Two days ago I reviewed a manuscript submitted for publication in Evolution and Human Behavior. The manuscript described research on sex differences in the production and appreciation of humor, a topic recently addressed by evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller. The research in the paper demonstrated a number of interesting points, but the one that caught my eye is that what a man really values about a woman's sense of humor is NOT her ability to produce witty, funny material, but, rather, her tendency to appreciate and laugh at his attempts at humor. The reason this caught my eye (besides the fact that it is an amusing, correct insight) is that this exact point was made on Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the episode "I Was Made to Love You." In the beginning of this episode, Buffy muses about whether she should slay less and make an effort to laugh more at guys' jokes. She says something like, "That's what guys like, right? When you laugh at their jokes?" Later in the episode she tries to follow through on her plan, forcing herself to laugh at a not-funny joke Ben makes at the spring break party.
So, Buffy (Josh Whedon) said it before the evolutionary psychologists: men are sexually attracted to women who laugh at their humor. To see this point made on a rerun of Buffy a couple of days before I reviewed the manuscript was an interesting synchronicity.