Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

column: Man Flu No Myth, Male Researchers Say




            There are two kinds of illnesses.

            There’s the woman’s illness. A woman, woozy with flu, will accidentally chop off her own arm while fixing dinner. She will then bandage the wound, put the arm in the crisper drawer for later, clean up the blood, and finish cooking dinner. Then the man will arrive home with some deer meat and complain that there’s not enough room in the fridge to store it, what with that bloody arm and all.

            Then there’s the man’s illness. The man will sniffle once and fall into bed, sobbing with agony, and beg the woman to help make out his will in between fixing him chicken soup, tuning in the big game, and running that pesky arm down to the hospital to be reattached. When the woman arrives home with strict doctor’s orders not to use the reattached arm for a week, the man will whine, “but who’s going to fetch me my cold medicine and colder beer?”

            Let’s face it, men are wimps. Guys can brag all they want about being tougher, or taking more risks (and is that something to brag about?), but whenever their latest stupid idea results in a half inch scratch I’m wailing like a newborn baby. I mean, they are.

            Women? Women give birth. If men had to give birth, the human race would die out within a generation.

            Now, some of you may ask, “Could this be true? Is it some kind of silly myth, that men suffer more from disease?” Those of you who
ask this are men in denial, or women who have never been married.

           Still, some people insist on having proof, so a team at the University of Cambridge decided to test the myth. Their discovery: It’s no myth.

            Actually, what they discovered is not that men complain more when they’re sick – we already knew that. What they learned is that, all else being equal, men tend to get more sick. Not only that, but their illnesses last longer.

            The scientists, being scientists, attribute it to evolution. Males, they explain, have a predilection toward a live fast, die young lifestyle, which keeps them from building up their immune systems as well as females do.

            Hm … just a sec. Predilection, predilection … P, Pr … oh. Yeah, that sounds right.

            The team came up with a mathematical model that took into effect various factors, but it basically boiled down to an adventurous lifestyle that exposed men to more disease, but also reduces their immunity. Also – you might want to sit down for this – men, from an evolutionary standpoint, invest more energy into maintaining their ability to reproduce while ill. Which brings us right back to the old cliché that men have only one thing on their minds.


            Could it be more likely that women, who suffer through the equivalent of being run over by a Mack truck once every month for their entire reproductive lives, simple get tougher than men? Just a thought.

            There are other factors involved in this study, such as hormones, immunity, and behavior, but it tends to blur together after a bit. The crux is that “man flu” is not a myth, and that  when it comes to men being the weaker sex on the immunity front, it’s not just humans who have this difference. Apparently a lot of species go through this, so the next time you see some male lion laying there in the shade, while the female lion is taking care of the kids, there’s a good chance the male is saying (in lion language), “I don’t feeeeelllll good … and I’m not lyin’.”

            By this time, of course, any man reading this has spaced on all the details, as his mind grabs on to the one important fact to be gleaned from this study: “Men do get sicker. Ergo, they need to be taken care of. End of story.”

            Watch yourselves, guys. Don’t look at this as open season on sick days.

            Ever hear of Lizzie Borden? She got tired of her whining dad, so she took an ax and ended all his troubles. If you’re sick you’re sick, but watch any sitcom to see what happens when a guy tries to take advantage of that situation. It always backfires. Always.

            If she catches on – and she will – you’ll pay for it, one way or another. A new pair of shoes, going to that Oscar winning movie she likes, or slowly wasting away from that sprinkling of poison she’s putting in your soup, one way or another you’ll come to regret overdoing it. Maybe she’ll even decide to have another kid.

            Yeah, that’s the bad one. She goes through nine months of suffering, and you pay for it for the rest of your life. All because you moaned and groaned on the living room couch once too often.

            Save it for when you’re really ill … which, experts agree, could be any time now.

Tags: column, new era, slightly off the mark

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