There are two types of people in this world -- those who can laugh at themselves, and those who can't. It is a pretty simple distinction in personalities, though the ability to self-deprecate effectively doesn't often set in until you make it to age where you just don't care about impressing people anymore. It can come along with the desire to wear comfortable (read: ugly) shoes, eat oatmeal because you truly desire to, and salivate at the thought of going to bed early.
A few people are born with the gift of self-deprecation, like Rodney Dangerfield and Louis CK. But for the rest of us, we have to go through years -- or decades -- of making asses out of ourselves and feeling embarrassed (the immature predecessor to self-deprecation) or worse, be completely oblivious to our own selfish behavior before coming to a place where we can say, "You know what? The way you just demanded that barista to make your skinny, sugar-free six-pump, extra-whip whatever makes you look like a jerk-off. You are a jerk-off. Go apologize and put an extra dollar in the tip jar, you selfish white lady in yoga pants."
I was accused of being an egomaniac a few months ago by some dude on Facebook. Turns out he was right. I am an egomaniac. I think I'm awesome. How could I not think highly of myself? I'm some asshole with a column (with my name in the title, no less.) But in order to have this internet space for the not-printed word that has Bree plastered all over it, I also must have the ability to look at my life and realize, in part, that it is a joke. I'm an unmarried 31-year-old woman with an obsolete degree. I work at the mall. I wear Uggs and stretch pants. I like Taz and Katy Perry. I base my life around my work out schedule. I nap, excessively. I keep a detailed schedule that revolves around one person. I am the most self-absorbed person who has ever walked this earth.
Except, I can laugh. I laugh at the joke that is me, every single day. Fuck it -- I don't laugh at it, I do what I can to get other people to laugh at me. I revel in the idea that once upon a time, I had adult braces, and that alone got me laid. A man at a bar came up to me and said, "Wow, I haven't kissed a girl with braces since I was 13." Three hours later, we were having sex in his car. Should I be laughing because I let some dude play out his weird tween-age wet dream on me? Absolutely. I make bad decisions. I laugh at myself. Then I turn around and try to make everyone else laugh at me.
I once spent an entire summer going spray tanning. (If Myspace were still a real place, I would have proof.) Have you ever seen an Irish woman with a spray tan? It is disgusting. I looked like a orange-spotted, terri-cloth clad nightmare. Fake tans on white people are like facelifts on old ladies -- you don't look tan, you just look like dyed-brown white person. No one buys it but you. I would do anything for the photos of that season of fake tanning bliss. Why? Because I love to tell the story of what a moron I was, traipsing around like a giant, literally off-color joke that everyone else was laughing at but me.
I know, I know. Self-deprecation is the new single white lady "thing." I've seen New Girl and will inevitably watch Whitney. I've studied Bridget Jones' every move and subscribe the church of Liz Lemon.
But in this era of Nth Wave feminism, we have found power in self-deprecation. (And for the record, my friend Bree made up that term Nth Wave to describe her band, Tacocat, because
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. I just decided to apply it to humor.) The humor in our weird, self-absorbed lifestyles is where our power lies. Funny women can be powerful women. I swear, it works -- once you stand in your power as a self-deprecating woman, dudes will be saying shit to you like "woah, I've never met a girl that's so 'real' before" or "I like that you can be yourself all of the time."
But be careful: Men don't want to be with women who are so self-assured or actually funnier than them. Because they know we won't fall all over ourselves to be with them -- we will just point out that they smell bad or have no manners. It's a tough world for men with fragile egos. I would know. My ego is much like my gynecologist once described my uterine wall after years of smoking: Thin and breakable like a potato chip.
John Waters once said: "If you go home with someone and they don't have books, don't fuck them." I say, if you go home with someone and they don't have a sense of humor about themselves, fuck them. But leave early before they wake up, and never call them again, unless it is for sex. Because chances are, they aren't someone you actually want have a conversation with.