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What’s a Little Pun or Two?

CD Knowles 5 months ago

Dear Knowles,

This may not seem an important question to you, but it is to me. My boyfriend is a punster and I don’t know what to do about it. When we’re alone together it’s not so bad, maybe one or two puns in an evening. But if we’re at a party or out to dinner with friends, he gets really nervous and will start shooting out a pun every few minutes. Some of his puns are funny, some make me want to cringe. The point is, I can tell that people really don’t know how to react to him and that the puns are like a barrier. Can you advise me how to handle this? We’ve been together about a year and he has many other wonderful qualities that make me want to stay with him.

What’s a Little Pun or Two?


Dear Pun,

Just about every question I receive is important. Your boyfriend’s punning is obviously a protective ploy he uses once he gets in social situations that make him feel awkward or uncomfortable. There have been neurological studies suggesting some aggressive punsters have damage to the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex, possibly caused by stroke, tumors, brain trauma, but this is clearly not the case with your boy. I would assume that with him the habit is psychological — a defense mechanism, rather than a kink in his brain structure. Probably he’s very smart: it takes mental dexterity and a certain sense of linguistics to come up with puns. Your best tactic is to talk to him about the habit and how it makes you and other people react to him. But choose your moment. This can be a sensitive topic and most likely he’s quite proud of his skill. Admire, don’t belittle, but be sure and let him know less is more.

I wish you the best,

CD Knowles



new year's resolutions

Dear CD,

Yeah, you’re kind of a rich know-it-all who can have anything you want. Mindfulness my ass. How about something real, like money in the bank and food on the table. And you didn’t really tell us the difference between giving something up or starting something new, did you?

Karen B., New Paltz, NY


Dear CD,

I like the idea of taking time out to enjoy the little things in life. But I read your column nearly every week and what I’d really like is some transparency about who you are and whether you’re even male or female. That’s what I want to know. Best, 

Caesar G., San Antonio, TX



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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.

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