“I Say, Old Chap, There Are Ladies Present!”
As far as I can see, there is no satisfactory Wikipedia account of the concept of ‘dirty joke’. I was hoping that it might shed some light on just why these have been reprobated in mixed company. One well understands why women do not want to listen to adolescent male potty and dick humour, any more than men do not want to listen to tampon jokes. A lot of male sex humour, those desperate attempts to prove non-gayness, is very profoundly boring to any man who is no longer a virgin, or at least ought to be.
Insofar as there is such a thing as real heterosexual humour, however, humour that turns on propitiating universal anxieties or expressing the inherent deceit, predatoriness or ludicrousness of human sexuality¬ ¬– involving what I would call its ‘Gnostic’ critique – one might expect it to be enjoyed by both sexes. Because in Gnostic language, both sexes are betrayed by horny bodies in search of the probably unattainable, and so “If I seem to laugh at any thing, ‘tis that I may not weep”.
Why, then, have women traditionally protected themselves against sexual humour, and in fact, pretty well any reference to sex outside the venerable paradigm of raising male consciousness by non-stop correction? Well, I have just answered my own question: because any acknowledgment of sex outside the context of frigid compliance with the terms of the meal ticket, avenged by ruthless pedagogy, spoils the game. Not laughing at sex is part of the same trade-union enforcement as persecution of prostitutes as undercutters and strikebreakers.
In: THE NAME OF THE GAME, The Trade-Unionism Of Married Women