Sometimes you just have to write…

Man Flu!

This is not an ad! These have been my constant companion for the last week, but if you eat too many, they are NOT great for your stomach! Believe me, you don't want details!

This is not an ad! These have been my constant companion for the last week, but if you eat too many, they are NOT great for your stomach! Believe me, you don’t want details!

“Man Flu” describes a state presumably peculiar to men in which, when they have nothing more than a cold or mild flu, they are firmly convinced they’re dying. (Click here for the very amusing Urban Dictionary definitions.) They spend what they insist are their last days on earth demanding attention – cups of tea with honey, bowls of chicken soup, general fussing and fetching and mothering – from their spouse or other loved ones. And they wallow in self-pity.

My husband does NOT get Man Flu. He gets Leave-me-alone Flu. My instinct, if he is sick, is to shift into mothering mode: bring him lots of hot tea to drink, go to the shop for cough drops, take his temperature regularly, and so on.

He hates that. All he wants to do when he gets a cold or flu is to be left alone. When he feels better, he goes about his business as if nothing has happened. No complaining, no asking for help, nothing.

That’s great, of course. It’s much easier for me, and it makes it really clear when he’s got something more serious than a cold or flu. If he asks for help, he’s really sick.

If you read my blog last week about whether to call in sick, you’ll know that I had a virus of some sort that settled mostly in my throat. I’ve been fighting it all week. I stayed horizontal on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but then went back to work from Tuesday on. I tried all week to take it easy whenever I wasn’t teaching, so I got none of the grading or test-writing done that I needed to do.

Here’s what I’ve learned about myself: I get Man Flu.

This past week, I wanted to be mothered. I wanted cups of hot tea brought to me, and chicken soup. I wanted someone to listen to my list of complaints with a sympathetic look on his/her face.

My husband didn’t do any of this for me. Since he wants to be left alone when he’s sick, he assumes that’s what anyone would want.

I have to tell him what I want him to do for me, which kind of spoils the enjoyment of Man Flu, doesn’t it? I can ask him to go get a cup of tea for me, and he’ll do it, sweetheart that he is, but it doesn’t come naturally. He’ll get a cup of tea, then go back to leaving me alone.

Last week I said that there are two types of sick people: Type 1 people easily call in sick; Type 2 people fight it and go to work even when they’re sick.

I’ve realized that that there are two other categories of sick people: Type M gets Man Flu while Type L gets Leave-me-alone Flu. So I’m a 2M. My husband is a 2L.

Which type are you? And do you have a suggestion for what Man Flu ought to be called, since women can suffer from it too? 


6 comments on “Man Flu!

  1. Samantha King
    October 5, 2013

    I totally get Man Flu as well, and my husband gets Leave-Me-Alone Flu. It’s as if you’re talking about what goes on in my house 🙂 While I don’t have another name for this Man Flu, I’m reminded of the term Man-Looking. When a man says they’ve looked for something, but really they’ve just skimmed the room without ever having lifted a finger…thus not really looking at all. That said, I am also guility of this type of looking regularly. I guess it’s just another term that we need to think about renaming….

    • Rachel Heller
      October 5, 2013

      So we’re not the only ones! I love your term “man-looking”! You’re so right; both my son and my husband suffer from that too! Thanks for posting!

  2. Kerry Sibson
    October 6, 2013

    Interesting post. Enjoyed reading it.
    I like to be looked after when I’m ill, but my husband tries to rally me around – assuring me that i’ll be fine in an hour and trying to do everything needed in the house, (cooking, cleaning etc..), while all I really want is a cup of tea and for hime to sit with me. He is very, very rarely ill. If he says he feels ill, then I know its bad – and he wants to be left alone not looked after.

    • Rachel Heller
      October 7, 2013

      He sounds very sweet! At least he’s trying to help, and someone else doing the cleaning is never bad, right? Thanks for responding!

  3. Rachel hirst
    October 7, 2013

    I am having man Flu as we speak, was a chest infection and today on the beechams and Pain relief, feel so rubbish, throat is killing me, I am still doing all the mum stuff like tea and packed lunches but just want a blanket and a quiet corner to curl up in.


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This entry was posted on October 5, 2013 by in Family, Life in Holland and tagged , , , .
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