The term ‘man-flu’ was first used by some women to poke fun at the snivelling, self-pitying and weak response some of their male counterparts display to having a cold. It suggests that women catch cold and deal with it, whereas men catch cold and are reduced to pathetic wretches; unable to function; greetin’ for their ma.
I phoned a friend a while ago who had pulled out of an arrangement. “Yeah. I’ve got a touch of man-flu” he told me. At that point I saw him as some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy of the snivelling, self-pitying weakling the term ‘man-flu’ implies. He might as well have said “I can’t come along tonight because I’m a pathetic, snivelling wretch who is slightly off-par and just wants to be comforted by mummy.” I lost a huge amount of respect for him in a microsecond.
The thing that stuck in my head was that he used the term freely to describe himself. Either the term had become normalised or he perceived himself in terms of what the phrase implies. He displayed the same level of respect for himself that those founding women displayed towards the weak, pathetic, snivelling creatures for whom they coined the phrase.
I can never respect any man who says he has man flu.
So, come on guys. Stop it. Let’s kill this phrase.
I’m tempted to say ‘man up’, but that’ll probably be the subject for another article.