Blamer Alexandra writes:
Q: I was (seriously) wondering: Is it feminist to giggle? I’ve never known a man to giggle. Is giggling a natural thing, or should I blame the patriarchy?
A: You’ve come to the right place, Alexandra! I am Director of Hollow Mirthless Laughter at the Twisty Institute, where I am also widely considered the world’s foremost authority on giggling.
To the extent that laughter generally is postulated by snickersperts to originate from deep within the antique, reptilian recesses of the human brain, it may be regarded as “natural.” It is a primitive vocalization thought to be associated with promoting cohesion in social groups. Individual cultural tradition determines situation-specific varietals, but the universal wheel-greasing message of all laughter is, approximately, “I bend over before your superior magnificence.”
In fact, when startled by sudden improbable ludicrosity, many guffawing adult humans will spontaneously bend over to express their humility. I did this myself only yesterday, when the bagger at Whole Foods eyed me narrowly and remarked, out of the blue, “Hey, I know you. You’re the one who says ‘Africa’ is your Number One Jam!”
, I was spontaneously overcome with delight that this kid, who sees thousands of identical honky chuckleheads every day, had remembered a fit of ironical clowning to which I had subjected her while shelling out $143 for a couple of tomatoes many months prior.* In involuntarily doubling over, I was acknowledging her generous condescension in commemorating my dorky jest as one of her young life’s golden moments.
“I say ‘Number One Jam’ all the time now!” cried the bagger as I disappeared down the escalator, waving a fond farewell with my 29-dollar bag of organic Cheetos.
I guess you had to be there.
At any rate, giggling is an adaptation of this supplicatory behavior specialized to indicate particularly acute self-effacement. For this reason males are conditioned from the cradle to eschew — and eventually, as they tumesce to the full extent of their authoritative masculine fatuity, to mock — the giggle. Concomitantly, in contemporary narratives giggling is closely associated, pretty much in equal measure, with packs of prepubescent girls, coquetry, vapidity, fits, hysteria, and derangement.
In praxis, among sane persons old enough to menstruate, giggling is a feminine affectation employed almost exclusively to lubricate the egos of higher-status entities. According to Twisty Institute findings published in the Fall 2005 issue of Kackle Kwarterly, the Journal of North American Laffology, giggles most often accompany conscious or subconscious efforts to solicit favor from exalted personages through sexual manipulation. Adult women of commensurate status who are not tryin’ to whip off a piece do not spontaneously giggle amongst themselves.
At least, not those who have resisted the infantilizing pro-giggle conceit of the specious girl-power craze, which craze was invented as a marketing ploy to sell pink Hello Kitty stripper poles to grown women who have been brainwashed to believe that feminism is tacky now that we’ve come so far.
* It was like this. “Africa” was blurting out of the Muzak system, and I had of course informed the bagger — with the smirk of a recovering scenester music snob — that it was my Number One Jam. Which had cracked her up out of all proportion. The Twisty Institute has found that most instances of spontaneous laughter do not occur in response to actual, formal comedy jokes, but as involuntary expressions of incredulity over the fact that middle-aged spinster aunts wearing golf visors and fannypacks should be so adept at deflection when they are caught singing along with Toto in supermarket checkouts.