Illness – Is there gender bias

TV Hagenah

Women are different from men when it comes to illness.
Well, I suppose women are generally different from men in a lot of ways. I first noticed this when I walked into the girls’ locker room when I was 12.

Right off, I noticed that the whole locker room did not smell like sweaty sweat socks rotting after they had been sitting in 20 lockers for six months, which is what guys’ locker rooms generally smell like. I’ve known women to comment on the smell when a half mile away. Guys, on the other hand, can use that same locker room for a year and not notice it. Males only know sweat socks need to be cleaned when the socks themselves start kicking the locker doors on their own.

That smell should have given it away immediately that I was in the wrong locker room, but it didn’t. It was not until I was half-way changed and the seventh-grade gym class broke up and headed into the locker room that I realized my error and I looked for a place to hide.

Did you know that it is possible for a rather pudgy 12-year-old boy to fit in one of those little half lockers they have in gymnasiums? Actually, it is markedly harder to get out of one of those lockers after you have been hiding in one for an hour. You don’t have the added assistance of panic and fear of humiliation that you had when you were trying to get in. It is my personal observation that with a sufficient amount of panic and fear of humiliation, a person can fit into a manila envelope.

Anyway, back to the illness differences of the sexes. To begin with, if a person knows they are ill, then I guarantee that the person is a female. My wife argues that any animal with an IQ higher than a rutabaga can figure out that it is sick, so it follows that men should be able to also.

“They can’t be that stupid!”

I tried to defend my gender say we can be that stupid and further explain that it is more complicated than that. It is in our genes.

“It is in your jeans more likely,” she said.

“No really,” I responded. “It goes back to the cavemen. The cave-women could remain in the cave and be sick, but we had to go out, fight saber-toothed tigers and get stepped on by woolly mammoths no matter how sick we were.”

“Clearly,” she reposted, “not enough cavemen were stepped on to remove the stupid gene from the gene pool.”

When sick, a woman will stay home tucked in bed after having seen a doctor who in turn diagnosed the illness. A man, on the other hand, at the same level of illness will be at work slaving away. Of course, he generally will be reduced to slavering idiocy and will stand staring at a door nob for two hours trying to figure out how that complicated piece of equipment functions.

“I know I used it yesterday…, how did it work then?”

And as for visiting a doctor, my wife contends that men don’t know that doctors will treat people with anything other than hunting accidents and limbs severed while using table saws.

“Even then,” she says, “there better not be a football game on or they will probably bleed to death.”

I tried to talk her out of that misconception explaining that it was only true with specific games.

My wife also claims that unless prescribed medicine can be drunk from a container with a pull tab or cut with steak knife we won’t consider that either.

“It’s just that we are tough,” I said, “germs don’t hit us as hard as they do women.”

My point would probably have been a bit better made if at the time I hadn’t been sitting on the bathroom floor throwing up into the wastebasket because I couldn’t make it to the commode.