The other week I was on a date. We weren’t connecting particularly well and so I was making light, witty comments throughout the date. After one about how I wear Breathe Right strips to bed during allergy season (I swear it was related to the conversation at hand) didn’t really take off, I accidentally said out loud, “Well at least I think I’m funny.”
It was one of those out-of-body moments where as the words were coming out of my own mouth, I was on the outside looking in. I had no control over what I was saying.
“No, you’re very funny,” my date said with a shy smile as he gave me a look that actually said, “You’re scary & I’m glad we’re almost off this boat.”
I was mortified that I had just vocalised my very jaded, private thought (one that I think often on dates, frankly). I played it off probably okay (I know, I sound so confident in saying that) but it kept playing in the back of my head.
I mean, yes, I do think I’m funny. I laugh at my own jokes all the time, and shamelessly. And I appreciate when people find me clever or can laugh along with me – or even at me, I don’t care. My formative years were spent watching slapstick, where characters are shamelessly laughed at for their antics & naivete – and I honestly believe that slapstick (think Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton) unifies people and grants a dose of humanity.
To this end, I am very good at laughing at myself and offering myself up in jest in most situations. As I mentioned, I think humour can be unifying – it brings us all to the same level.
I have a handful of anecdotes that I share when a date is going poorly, or we just aren’t connecting. I’ve been told many times that I come off as too reserved or too intimidating on dates – so I try to use humour as a way to make myself seem friendly, open, and more vulnerable. Generally my anecdotes are about me being in an awkward situation – to show that I am not to be intimidated by, that I can laugh at myself, and that I’m really not actually that reserved (okay but I am).
A few of the anecdotes that I often pull out on dates include: the time when I was 18 and got dumped in the middle of a restaurant on Valentine’s Day and then my boyfriend cried in front of my dad to make it look like I had dumped him; the time when I was a freshman in high school and starred in our school play as a little boy who masturbated so hard he died; and the time I had a very poor experience drinking whiskey in an Irish pub in France, a story that includes a spiral staircase & someone slipping in my vomit & body-slamming against the wall.
You may think that these stories are unflattering or appalling but I honestly wouldn’t want to date someone who couldn’t laugh at them – my sense of humour tends to be very crass and is usually me laughing at myself. And I appreciate people who have very similar senses of humour.
And if a date doesn’t find me amusing well, then, at least I think I’m funny.