It’s four o’clock on a Friday. I’m at work in my skinny jeans and pumps ready to meet the girls for a well-deserved and much-needed cinq à sept when I get the dreaded phone call…
“Babe, I’m shivering and my head hurts,” he says.
No shit, it’s like minus two degrees and you spent the day working outside, I’m thinking, but instead I reply “Are you OK? Do you need me to come home?” Inevitably the answer is a firm “yes”.
Argh! The dreaded man cold. There are no words to describe how I feel about the incessant whining, exaggerated symptoms and false self-diagnosis but Pam here depicts my malaise pretty accurately.
What is it about a stuffy nose and mild cough that has the opposite sex running to mommy? Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up being told that salt and a hot shower would cure all while he still gets chicken soup home delivered if he sneezes on the phone with his mother but, I admit it, I am extremely unsympathetic when hubby tells me he’s ill. Frankly, it’s not the fact that I now have to take care of a 180 pound baby, but more so that this grown man has completely surrendered to a minor ailment. No defense, just complete and utter submission. In any other situation, he’ll usually put up a fight. Try, for example, cancelling boys’ night, changing the channel during a hockey game or throwing out his battered old sweats. You don’t see him tucking himself under the covers in any of those circumstances but at the first sign of a virus, he’ll throw in the towel. Meanwhile I’m downing a shot of cognac and honey to nip my creeping cold in the butt and ensure a good night’s sleep. Somehow, I can manage eight hours at the office, prepare dinner, put the baby to bed and spit out this post while on the verge of pneumonia but he’s wrapped in our comforter wearing three pairs of socks and his dad’s ugly old sweater begging for tea.
The drama of it all is magnified by the fact that my husband is a borderline hypochondriac making it increasingly difficult to bite my lip and tolerate the spectacle. That said, in the interest of a happy and successful relationship, tolerate is what one must do. What were those words exchanged on that auspicious day…“In man cold and in health, till man flu do us part, I do?” To be fair, I have noticed that most men try to play the strong head of household so maybe the man cold is their way of saying “ F*** this, I need a break and someone to take care of me for a few days.” I’d just be much more open to the responsibility if he were honest and forthcoming about what he was really suffering from…a bad case of neediness and self-pity.