Common Couples With The Common Cold
Universal Story of Illness & Relationships
The wife with a cold:
You wake up in the morning and there is drool on your pillow. Your drool. This is not the norm for you, praise God, so why you ask has it happened this morning? As you attempt to breathe deeply an ugly snarf is produced instead. You cannot breathe out of your nose. This is why your unconscious survival instincts instructed you to open your mouth wide while you slept, so as not to suffocate in your own mucus while you enjoy dreamland. Thankful that your husband is still mostly asleep and therefore witnesses neither your drool nor your snarf, you blow your nose, wipe your mouth, shake your husband awake, and rise to meet the day.
A woman with a cold knows that due to the fact that it is called the common cold there is no excuse for skipping out on one's common duties. Therefore, you suffer along with your Jillian Michaels DVD, snotting and sneezing along the way, then take a shower which you wish would never end, drink more coffee than your husband, pop a few Advil and maybe a Cold-EEZE, and make your way to work.
Suffering in mostly silence on the car ride to the subway, your husband asks if you are alright. Yes, you say, just the common cold. In his manly need to fix things, he instructs you to not show how crappy you feel at work, lest people avoid you as disease-ridden or silently categorize you as an employee who gets sick frequently. You assure him that as a woman you will try to suck it up as much as possible.
Later that night, as you sit bundled in 8 blankets on the couch, you let a complaint escape your lips. It's so cold in here, you mutter, and your body hurts. Your husband turns on the gas fireplace, and says that your body is sore because you worked out this morning. You feebly respond that exercising doesn't make even your skin ache and eyes burn. Although he is a man, he is also a loving husband, and so he rubs your back, tells you he hopes you feel better soon, and agrees to going to bed at 9:30.
The husband with a cold:
He awakens with red eyes and a deep (and deeply annoying) cough. After chugging Robitussin, he says he will be fine and goes to work. You coddle and coo at him to take it easy, pack him a cup-a-soup in his lunch, and tell him to call you if he feels worse and plans on leaving work early. Some may scoff that you have a Florence Nightingale complex, but this is just how women are. We have a natural urge to take care of people.
You have barely been at work for 2 hours when you get a call from the hubby. He says his head really hurts and his office feels ridiculously cold. You tell him he may have a fever and should go home to rest. To men, and mothers, having a fever is validation of real sickness. Growing up I could be weeping, snotty and hoarse, but I was sent to school if I maintained a 98.6 internal temperature.
Later, when you come home from work, you find your husband pacing and carrying a tissue box around. Then he looks at you with pathetic eyes and informs you that he has a fever of 100.1. Proof. You proceed to baby him the rest of the night, and even perhaps the next day. You may be a touch resentful, but you cannot help but give him the indulgence and attention you wish you would receive when you were sick. Maybe next time.
This is the difference between men and women in times of the common cold bug.