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Gay Men’s Wit May Make Them Healthier

Oscar_Wilde_in_1882

Okay all you witty Noel Cowards, double entendre Oscar Wilde souls out there, listen up: humor, wit, and laughter may just add years to your life.

"There is only one thing in the world that is worse than being talked about," said Raconteur Wilde (1854-1900).

"And that is not being talked about."

The wit and humor of gays on Internet forums is priceless. Not the mean, catty or acerbic in-your-face one-liners (although there is that too) gays are known to possess. No. Postings or verbal comments that can be less catty like actress Joan Crawford and more like Coward (1899-1973): entertaining, insightful, timely or poignant. In other words funny.

"Wit," said Coward "Ought to be a glorious treat like caviar; never spread it about like marmalade."

A question posted on a gay website asked the following: When a hot-looking guy walks by you in a grocery store, on the sidewalk or elsewhere do you:

1 – Don't turn around to see his ass and notice his walk.
2 – Sometimes turn around depending on who's around.
3 – Turn around and notice and 'Fuck who ever sees you doing this?' (Not literally of course unless the other guy who sees you doing this is hotter than the first).

'Stan904', a 22-year-old from Jacksonville, FL, answered the question by downloaded a video clip of Bonnie Tyler singing, Total Eclipse of the Heart with the line, "Turn around...."

Short, sweet, and funny.

"I hope you haven't been bored answering the same old questions about yourself," apologized a TIME magazine interviewer to Coward.

"Not at all. I'm fascinated by the subject," retorted Coward.

But there is a difference of opinion out about the correlation between being healthy and being funny.Noel_Coward_in_1930

Dr. Howard Bennett published an article in the Dec., 2003 issue of Southern Medical Journal around the role humor and laughter plays in six healthcare areas: overall health of a person, doctor-patient communication, patient care, among medical professionals, in medical training, in medical literature. Dr. Bennett found little evidence that humor and laughter can improve one's health. But as in any study there is always a 'however'.

Laughter can improve a person's overall health, according to the Mayo Clinic in 2010, increasing the intake of oxygen, trigger the release of endorphins, relieves stress, and lower blood pressure.

Another study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that laughter and an active sense of humor can help protect you against a heart attack.

At the University of California-Los Angeles (as well as other institutions that subscribe to Rx Laughter, a project measuring the effects of entertainment on trauma patients), found children undergoing a medical procedure had less anxiety and handled pain better.

"The jury is still out," says Dr. Ron Sterling, a Seattle psychiatrist. He said the problem in studying laughter and humor is that there are two entirely different things. Laughter is behavior while humor is nuanced, a subtle state of mind, making if difficult to scientifically measure its affects on a person's health.

"I can resist everything except temptation." – Oscar Wilde So if Wilde and Coward were tops at being humorous or even better yet, witty, how long did they live? Coward died at the age of 73 while Wilde lived to be 46.

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