Lesson Six – The sweet and gentle art of tease. (The funny kind, alas!)

There are two types of tease that can be used in humorous writing. One, like snarky, is a weapon of defense to bring your opponent down to your level. The second is far more of a relationship building type, one frequently seen used between friends and lovers. The first type of tease, the vicious taunt, is very rarely used in fictional humor. If used in fiction writing it normally reflects aggression between the hero/heroine and the antagonists. The second type of humor, a gentle tease between lovers, for example is much more suitable for a comedy scene. Before we begin let’s see what our friends online have to say...


Verb:Tease teez (edited for relevant entries)
1.Annoy persistently
2. harass with persistent criticism and carping
4. to tear into pieces.
8. To mock or make fun of playfully.

Miriam Webster – Online
Main Entry: tease Pronunciation: \ˈtēz\ (edited for relevant entries)
Function: transitive verb Inflected Form(s): teased; teas·ing
Etymology: Middle English tesen, from Old English tǣsan; akin to Old High German zeisan to tease
Date: before 12th century
2: to tear in pieces; especially : to shred (a tissue or specimen) for microscopic examination
3: a: to disturb or annoy by persistent irritating or provoking especially in a petty or mischievous way b: to annoy with petty persistent requests; e: to make fun of

S.J. Willing’s Fictionary of Words
Verb Tease
One of the best ways of getting someone to punch you on the nose or kick you in the groin.

A tease is, in some ways, very much like a snarky comment with one major difference.

A tease is always directed, personally, towards someone and generally plays on that person’s perceived weakness or failings.

You can’t tease your best friend, or worse enemy, if he’s in the next state. Unless, of course, you’re on the phone; have access to broadcasting time; or can send and receive thoughts instantaneously to anywhere in the world.

By default this means that tease humor is almost always part of dialogue. For humorous tease the effect of the dialogue is to strengthen, rather than weaken the person it is directed to by making the fault funny and giving them the courage to laugh at it. For example:

Edward (faced with erectile dysfunction for the first time in his life, after just seducing his heroine into bed for the first time.): “I’m, seriously, flabbergasted. I don’t know what to do.”
Jessie: “Taking a vacation in Bermudalace is he.” She slid across the bed and gave his flaccid member a flick, strangely bringing some life back into it. “Just make sure it brings me back some coconuts.”

For this kind of tease, the camaradie of veteran soldiers breaking in a new private, firefighters initiating a new comrade, or nurses welcoming a new employee, the humorous tease has to be building. Keep the biting tease to snarky blogs or, if you would like to retain a few friends, to yourself