He whispered in my ear. There was alarm in his voice. “Honey, wake up.” I didn’t budge, pretending not to hear. I found myself on the couch, still wearing a ruffled dress from the night before.
It was early Friday morning, December 23rd, 2011. Two days before Christmas. We had just returned from a holiday party. An evening filled with lobster, filet mignon, and dancing in the velvet lounge. There was wine too. Plenty of it. Renaissance Man and I were so busy mingling that we only saw each other in passing. The night didn’t go as planned. I fell asleep on the car ride home then stumbled to the sofa.
He nudged me again, “Baby, wake up.”
Three in the morning was not an hour I cared for, especially after a night of celebrating. “What time is it?” I whispered. Renaissance Man looked at his wrist but realized he wasn’t wearing a watch. He glanced at the clock hanging on the living room wall. “3:05,” he said definitively. “Why are you up? Go back to bed.” I begged. “I can’t,” he said. “My nose is running and I can’t stop coughing. I’m sick. I think it’s the FLU.”
I frowned. After nearly eighteen years of marriage and only a few bouts of illness, he decided to tell me this now. Now, when I could barely see straight. NOW. When I couldn’t possibly be of use to someone who had the flu. Much less the Man Flu. A condition that’s been crippling the male species since the beginning of time, and in their minds, considered darn near fatal. What’s a girl to do? I could either:
A. Let him recoup right there in my arms. No need to put him back in bed. Tempting because I could resume sleep but I’d probably fall off the couch.
B. Turn on the T.V. Quick, hurry! Redirect his attention towards Law & Order episodes. Then I could sneak off without him noticing and crawl into bed alone.
C. Check on him every three minutes. He’ll be too weak to call for me. Maybe I’ll leave him a little bell so he could summon me at his leisure. Plus, the bell would drown out his involuntary groans.
D. Get him a box of tissue. I’ll need to grab him a cup of tea and fresh pair of socks while I’m at it. Surely, we could beat this monstrosity together. A virus so severe that germs from a single Man Flu SNEEZE have been known to wipe out entire tribes of chimpanzees.
E. All the above.
Which option do you think I chose? I did what any good wife would do. I followed Renaissance Man back to the bedroom. Helped him slip into the sheets. We laid there a few minutes in the dark. He let out a couple more sniffles. Then, I gently pressed my cheek against his cheek and sealed my BIG baby with a kiss.
I’m thinking about handing out medallions to women who survive the Man Flu. Do you think women deserve a medal for indulging men when they’re sick? Especially when a guy insists there is scientific evidence to prove that his PAIN is worse than childbirth.