He may be smiling, but it’s no laughing matter:
he’s got the man-flu the game is on.
Either British women are, uh, kind of slow, or English guys are more persuasive than we realized. According to Reuters, a survey found that one in five British ladies believe that “man-flu” is real, a condition which leaves afflicted gentlemen laid up on the couch watching sports. If I had known this could work, I would have caught this fictional bug long ago. This silly survey of 2,000 British adults found that many believed in a surprising amount of myths and old wive’s tales—although perhaps the “man-flu” would be better described as an “old husband’s tale.”
The survey also found that almost half of the people agreed that men exaggerate their symptoms to get attention. Apparently, though, this doesn’t apply to imaginary diseases, in which they prefer to bask in the curative radiation of sports television.
One in 10 Brits supposedly believe that eating more carrots can improve your night vision. This myth allegedly comes from World War II British propaganda that said as much to explain the increased numbers of German fighters being shot down. The borderline-plausible explanation was meant to prevent the Nazis from finding out about their new radar technology, which was the real secret to the British successes.
According to “study leader” Mike Smith, a “large majority” of the population also believes that your eyes can become square-shaped from watching too much television. Really, English people? I’m going to guess that most Brits don’t actually believe this, since that’s not the only eyebrow-raising tidbit. Apparently the survey was “specially commissioned to mark the release of Hollywood thriller ‘Contagion.’” Multiple searches for more about Mike Smith or the survey turned up nothing, nor did a Twitter message or an email to the Reuters editor.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with this story, or slide a little science your way while I’m at it. The most common misconception, subscribed to by 37 percent of the population, is that we lose most heat through our heads. While that isn’t true, it isn’t that far off. According to University of Thessaly researcher Andreas Flouris (interviewed for an unrelated story several months ago), people in the cold lose about one-third of their body heat through the head. And covering up any body part is not equally as effective as covering the head, as the Reuters story incorrectly states. Blood flow to extremities becomes limited during cold exposure via vasoconstriction, in order to keep the vital organs and brain warm. Obviously blood flow to the head/brain cannot be limited, since it, uh, is kind of important. Come on, Reuters. Use your head!
But maybe I’m just taking this too seriously. As one of the Reuters commenters pointed out, 50 percent of people do have below average intelligence.
Image: Furryscaly / Flickr