From man-flu to the manopause, why won’t women give us blokes any sympathy when we’re unwell?

I know the feeling. While holidaying in Thailand a few years back I suffered a particularly virulent bout of food poisoning. My girlfriend and I were staying in one of those bug-infested beach huts with a hole in the floor for a loo and a rusty outside tap. Instead of standing by her man through fevered babblings and frequent visits to the unsanitary hole, the light-of-my-life left me to stew in my own filth while she took in the delights of Koh Phi Phi. Apparently I’d been “over-dramatic”, but how else are you supposed to projectile vomit?

At this time of year many of us will have the “over-dramatic” label thrown at us. Understand that when a woman accuses you of having man-flu what she’s really saying is “you have a mild case of the sniffles, get over it and don’t expect any brow-mopping from me.” 

Apparently men will never know the true meaning of pain until we learn to give birth. But according to research men are more susceptible to certain kinds of pain. For two years Dr. Andreas Sander-Kiesling from the department of anaesthesiology and intensive care at the Medical University of Graz in Austria assessed the records of over 10,000 patients undergoing a variety of surgeries. They were asked to rate their pain levels within 24 hours of procedures. Men were 27pc more likely to report feeling more pain after major invasive operations such as heart surgery, while women showed higher pain readings after more routine operations such as biopsies.

So it turns out we’re not all a bunch of needy weaklings. Okay, we may occasionally exaggerate our symptoms for dramatic effect, adding a phlegmy hawk here, a pitiful moan there – but who doesn’t relish being cosseted by a concerned lover every now and then?

Ladies, next time your man is feeling under the weather, don’t just shake your head in disbelief. He may be feeling under loved or under appreciated; he may just be looking for a little reassurance and a kind word; or, God forbid, he might even be going…

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