Tina Fey once said, “You can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at” — and that’s the damn truth. A sense of humor in your relationship isn’t just important to help you get through tough times, it also offers a window into the intelligence of the guy you’re dating. Here’s what the things he laughs at say about how his mind works:
Fart Jokes. Part of why comedians make us laugh is because they take something we can relate to and inject humor. In the same way, farts are relatable; farts are funny. However, this sort of frat boy humor gets old and if the only way your guy can think to make you laugh is via a Dutch oven, he’s probably not that funny. Also, there’s a limit on how many Dutch ovens are funny and I think that limit might be one.
Practical Jokes. Another frat boy favorite is playing a trick on a friend, often at his or her expense and in the name of humor. I admit to having played practical jokes on some of my friends and I’ve had them played on me. Sometimes they were funny, sure, but most of the time they weren’t. There’s a good chance no one really ever likes them. Even if the person at the butt of the joke is a good sport, he’s probably just throwing you a pity laugh. You never want to be on the receiving end of your guy’s practical jokes and you’ll probably get bored of him coming up with ideas of how to prank his bros.
Bullying for Laughs. I don’t mean the steal your lunch money kind of bully, but if your boyfriend is constantly pressuring his friends to do stupid things just so he can get off on a laugh, run for the hills. This kind of humor, if you can even call it that, is never funny. Chances are, if he bullies his friends to win your attention, he’ll eventually try to bully you to make them laugh.
Objectifying humor. When’s the last time you heard someone say sexism is hilarious? And yet, there are innumerable comedians who rely on these jokes to garner laughs. Even if your guy isn’t necessarily sexist, does he laugh at other people who are? We can do all ladies a favor by making it known just how unfunny it is to objectify women.
Crude jokes. Everyone keeps a dirty joke in their back pocket for a rainy day, I get that. Crude humor can be funny if done well and used sparingly. That’s just it — if your boyfriend tells crude jokes, does he tell them well? Even if he does, are those the only kind of jokes he tells? I love Family Guy but I don’t exactly want to marry Peter Griffin, if you catch my drift.
Insincere Humor. You know that insufferable coworker who slaps his knee and lets out a roaring laugh every time the boss says something even remotely funny? Please make sure you’re not dating that guy. If he’s always laughing at everything, he’s probably more concerned with people liking him than anything else.
Witty. Quick-witted is the new sexy. If he can take what you or someone else said a second ago and formulate it into a joke, man oh man is he a keeper. Witty guys are also usually great conversationalists. You’ll want to pick his brain for hours on end and he’ll probably make you laugh in the process.
Self-deprecating. Nobody’s perfect and if your guy is keen to admit it and even make fun of his flaws, it’s a good sign. For those of you who studied psychology, you’ll probably remember the Dunning-Kruger Effect — the cognitive bias that makes unintelligent people more arrogant and fail to realize how inept they actually are. If your guy isn’t conceited and has the ability to mock himself, he’s not only smart but funny too!
Gets Your Jokes. When I met a friend’s serious boyfriend for the first time, I noticed two things: a) he wasn’t funny and b) he thought SHE was funny. I didn’t know what to do with this information because I didn’t really get it. Then I realized that being humorous and having a sense of humor are in fact two different things. Your guy doesn’t really have to be all that funny to appreciate a clever comeback. In fact, he’s bound to be pretty intelligent if he enjoys your smart humor.
Shares your same sense of humor. Remember when people used to ask each other, “What’s your sign?” Maybe we should start asking guys, “What’s your sense of humor?” If you both laugh at the same things, it might just be a match made in heaven. Next time you watch a comedy special together, I’m not saying you should view it as an impromptu IQ test, though you certainly could.
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