Man cold. Or that's what my lovely wife of almost 21 years calls it! It doesn't matter that I sneezed what felt like a thousand times in a row, or that the section between my upper lip and nose, in other words: the philtrum or the infranasal depression is a rosy pink, or that every time I swallow I'm convinced that a razor blade has taken up residence in my throat. Nope. I have a man cold and my Mom's phone number has been mysteriously added to our speed dial list!
So...it got me to think. If I have a man cold, what's a woman cold? And, more importantly, can a man have a woman cold? Can a woman get a man cold? Or, when a woman gets a cold, is it just a cold? I mean, with equality and such, I think I'm entitled to have a woman cold from time to time, too. Like I said, after almost 21 years of marriage, I'm feeling bold enough to take a shot at describing a woman cold! If you can say yes to at least 3 of these items, then in my estimation you have a woman cold (or just plain cold): you have a life threatening fever, your body's two primary exits have been conspiring together against you for at least 48 hours, it feels like your head is lodged in a bench vice, you're in desperate need of an iron lung, and all the tea in China won't make your throat feel better! Anything less than 3 of these items - I'm sorry to say - you have a man cold - as defined by a woman.
I don't know where in history colds became defined by gender. Maybe, 'man cold' was coined when Alexander the Great delayed his trek into Syria in 333 BC due to illness...as in "Poor Alex. He's got a man cold. Syria can wait." Or, maybe it was because Napoleon was unwell on the day of the Battle of Waterloo and that's why he lost. (Some historians even claim possible hemorrhoids!) Even more likely, it was Winston Churchill's pneumonia in 1943 while leading and inspiring the Allied invasion that the term man cold was coined. But... then I imagine it was used with a very complimentary tone - no sarcasm inferred! But, society, in its twisted fashion, has changed the meaning of the word. Just like the words - sick, bad, and gay have changed meanings over time. I think if you had a man cold pre-1945, you could hang with the likes of Alex the Great, the Little General, and The British Bulldog. Now, if your wife explains your absence using the descriptor man cold, she gets sympathetic nods from her female compatriots and shameful, blank stares from those of the male persuasion.
I don't know about you - and by 'you' I mean my male readership - but, if ever my cold is described as a man cold by my wife, I'll envision myself among the ranks of the greatest leaders of all time. There I'll be: Alex, Napoleon on my right, and Winston on my left. Ahh...misery loves company.
Psst...pass the Kleenex...ACHCHOO...I'm going to bed. Oh, and where's the Vics Vapour Rub?