What are you looking for in a potential girlfriend or boyfriend? One of the most cliched answers to that question must be “a sense of humour”. But the majority of straight men are not looking for a funny woman: they are looking for someone who will laugh at their jokes, according to research published this week.
“Men see being funny as a male thing,” explained Dr Rod Martin, who led the project. The findings are published in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behaviour this week.
Hundreds of men and women in their twenties were questioned. Asked if they found a sense of humour to be attractive in women, most men said yes. But when they were asked if they would want to be with a woman who cracked jokes herself, the answer was a resounding no.
“When forced to choose between humour production and humour appreciation in potential partners, women valued humour production, whereas men valued receptivity to their own humour,” said Dr Martin.
More than half the men who took part in the survey revealed that a witty woman was not what they were looking for in a partner. Dr Martin said the findings suggested that men see themselves as the ones who should be delivering the lines and feel threatened by humorous women.
How depressing. The Indie also lines up some of the best female comics in the business to tell us about their struggles to find love. All I can say is – why would you want to be with a man who finds funny women threatening? Maybe this is evidence of how far we still have to go, and how embedded those gender stereotypes really are. Perhaps no more so than in a love-relationship context.