Andrew, let’s call him a colleague – and that’s not his real name, has been living with flu-like symptoms for two days now.
Despite suffering sore eyes, achey limbs and describing a sensation of being “completely wiped out” he has continued to come to work. It’s deadline week.
Someone he vaguely knows from another department confirmed to him in the lift this morning that “there’s something going round” but only since talking to his Mum on the phone has he considered taking a day off to, in her words, “knock it on the head".
This is the fourth straight winter in which he has had to face a bout of this type, which can vary in severity and leave him feeling, at its worst, “rough as hell.”
Yet amongst Andrew’s co-workers there has been no sympathy or offer of a Lemsip. Instead he is forced to endure countless references to “man flu” from both female and male colleagues in the name of office banter, mocking the severity - and even questioning the existence - of his illness.
While ‘man flu’ was a mildly funny phrase for a short-time in 2005, playing as it did on male hypochondria, and referenced in wider cultural circles including perhaps most famously in sketch show Man Stroke Woman starring Nick Frost, the phrase has long become outdated and just a bit annoying.
If mankind has to go through another winter pretending that just mentioning the words ‘man flu’ to anyone male with a cold is funny, we may have to take the whole week off.
After all, evidence emerged earlier this year to confirm that men in fact experience symptoms more severely than women. Not less. Something to do with our preoptic nucleus and extra temperature receptors in the brain. Got it?
Plus we haven’t finished Grand Theft Auto 5 yet so give us a break.