Dread man flu like the plague? Sick of your bloke refusing to darken the door of the GP unless he has a partially severed limb? We’re sure women the world over can relate, and that’s why we were chuffed to get our hands on Troy Harvey new book, Diagnosis Male. Harvey sheds light on men’s hilarious no-doctors philosophy, and answers our probing questions about blokes and illness (and what women can do to save their sanity during a bout of ‘man flu’).
Hi Troy, thanks for talking to us about your new book – we loved it (one we feel all women need to read, ha!)
Thank you for reading it! I love the idea that all women might read it one day. Somehow I don’t think it’ll be making it into Oprah’s Book Club, though.
Why are guys so crap at going to the doctor?
Going to the doctor is a pain. A pain usually worse than the one we are already experiencing. There so many other things we’d rather be doing with our time than sitting in a room, waiting to get prodded by a stranger. We’ve got TV to watch and jobs around the house to half-finish or procrastinate about. Our schedules are full. If doctors were smart they’d serve beers in the waiting room and show sport in their office – only asking questions in the ad breaks. That’s how to get through to us.
Why are men blinkered to obvious health risks – (eg, while women will obsess over every extra kilo, blokes will think they look fine even when overweight etc..)
There’s no real secret to the way men think. In our minds we’re still 21, no matter how old we really are. It’s as simple as that. And when you’re 21 you’re indestructible. The reason we don’t stress about stuff or obsess about our bodies like women do is because we’re too exhausted from trying to convince the women in our lives to stop stressing about theirs. The last thing we want to do is start up another discussion about body image and health. Best to just keep that stuff to the times when women bring it up.
What role do women play in men’s health and what can we do to encourage them to look after their health? Short of threats etc?
Actually, threats are good. Threats are probably the most effective way to deal with us. Nagging works too, but that can take a while. The problem for most guys is we know you’re right. Deep down, we know that women know more about medical stuff and body health than we do – mostly because we have little to no interest in it. For us it’s more a theory of “When you’re time’s up, your time’s up”. But when a woman nags us about our health, eventually we’ll do something about it. We’ll say it’s just to stop the nagging, but secretly it’s because we know you’re always right. (My girlfriend made me write that.)
Why are blokes so damn painful when they are sick?
I have no idea what you’re talking about. Whenever I’ve been sick I’ve been nothing but manly and tough throughout the entire experience. (Cough.)
What’s the best way to treat a sick man?
When men are sick, we are basically like dogs. That’s where the expression “sick as a dog” comes from. (Probably). That means you can do one of two things to treat us. Either pamper us and rub our bellies until we’re feeling better, or leave us alone to curl up in a dark room so we can whimper to ourselves and drool a bit. We’ll either die in there or come out as though nothing was ever wrong in the first place, hungry and eager to hump your leg.
Most amazing stat you uncovered about men’s health while writing the book?
I think the most amazing thing I read were the odds of surviving a serious illness if you catch it early on. The earlier you spot a symptom of anything, the chances of beating the disease it’s attached to are astronomical compared to if you leave it a while. So much so, in fact, that I’m thinking of visiting psychics to try and catch things years before any symptoms even appear. I think you’ll agree, it’s a foolproof plan.
How have blokes responded to your book?
Most men who’ve read it just give me a knowing nod as they pass me in a corridor. That’s about as expressive as blokes get. We’re not big on discussing books. What’s interesting is how many women have read it and thanked me for giving them this insight into the minds of men. I wasn’t aware we were such a mystery to women. Men are easy to understand. Even our reason for visiting doctors is pretty simple – it’s basically just so we can make sure we’ll stay alive long enough to see another episode of The Simpsons.
Have you changed your attitude to the medical profession since writing the book?
I don’t think so. Like most blokes, I never liked going to the doctor before writing the book and I still don’t like going now. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who dedicates their life to touching the infected, broken bits of people’s bodies. I don’t know why anyone would choose to do that for a job, but I’m grateful they did. Personally I think of them like I think of the police – I’m glad they exist, but if I’m face to face with them for any reason then something’s probably gone horribly wrong in my life so the less I deal with them, the better.
Anything else of interest you’d like to tell us?
Man-flu is a very real, very serious condition that deserves the utmost sympathy and respect. Don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise.