Monday, 15 February 2010

"Dear Women, from Science" (No. 11)

I sincerely hope people actually read the following before deciding that I need castrating for being a sexist pig or what have you.

"Dear Women,

This is the anthropomorphic personification of Science, with an open letter to all women everywhere.


Please forgive my using the bare minimum of polite small talk, even in a letter, but I'm afraid time is of the essence and I can't afford delays. The fact of the matter is that, despite my best efforts, recent budget problems (thanks to economy, that git) coupled with my attention being taken up by homeopaths, chiropractors, antivaxxers and the rest (it's like having fleas, being constantly besieged by armies of mindless parasites who want my blood but have no understanding as to why), it appears I've been caught off guard, and a serious problem may be imminent.
I'll be blunt. There is another potential pandemic in the making. I just managed to spot swine-flu in time to give everyone the heads up, although it still may end up being devastating (thanks again to the antivaxxers, why don't they just pour cyanide in the reservoirs and speed up the process? As long as it doesn't cause autism, right?). However, there is another virus which appears to have completely passed me by, and from what little evidence I have been able to gather, if it does get any more virulent it could wipe out mankind. I am writing to all women because, by some quirk of biology or serendipity, you appear to be able to accurately identify and diagnose this virus without training or expertise.

I have classed it as influenza masculinus, but it is more commonly known as 'man flu'. I have no idea how a species-specific gender-specific virus of such potency could become so widespread in the population while completely escaping my notice. But sadly, that appears to be the case. And in case you doubt my credentials in this area, bear in mind it was me who discovered the atom. It was down the back of the sofa (amongst other places). So my observational skills are unsurpassed. I even devised to observer effect!

The worrying aspect is that the majority of woman claiming to have witnessed a victim of influenza masculinus appear to treat the sufferer with a degree of contempt, amusement and ridicule, which is behaviour uncommon in women (or so my expert behavioural analysts tell me, although they're largely unattractive bloated men, so are probably working from theories alone). This is without doubt the worst possible course of action/behaviour. Until my people are able to isolate the virus and develop a treatment, please treat all likely cases with extreme caution.

Although there have been no confirmed cases as yet of influenza masculinus transferring between genders, I cannot stress enough how potentially dangerous such an occurrence would be. All of my available data suggests that it would be extremely virulent, and the more vindictive females would have to find new targets for ridicule, as mocking a disease sufferer while suffering from the same illness would be illogical, and I can't imagine an illogical woman! (admittedly, I'm not known for my powers of imagination).

If this does not convince you, consider logic. The male victim is often mocked for his inability to function normally while suffering from the infection, and is ridiculed for his perceived lack of stamina in comparison to the typical female. However, male bravado in the face of physical discomfort is a far more prevalent behaviour, however unnecessary it may be. Males are often seen to be engaging in activities which are highly likely to cause significant physical distress (e.g. contact sports, heavy drinking, drug abuse, sexual intercourse with Paris Hilton etc.). The fact that they succumb to this virus should be deeply troubling.

Biologically, there is also cause for alarm. It is undeniable that males have evolved to be more resilient to damage and physical harm, so a virus that could so effectively undermine the male system must be potent indeed. By my calculations, should a woman be infected with influenza masculinus, she will be instantly killed. The manner of death depends on the effect on the metabolism the virus has, but I've narrowed it down to instantly liquefying (i.e. Ebola, only much, much worse) or spontaneous combustion. Either way, it'll be messy.
The fact that no woman has ever been reported to be infected with 'man flu' is something I have to attribute to an evolved trait of the virus; it would be detrimental to the virus to thoroughly obliterate its host before it has a chance to spread, so it has evolved to avoid the more fragile hosts (and then, as previously stated, no women who was infected with the standard virus would last long enough to report it or be diagnosed). But it could only be a matter of time before a mutated (weaker) form of the virus starts killing females, so I must ask for your assistance, for your sake as well as mine. There is also the possibility of the virus becoming more potent among men, which could eventually wipe out most of the men on Earth. And before you open the champagne to celebrate your feminist utopia, are you so sure a world of women would be a positive thing? Two words; Heat Magazine.

Please, avoid contact with all sufferers of man flu. Seeing as you're only going to ridicule them anyway, you've not really lost anything (I believe the refusal of males to seek medical help coupled with the dismissive attitude of women is what caused this lack of awareness on my part). And pass on a message to any men you believe to be suffering with the illness, tell them to report to me (or more accurately, my doctors) as I need all the data I can get if I'm going to fight this thing.

I have also investigated the possibility of influenza femininus (woman flu). There is some evidence to suggest that it exists and that men can catch it, but they don't show any serious symptoms. According to anecdotal evidence, men suffering woman flu can display a range of symptoms, such as 'mild hangover', 'nothing at all' to 'bellowing laughter while ripping a phone-book in half'. Still, I'll look into it.

Be alert ladies, I'm counting on you to save the world (possibly)

love and kisses

Science (BA hons)"

Now you can kick me in the nuts (should our paths cross)

Email: humourology (at)
Twitter: @garwboy

1 comment:

Yewtree said...

I have to say that I agree. I am a woman who does not use the term "man-flu". References to man-flu by women are sexist, actually. Whilst it is true that some men have been known to exaggerate the symptoms of their illnesses, that is not the case with all men, and it irritates me that some women automatically assume that men with flu are exaggerating their symptoms. It's just as annoying as some men assuming that an angry woman must be menstruating. (I hope you've never been guilty of that, Mr Science! Actually the personification of science should be a woman, as that was the medieval convention - Lady Alchimia, for instance, but we'll let that pass.)

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