It's that time of year again.
It's cold and miserable out and Christmas is over, so that thing where the weather seemed charming and festive is done; Now it's just cold and miserable and we're all back to being dead inside. On top of that, cold and flu season is in full swing. Donna at the office blows her nose once and you're like 'Donna, you sniffly bitch. Go home and stay the hell away from the rest of us before we all catch whatever plague you dragged in here'.
One thing also comes around without fail this time of year; an absolute tidal wave of people making that joke about Men vs Women when it comes to being sick. You know the one, I'm sure. "This is how a woman acts with a cold... and THIS is how a MAN acts with a cold!"
If you aren't familiar or need a refresher, it's basically this:
While I love marginally funny observational humor repeated ad nauseam as much as the next guy, I actually have something of a theory on this matter.
Generally, being a man involves a lot of acting way more stoic and tough than you really feel.
Tired? Shut your face and go lift that bag of rocks.
Slightly chilly? Hike up your frilly pink ballerina skirt and man up you quivering weenie.
Chopped three of your fingers off with a table saw? Screw you! Rub some dirt in the holes, tape a couple of hot dogs to your finger stumps and finish building that goddamn shelf.
You're sad? What even is sadness? Is that a type of salad dressing? Do you eat it on your tiny baby bunny rabbit salads with a healthy sprinkling of being a little bitch on top? THAT'S WHAT THE HELL I THOUGHT, GO HAMMER SOME STUFF.
There is a lot of pressure put on men to be tough, to be protectors and providers and generally to wall in anything that could be construed as weakness. Men spend their entire lives being conditioned that they are one slightly effeminate display of emotion, overt reaction to pain, or failure to catch an object thrown to them away from being relentlessly mocked, beaten to death or called Susan for the rest of their lives by their peers. It can kind of mess a person up.
I postulate that the one time a man's subconscious tells him it's acceptable to be weak or powerless is when he's sick. If that is the case, the phenomenon of the man cold can be explained as the swinging of the psychological pendulum from one extreme to the other. Where before all weakness was shut out, now there is nothing left but a completely useless husk of a person. It's kind of like the psyche taking a vacation.
For whatever reason, being sick is the only time a man feels like he can admit weakness without being judged for it. It's the only time he feels like he's allowed to say "I feel icky and I don't want to do anything and please take care of me and don't ask me to do things and let me lay here and feel bad for myself."
It's not a conscious decision to be a giant sniveling man-baby whenever he doesn't feel good; It's more like a dam breaking that was holding back a massive torrent of water from washing away a village. Once the barrier holding in a lifetime worth of 'toughing shit out' starts to give, things get out of control pretty fast. The mind is a powerful thing, and could easily be responsible for men experiencing illnesses more intensely than their female counterparts.
Females who, by the way, spend their whole lives being told by society that they are weaker, more fragile and more emotionally delicate than men are. While men are being pressured to be cold, unflappable, meat chewing, punch-a-bear-in-the-goddamn-face badasses, women have their own equally shitty expectations to deal with. They're having emotional over-sensitivity rammed down their face holes from the time they are born; hence, the exact opposite reaction to being sick.
BOOM. Two theories for the price of one. Thus explained irrefutably, why Men devolve into helpless piles of snot and vapor-rub when they get sick while women stuff two kleenex up their nose and go about their business, summoning the strength to function from sheer spite.
I'm sure there is some sort of gripe to be had here where a bunch of words like patriarchy and gender stereotypes would get thrown around, but we're really more about farts and laughing about words like 'dongle' around here so lets leave that part to tumblr.
If you take one thing away from reading this: From one man to the rest of society out there; Maybe lay off your husband or boyfriend next time they're feeling under the weather. Remember, being a dramatic baby is his way of venting like 400,000 times he's hit his elbow and had to play it off like it was fine over the course of his life plus the fact that he was never allowed to cry as a child, even when Shannon D'marcus told him he was an ugly loser that sweat too much in sixth grade gym class and everyone laughed.
He'll get up in the middle of the night and walk around the house with a baseball bat like some sort of underpants vigilante because you 'heard a noise' without complaint because the world trained him that he has to. Even though nobody want's to walk around their dark house at two in the morning wearing boxer shorts and a "Who Farted?" t-shirt with a mustard stain on it to maybe have to fight a man and/or escaped circus bear to death, he'll do it for you. So maybe he gets a pass on staying in bed for a few days with a head cold.