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The Horrors of Man Flu

Updated on January 27, 2012

Man flu, an illness known to women as the common cold, an illness so devastating it can leave a man helpless, lying on the couch in his dressing gown, moaning for chicken soup and some TLC, wincing as agonizing flu pains rack his head and body. He is so stuffed to the gills with mucus that no amount of medication can get rid of it during it’s course. It drains your strength, your ability to speak, leaving you a mess, covered in tissues and ringing a bell like there’s no tomorrow.

This Hub is to highlight the horrors of man flu, and to give women an insight into the terrible process endured when it comes knocking on your door. Where women get what is known as a 'cold' and are able to go about their daily business, for men 'man flu' is horrible, there is no worse fate bestowed upon them, even hearing somebody sneeze in a supermarket during flu season sends them running for cover quicker than a soldier in battle.

After spending 28 years on this earth, I am what you would call a ‘reasonably sturdy fellow’, after encountering my fair share of illness, broken bones, bumps and bruises. Over the course of my time, I’ve had broken ribs, dislocations, concussions and knee surgery that had me on crutches for three months, my last accident involved me falling down the flight of stairs in my house, going arse over head about five or six times, before cracking my head off the vacuum cleaner at the bottom of the stairs. There was blood everywhere, I badly dislocated my middle finger on my left hand, and my body was black and blue in bruises, but I still managed to make it out for drinks for my friends birthday the next evening. I have endured what has been thrown at me throughout my life without much complaint, but nothing has you on your knees begging for mercy like man flu.

It begins when you wake up on the first morning of your week long torture, and you know there’s something wrong but you don’t know what it is, the world seems bleak and dreary, the thought of getting out of bed seems fruitless, and after you lie there for a while, moaning about what the hell is wrong with you, you roll out of bed and stand up, only to have a tsunami like head spin that has you wobble at the knees and sends you flying back under the covers howling in misery.

It only gets worse from there, pain begins dotting through your skull like evil little ants, giggling viciously as they feel like they’re digging into the back of your eyeballs, you check your nose and you realise it’s a tap full of mucus sent from hell, flowing quicker than a waterfall…pain shoots down through your arms and legs…you wheeze from the chest, fighting for breath, you try and sniff and it sounds like a cat choking, this leads to another howl, like a wolf under a full moon. You cry for help but your voice is fading away, you sound like a feral ghoul anytime you cry out for somebody to come and help you.

Then the shivering starts, you wipe a hand across your forehead and it’s covered in cold sweat, then a fever hits like you’re in a jungle in Peru, and as your body’s defence system breaks down, you realise that nobody is coming to your rescue. You want a Florence Nightingale to come and sooth your misery, and for me being a single man, any girl I text replies back with the same answer, ‘get over yourself it’s only a cold you have’, oh…the depravation!!


You conjure up whatever strength you have left and stumble out of your room, your duvet wrapped tightly around you, your teeth chattering as you make the long trek into the kitchen to make some chicken soup, and you realise your brain can’t function to perform even the smallest task such as switching on a cooker and grabbing a saucepan from the press. The psychological factor hits home as you fight back the sting of tears in your mucus filled desperation on the realisation that your arms don’t work, your brain feels like mush, you can’t even remember your own second name or what day of the week it is, so you slowly turn back to the only place of sanctuary…your bed, groaning and cursing the god forsaken world for ever letting such a horrible illness exist, making you feel emasculated and worthless.

In one battle I had with man flu, I realised how ignorant women can be towards my plight. When the symptoms hit me like a juggernaut, I dived for my phone to cry my sorrows to a girl who lived four hours away, I told her to come up to Galway to look after me and make me soup, to rub my head and tell me everything is ok…she laughed down the phone and told not to be such a baby…the ignorance of the woman! She wouldn’t even jump on a bus to travel the four measly hours to come up and see me, and I realised then that women just don’t understand what’s involved, and when they do get sick with a cold, that their man is there for them because they can empathise with their mild suffering, because they know they can get hit with the same illness, only ten times worse. It’s one of those mysteries of science, how a male and female’s body can cope differently with a cold. More studies should be done, there must be a vaccination made for this awful virus, but it looks like there will never be a cure for the common cold, so men must suffer with man flu for all eternity.

So fair warning to all the women out there, the next time your man wakes up, howling like a homeless dog, covering the bed in sweat and repeating the phrase ‘I’m dying!’ over and over again, remember what you read in this hub and show a little love and affection, even though you will never know the agonizing symptoms that come with man flu, have a little heart…because it is a really cruel and horrible condition…


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