A few weeks ago, I was at a conference in Washington, D.C., where the topic of happiness was at the top of everyone’s minds.
I was there to promote the new book, The Happiness Hypothesis, and was invited to speak at a session on the topic.
In the opening session, a panel discussion on the “happiness paradox” (an oft-cited claim that happiness is determined by how much one loves someone), I had an opportunity to introduce myself to the audience.
I said that I am a social scientist and that I studied happiness for many years.
The panel responded that this was my first conference, so I decided to put on a performance.
I took off my shirt and pants, pulled my shirt up and then pulled it down.
My performance included a little bit of nudity, but it was all in the name of making a point.
I didn’t actually want to be seen in a revealing outfit in front of the audience, but I was doing it anyway.
As I stood in front and began to pose, I looked around and saw people laughing and applauding.
After my act, I noticed a group of men and women standing behind me.
A man said to me, “Are you sure that’s okay?”
“I was trying to be provocative and make a point,” I said.
The audience chuckled.
I looked up and noticed the panel was still watching.
I noticed some of the men had on their shirtsleeves.
They were not wearing anything revealing.
I realized that the people who were laughing were all laughing at me.
I smiled and said, “Yeah, well, maybe we should have a little more respect.”
I don’t think I was the only one to look at the women and men in the room and see that they were smiling.
As the audience cheered me on, I realized they were all happy.
When the panelists started talking about the “happy days,” I noticed one woman in particular looked a little sad.
She asked me if I could do a little dance.
I told her no, that it was inappropriate and that she should just be quiet.
I stood up and walked around the room.
The other women cheered and laughed.
When I left the room, I saw a young woman in a tight black dress walking away.
She stopped and stared at the floor, then turned to the young man and said with a look of concern, “Don’t you want to get in trouble for that?”
When I asked her if she had a boyfriend, she replied, “Oh, no.
I think that would be really embarrassing.”
Later, she was at my table and I asked if she wanted to dance with me.
She said, no, I just want to have fun.
The next day, the women in the audience were laughing at my dancing, and I decided that I was just going to dance anyway.
So I did.
After a couple of weeks of dancing and making sure to be nice to the ladies, I got my act on.
It was a fun dance, and it was not inappropriate at all.
I have never been accused of dancing inappropriately.
However, there are people out there who are going to think that I have some sort of sexual agenda, which I’m not.
If you want a man to be happy, he needs to be willing to accept the truth about himself.
If he is, you will be able to find someone who is willing to take you seriously.
It may take some time to get over the initial shock that your actions are causing others, but once you start to see it in others, you realize that you are just as happy as everyone else.