The Man Flu Rant  

A-box-of-tissues-001I like women. I really do. By and large they’re better company than men. More insight. Funnier. And refreshingly free of the constant need to boast about their sexual conquests, drinking ability or all the other things little boys and men-in-suits are so desperate to brag about.

But – and this is a remarkably large but – if one more woman looks at me, puts her head on one side, smiles gently and says, “Awww… Have you got man flu then?” I will forget that I am a gentleman and let loose a long and blistering stream of invective. 

Because it is not man flu, right? It is flu. Pure and simple flu and I am damn well ill. And the only reason I am at the office is that I have deadlines to meet for clients and if I didn’t have deadlines I’d be at home in bed for two weeks – which is exactly where my wife was before she gave the wretched virus to me.

My nose is running so much there’s a danger of a flood warning. My eyes hurt, my sinuses are killing me and every joint I have aches. I’m too ill to watch football and if there was a bucket of fivers in the back garden I couldn’t be bothered to go and pick it up. But it’s my business and they are my clients so here I am. So stop putting your damn head on one side: be suitably awed and tell me I’m a hero instead. Because I am.

What’s more I now have the antibiotics to prove it. Chest infection as well. Three a day for seven days. Although whether I shall take the tablets or wear them round my neck to prove I’m really ill I’m not sure.

Do we accord this label to any other illness? No we do not. ‘Nothing to worry about. It’s only a man-broken leg. You’ll be fine to drive home.’

‘Well I’m astonished. It was only a man-heart attack but he’s gone and died. Talk about over-reacting…’

So let’s just concede that men are allowed to have flu shall we? Good.

Anyway, rant over. And so much for the theory. What about the practice? Ben was in the school play. Flu or no flu I had to be there.

“What time are we due at school?”

“It starts at 7:30. I’m going for Mum and Dad at quarter-to.”

“OK, I’ll see you there.”

“Try not to cough all the way through it.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve got a plan… I’m going to take my bottle of Benilyn and swig from that as I need it.”

Jane stared at me. “You can’t do that,” she said. “You can’t sit in the school hall swigging from a bottle. Not unless you want ‘alcoholic father’ written on your son’s school file.”

“Might work to his advantage. Might be given extra time in exams or something…” My wife didn’t deem that last suggestion worthy of a reply.

So there I sat. Desperately hanging on until the lights went off and the scene changed so I could have a good cough while trying not to spray phlegm over a particularly tempting bald head two rows in front of me.

And dwelling on the injustice of it all…

Had I not painstakingly taken care of my wife? Had I not scuttled backwards and forwards to the corner shop for Veno’s and Benylin and bunches of grapes? And this was how fate chose to reward me. With the hot and cold shakes, a hacking cough – and a condescending smile from every woman I meet…

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  1. suzanne3childrenandit says:

    I now feel suitably chastised – my husband had ‘man flu’ last week (and yes I did call it that). He even took round the clock nurofen! You’ve actually made me think a bit here, apologies to all men everywhere. Hope you’re feeling better.

    • Mine was a while ago – Post-40 Bloggers picked this post up and published it. Yep, I’m fine and hope your husband is as well. and hope all is good with you and the family

  2. I have to say, I’m totally with you Mark. If I was a man, I’d get soooo irritated with women always taking the mick out of men who are ill. Sadly, there are plenty of men who put on a good show when ill, who give the rest of you a bad name ;-), but my OH is amazing at not doing that, so I’m very fortunate. What does annoy me is men’s inability to take medicine to relieve the problem – it must be the same gene that stops them from asking directions, right?! Anyway, good on you for getting it off your chest – if only blogging would get that infection off your chest….

    • Thanks for that. What an intelligent and insightful comment. Does your OH know how lucky he is? If not, tell him immediately! But I have to differ re asking for directions – much to the annoyance of my children I love winding the window down and asking complete strangers if they know where I am. I tell the kids I’m preserving an Olde English tradition…

      • She’s right though… I do tend to fall into that particular stereotype of not asking directions. I like to think I make up for it by talking to anyone about anything – particularly if I’m in central London, where everyone goes to great pains to avoid talking to strangers. 🙂

  3. Tilts head slightly “awww poor you!” I think until your better you should walk around and man-fist punch everyone who is condescending that you meet!!

  4. Wow, too ill to watch football! I’m guessing you’re really ill! Get well soon.

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