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Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 12:01 am

The wicked witch of the Westin

 There’s a girl who works at the hotel where my co-workers and I go for drinks. She’s hot, smart and fun, and I really like her and want to ask her out. The problem is that when she laughs, she cackles in this really annoying way. I’m wondering whether, if we started dating and hit it off, I could subtly hint to her that she should change her weird, witchy laugh. Because, honestly, she’s perfect otherwise. – Bothered

It’s great to find a woman who laughs at your wit, but not when she sounds like she’ll follow up with “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!”

I know, the “expected” reply to a man wanting a woman to change something about herself is, “How dare you, you shallow pig?!” And I’m aware that behaviors that initially seem mildly annoying can, in time, make you want to bludgeon the person with the soup ladle. But it does seem a shame to nix a woman you really like right off the bat simply because it’s hard to tell whether she’s laughing or you’re around the corner from a donkey engaged in erotic asphyxiation.

It’s possible that her laugh really is her laugh, “designed” by the shape and location of her larynx. HowStuffWorks founder Marshall Brain explains that when we’re laughing, the larynx gets half-closed by the epiglottis. (Laughter, most charmingly, is the sound of a person struggling for air, which we each do in our own special way.) But the reality is, some people with disturbing laughs have created them, often out of a desire to seem unique or get attention. They repeat their fabricated ha-ha and it becomes part of them. And then time passes, and they forget to check whether their creation is still serving them or whether it might be to potential dates what garlic and crosses are to working vampires.

Obviously, a woman is likely to be to hurt and offended if you announce, “If we’re going to have any future together, you’ll need a laughectomy.” However, if you started dating her and if you saw that she’s one of those (rare) people who “would rather know,” you could ask her about her laugh: “Have you always laughed that way?” But brace yourself for her to come back with something like “Do you hate my laugh?” At this point, like a rat on flotsam after a shipwreck, all you can do is grab for a piece of flattery: “Uh, um… it’s just that you’re so elegant. It doesn’t seem to go with the rest of you.”

But first things first. You haven’t even asked her out. She might say no (laughing raucously and scaring away crows). Or, if she said yes, things might fizzle after a date or two. So maybe go out with her a few times, taking it slowly (no sex, tickling or comedy club visits), and weigh whether her general fabulousness is enough to offset the intermittent cackly audio. Who knows… maybe you’ll fall for her to the point where her laugh becomes endearingly awful  – always making you long to grab her and kiss her in the back seat of her broomstick.

© 2015, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com). Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon. Order Amy Alkon’s new book, “Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck” (St. Martin’s Press, June 3, 2014).


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