“Yo, all of that rain made me wet!”
“…almost, just push a little harder.”
“Wait, not yet, you might break it!”
“Don’t go yet, I won’t be able to come until 5.”
“We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way…”
OMG THAT’S WHAT SHE SAAIIIDDDDD! (and before you even read them all, I know that’s exactly what you were thinking too).
So, at the risk of loosing the credibility of my blog… ok, let’s be serious, was there ever any credibility to my blog? Today, I think that I am going to have a little chat with you all about the wonders of the “that’s what she said” joke.
Well, maybe it is more than just a little joke. I mean, a joke is simple and often only has one set structure which outlines its boundaries and parameters. For instance: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side”. There is our archetypal joke; it poses one question and it has one answer. It’s that structure that so many people rely on when they wish to tell that somewhat raunchy joke at the local watering hole.
But where does the “that’s what she said” fit into this scenario of structured jokes? Well, to be honest, it doesn’t! Why is that? Well, it’s because the “that’s what she said” joke is constantly evolving and ever-changing. This is the thing that I love about words, languages and sentence structure! It’s in a constant state of flux which is altered at every second, of every day. Take the English language for example: it’s so much more complicated then a 26-letter alphabet with ‘X’ amount of words and no room for modifications… it’s almost like a living, breathing entity which interacts with the complexities of context, syntax, inflection, etc etc etc.
But what does this have to do with the “that’s what she said” joke in particular? It’s simple. Let’s say you are sitting in your living room and watching TV. Low-and-behold, you see an older movie come on; something that was created prior to the 1990s. Suddenly, it hits you: this movie, perhaps one of your favourite childhood films, has a title which is so befitting of a good old fashioned “that’s what she said!!!”. But here’s the thing, the title was never intended as a “that’s what she said” joke… It’s just our understanding of modern-day contexts and how words and their meanings have changed. And if you are wondering what titles I had in mind: Free Willy, Rear Window, and Stand and Deliver are just a few of the ones that were floating around my cranium (and now they are in yours… you’re welcome).
But why do we say “that’s what she said”? Is it as simple as: we just don’t want to grow up and this is one of the last hold-outs that we have against becoming mature adults? Maybe we’ve just become a highly sexualized culture who loves any and all opportunities to “talk about sex, babbbyyy”? Perhaps it is one of these reasons, but as I see it, I think it’s just the structure of the joke itself that makes us want to use it. In order for you to use a “that’s what she said”, you have to know your audience but you also must have impeccable timing and the ability to sense the nuanced use of words in every conversation you hear. If you’re anything like me, you can throw-out a “that’s what she said” with practically every conversation you are in. Does that make me immature? Maybe. But you should feel flattered if I use this joke with you; it means that I’m listening to you and that I am most certainly interested in what you have to say… it’s just that I want to make a brief pause in the conversation to point out a poignant moment which highlights the fragility of any sentence’s inherent structure to possess only one meaning…
So I think I will leave it at that and wish you all well in your continued endeavours through the “that’s what she said” world. I’d say thanks for coming but I think we all know how that will go…