I am often asked how we stayed married for so many years. Now that I have stopped dyeing my hair and have let it go completely gray, I am often mistaken for someone with great wisdom. It's kind of fun! Anyway, my answer is always, "You have to have a sense of humor."
Years ago my husband gave similar advice to a young man debating about whether the woman he was dating was the right one: "It's a long life if she doesn't think you're funny."
How true. I've often told him, when he has done something totally irritating and stupid, "You're lucky I think you're funny. Otherwise you'd be in real trouble."
There are other moments when I've stomped off, steam coming out of my ears, waving my hand in the air, to prevent him from trying to tease me out of it.
In the past forty four years many an argument has been diffused by a hilarious observation, many stressful times relieved by a subtle, dry comment. Life is pretty damn hard, so if there's a choice of whether to laugh or cry, I'll choose to laugh almost every time.
So the heroes in my books may be men with a lot on their minds. They may be immersed in conflicts and work and all sorts of manly-man projects, but as heroes they can sometimes see the humor of a situation filter through the chaos and embarrassment and frustration. I say sometimes because my own live-in hero has never, ever thought plumbing problems or broken lawnmowers were funny. Not ever. Though the rest of the family has been known to double over in silent laughter as a dented lawnmower goes sailing through the air.
My heroes won't realize just how funny they are. Their misguided attempts to understand and romance the women in their lives often result in disaster, but they keep trying. Heroes gamely trying to deal with children and animals always tickle me. Take a hero out of his comfort zone and see how he handles himself. Will this fictional guy take himself too seriously or will he approach the challenge with humor and grace?
Men--the good ones-- make me laugh. I can't help it! What about you?
*For those of you who watch The Bachelor, you saw this week's episode with Kelsey and Ashley in the Badlands with Chris (the shy farmer from Iowa). I have retitled this picture: He didn't get a rose.