I’m a man who likes a theory. No matter how wild or whacky a theory may sound it’s better than no explaination at all. I believe this is exists in all of us whether we’re conscious of it or not and is illustrated best by the people who believe in God. It’s a theory, an explaination for the nature of existence, one we’re told was true from our earliest learning and therefore no matter how mental it may seem to those who come to not believe, for some people this answer is better than the confusion that comes with atheism. The horror of not really knowing, the fear of the uncertain, a blatant lie can often be better than that.
I believe in evolution and the rest is a collection of theories that I’ll keep working on until I die, but, evolution, that’s what brings me to my topic, the evolutionary burden placed upon the men of this world. The one gender specific debilitation for which we are most mocked, the dreaded Man-flu.
I can hear women giggling already, oh, how they love to mock, to utter the words “man flu” with condescension as if we were weak pathetic creatures unable to cope with a bit of a cold.
Well, I’m here to present a theory I have about illness and evolution that I would hope would make the women of the world cease their patronising ways and come to comprehend that man-flu is just a few steps down from ebola in its capacity to render a male near death for a short period, it’s a curse for those with the wrong chromosomes.
Let’s wind back a few years, back to the times when men boshed women on the head with clubs, dragged them to the cave and the partnership was consummated before the poor woman woke up. A time when male and female roles weren’t as clouded as they are today. Women bred, kept the homefires burning, bred again and kept the cave tidy and somehow simultaneously looking after the brood whilst men went out and hunted big dangerous creatures to keep the village fed.
At this time life was hard and dangerous.
You didn’t pop down the butchers for a half-rack of mammoth ribs and 20kgs of sabretooth rump. You went out, with your mates and you hunted, like a wolf pack armed with pointy sticks. An unsuccessful hunt meant the village went hungry and in an occupation where death and injury presented a very real risk, you kind of want to be at the very top of your game.
Women on the other hand, their role was very different.
Women’s tasks are without doubt as physically demanding if you look at energy usage but the day in the life of the female of the species was one of sustained workload, one where there is limited risk. The kind of work where, if you’re a bit under the weather, have a bit of a sniffle, nose blocked, sore throat and a cold you can continue at a about 70% and it’s probably not going to kill you. Sure, a woman may feel like shite but she’s not likely to lose a limb or be eviscerated by a mammoth tusk whilst stopping the little one form crawling into the fire is she?
I theorise that , like today, if a prehistoric woman got a cold her body fought off the illness over time. For 7-10 days she’s got a cold, her body aches, stomach hurts, she’s drained and her head aches. So what! That happens every month for 30-40 years of her life so fuck it, it’s a period where the dripping comes from the nose and not the… Anyway, she copes and she soldiers on, very rarely retreating to curl up under a blanket unless time allows her the luxury of doing so.
Headache? Stomach hurts? All that shit and having to hunt huge and very bloody dangerous animals?… Armed with a pointy fucking stick?!
Ten days of illness, of 70% performance, and you’d be dead. Simple.
You’re eaten, trampled, maimed or shredded in some horrible manner that you’re just not recovering from.
A hunting party can only be effective as a team if every team member performs effectively. One or more members underperforming can lead to not only an unsuccessful hunt but present a danger to all members.
So, that not how our prehistoric man’s body deals with illness.
Menfolk have an evolutionary difference, the chaps body throws absolutely everything at getting rid of the illness as quick as possible. It ejects copious amounts of every fluid out of every available exit to rid him of the germ, it sheds all the cells on the back of our early mans throat just in case the lurgy’s lurking there. It throws all his energy at rampaging through his system decimating the bug and anywhere it could be.
It leaves him with nothing. Not a drop for energy to eat or drink or speak or think coherently.
For three days.
Then, with relief for all comes the glory of day four. One bacon sandwich and a cup of tea later our caveman’s out killing big critters with his sharpened twig again as if nothing ever happened.
Evolution is a relatively slow process and not always capable of keeping up with societal progress. Some stuff doesn’t need immediate rectification such as the appendix, wisdom teeth or hair on women that isn’t on their head.
Same with Man flu.
It only became irrelevant in western society in the last few hundred years.
Just because Dave from the cave 200,000 thousand years ago has evolved into Dave who hunts data in an office and lives in a nice semi-detached cave in Weston-Supermare doesn’t mean his basic system’s programming has had time to adapt from his great- great-great-great-great-great grandfather’s life of having to live in a stone built house and hunt great big stag with great big sodding antlers, where the coup de grace would have to be delivered by hand with an item sadly far from being describable as a great big anything and life was still a rather dangerous occupation.
That’s it, that’s my theory on man-flu, it’s basically the worst period ever.
It’s a years worth of periods delivered in one three day hit and it’s there because of Darwinian law so give us a break.
It makes a certain amount of sense and it’s better than no theory at all, so, go with it, tell the other men and women of the world, make them see, spread the word; after all anything’s an improvement on being called “a ponce”, “a big girls blouse” or a “pathetic wuss” whenever one has to retreat to the comfort of the cave, curl up and beg for our Mummy with what double X’ers like to call a sniffle.