The late, great Christopher Hitchens is one of my all time favorite writers, speakers, and thinkers. Simply one of my all time heroes. There's scarcely a word he's ever spoken that I disagree with. However, there is one video of him that stumbled across that I found rather disappointing. Before continuing, I highly recommend reading Can Men Be Beautiful? as a prerequisite. If you choose not to, you may find yourself rather lost.
So, assuming you just came from that other blog, you know how frustrated I am with being male, the sexual double standards, and this ubiquitous meme that only women are pretty or sexually attractive. I don't like the male gender role, and I've always felt like I'd be happier and more well suited to the female gender role. So, I'll cut to the chase, now. Here's the Hitch video:
Is this really true? Are most men spectacularly unattractive? Is humor an evolutionary trait for men to be able to "win" women over with? This is an extremely depressing thought to me, and sadly, there seems to be a lot of evidence to support it.
Now, before going any further, I just want to back a up a little bit and say that this debate over which sex is funnier seems to be a bigger thing than I realized, giving rise to lots of talks, videos, research, and the like. Naturally, there doesn't seem to be any research that you'd call real science--nothing concrete or conclusive. I don't really see how there could be. This seems to me to just be opinion-based stuff, and I'm sure we'd all be wise to take it with a grain of salt. I certainly take this Hitch video with a grain of salt, for sure. I think he's being genuine, here, and I believe he stood by his arguments, but I also believe that it's just a bit foolish to take a subject like this too seriously.
That said, when I look at the world around me, from where I'm sitting, the majority of it seems to support Hitch's hypothesis. It seems an undeniable fact that, for the most part, women are the attractive ones, they do the attracting, and men have to "win them over" in some fashion. Women are desirable, and men to the desiring. The female sex seems to have evolved to attract the male sex, and the male sex evolved to battle each other in order to win a chance with a woman. It's been said countless times and countless ways that women don't need to do or be anything in particular for men to get excited by them--all they have to do is just show up. After all, we're guys, we're easy, we're simple. Just be female, and that's more than enough to get our simplistic, simian, cave-man motors running. A beautiful woman can simply stand there and do nothing, and men with throw themselves helplessly at her, compete with each other, and do anything they can for a chance to be with her. Women, on the other hand, seem somewhat aloof, as if they can take us or leave us. They need to be impressed and wooed. It's a common joke that women don't really find men all that attractive (see that Seinfeld bit in the other blog). Women simply get to wait for the guys to line up for them, and then they can choose based on who puts on the best display. (This, of course, is literally how much of the animal kingdom works.) Men need no help at all being attracted to women, but women apparently require something extra, because they apparently don't find men very pleasing to look at. Is it truly mysterious what women see in us, as Hitch suggests?
Now, this is all over-simplified and unfair, of course. And I'm not supporting, defending, nor advocating anything, here, and the last thing I'd want is to sound sexist or rude in any way.. I'm simply pointing out what the stereotypes have always seemed to be in my corner of the universe. With few exceptions, this is how dating and sexuality seem to work. Women are attractive. That's their game. They draw males to them. The males then compete for a chance to impress her. Each young man hopes that one day, a woman will choose him. That's how the game seems to be played. Naturally, there are players on both sides who feel they don't stand a chance, but it seems to be for different reasons. The women who aren't physically attractive enough to get noticed are the ones that suffer on that side, and in the case of men, the ones cast aside are those lacking the confidence, skills, humor, and charisma to charm a woman and capture her attention. Ladies, I know that many of you undoubtedly feel very frustrated at being overlooked for evidently not being pretty enough, but I can assure you that it's no picnic to be a "beta male" who doesn't have the confidence to "play the game", like yours truly. We feel that we'll never be able to compete or win your affections. But the outcasts are not really the point of the piece, and that's neither here nor there.
Let's get straight to the humor thing. Are men really funnier? I'd would say so, yes. I've thought about everyone I find funny, and there aren't many women in there. I think about the shows I find funny, and the males characters are always the funniest ones. Let's run through some examples (keeping in mind that these are only my opinions). One of my favorite comedians of all time is Victor Borge. Male. I love Seinfeld. The funniest character is George, followed by Kramer, then Jerry, and Elaine last. Actually, there's about twenty odd supporting male cast members who are still funnier than Elaine. I also love Frasier. The funniest one? Niles. Followed by Frasier. Both men. The Office: Michael is by far the funniest. He made the whole show (And David if you're talking about the British.) I grew up with a lot of Home Improvement. The funny ones? Tim and Al. The King of Queens: Doug was the star. Everybody Loves Raymond? Now, that one doesn't do much for me, but obviously it wasn't "Everybody Loves Debra". The Big Bang Theory? Sheldon, obviously, then Rai, then Howard, then Leonard. Will and Grace? Jack's the funniest one. (But Karen is second, I'll admit.) Going older, we've got Andy Griffith. Don Knotts as Barney Fife was the comedic genius, there, obviously. I didn't watch them much, but Bob Newhart, The Odd Couple, and Dick Van Dyke were great, funny shows. Sure, there's a few counter examples: Mary Tyler Moore was a good show, but it didn't do much for me personally. I grew up on I Love Lucy, and Lucille Ball was definitely a comedic genius, but I think that Desi Arnaz was the funniest one on the show, by far. Animated sitcoms: Simpsons: Homer and Bart are the funny ones. Futurama: Fry, Bender, and Farnsworth are the funny ones. King of the Hill: Hank, Dale, Bill, Boomhauer, and Bobby were the funniest ones. Family Guy: Peter, Stewie, and Brian. Rick and Morty? Duh. Get the picture, yet?
How about movies? When I think of the funniest movies, it's always male stars. O, Brother Where Art Thou? (My favorite funny movie. Male cast.) Countless Robin Williams movies, Mrs. Doubtfire being my favorite. (Of course, how could I not mention him when listing great comedians?) Austin Powers--now there's a great classic. Mike Myers dominates both of the funny roles in that movie. Wayne's World--another Mike Myers, and another of my favorite classics. Then there's the more low-brow, college humor movies. You've got your Will Farrells, your Adam Sandlers, your Vince Vahns, your Owen and Luke Wilsons, your Ben Stillers. I always liked Happy Gilmore and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. It's just testosterone across the board.
But what I usually find funnier than the big Hollywood stuff is the more genuine internet stuff--the youtubers and such. I'm a huge fan of James Rolfe the Angry Video Game Nerd (and of course is partner is crime, Motherf*cker Mike, and occasionally Bad Luck Bootsy.) Another of my favorite youtubers is Jack Douglass, better known as Jacksfilms. Grade A Under A--another good one. I'm also nuts for Ryan's Pitch Meetings over at Screen Rant. Even the Honest Trailer announcer guy is male. And who could forget those greats kings of comedy, Rhett and Link? Oh, and I'm not big on stand-up, when I do listen to that, I always liked Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall the best. The list of males just goes on, and on, and on.
Now, I know what you're thinking--"but you're just focusing on the males specifically! There's lots of women, but you're just no mentioning them!" Yeah, true, but the point is that I don't find them funny. And I've tried. Believe me. It's not by design that all the funny people I watch are male. That's not how I'd prefer it. I'd prefer a more even spread. I'm always in the market to find a good female comedian, but I just never seem to. Female stand-up comedians don't appeal to me. I've tried sitcoms with female leads, and I typically never like them. Never cared for Rosanne. I actually tried watching Carol Burnette at my parent's recommendation. Didn't do it for me. I gave 2 Broke Girls a shot. Total meh. I'm always on the lookout for a female youtuber, and almost none of them do much for me. One of the only ones that did appeal to me was the fandom voice of Vinyl Scratch, the great Jesse Nowack... who came out as a trans man!! OH! That's just too perfect! Lol. Rhett and Link actually spearheaded a project awhile back to start a female version of Good Mythical Morning called "The Hey Hey Show". I gave it a shot. I really wanted to like it. Total bust. Rhett and Link hooked me instantaneously, but Hey Hey was a flop. Trust me: this isn't intentional. I want to find women to watch, but they just don't jump out and hook me like the men. I don't go looking for funny men, but every time I accidentally stumble onto something new and funny, it's inevitably a man, such as Screen Rant's Pitch Meetings that I only recently discovered.
Now, I realize that a lot of this is personal preference, as well as a bit of searching bias or echo-chamber type stuff. Admittedly, I don't actively search out female personalities or female dominated shows as much. But again, it's usually because something about them just doesn't draw me in. This goes way beyond comedy, I might add. It just seems like, by and large, men are more captivating when it comes to on-screen entertainment. I think about all of my favorite actors and on-screen personalities, and they're almost all male. I certainly don't mean any offense by that, and it's absolutely not by design. It's just how it worked out. And it's true for my mom as well, so it's not just some kind of testosterone-based bias. There are certainly counter examples, of course. Yeah, no doubt. There's some great actresses out there, for sure. My favorite would be Charlize Theron. But it just seems like too big of a trend to be a coincidence to me. Incidentally, this is one of the reasons why I love Pony so much--because it's such a powerful and great female cast in a landscape where that's hard to find. And they pulled me in from the very first episode.
So, is Hitch right? Sure seems that way to me, and it also seems like humor definitely is a key trait for men to be able to win over women. I've heard of so many women saying that one of the things they look for most in a man is a sense of humor. The ladies want a man who can make 'em laugh. You don't really hear that from guys. Could it really be true that a man who can't make 'em laugh doesn't stand a chance at finding a mate? Was Hitch onto something? It wouldn't surprise me. It sounds reasonable. That's bad news for me, I suppose, as I'm no comedian.
However, this all upsets me much more so for reasons I've been dancing around and not yet addressing. As you know if you read the other blog, I'm a man who doesn't like being male. I would prefer to be in the female gender role. I just feel like it suits me personality better. I love fashion, and I love dressing up in beautiful, sexy, provocative outfits. I'd prefer to be the one who is desired, rather than the one who does the desiring. Wait... no... that's not quite right. I still enjoy desiring the opposite sex. I don't really want to change that. I just want to be desired as well. I want it to be an equal 50/50 give and take. But I want to experience that female gender role of being the one who seduces my partner. However, I feel like that isn't really possible, and that men didn't evolve to be attractive. We evolved to have other traits to impress women instead, traits which I sorely lack, I guess, leaving me to feel undesirable and unwanted.
This ended up being longer than I expected, and this continues down a rabbit hole that is better suited for another blog post, so I'm going to stop there and leave this one as sort of a "to be continued" in the next post.
So what do you think? Are men funnier? Did we evolve this way to win women over? Are we really that unattractive?