Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jokes and the Conscious

Freud wrote a tome call The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconcious. Here’s a joke which talks about humor’s relation to what is perfectly conscious. The husband asks his wife if she wants to have sex. She says no she has a gynecologist’s appointment the next day. Do you have a dental appointment too? is the husband’s rejoinder. It’s really a simple joke and not particularly dirty by today’s standards, nor is it complicated enough or linguistically interesting enough to have been the work of great transgressive pundits like the late George Carlin. But the joke does epitomize a number of things about both sex and the invention or lack of invention that goes into the creation of excuses. From the point of view of sex it’s an anecdotally sociological comment on the lack of reciprocity that's characteristic of most domesticized sexuality. Sex when it becomes a part of the routine of every life is no longer about desire. It’s a power play having to do with who's going to get his way. The husband in the joke might just as easily have asked if his wife wanted to eat franks and beans for dinner, though then too she might have begged off with the excuse that she had a gynecologist’s appointment and didn’t want to risk being gaseous when she was in stirrups. However the joke is even more interesting when it comes to excuses. There's really no rationale for not having sex before a gynecologist’s appointment. In fact, one would think that it made sense to have sex so that if anything untoward occurred during the sex act, it could be reported to the gynecologist. And the rejoinder about the dental appointment is equally irrational when you come down to it. The husband is plainly arguing for oral sex as a surrogate due to the fact that it’s unlikely the wife will also have a dental appointment on the same day she has a gynecologist’s appointment. Playing the devil’s advocate, one could take the position that if avoiding seeing a dentist and a gynecologist the same day is the game plan, then oral sex, which could easily dislodge a filling, is not what the doctor ordered.

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