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Why do so many men think sarcastic humor is positive?

On their dating profiles, many men say they have sarcastic humor. I noticed this in the Plenty of Fish forums, particularly with young guys who complained they got no replies.

Sarcasm is defined as: 1. Harsh or bitter derision or irony; 2. A sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remarks; 3. Bitterness, ridicule and jeer. (

“Sarcasm is really just hostility disguised as humor,” said Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D.

“If you want to be happier and improve your relationships, cut out sarcasm," Lazarus said. "Despite smiling outwardly, most people who receive sarcastic comments feel put down and usually think the sarcastic person is a jerk.”

"Perhaps young men aspire to be like “the meathead clowns floating through the films of today,” said Linda Holmes in “Bad News, Men: You’re Not Very Charming” in The Atlantic.

Why do young men think sarcastic humor is positive? This baffles me. What are your thoughts?

*Source: “Think Sarcasm is Funny? Think Again.” by Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D., Think Well, June 26, 2012.

LiterateHiker 9 June 12

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"I am only kidding"....all we have to do is look at tRump to see that it is mean, offensive, and shows true nature...humor that hurts is not humor...

I use sarcasm to insult or state the obvious or opposite...usually at a comment and not at a person...


Depends on how well the humor is wielded. Carlin used sarcasm like a master swordsman while Trump's attempts to use it land like a cow dropping a turd. Sarcasm is a perfectly legitimate form of communication when handled effectively. In the wrong hands, it can come off as insecure and juvenile.

Case in point, I got through this whole reply without a trace of sarcasm because these aren't the appropriate circumstances for it even though I use it frequently.

So, no, it's not inherently bad as Clifford N. Lazarus PhD might have you think.


I think it's because they see it as a sign of intelligence. And while it may take a certain level of intelligence to "get" it, it's really just exhausting if that's all you can do.


Life without sarcasm is not worth living.


Sarcasm is not clever and is always aimed as a put down. I have always regarded it as the poorest form of wit, and those who employ it to be rather insecure.


I see this on some women's profiles, so it's not strictly men. Maybe mostly though. I don't remember the source bit I did recently read that couples that tease each other tend to be happier. However, teasing doesn't necessarily mean mean and sarcasm often is mean.

Yeah, I’m sarcastic but not about a person’s qualities or looks. Or really even about the person at all. More about the news, work, etc


And why is it assumed that sarcasm only occurs in young men ?

I see it as an equal opportunity trait.


As a straight man I am not seeing men's dating profiles. When I say I like sarcastic humor I have in my mind something along the lines of a Steven Colbert (or Bill Maher, or John Oliver) monologue where they verbally dismember Donald Trump. Its thoroughly enjoyable and appropriate.


I notice this a lot with women too, or used to. Haven’t spent much time around most dating sites to see if they’ve kept it up but a lot of women list “fluent in sarcasm” or sarcasm is a second language. I don’t mind a lady that’s quick with sarcasm if it’s warranted, and if she’s funny/good natured about it, but generally these are probably red flags from either gender.

In short I think it’s the easiest/quickest way to fake a sense of humor, and a sense of humor is otherwise one of the harder things to fake, to demonstrate worth to a partner. As long as she’s not sarcastic about every single thing I do, it’s mostly directed at idiocy outside the relationship etc, I can appreciate some tough love/high standards if I ask or do something stupid. Most people use it as a defense mechanism though. Someone with an assortment of truly positive things to offer won’t rely on it as much.


Both my wife and I are very sarcastic, but we don't aim it at each other - we use it to make fun of others. Its a bonding thing between us.

But it is negative humor, and we don't ever think it's anything but.

1of5 Level 8 June 12, 2019

You are spot-on. And younger or older, it is nearly always a sign of a low level of emotional maturity and lesser intellect. Not always, but often enough that the exceptions are few and noteworthy. Move on, whether as a date or a friend. Better to be by oneself.

Groucho, Pryor, Letterman, Carlin were so immature. There are plenty more, but those popped into my head first.

@Sticks48 Two things: 1) I said not always and 2) Do you think they were like that with people they cared about or wanted to get to care about them? Me thinks not.......

@Mitch07102 Sarcastic folks tend to be attracted to other sarcastic folks, whether in a friendship or a relationship, so yes they are. You thinks wrong. 🙂

@Sticks48 Fair point.


I think the don't understand English. They probably intended to imply they had a satirical sense of humour.

Petter Level 9 June 12, 2019

Clifford Lazarus Said what I was gonna say... These guys say what they really think about you but couch it in humor so they can say,. "I was only kidding."

That is sometimes true.


Sarcasm can be funny, or it can be one must take care when applying it. My ex was raised on hurtful sarcasm, so he uses it out of habit. Unfortunately, he does not seem to able to realize when he should stop.


My alcoholic, brilliant and funny father constantly put me down with hurtful, sarcastic jabs. Nothing I did was ever good enough for him.

Had years of therapy to heal from feeling inferior and being a people-pleaser. Learned to have healthy boundaries with people.

As a result, I deliberately raised my daughter differently.


i think sarcasm can be a sign of insecurity and is best used between people who know each other well enough to get it. having said that, not getting it doesn't mean someone doesn't have a sense of humor.


"I am fluent in sarcasm" is on many, many woman's dating profiles. Only after sampling both should one assume or assert that this is a male trait. It certainly is not.


I would have thought the other way around. All the sarcastic people I know are women. My sister being the most sarcastic person I know, and she absolutely loves it! I think this is a logical falacy, like "It's snowing outside, so global warming isn't real".


Since I don’t usually cruise men’s profiles I don’t know how the numbers compare, but I see the same thing occasionally in women’s profiles and wonder why they think that’s attractive.

skado Level 9 June 12, 2019

real sarcasm IS funny. some people, not only men, think flinging any old insult is successful sarcasm. they associate being mean with being clever. they're mistaken.



Sarcasm is basically ridicule.That it's so-the-thing-to-be these days should explain some of the polarization problem we have...


Too much sarcasm can be a turn-off.

I have to admit I do laugh at it quite often. I can be guilty of it at times, but I have boundaries.

I apreciate Boundaries and good sense


It's how we bond , it's not really meant for flirting . Lots of men don't realise that its meant as a comraderie thing . As this is the only form of positive nteractions they have had they think it can also be used on women not realising women are a completely different species and need a different form of communication ......generalising of course but those women who say they get it alswas seem to fall short

Simon1 Level 7 June 12, 2019

I hate "meathead" humor. Despise it.


I would only use sarcasm if being personally attacked or in reply to some particularly stupid comment. I think mild sarcasm or irony is ok though if used judiciously.

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