The Importance of Humor!!!

Do you think you have a good sense of humor? Of course you do.

If there was one unanimous answer given by every one of the thousands of single men and women I interviewed at LunchDates over 23 years, it was that when asked to describe their personality, they all claimed to possess a sense of humor.

Actually the first 1,000 people or so all said they had a “good” sense of humor. So, after hearing the driest, most boring accountant imaginable (think Ben Stein’s teacher character from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) tell me that he had a “good” sense of humor, I decided to tweak the interview rules.

(By the way, the reason I have such a great sense of humor myself is that Ben Stein is my mother’s second cousin.)

From then on, every time someone said they had a “good” sense of humor I would interrupt and announce that I had banned the word “good,” and they had to provide a descriptive word or phrase for their sense of humor, but they could not use the words “good” or even “great.”

I then received all kinds of adjectives, from “witty,” to “dry,” to “playful,” to “sarcastic,” to “silly.” Throughout the ’90s many people claimed they had a “Seinfeld” sense of humor, and after a while a few said they had a “Kramer” or “George” sense of humor. (I don’t recall any woman saying she had an “Elaine” sense of humor.) Some people even used swear words to describe their sense of humor.

For example, one of my favorite responses came from a very straight-laced looking woman wearing a conservative business suit. She was a banker and certainly fit the stereotype. When I asked her to describe her personality she said very demurely, “I know on the outside I appear very corporate, but deep down I’m all rock ‘n’ roll, and I have a (blank)ing great sense of humor.” Unfortunately, she never revealed her “deep down” personality to any of her dates, most of who reported that she came across as too quiet and conservative. One has to wonder when and to whom she expressed her “rock ‘n’ roll” personality.
But here’s my primary point.

Since everyone thinks they have a good sense of humor, then it becomes moot to merely mention that you have one too. Moreover, for those of you trying to meet someone through an online dating service, I suggest that you should just write something funny to actually demonstrate that you really do have a sense of humor.

At the same time, reveal the type of humor that best describes who you are. Because I firmly believe that having a similar sense of humor is an important benchmark of compatibility between two people, far more so than similar tastes in music, movies or sports. After all it is a compatible sense of humor that serves as a life preserver when couples are forced to deal with life’s inevitable problems.

For example, for overtwo decades I have been a staunch fan of “The Simpsons.” I could not imagine being in a serious relationship, let alone being married to someone who thought the show was just a silly cartoon or who didn’t get the humor. So if I were describing my outlook on relationships as part of an online dating service profile, I would probably write something like “I’ll be your Homer if you’ll be my Marge.” Better yet, to attract a real Simpsons’ fan, I might just throw in a relatively obscure Simpsons’ reference, such as “Though I am not slender, I am in far better shape than Comic Book Guy,” “My favorite food is a Krusty Burger,” or “You can have champagne, I love to imbibe on Flaming Moes.”
And sometimes when my wife and I have finished dealing with some “issue,” I turn to her, smile, and say “okly dokly, Hon.”

Men especially need to demonstrate a quality sense of humor, both when completing an online profile and on a first date. As I have written before, one of the most common complaints I heard from women about men they just met is that “he was far too serious.”
The importance of a sense of humor to single women is illustrated by the answers that thousands of women gave to the final interview question we used to ask at LunchDates.

The question always came at the end of a personal interview that usually lasted anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. At that point I would always say the following: “Forget everything you just told me. Real quick, without even thinking, name the two or three ABSOLUTE most important criteria that you are looking for in a man.” The overwhelming No. 1 response from women was not how tall a man was or how much money he earned. (These are the criteria that men think women really value …; although how tall he was often was mentioned second.)

Yes, the No. 1 criterion was, you guessed it, sense of humor.

And those guys who demonstrated a great sense of humor on dates usually had a membership that would best be described by Mr. Burns as “ex-cellent.”

If you don’t understand that reference, all I can say is “D’oh!”

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