James Anthony Ellis Legacy Editor
There is this scene in the sitcom “Friends.” And it just happens to say a lot about men.
The characters Chandler and Monica will be marrying soon, and they’ve both decided it would be a great idea to write their own wedding vows. At first Monica thought it would be a breeze and Chandler imagined struggle, but as time went on, Chandler drafted his vows pretty swiftly, while Monica had writer’s block since she wanted the writing to be so exquisitely poignant and heartfelt.
The all-too-telling moment came when Chandler and Monica were reading their separate versions to their same-gender friends. The gals gushed over Monica’s version. And the dude pals were laughing their asses off with Chandler’s. Having noticed their laughing at the Chandler vows, Monica exclaimed angrily “Chandler!”
This is where the defining moment came. Everything male encapsulated into one line.
There it is! “Don’t worry, honey. We’ll make yours funnier.”
In one full swoop, a simple definition regarding the differences in the genders.
And in one line, a good example of one very important truism – men love to laugh.
Does this indicate women do not like to laugh? Nah not really, and it wouldn’t be in my wheelhouse to really know the goings-on in the mind and groups of women. However given the same circumstances, if given their preferences, it’s the male specie who appears to be on constant lookout for the laugh, the gag, the punchline.
Humor, laughing, joking, poking fun at their pals – it is such an integral part of a man’s nature.
Standing in the circle of men for over 20 years, I have seen it on countless occasions. Someone says something of an open-ended nature, pretty harmless stuff. And then given the right moment, the rest of the circle gives their two cents on a funny comeback. It’s as if one man is the set up, and the rest compete for the punchline. In that very moment, the entire team becomes like comedy writers found in the sitcom writer’s room. In the men’s circle, all you need is somebody to say a straight line as a set up, and it’s a free for all.
In such a circle, you might even someone say, “Hey, does anyone have a good joke?”
Men just seem to be driven to find the lightheartedness when a gag is appropriate.
Sometimes even inappropriateness is called for … if just for the sake of the potential laugh.
In my time in MDI, I have found the funniest moments came when men are doing outlandish things, not even caring what they look like or how absurd the gag or game is. Left-footed soccer, Giant Fitness Ball Tennis, “Human Bowling” with men acting as the bowling ball on a slip and slide. Men just don’t seem to care if they are the clown, or the ones with a pie in their face.
How many women in theater, TV shows or movies are the ones receiving the slapstick proverbial pie in the face or slipping on a banana peel? Rarely. How funny would that be now? Not very.
Men will do what they need to do, even at the expense of another buddy. Is it funny when a buddy experiences a slight misstep? Sure! Is it funny when your woman does? Not so much.
I feel for the men who don’t have the laugh gene, who get overly serious, and forget about the aspect of themselves that can poke fun at buds, bros and even the human condition. Somehow, having this at our disposal diffuses the power of the negative, and the overwhelming weight life can bring at times.
I believe this joviality – a power found in the jester or joker – is something that actually attracts and supports the women-folk on some invisible level, perhaps to bring soothing to the heaviness some of their emotions carry.
If this theory is indeed true, it would be at this time the joking men could be seen exhibiting a very positive purpose within relationships. Not to bring a woman down, or make her the target of a joke. But to remind her of another side of life, one not taken too seriously.
Perhaps it’s a gift all men carry for anyone with whom they come in contact. To make themselves and their circles lighter by bringing laughter to a routinely dreary existence.
It would be at these moments, the line would be appropriate, recited by an empowered man looking upon a serious world: “Don’t worry everyone, we’ll make it funnier.”