Perhaps you’ve heard of the man flu? The half joke/half belief that grown men, who are otherwise stereotypically tough and emotionless, are reduced to sniffling children who just want their mommies (or their wives to act like their mommies) as soon as they contract a cold?
When the man flu is mentioned, most women I know smile and nod knowingly. Optionally adding “So true…” Blogger friend Anka had a real life case of it in her house.
But are we, as a society in general, ok with this sexist notion? I know they say that all stereotypes come from somewhere, but none of the men in my life have ever contracted the man flu.
Maybe I won’t change society’s mind today, but let me at least offer a counter example.
Two weeks ago, I got sick. It went something like this…
Tuesday: Jill coughs. Panicked, she reaches for Vitamin C drops.
Wednesday: Jill tells her boss she’s sick and needs to leave early. Jill sees her doctor, who diagnoses her with a cold and prescribes cough medicine.
Thursday: Jill calls in sick. Alternates sleeping, coughing, and complaining for the rest of the day.
Saturday-Sunday: Jill alternates sleeping, coughing, and complaining. Repeatedly asks her mother and husband to check if she has a fever. “Check again. Are you sure? I feel chills. Where’s the thermometer? Oh weird, it says I don’t have a fever. Check again.”
Monday – Tuesday#2: Jill calls in sick. Alternates sleeping, coughing, and complaining for the rest of the day.
Wednesday#2 – Thursday #2: Jill makes it to work but cuts out plans afterwards. Coughs and complains.
Friday #2: Jill works from home. Alternates working, coughing, and complaining.
Saturday #2-Wednesday #3 (today): Jill sniffles her way through life, stocks up on tissues, and complains.
This past Sunday, Tom finally caught my cold…
Monday: Tom’s school cancels classes, forcing him to stay home and play video games.
Health report: “I felt a little feverish so I took some Tylenol and now I feel better.”
Tuesday: Tom drops Jill at the train station, drives to Brooklyn, works a full day, drives back to Long Island, goes to class for three hours, comes home.
Health report: “This cold is annoying.”
Wednesday (today): Tom goes to class.
Mid-day health report: “I feel fine.”
And you know what, man flu truthers? It’s always like that. I’m a big baby who needs constant attention, and Tom just needs some Gatorade and video games for a day. My mom says that once I have kids, I’ll learn to suck it up, but I doubt it.
Maybe the man flu isn’t a myth. Maybe Tom’s a carrier I’m just the first female patient. But if it’s spreading to women, you men should probably be on the lookout.