Sorry for my lack of words recently but I have been sick, and I don’t mean that in a Fritzel kind of way. I’m talking man-cold first class, with a medal in chesty cough, and a citation for blurred vision in the face of severe migraines. Honestly, when I sneeze I spray paint the bedroom.
Illness never seemed much of problem in life before – I’d just call in sick and turn the Xbox on. But I work for myself now: calling in sick means nothing gets done. If you couple starting a live music/comedy/arts production company with my stand-up comedy gigging, it becomes clear that my overworked self was due an illness. It’s a particularly virulent bastard too – all the people I live with have it, loads of the stand-up comics I know have it, and it lasts about two weeks, “Mum! Mum! I’m Dying!”
I don’t often wish I still lived at home, but when I am sick, like any man, I want the brow-rubbing, soup-ladling, hot-water bottle love that only a mother can give me. I want the ‘poor little bunny’ type stuff from the Man Stroke Woman sketch show.
‘But you have a girlfriend – surely she’s nice to you?’
My girlfriend lives in the US (major long distance, I know) but when I am ill I am sort of glad she’s so far away because her scorn at my sickness is somehow less cutting when delivered via a webcam.
During the periods of time we have lived together for months at a time the exact chain of events is this: I tell her I am ill; for the next five hours she is quite nice to me; and then that’s it. If I’m not better after that, she switches into scorn mode and I have to go and cower in an airing cupboard so she can’t find me.
Imagine my upset when I read a Telegraph article, which appeared to suggest this is commonplace – apparently many women do this?
Now I know the research is just cynical PR nonsense dreamt up in the Monday morning meeting of whichever PR agency handles Reckitt Benckiser. However, we all know the scorn men receive for having ‘man-colds’.
The flipside to this one is that when she is ill, I do tend to try and offer lots of sympathy. In a slightly strange and thankfully-not-physical way, I turn into my mother. Why is this? If she’s ill, I jump to her every whim and wish, but if I am sick, I get beaten like a ginger stepchild. Also why is it that a mother will give this care, but a girlfriend won’t, despite that girlfriend receiving that level of loving caring attention from me?
I know what you are thinking… and no, I am not only nice to her just so she gets better quicker so I can knob her again. Of course, that is a gratifying side effect.