Metro-East Living

Signs you have the man flu: It's a guy thing ... really

OK. Winter’s over. I’m going to explain it again. One more time.

Straight up.

Like a man.

On behalf of every other man who was struck by the flu this winter. And for those unfortunate male souls who yet may be struck this spring.

Be strong, dude.

As you lie in bed, moaning.

And you lift the covers from atop your sweaty forehead. That voice inside your head awakens you from a feverish, over-the-counter-cold-medicine-induced dream about flying monkeys chasing Jennifer Aniston in a mini skirt in the Busch Stadium bleachers.

“Stop moaning,” the voice says. “You only have the flu!”

“Only the flu,” you hear again and again.

“THE MAN FLU!” you want to shout back. But you are too darn sick and weak to shout. So you moan. And mumble yourself back to unconsciousness.


The Man Flu.


The Bad, Bad LeRoy Brown of Flu Town.

It’s a guy thing, for sure.

I’ve yet to find medical research to support my premise that men get a flu strain worse than women. But I can’t find a reason to explain how tough men with the flu are lowered to pathetic, helpless, moaning, groaning, coughing, hacking, wheezing fever machines?

On the other hand, women I know with the flu never moan or complain. They continue working, cleaning and caring for themselves, homes and children. Coincidence? Hardly.

Reactions to my theory?

I’ve written about The Man Flu before.

Men fist bump and shout, “Alleluia, brother!”

Women roll their eyes and laugh.

I’ve been lucky this winter. I didn’t get a flu shot. Procrastination got me again. I started thinking about getting my flu shot last October. But I’m so pressed for time, you know. Now it’s March. Allergy season. That’s another column. Spring air hits guys hard.

Note: I liked flu shots a lot better when they were given by a visiting nurse. Maybe the pharmacy techs could dress in white?

This is not a medical column. It’s based on my own fluish experiences, limited research and journalistic interviews over the past decade with guys like me who get The Man Flu. These Top 10 examples help explain that when there’s flu involved, men get a manly dose.

1. A man with TMF is too sick and weary to go to the hospital or call a doctor. That’s why many of our near-death, TMF experiences go unreported. “It’s only the flu,” we hear. And Pike’s is only a little peak, too.

2. A man with TMF absolutely cannot do the following physically: take out the trash, load or unload the dishwasher, help with homework, wash a load of clothes, dust the furniture, walk pets, or change a light bulb. Can’t be done. Don’t force him.

3. A man with TMF can’t talk coherently. That’s why we moan a lot. TMF makes a man talk incoherently. To God. To himself. To the dog. To anyone who will listen. One syllable at a time. Oooh. Ahh. Oooh.

4. Man Flu fevers can’t be registered by those new, digital thermometers. Technology can’t fight through old-fashioned TMF fevers. The result: When it comes to TMF, the thermometer usually stays at 98.5 degrees. Which we know is impossible. Here, feel my forehead. I’m burning up, man.

5. A man with TMF and high fever is prone to blurred vision. As a result, any of the following can look like a trash can for his used Kleenex: floor, dresser, under bed, under pillow, dog bed, sink, couch, chair, tables, hallway, TV cabinet.

6. A man with TMF feels too bad to be bothered with cooking old-fashioned remedies like chicken noodle soup. Men with TMF can get by on Popsicles, graham crackers, vanilla ice cream, Wheat Thins (original) and warm ginger ale.

7. Another medical oddity: A man with TMF physically can’t rub Vicks Vap-O-Rub on his own chest because the circular motion hurts his hands and wrists. Help! It helps our killer chills.

8. A man with TMF is too sick to notice what clothes he is wearing. Honest. That’s why a man with TMF walks around the house in the same pair of underwear and black socks for two or three days.

9. A man with TMF can’t watch TV shows like “Dancing With The Stars” or “The Voice.” However, there is something extremely therapeutic to watching “The Golf Channel” and “ESPN Classics” non-stop for six consecutive hours.

10. After a few miserable, high-moaning days in bed, a man with TMF can recover miraculously, especially if it’s Friday night and a friend calls with free tickets. As follow-up, therapeutic care, it’s important that he spend a few days telling everyone how sick he has been. Coughed up a lung. Felt like somebody beat me with a baseball bat. Whew. TMF.

Go ahead. Laugh. Mock us. TMF is bad, bad stuff. Ask any guy. He’ll tell you all about it.