For many men, it is an unfortunate fact of life that for many women, one of the qualities of a perfect man is ‘an awesome sense of humour’.
While guys blessed with the gift of the gab love this, guys who shudder at the prospect of saying witty things every two minutes become nervous wrecks. Seeing a drop-dead-gorgeous woman laughing her head off with her decidedly not-so-drop-dead-gorgeous beau is a sight that befuddles most men. Guys with a funny bone have a certain je ne sais quoi and when it comes to wooing girls they want, they seem to have the upper hand in most cases.
But what’s so hot about a funny man?
On the edge
“Well, it takes intelligence, wit and a great sense of timing to make people laugh, so I think a good sense of humour is a sure-shot sign that your guy is smart,” says Shakti Salgaonkar, a writer from Mumbai.
Many women agree with Shakti. “It’s not just important for a guy to be witty,” says Deepika Shah, a Delhi-based professional. “It’s important for him to know when to be witty. For example, making wisecracks when I’m trying to have a serious conversation is bound to annoy me.”
A wisecracking guy can be a great stress-buster, says Prachi Mujumdar-Kurlekar, a journalist from Pune who just got married to Anand, about two months ago. “My job can be extremely stressful at times. So having a guy who can ease the tension is a definite plus.”
Anand’s sense of humour played a big role during their three-year long courtship, says Prachi. “Once, we took a trip to a forest reserve and he pretended to be Indiana Jones, complete with costume and dialogues!” she laughs. “It sounds juvenile now, but little things like these brought us closer.”
Anand agrees. “Being funny gives you an edge over other guys when you’re wooing a girl,” he says. “I think women trust a guy more if he knows the right things to say at the right time. Besides, if you are funny, you can often get away with expressing your opinion candidly about certain things that people may otherwise find annoying – telling your girlfriend she needs to lose weight, for instance!”
Anand’s contention makes sense, says Dr S Sudersanan, senior consultant for psychiatry at the Dr B L Kapur Memorial, New Delhi.
“Humour releases a lot of pleasant feelings and it is a scientifically accepted fact that it reduces the impact of anger and aggression,” he says. “It allows a person to deal with a situation in a more focused way.”
He also says that since marriage is still such a stressful thing for most women in our society, having a partner who can help deal with situations in a light-hearted manner minimises the discomfort.
Humour also acts as mental defence against depression, adds Dr Sudersanan. “Humour is a very mature way of the mind to efficiently deal with its problems rather than constantly brood over them.”
The laughter stakes
Clearly, as far as humour goes, women can be demanding. So are guys under pressure to produce a litany of wisecracks to make sure that their partners are in the throes of constant, tummy-ache inducing laughter?
“A lot of guys do make special efforts to appear witty whenever they are around someone they fancy,” says Swanand Phadnis, a Pune-based engineer. “Before I started going around with my girlfriend, I used to try so hard to be constantly funny that it seemed forced. Once, I even went to the extent of mugging up some really cheesy pickup lines from a website! It took me a while to realise that humour is an instinctive thing. You cannot really learn it if it doesn’t come naturally to you.”
Janhavi Sapre, a Delhi-based professional, thinks that it doesn’t really matter if the guy in a relationship is the witty one – if the girl involved is witty, it works just as well. “Why should the man always make the woman laugh?” she says. “I don’t think that’s fair. I make my husband laugh more than he makes me laugh!”
On a more serious note, she thinks that our society is responsible for this stereotyping of males. “I think that in our society, men try to hide their real emotions under the garb of humour, since they are always being judged by how they can handle difficult situations,” she says.