Gotta’ love a post that has a title that makes me sound sexist! Let’s dive in!
I’d be lying if I said I don’t skim the latest articles from men’s magazines online: GQ, Esquire, Men’s Health, Askmen.com, etc. Every now and then you get a good piece of style advice (like the benefits of waiting to shave until after a hot shower — why didn’t my dad ever tell me that!?). But more often then not, you get mediocre advice that’s often recycled from past articles. Often articles are written by some guy with a cheesy pen name “Doc Love” or a girl who gets expert status because she’s “The Girl Next Door.” Then, you’ll get their scientific reporting: articles based on one or two less than scientific studies that get no more than a blurb in a respected academic journal. Here’s a nice one from Men’s Health:
Big news, gents: Chicks dig funny guys! And there’s a scientific reason for it too!
Okay, let’s take a step back. First of all, there’s something bigger going on here and it’s really just this: people like funny people. Have you ever met someone who said, “I don’t like funny people. They turn me off.” It’s probably a rare preference. Granted, there are probably plenty of people who say, “that person is funny, but they never taking anything seriously.” But, that’s really two qualities: funny and unsympathetic. People like funny people. Girls like a funny guy. Most guys like a funny girl. Neither this article or the study it references says that women will only date men who are funny, it simply says that being funny makes you an attractive man. But it’s the same for me — as a man, I like being friends with men who are funny because I’m likely to have a good time with them. This goes the same for girls: I like being friends with girls who are funny (or have a good sense of humor) because I’m likely to have a good time with them too. The person I date, therefore, also gets a leg up by being funny: I’m likely going to have a good time with them.
Now let’s take a look at this article’s actual content: a study took forty people (not statistically significant of the general population) and had them answer a question, of which roughly twenty people answered humorously. They then showed these answers to eleven people (not statistically significant of any population) who rated the responses based on expected attractiveness. Scientifically, this study proves absolutely nothing as these numbers are too small to be representative of any large group of women. Of course, the scientists behind this probably aren’t boasting this as a conclusive study, rather it indicates a more substantial study might be worth doing in the future. But as I said before, being attracted to funny people really isn’t a game changing conclusion — people are attracted to humor, regardless if it’s platonic, romantic or gender.
Scientists do this all the time — they take a notion that’s generally considered well known and run a study on it. It’s basically a way for scientists to say, “most people seem to think this is a fact, but we should run a study on it to make sure it’s scientifically proven.” Generally, however, scientists don’t run these studies with the intention of getting recognition for its results. They share the results, as their duty as scientists dictates, but they rarely will raise any flags saying that they’ve stumbled on something huge.
That’s where Men’s Health comes in. Their Google Alert for “Chicks digging stuff” chimed in as “CHICKS DIG FUNNY!” and stopped the presses. They then point to other vague studies that don’t really say anything new and then go to a bunch of B and C level comedians for tips on how to be funny. Most the comedians respond with what comedians should respond with: a half assed joke of a response. Men’s Health aggregates the responses, throws in some numbers to make the article seem like it’s well researched and then adds in a title that objectifies women as “chicks.” Way to go, Men’s Health, I think we’ve all learned something today.