When I was young, oh so much younger than today — to quote the Beatles — I studied the art of love. Wait, that didn’t come out right. This has nothing to do with the Kama Sutra or Masters and Johnson. I better start over …
Years ago, before I became wizened and wise, I decided to use the scientific method to discover the secret of true love and sex appeal. My research hinged on one question: What, as Freud famously asked, do women want? And my corollary to that question was “How can I provide it?”
I read all the sociological studies I could find, which were probably financed by Estee Lauder, Old Spice or Budweiser and published in such reputable publications as Star magazine, National Enquirer and Cosmopolitan.
One of the first things I learned was women like a man who’s a “good listener,” so I resolved to talk less and listen more. The problem was that I went to extremes, as I often do, and stopped talking altogether, which made going on dates rather difficult. A few girls thought I had speech problems, until I explained in a handwritten note that I chose to forego chatter because I was thoroughly committed to being a good listener.
Unfortunately, this caused problems in other areas of my life, such as my dealings with my parents, and after several weeks, Dad asked Mom, “Why doesn’t he talk? What’s wrong with him?”
MOM: “I think he had a mystical experience.”
DAD: “Does this mean we don’t have to support him anymore?”
The next day I started talking again.
Later, it occurred to me that just because I refrained from talking didn’t necessarily mean I was a good listener. Generally, while my date was prattling on about her new hair style, the sale at J.Crew or her plan to swim the English Channel, I was daydreaming about getting home to watch the Yankees’ game.
Then, I read a survey that insisted women don’t care what men look like, and I thought, “That’s what all the women tell Hugh Jackman.” It apparently didn’t matter whether you had muscles, which meant you could be the 100-pound weakling who got sand kicked in his face at the beach and still get a date with Cindy Crawford. I thought, “Wow, a new era is dawning!”
Best of all, it didn’t matter if you had hair. When I read that, I got a new lease on life because my hair started thinning at 18 and turning gray at 18.5. However, I questioned the results of this survey, because if women don’t care about hair, why do they spend an estimated 37.4 years of their mortal existence in hair salons?
Nevertheless, I was inspired to shave my head in the tradition of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Bruce Willis and Telly Savalas, until I read another encouraging study that said more than anything — more than hair, good looks, muscles, money, compassion, empathy and a hot car — women want a man with … a sense of humor.
That news drastically changed my life and my career. I immediately gave up my lifelong dream of becoming a gastroenterologist and went to see the local newspaper editor. I begged him to let me write a humor column, and he agreed, but only if I promised to write about colonoscopies every few months.
Here’s the best of all. A recent study, conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Buffalo, and published in Personal Relationships, found that a man’s sex appeal relates directly to his ability to tell stories. (The authors said, however, that the men didn’t really give a hoot about how good the women were at telling stories because the guys were more interested in other things, which we won’t get into.)
The researchers concluded that women find men to be sexy and intelligent if they can tell “entertaining stories.” Which reminds me … did I ever tell you about the time I was lost in a blizzard on top of Mt. Whitney with nothing but a pack of Hostess Twinkies and a Starbucks Frappuccino, while crazed grizzly bears addicted to processed sugar and caffeine chased me down the mountain? No? Well ….
I can only assume my wife is that special breed of woman who doesn’t care whether her husband has hair or money. She married me anyway, and I’m not a good listener. Plus, she doesn’t care about my storytelling abilities because she doesn’t read my column, which is why I can get away with writing this stuff. But she really loves that I don’t talk.
Contact Joe Pisani at firstname.lastname@example.org.