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Are Men Hypochondriacs?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user
ghindo, CC licensed

Me: Hello,, this is Lauren.

Mom: Hi, Laur. Would you say your father is highly suggestible to being sick?

Me: Mom? Pardon me?

Mom: He just ate an egg and says he is going to throw up because it smelled funny and I think he’s being a big baby. Would you talk to him?

Me: Yes.

Dad: Hello?

Me: Dad, if you throw up it will be because you made yourself throw up because that egg is not going to make you sick.

Dad: Yes it is! It smelled bad and it’s making my stomach hurt! I had one bite and I could tell there was something wrong with it.

Me: Dad, it’s not going to kill you.

Dad: It’s not going to kill me but it’s going to make me throw up. OH. And I’m probably going blind.

Me: Dad, a bad egg cannot make you go blind.

Dad: I know, but I can’t stop playing Grand Theft Auto and it’s ruining my eyes. The Chula Boys keep stealing my car and then I get killed. Well not killed, but I have to go to the hospital...

Nevermind that my mom was calling me in the middle of a busy work day to discuss a potentially rotten egg. She was right – my dad is highly suggestible to being sick. He thinks he can catch the flu over the phone. Most men are the same, I’ve noticed, and also require an insane amount of coddling when they are sick. Special meals, absolute silence and isolation, a servant of some sort, baths, backrubs, whatever. When women are sick, they pretty much try to keep life as normal as possible — they are tough cookies. I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that men feel pressure to adhere to rigid standards of masculinity 99% of the time, so when they get a chance to act like a sissy, they really milk it. ("Are Men Babies?" in Men's Health does a good job exploring what's going on, here.)

Is it just me, or can men be a little “suggestible to being sick”? Do they require more coddling than women? And why does the world stop turning when they are feeling under the weather?