Man Flu Playlist 2017

As it turns out, I wasn’t full of shit all those times I said I was really really sick. Man flu is a real thing*, and certain diseases are more detrimental to men than women for some reason that I could have deeply understood but ultimately did not. That means that women need to listen up: All those times that we stayed home from work because one of our eyes felt “cloudy or something” have been totally justified. Women couldn’t possibly be made of stronger stuff than men. It must be that men are empirically sicker. 3 million wonderful women marched against our garbage president this past weekend. I don’t think as many men would have expended the effort, but at least we know there’s a physiological reason why: We’re sicker, dammit. Some of those buses headed to DC were virtual germ factories. I think, if push came to shove, most men would choose beer and pajamas over basic civil rights. `

Because we’re men, we don’t feel the need to hide anything. No sneezing into a shirtsleeve for us. Everybody’s going to hear that phlegm fly! Thus, the entire experience of our Man Flu (capitalized hereafter for maximum effect) needs to be experienced by everyone in the vicinity, not just the afflicted party.

But Jordan, how do I know how to feel?

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Ha, ha. You’re a cute little guy. I’ve assembled this Wagner-esque song-cycle to get you through the dizzying gauntlet of emotions that is: Man-Flu 2017.

Buckle up, ladies. Somebody has to take care of us; it’s not as if we can handle anything ourselves.

For those of you that were already thinking of leaving, now is an excellent time to do so.

1. “Father and Son” – Cat Stevens

It might start with a chill. Maybe you’re a bit flushed and someone at work comments on it. By lunchtime, you’re sucking down herbal tea and Emergen-C like it’s the mead of Mount Olympus. It’s pretty adorable how you’re trying to stave off a disease that, by virtue of displaying its first symptoms, has already taken hold. This is the time when crying is most likely. You’re trying to explain to your mean girlfriend how you can have flu-like symptoms but can still enjoy a few beers, and the tears start flowing. Why doesn’t she believe you? Is it because you started feeling better the second you left work? Is it because you’re ordering a stuffed-crust pizza? Can’t she see that you’re just trying to comfort yourself? So what if we’re a little bit emotional? Cat Stevens understands. You should probably call your Dad. He might have Old-Guy Man Flu, which is the only thing worse than Man Flu. God forbid you are ever sick in the same place as your Dad. You might have to fight him.

2. “Mother” – Pink Floyd

Assuming you didn’t fight your Dad, you’re probably entering the fetal/womb-like stage of your illness, in which things like turning the thermostat up are horrifying ordeals. Every movement is accompanied by a moan, a groan. We have no control of the sounds we are making. We’re essentially babies. The whole of a man’s existence is finding a partner who isn’t too weirded out during the (hopefully few and far between) moments where he is completely infantilized. My girlfriend plays a tough game, but ultimately buys me rainbow sherbet. The sherbet is a covenant symbolizing the pact between us which dictates that I can act like this about twice a year. You can always try to get your mother to take care of you, but she’s probably helping your much sicker Dad.

Dude. Call your Dad. How many reminders do you need?

3. “The End” – The Doors

If you’ve reached this point, you’re in the throes of a flu-induced madness that seems endless. Jim Morrison spoke of the Lizard King, but your Fever Creature can take any form you want. Maybe you’re taking orders from a Komodo dragon or a sentient burrito. Who am I to judge you? You’re sick, and it is the most sick anyone has ever been including people who actually died. If you do manage to sleep during this state, your dreams will be hot, pulsating horrors. Grab a blanket to calm the shivers, but be prepared to throw it away as soon as your internal temperature skyrockets to 105 degrees.

4. “Bad Company” – Bad Company 

Assuming you didn’t go all “Colonel Kurtz” during the last stage, you made it through an endless night full of dark creeping things that have hundreds of legs and emerged on the other side feeling a little bit better. Maybe good enough for a cocktail? There’s a flu cocktail, right? Hot Toddy? You can use Fireball whiskey for that, right? What’s this? Jager in the laundry room? Who put this here? Now it’s a party!

Before you immediately get drunk, you should probably know that you’re still contagious. You also probably shouldn’t get super-loaded since–you know what? Good for you, buddy. You’re on the mend, but you’ve seen the shit on the other side. You’re toxic, you’re damaged goods. You’re Bad Company.

5. “Anywhere I Lay My Head” – Tom Waits


“I don’t need anybody/ Because I learned to be alone

And anywhere I lay my head, boys/I will call my home.”

This Tom Waits classic, near as I can tell, is about the epic and earned rest that follows an  all-nighter of booze-soaked debauchery. As anyone who’s drunkenly watched the sun rise can attest, some nights age you in just a few hours. It’s almost as if you’re a cut of meat, and each interesting night adds a new note of character and flavor. Accordingly, the sleep that follows such nights is necessarily intense. Surviving the Man Flu is similar: Though it was rough, this disease is just another feather in our cap of wisdom and experience.

Get a flu shot next year! It worked for me! You know, so far.


Photo: Cat Stevens; credit: By Bryan Ledgard ( [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons















*Man flu is totally not a real thing.

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