A popular current commercial for cold medication (that appears to be based on an English comedy sketch) depicts a man completely devastated by a common cold — a so-called “Man Cold.”
As someone currently dealing with some sort of stomach bug — along with half the country, it seems — I find the idea of the “Man Cold” completely offensive. Now could somebody bring me a blanket? I’m so coooooooold.
Why are we, as men, much bigger wimps when it comes to getting sick? Good question. Time for some unfounded generalizations!
Men are accustomed to physical trauma, usually self-inflicted — not the sneaky internal discomfort of illness. When it comes to injuries, we pride ourselves in “walking it off.” If I ever cut myself, I make a point of showing off just how little it fazes me. “Blood? Oh, I didn’t even notice. Just slap a band-aid on it, honey. These carrots need to be chopped.” Compare this to the illness that slowly creeps up on you and attacks from within, making you flop around helplessly like a bass on a dock.
Women express themselves better and more frequently, venting and processing life’s daily annoyances and discomforts more healthily then men, who just bottle it all up. But, once a legitimate reason to complain pops up, everything comes flowing out. The problem is, we don’t have the verbal practice, so it all sounds like one sustained whine.
We’re no worse than you. Everyone is whiny when they’re sick, it’s just that nobody hears themselves as whiny. Female or male, we all like to believe we’re stoic flu endurers — and we’re not. Here’s a tip: record your significant other when they’re sick, and play back the recording of them whining when it’s your turn. (Note: Do not do this.)
Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some whimpering and shivering to do. In all honesty, this whole blog post was a ruse to see if someone would bring me some soup.
Do you believe in the concept of the “Man Cold”? Do you handle your colds with aplomb? Let me hear about it in the comments, or join the conversation on Twitter @slice_tv.
Paul Beer is a Toronto writer, actor and comedian. You can follow him on Twitter@pauldanielbeer.