Fights are ugly whether they’re actual physical altercations or heated shouting matches. I don’t see any excuse for getting violent unless some jerk in the parking lot steals a space I clearly claimed by having my signal on. Hey, even I have limits. So why am I advising how to start a fight? I’m not. I’m telling you how to avoid one.
Several years ago, I didn’t realize until it was too late that I had lit the fuse of a very cute woman I was dating. And I don’t mean that in a good way. We were at her place one night watching “Seinfeld.” I’m sitting there LMAO when I noticed she was as still and emotionless as one of the oysters we had for dinner in my vain attempt to get lucky. I stared at her for a brief while and asked why she wasn’t enjoying the show. She commented that she didn’t get why I thought it was so funny. Shocked, I tried to explain the “Soup Nazi” episode we were watching. Her face remained blank. If you have to explain a joke, or in this case, what is now a classic TV episode, all the humor vaporizes. So I gave up. I turned back to the television, off-handedly commenting that she didn’t have a sense of humor.
What was once a calm, adorable woman instantly became Godzilla unearthed. Her screech of outrage blew out windows six blocks away. How dare I accuse her of such a thing! She stood in front of me now, face blood red, insisting that she did, too, have a sense of humor, that “The Soup Nazi” was stupid and not funny. Frantically, I looked for an exit closer than the front door a couple of rooms away. If there was one, she didn’t have any lighted signs pointing to it.
Now I had been out with one other woman who didn’t have a sense of humor. It was one of the most agonizing dates of my life. I tried everything to get her to laugh. Nothing. If I can’t get a woman to laugh, then, yes, it’s possibly my fault or maybe she just doesn’t like me. But I have refined this technique since seventh grade when I first discovered that girls like boys who make them laugh. It was a great way to cover my own feelings of inadequacy. I didn’t tell this woman that she didn’t have a sense of humor, though. We just didn’t go out again.
So here I was welded to my date’s couch by the heat of her fury. I tried to calm her down. That’s what we guys do when we can’t find any real gasoline to throw on the fire. I sat back and just took it like a man possibly facing his last moments on Earth. She was an actress, she reminded me. She studied with the best acting teachers. She had been on a soap opera for years. She knew comedy. I didn’t quite get that last connection, and could’ve argued it, but decided instead to put the gas can down.
Clearly, I had insulted my date. Nobody likes being told they don’t have a sense of humor even if they don’t. It’s dehumanizing. It’s one of the three basic things that separates us as a species: the ability to reason, opposable thumbs and a sense of humor.
That was the last time I saw what’s-her-name.
As it turns out, I learned two valuable lessons that night—one, to never tell anyone that they don’t have a sense of humor and two, if that person is someone I want to date, I’ll find out ahead of time if she likes “The Soup Nazi” episode of “Seinfeld.”