“I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.”
– Woody Allen, quoting Groucho Marx in Annie Hall
…It’s definitely one of the most charming traits about a person.
The art of self-deprecation is not only proof of humility and an ability to objectively perceive one’s self, but on top of that, it’s a wonderful way to make people at ease.
Oh, and I should add this: It’s one of the best ways to survive in the fashion world.
Are there support groups for women growing out bad haircuts? I’d like to join.
Some women dress for men. Others dress for women. Me, I dress for the gays.
– Lauren Santo Domingo
That’s why I have role-models like Woody Allen, Françoise Sagan, or Nora Ephron. They crack me up and get me in just the right way because for me, self-deprecation is like saying that you’re no better than anyone else… So it’s pretty much just speaking the truth.
“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.” – Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck
For me, it all started when I was fairly young (around 18 years old or so… Before I turned 18, I had the same intensity, passion, and misguided profundity that say, someone like a Dana Brody has. But then I realized that you have to grow a sense of humor quickly when life throws hardships your way), I also understood that we all have embarrassing moments in life and it’d be such a shame if we weren’t able to talk about them.
“[…]It didn’t refrain this condescension that, thank God, any family keeps about their youngest, even more so when they are a little mild stutter, trumpet Nietzsche like you’d do with the day’s news, and take a very intense look at any rhyme, which was my case.” – Françoise Sagan, La petite robe noire
It’s one of the things I love most about Scott. He has the most surprising self-deprecating humor. I’ll have to make a video of him imitating himself hunting for looks in the streets. It’ll be worth it. In the same way, Jon Hamm is pretty irresistible:
“Amy Poehler and myself got together and decided that we’ve lost enough Emmys that we deserve the right to throw a losers party.” – Jon Hamm on The Jimmy Kimmel Show
There’s nothing more attractive than a man who can admit his own faults and then laugh at them, don’t you think?
But there’s a fine line between self-deprecation and self-flagellation, and it often gets pretty blurry.
“I look as young as a person can look given how old I am.” – Nora Ephron, I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections
I realize that when I talk about myself (okay, which is most of the time) I tell you about my worries (All my little worries, that is; I keep my big worries to myself or at least try to spare you while I figure them out and then come out ready to laugh at myself again)(pain + time = humor, they say) and yet still, it sometimes happens that some of you tell me to stop self-flagellating and get back to loving myself a little. I mean, here, let me give you an example:
“My life as a very low maintenance woman has been going on way too long. By now, I’m living a dude life. No, not even that. Dudes take better care of themselves than this. My life as, uhhhh, a cell phone maybe (???) (I was looking for something an idea to illustrate my low maintenancy and my phone just happened to be in front of me), okay, no.?Even my cell-phone has updates more often that I do.”
When I read through these types of comments, I think “but noooo, of course I love myself! But that doesn’t stop me from poking fun at my faults!” – and at the same time, I understand where it comes from because self-deprecation and self-flagellation have some blurred boundaries and the only way to tell them apart is sense of humor.
And humor doesn’t always translate from one person to another.
“My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.” – Tina Fey
For a few months now, one of the Twitter accounts that has had me rolling is Fat Amy, an insecure girl who hates school, loves to do nothing, and deploys a wealth of irony in every tweet.
“i wish my thighs were as small as my self esteem” – Fat Amy
It’s a parody account inspired by Fat Amy from the movie Pitch Perfect – she calls herself Fat Amy because “I call myself that so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back.” (which is to say that Fat Amy is not Rebel Wilson but the account has been “approved,” which is a little like receiving an Oscar in the cyber world)(if you didn’t understand the last sentence, don’t worry : me neither), so for all I know, maybe it’s some 80 year old guy in his basement but I don’t care. The important thing is that it cracks me up.
“2014 is so close i can almost taste the lips i will not be kissing on new years eve” – Fat Amy
The thing is that sometimes, she goes a little too far and I want to grab her in my arms and comfort her. It comes down to the fact that when she talks about those moments where she feels dumb, ugly, or undesirable – we all know what she’s talking about. We all have been there. And it’s not always funny in the moment. Sometimes I just want to jump in and ask hey, why don’t you tell us about what you like about yourself?
You doing okay, Fat Amy? You want to go get some coffee or something?
(Yes, I’m actually speaking directly to a parody account on Twitter as if she was my friend)
And even if I know that it’s just a joke, sometimes I think that maybe it really is some teenager who’s suffering and trying to send us a message… And then I pull myself together and remind myself that it’s just someone with a killer sense of humor.
On this note, let’s wrap up with a quote from Nora…“When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you. But when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your laugh.”
So what do you think of all this? Are you able to laugh at yourself? Do you think you can sometimes too easily cross over from self-deprecation to self-flagellation? Or can we just laugh at everything?