The man cold is the phenomenon that occurs when a man catches a mere common cold and reacts as though he is near death. He’s really sorry but he can barely breath right now. His whole body hurts. His teeth hurt. His scalp hurts. It’s like every hair follicle is inflamed or something. He knows it sounds crazy but he just really needs to sleep this off for a while. You’ll be good with the kids, right?
To a passerby, he appears to be mildly congested and would probably benefit from sitting up off the couch long enough to let gravity aid him in blowing his nose. But that passerby would be wrong. This is the worst cold he’s likely every had. It’s been years, at least.
So he sleeps. And he puts his feet up. You have the same cold but you’re not the lesser sex so you handle yourself like an adult. You pride yourself on how much you accomplish with sinus pressure compounding work and life pressure. You aren’t weak from some virus. You, my friend, are strong.
If any of the above resonates with you, I need to tell you about this light bulb moment I had over Thanksgiving break. I HAVE HACKED THE MAN COLD.
This Thanksgiving break, I experienced my first man cold. I got hit with a virus and swore I had strep. It hurt to swallow. I had body chills and body aches. I gargled salt water. I took pain meds. I refused to talk. We ended our Thanksgiving break early so I could go home and crash hard… for two days. For two whole days, I didn’t care how stressed my husband was with managing both children. I rested. I slept a ridiculous amount of time. I put my feet up.
And in two days, I was 95% better.
That’s when my husband’s man cold hit. I felt guilty about my two days off so I jumped in to relieve him of parenting duties and took the night shift with the kids. I pushed myself to make up for lost time and my cold started creeping back. It is now 11 days since my sore throat appeared and and I’m still dealing with it.
You see, what I learned is that the man cold is not a sign of weakness. It’s a conscious decision for rapid recovery. If we would’ve thought it up ourselves, we would’ve called it “self care” but instead, we mock men. We’re over here extending ourselves and our sickness while our men bounce back in one day and we congratulates ourselves over it! We think they must not have been that sick but it’s only because we’re on the other side making ourselves worse!
These men aren’t needlessly helpless. They’re calculated. They’re smart.
It might take me more than one man cold to get the hang of setting aside my guilt for long enough to make a full recovery but I’ve got to tell you that my husband is in for a world of hurt. I am no longer patting my back the next time we both get sick just to watch him recover quickly. We’re about to go halvesies on this!
It’s not his fault that I’ve been a fool about the road to rapid recovery but, as often occurs in marriage, he’s still gonna pay for it.
“Sorry, bud. You had the last man cold. This one’s mine.”
*This post is an exaggerated account of my husband’s colds but a serious account of my epiphany. I’m going to start a petition to end man colds. I will no longer be tricked by this social construct. #mancoldsarejustselfcare #womenneedmancoldstoo
**Also, I’m still rocking head congestion and my self-editing skills are in the gutter. Forgive me if I half-sentenced this whole post. I swear I used to be able to string together enough words to make a complete sentence.