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"Men Are Sick"
When a man is sick, the world stops spinning, people cease to breathe and the attention of the universe becomes focused on a solitary man and his infestation of germs. When my husband is under the weather, it rivals an Oscar-worthy performance. He gasps, he moans, he walks 3 feet and collapses against the wall, clawing frantically at his chest for air and hoping he doesn't faint and strike his head on the linoleum. I almost want to hand him the damn trophy and wait for him to muster up the energy for an acceptance speech.
All of this drama is after he has gone to work for the day, where he has been strong and effective, but then when he comes home he falls apart and wants to be looked after with tender loving care. I have polled my friends and know that my husband is not the only one who experiences this extreme form of human suffering every time he is sick. I believe it to be a common affliction for the male species to fall to their knees and clutch at their throats when they are ill. Perhaps it goes back to mothers babying sons when they were not feeling well, and that expectation and desire to be coddled by females carries through into adulthood.
I'm sure I was more compassionate to my husband before I had kids, but as a woman with small children, there is only so much energy to go around, and when a grown man looks to me for sympathy, I find it's just not there to give. I'm not saying I'm proud of this. My husband deserves my love and attention too, but I think the issue becomes one of equality. When my daughter was a baby, I remember bowing at the great white throne, puking my guts out while my husband offered a sheepish, "Hope you feel better soon!" as he backed out the door to go to work. I still had to be sure my daughter was fed and cared for, with no one to encourage me to rest or bring me tea and tylenol (I know, I know, even I can hear the violins playing in the background!).
When women get sick, life is assumed to carry on as normal, and for this, men can expect a stay in the doghouse. It's simply not fair. We get that your jobs are important and that you are needed at work, but we like to be babied too when we aren't feeling well. A gift for your wife or girlfriend, in addition to coming home early and bringing a pizza for dinner, will go a long way to cultivate peace and harmony in the house when your woman is sick. And the next time you are tempted to put on an Academy Award performance when you have a tickle in your throat, think about how your wife or girlfriend behaved the last time she was sick, and raise the bar just a smidgen for yourself. If you just can't do it, and you need the dramatics to get a little attention from your lady, pick a gift for her as soon as you are better, because guess what? You are in the doghouse.
BIO: Julianne Harvey has almost 12 years of marriage experience. She writes screenplays and blogs daily at www.thedreamtowrite.blogspot.com.
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