Tuesday, November 4, 2014

IWSG: Should Women Shy Away From Self-Deprecating Humor?




It's time for another addition of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group. Be sure to visit  Alex J. Cavanaugh, and the other welcoming writers.

The other day I ran into an old classmate that I hadn't seen in years. We went all through school together, and though his hair had turned salt and pepper, I immediately recognized him. He reminded me that we were Facebook friends, and offered up suggestions for my blog.

Though he thought it had "potential," he felt I needed to "ease up" on my self-deprecating humor. He added, "Men like confident women. We don't want to hear about your flaws. It doesn't reflect well on you or your family. Take pride in your accomplishments, and stop going for the cheap laughs." Then he smiled when he said, "I'm glad your mom still has a great sense of humor. Does she still wear those tight leather pants?" 

For once I was tongue-tied. Though part of me was flattered he actually read my blog,  I was shocked he had found it offensive, and creeped out that he still had a thing for my mom. It was high time I put him in his place, "Many female comedy legends are known for their self-deprecating humor. Look at Joan Rivers, Carol Burnett, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. Even Lucille Ball was at her best when she was stomping on grapes, or shoving chocolates down her uniform at the chocolate factory. Comedy isn't always sexy, yet many of these women are very attractive. I know I'll never be in their league, but you know what I mean."

He stared at me for a minute before asking, "Remember you mom's leopard couch? They sure don't make couches like that anymore. Didn't she have a matching robe too?"

I almost dropped my vanilla chai latte. "I don't remember inviting you over. When were you ever in our house?"

"Your brother asked me and Donny to come over after baseball practice one day."

Donny? Then it all came back to me. He and Donny were in a group of boys who traumatized me in grammar school. When he wasn't calling me names, he was busy shoving me on the playground. He was the ringleader in a group of kids who picked on everything from my buck teeth to my clown shoes. Funny how someone who spent years deflating my ego, found my self-deprecating humor unbecoming. 
                                                                      

52 comments:

  1. Great. A bully with toy boy fantasies. Men like that don't know what humour is. They confuse it with getting butt-whipped by a dominatrix in leather pants.

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  2. Hi Julie - I have to say I think that's a bit much ... he hasn't grown into his adult emotions yet ... incredible he's still putting you down. Extraordinary ... keep writing these wonderful posts .. and I hope he reads this one,and the comments you'll be getting ... cheers Hilary

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  3. Gorilla - Not that there's anything wrong with the dominatrix part, but I could've done without his constructive criticism! Thanks for looking out for me, Gorilla!

    Hilary - I truly believe he was trying to help me. By putting myself down, he thought that other people would see me in a poor light. I'm glad you disagree, Hilary! Thanks for the very kind words! It'll be interesting to see if other men feel the same way.

    Julie

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  4. Like the song says "I AM WHAT I AM". Be yourself and be true to yourself.
    Enjoyed the post well wriitten.
    Yvonne

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  5. Wow, what a story. It looks like he is still into trying to bully you and make you feel bad. Guys gotta problem. He must really be intimidated by you to still try it on you. As others said, he has never emotionally grown up and the issues that made him a bully are still strong in his view of the world. That's a very sad story for an adult.

    It is your ability to laugh at yourself that says you are confident in who you are, at least at your core. Sharing that humor with the world is a talent. You told the bully story very well. I was ready to punch him for ya.

    I think he is very insecure and told you his own personal fear. He enjoyed what he read, because he remember and he told you. He was thinking what people would think of him if he did the same. He already felt less, without making fun of himself, so pushed his fear off on you. It was nice that he notice and remember, even flattering, but his judgement is still motivated by the bully's insecurities.

    Great post.

    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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  6. Sounds like he's still trying to deflate your ego.

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  7. I have always found that folks who seem to have no faults, no problems or no moles on their body are boring and dull. Then when they judge others and have and express arrogance about it, I find them to be pompous AHs. I am mostly happy about myself, warts and all, my mistakes usually make me laugh (some take longer than others) and I easily make friends because they can relate to me. That is how I see you also.

    You have many friends and admirers, Julie, who needs him? Whatever his intention was to "give you advice", he just came off as the bully he once was.

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  8. Your humour is fine with me. Just write your blog the way you always have. Always be you.

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  9. Oxy-MORON! Wonder if he's reading this now?

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  10. Then you really shouldn't listen to him! I like your humor here. This dude approves.

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  11. With friends like that, you don't need enemies. Yikes! I think your humor is wonderful, Julie.

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  12. I like self-deprecating humor. Your writing is funny, sly, and well, yes, your mom is a star feature, but that guy was creepin'. Keep your voice - that's what makes you YOU

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  13. Yvonne - I love that song from La Cage aux Follies! Thanks Yvonne!

    Juneta - Aw thanks, but you don't need to punch him for me, though I would've appreciated it back in grammar school! There are some men who truly are put-off by women who use self-deprecating humor. I even found some articles about it online. Thanks again for your kind words and support, Juneta!

    Delores - Fortunately, I'm a tough old broad!

    Arleen - It's so true how we have to laugh at ourselves. My hope is that people can relate to my stories, and in some way it will brighten their day. I also feel the same way about your humorous stories Arleen, and I'm so glad we connected through blogging! Thank you so much!

    Jo - Now that I know I can do! Thank you Jo!

    Shelly - He's not one to write comments, so I probably won't know unless I run into him again.

    Alex - Your support and approval really do mean the world to me! Thank you so much for hosting this wonderful group, Alex!

    Daisy - Sometimes I think he's his own worst enemy. He really does mean well, but has an odd way of showing it. Thanks Daisy!

    Julie

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  14. JULIE ~
    I know I'm not a member of this writing group thingy, but I figured you wouldn't mind if posted a comment after reading the blog bit.

    First of all, different kinds of guys like all different kinds of gals (just as it's true working from the other way, different kinds of gals liking different kinds of guys). His remark, "Men like confident women. We don't want to hear about your flaws", is a tremendous generalization. Also, there can sometimes be a fine line between "confident" and "arrogant", and I feel safe in making the more accurate generalization that men don't like arrogant women. Yeah, there may be a few exceptions, because there's an oddball in every crowd (but for crying out loud, why is it always turning out to be me?), but better the self-deprecating sense of humor than an arrogant attitude, or a confident attitude that is perceived as arrogance.

    Me, I appreciate just about EVERY form of humor; anything that entertains me, regardless of form, has my approval.

    I haven't seen her in decades, but there used to be a stand-up comedienne named Elayne Boosler who frequently engaged in self-deprecating humor and I thought she was the funniest female stand-up comic I ever saw.

    The irony of this did not get passed Juneta Key who in her comment above wrote: "It is your ability to laugh at yourself that says you are confident in who you are, at least at your core."

    She is exactly RIGHT! The person who can engage in self-deprecating humor is able to do so ONLY because deep down they know they aren't really a screw-up and a failure. The person who secretly fears they really may be a doofus can't afford to point it out to others; they need to try covering up that fact, or fear.

    I frequently make self-deprecating remarks because A) I acknowledge I'm far from perfect, B) I'm confident enough in myself in certain ways that I can afford to make myself the butt of some of my own jokes, and C) if I can entertain someone even at my own expense, I dun good, and the positive aspect of the self-deprecating humor overcomes the negative aspect of whatever it is I screwed-up and then shined a light on.

    So, you just keep on bein' Julie and your fans will keep on comin' back fo' mo' fun.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Stephen - I can always count on you to make my day! Thanks for your in-depth analysis on the subject. I agree that there's a fine line between confidence, and arrogance, and I do admire you for never crossing it! I also think Juneta made some pretty strong points. Elayne Boosler is a great comedienne, and has the ability to make it look effortless. Stephen, I really enjoy your wonderful sense of humor, and appreciate all of your support! I'm so happy Susan Swiderski got us together! Thanks again for everything!

      Julie

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    2. >>... The irony of this did not get passed Juneta Key

      DOH!

      Well, in my defense I want to make mention of the fact that I was (truthfully) operating on no more than two hours of sleep for the whole night when I composed that comment.

      In the ancient past, I had a PEZ, but my childhood has passed.

      She passed gas as she ripped past the gas station.

      I used to know the difference between "past" and "passed" in the past.

      Just checking to make sure I've really got this lesson learned.

      >>... I agree that there's a fine line between confidence, and arrogance, and I do admire you for never crossing it!

      You've never spoken with any of my enemies, have you?

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. Stephen - I didn't even notice the mistake, but I'm glad your passing gas is in the past! As for your enemies, I've been trying to steer clear of them! Ha, ha! I also know not to ever get in a heated political debate with you, or our friendship will be a thing of the past! Hope you're able to get a good night's sleep, Stephen.

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  15. lol I'd tell him to take a hike. A bully that has a thing for your mother? Hmmm maybe he has all the self deprecating he can handle with himself haha

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  16. I think he gets his jollies putting other people down. If you see him again, tell him to bug off. Or choose your own terminology :)

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  17. I agree with Alex. This guy still has the bully inside of him. He can't hit you now, but he is undermining you, which is another form of bullying.
    If you see him again? Wear some pointy toed cowboy boots, kick him wherever good and hard.

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  18. Jerk. What a bully. When Willy Dunne Wooters and I started dating, he asked me not to say mean things about myself. He asked very nicely. He didn't want me to make fun of the woman he loves. WDW does not pick on me, nor does he bully me.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Janie - Has WDW seen the video of you blowing your nose from last week?! This is the other side of the coin, and I'm so glad you mentioned it. The guy in my story wasn't being mean spirited. He thought he was actually helping me. Though it's not on the same level with you, and Willy Dunne Wooters, he was just looking out for me in his own way. I just thought it was ironic given our history together. Thanks Janie!

      Julie

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  19. What a jerk! Laughing at yourself is healthy as is meeting challenges with as much humor as you can muster. Perhaps the humor went over his head so he had to demean it to cover his lack of understanding.

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  20. Wow. Some dudes get testy when their Viagra runs out.

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  21. Pat - I think he just appreciated her taste in animal prints! He definitely wasn't opposed to self-deprecating humor. He just found it offensive in women. Thanks Pat!

    Carol - I'll tell him that you said to "bug off." He'll have a much harder time tracking you down!

    Susan - Even if he had said this in a vicious way, I don't think I could fit my orthotics into my cowboy boots! Nice try though!

    Susan GK - You are absolutely right that "laughing at yourself is healthy." I don't think my humor "went over his head", as much as it was dragged under a bus! Thanks Susan!

    Al - Well this explains a lot. Too bad Hans and Franz weren't there to "pump him up!" Good one, Al!

    Julie


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  22. What a weirdo. You didn't ask for writing or dating advice. What's up with his "Men like confident women"? Then again, that's why he still has the hots for your mom - huh? I'm glad he's not one of my facebook friends. At least, I hope he's not.

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  23. Wow, what a jerk! I'm sure he forgot what a bully he was way back in the day. I think he's bothered by the fact that you're popular, funny and have a following for your blog, while he daydreams about your mom.

    That, to me speaks volumes. I think Al might have a point too...

    Have a great night! Eva

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  24. Robyn - You don't happen to know anyone named Igor do you? Just kidding! He is definitely not your Facebook friend, though he would like to be. If you met a woman whose robe blended in with her leopard couch, and due to the smoke from her Virginia Slim cigarette, you couldn't tell where the robe ended, and the couch began, you would also have that picture engraved in your mind. "Terminally sassy," or "terminally sexy?" You make the call. Thanks Robyn!

    Eva - Thanks for all of the wonderful compliments! I hope to be deserving of at least one of them. Let's just go with Al's theory. It's funny, and he deserves extra points for self-restraint. Thanks again, Eva!

    Julie

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  25. I found this story disturbing almost from "Go." It made sense when you put two and two together and came up with who this guy actually is... the bully in the schoolyard. Some people just never change. He is still a bully, trying to make others feel worse about themselves. Since he reads this blog, I hope he reads this comment (and all those that preceded it) and UNDERSTANDS he is a big jerk with pervy fantasies about your mother.

    You keep on being you. Don't change a thing. I love your blog and think you're TOPS!

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    1. Robin - Sorry that you found this "disturbing." My intent was to find out how people felt about self-deprecating humor in women, instead of making myself out to be a victim. Though we had a leopard couch, I believe my mom's robe was a tiger print. So you see, I do tend to embellish my stories. The guy is not a "perv," he's just very opinionated. I'm humbled by your kindness, and support, Robin! I'm still blown away from when you featured me on your blog last April. I also love your blog, and think you're "TOPS!" Now I can't get that Cole Porter song out of my mind! Thanks again, Robin!

      Julie

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    2. So, he may read that "Viagra" crack that I made???? Uh, oh.
      I hope he doesn't get offended because he actually uses "Cialis," instead.

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    3. Incidentally, if he's thinking "Viagra" and "crack," he's probably doing it wrong.

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  26. By the way, self-deprecating humor works. It's what I do.
    Except, in my case, it's all true.

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    1. Al - What have you done? This could be worse than the Coke versus Pepsi debate! At least he doesn't know your real name!

      You are the king of self-deprecating humor, Al! Both your blog, and Shag Carpet Toilet are hilarious!

      Julie

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    2. Oh, the things I've done. Take, for instance, that Sunday afternoon following the "All-You-Can-Drink" mimosa breakfast at the Orange Park, Florida, Best Western.
      I think I'd be arrested nowadays.

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    3. Al - Your secret's safe with me.

      By the way, are you moving in? It's one thing visiting my blog, but is that your toilet parked at the end of my driveway?

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  27. I LOVE self-deprecating humor. But apparently it's above some people's heads...

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  28. I really like your humor. Don't pay any attention to him.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  29. Keith - It is good when we can laugh at ourselves, though some people don't see it that way.

    Gina - Sometimes it's easier to give advice than to take it! I shall give it a try! Thanks Gina!

    Julie

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  30. What a nerve! Ignore him.
    You have an amazing sense of humor - which I love!
    There's a quote about the importance of laughing at yourself: "To make mistakes is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity."

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    1. Michelle - What a great quote! You also have a wonderful sense of humor, and that's what brought us together! Thanks so much Michelle!

      Julie

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  31. Personally, I think anyone who has the ability to laugh at his or her own shortcomings will always have an appreciative audience. Why? Because most of us can relate. That guy "might" have been trying to be "helpful," but that doesn't make him any less wrong. Maybe he's so insecure about his own shortcomings, he can't appreciate the plus side of self-deprecating humor. But WE all enjoy it, and love your blog posts just the way they are.

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  32. What an ass. We love self deprecating humor. It's an art style. It has nothing to do with "I hate myself" and everything to do with "I'm comfortable enough in my own skin to make jokes about myself." I hope he went home and sobbed brokenly into his mirror while asking his cat (his only friend) what went wrong in his life.

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  33. Susan - This really means a lot coming from such a witty and heartfelt writer. Thanks for always cheering me on!

    James - Thanks for following me, and I'm happy to return the favor!

    Julie

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  34. He's a jerk. Hiding your flaws is an awful trait. Part of my Movember campaign is about encouraging people to recognize that absolutely everyone has something wrong with them and that we can all live better lives once we accept that.

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  35. B & B - Self-deprecating humor is an "art style," has a nice ring to it! I always look forward to A Beer For The Shower, because you both do it so well! Though he doesn't have a cat, he does have a lot of friends. I guess he doesn't try to be "helpful" with them! Thanks B & B!

    Michael - Your Movember campaign sounds great! I hope the meeting will be held in a very dimly lit room! Thanks Michael!

    Julie

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  36. Better laugh at your flaws than be neurotic about them :) In my case at least, laughing at my flaws means that I have come to accept them.

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  37. I guess once a bully always a bully. What a jackass. Obviously lots of people love your humor, Julie. It's super creepy that he has a thing for your mother too. No offense to your mom, of course! :D
    I think if I were you I'd be "unfriending" this guy on FB. He brings"with friends like these who needs enemies" to mind.

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  38. Vanessa - I couldn't agree more! It's a much healthier attitude. Thanks Vanessa!

    Julie - I won't "unfriend" him on the off chance that he might see this one day Besides, it's good to keep your frenemies close!.Thanks Julie!

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  39. This person has a small mind and is not worth a powder to blow as my dad used to say. He is still a bully and will remain so-very insecure. Laughing at oneself is the height of security and being comfortable with oneself despite all our flaws of which I have none-hahahahaaaa. My nose is growing on that last statement. Hopefully you will never run into him again and if you do, ignore him-they hate that and besides, he is not worth your breath

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