Fiona McCade: For flu, men are the weaker sex

THE following information is so dangerous, I am not sure I dare to share it. It could be the end of everyday life as we know it. Nevertheless, I must, because 50 per cent of the population already know.

The supposed Man Flu may well be real. Picture: Contributed
The supposed Man Flu may well be real. Picture: Contributed
The supposed Man Flu may well be real. Picture: Contributed

The other 50 per cent – the females – have so far refused to believe it, so, unfortunately, I am the bearer of very bad news.

Man Flu is real. Believe me, I realise that this is extremely unwelcome information to every woman in a heterosexual relationship, but it’s out there already, so we need to be prepared for some overwhelming smugness and insufferable told-you-sos when the virus season hits later 
this year.

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Cancer Research UK has recently been looking into the differences between male and female auto-immune responses and it turns out that women have two great advantages over men. First, scientists have found that the X chromosome is where T-cells are made. Very simply, T-cells help to protect the body against disease. As females have two X chromosomes and males only have one, the maths alone indicates that women have twice the power to fight off illness.

Then, there is testosterone. The good news is that a lot of testosterone makes a man look butch and rugged. The bad news is that testosterone can make the immune system less responsive to attack. Basically, the bigger and hairier the man, the harder he falls.

As the wife of an extremely big and hairy Viking, I can attest to the fact that he falls very hard indeed. Until now, the sight of a descendent of Thorstein the Red lying in the foetal position, coughing like a kitten and begging for Lemsip has always made me fume.

But now I know the reason that he turns into a large lump of phlegm and whimpers pathetically from autumn to spring equinox, is because he’s genetically programmed to do so and he simply can’t help it. So, I can’t be annoyed any more, can I? And that annoys me.

I can’t help thinking of all those poor, Viking women, who would wait months for their men to come home from a spot of marauding.

Instead of a romantic reunion, you can imagine what really returned on those long ships. Loads of burly men, sniffling, whining and demanding that their chests be rubbed – anti-clockwise, so that the hair doesn’t matt. And probably mewing for their mummies to sing them a chorus or two of “Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty”.

My husband has already eagerly clasped these golden nuggets of scientific so-called facts to his breast and I can see that he intends to use them against me at every opportunity. If I don’t try to refute them, then I will be his slave for life.

But this research has so many repercussions for women everywhere that I am getting suspicious about whether it can be trusted. For example, how many female scientists were involved in the discovery that Man Flu definitely exists? Not many, I’ll be bound.

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Any self-respecting woman working on such a project would surely try to bury the findings in a very deep vault, for all eternity. Perhaps if enough women can get together and pool our resources, then we can fund another study to discover that blokes are just big babies after all.

I am very worried that if we let this pass, then male doctors will also manage to discover that owners of those delicate Y chromosomes will be best served by doing nothing but watch sport every weekend. Or that their health can only be improved by regular exposure to “naughty nurse” outfits.

We women have a lot to lose, here. Winter will soon be upon us; infectious diseases will be rampant. However, this year, all those pathetic calls for chicken soup and demands for brows to be mopped will be backed up by science.

I am concerned about the time we will waste nursing the lumpen good-for-nothings. Even if we take their suffering seriously, and start running around after them, they will just take advantage and claim that they are too weak to do any of those DIY jobs we want them to do.

But if we try to treat Man Flu by depleting their testosterone supplies, then we risk removing their primal, male urge to do DIY. Either way, sisters, nobody’s putting up those bleedin’ shelves but us.