she terms the latter 'window shopping' and I couldnot resist my lips curving into a smile. When I shared it with men in my family, I found no response. Later I realized that most of the humor we come across are usually meant at women, for men, and not the other way round. Here are some interesting facts on this gender difference in humor:

I. Eric Bressler, a graduate student at McMaster University who is studying the role of humour in personal attraction, discovered in a survey of 150 students that to a woman, "sense of humour" means someone who makes her laugh; to a man, a sense of humour means someone who appreciates his jokes.

II. Women choose men who produce humour 62 per cent of the time; conversely, men choose women who appreciate their humour 65 per cent of the time."

III. One of the reasons why men don't like female comedians may be that humour is seen as a masculine thing.

As Mark Twain had stated, humor is tragedy plus time. We either laugh at somebody's misery or missed opportunity. So it is important to ensure that it is not evoked at the wrong person, at the wrong place or at the wrong time. I am reminded of the Tamil poet Vairamuthu's verse on humor which reasons out the misplacement of humor sense for the birth of Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Ramayana was born because of the inability of Kaikeyi to smile and take things at a lighter side when Rama was to succeed the throne, while Mahabharatha was the result of Draupadi laughing at Duryodhana when he slips and falls down.
To read the full poem, click on the link:

You are doomed for life if you cannot laugh at the right joke or forgetfully smile at the wrong one.. How true!

Be it whatever, I feel that we all need to agree with Mahatma Gandhi's quote on humor which goes so:

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”