Last night, as I was getting into my bed, from the kitchen, I heard my mom laugh. Then, right behind her, my step-dad laughed too. They weren’t guffaws, the kinds of laughs that come from the gut, they were chuckles, stuttered, and through the teeth. One might even say, they were audible smiles.
It made my night, to hear those laughs, because, I honestly can’t remember hearing my mom ever laugh like that with any man. Well, any man besides her son of course. One time, when I was in the fourth grade, one of my homework assignments was to use the week’s list of spelling words in a story. And I don’t remember the exact combination of words I used in this one sentence of the story, but I do remember telling my mom the sentence, while we were driving in the car. I remember thinking it was funny when I wrote it so I wanted to share it with her and sure enough it made her laugh. I mean laugh, like, wiping-tears-from-her-eyes laugh. And that made me feel so good, to make my mom laugh so hard and I think it was then I kind of understood how important it is to make any woman I care about laugh.
If I were to ask the women I dated to list the reasons why they liked me so much, let my ability to make them laugh be in all of their top three. It’s important to me, because laughter is the sound happy makes, and I don’t only want to do it in public for everyone else to see, but in private too. Especially in private. When it’s just me and her acting as audience to each other.
When a joke has hit my woman right, and got her laughing to the point where whatever she was doing would have to wait until her laughing ceased, I never forget those jokes. The funniest jokes we tell to one another are like the greatest sex we have with one another. We don’t ever forget, and when we go back to that place in our heads, they stir up nothing but good feelings.
Men who want to stare angrily at the other men staring at their woman act as though their intensity will make men back off. But nothing says “back off” like a man making his woman laugh. No man will touch such a moment.
Things I will tell my son or any young man who asks me about love will include: Always try to be the funniest man she ever dated, and I don’t care if one of her ex-boyfriends is named Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy. Crack her up. But be careful because once a funny man, always a funny man, and if she’s not laughing like she used to it isn’t because you’re any less funny. At some point in the relationship, she had the schtick down pat, could see the jokes coming from a mile away, and still she laughed. So why did she stop? Why is she now rolling her eyes when you make a funny instead of showing her teeth? There’s something else wrong and you need to figure out what that is before giving up and going out with your boys to meet new girls who will laugh at your old jokes.
Because there is nothing more addictive than the sound of a woman’s laugh, whether it’s from our mom, our partner or the woman checking us out at the grocery store. Good laughs are like the great songs I hear on the radio, or a great quote I hear from someone else’s mouth, they stick. I never forget the good ones, the ones like I heard last night from my mother and my step-dad. They were the sound of happy.