I thought it would be good to record Troy and I's speech. Although I have to admit that I borrowed some of mine from Elaine C Smith's Reply at a previous Burns Supper.
Toast To The Lassies
Being a South African speaking in Scotland at a Burns supper I thought it respectful to turn to every mans best friend, the internet, for some guidance. I’d like to quote you my rather entertaining first lesson on ‘the toast to the lassies’
A traditional Burns Night ritual, this toast should be a light-hearted lampoon of the lassies' (few) shortcomings. Illustrations from Burns, or from first hand knowledge of the subject, may be used.
Helpful - But this is the good bit!
Warning: Please be tactful! It's funny, but even the mildest, vaguest, allusions to the faults of women, in even the most general sort of way, may be misconstrued as a viscious personal attack!
Well ladies, hopefully this will be your first lesson in how to laugh at yourself.
But not before I pay respect to what is of course ‘the fairer sex’ Afterall it is widely known that behind every great man there is a great woman. Looking at the world leaders of today there are few who would argue that Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni and Sarah Brown have broader appeal and respect than their partners.
Even back in the time of Burns A woman could serve as chief of the clan, and enter into battle, just as men did. A woman could divorce her husband if he failed to support her, or treat her with respect, if he was impotent, homosexual, sterile, or gossiped about their sex lives. And She could leave him if he was fat, a snorer, or just plain repulsive. So it’s pretty clear who calls the shots BUT.........lets face it, there are some reasons why us very rational blokes will just never understand women so let me tell you why.
- We will start off with a simple one – shopping! Why is it that you find what you’re looking for in the first shop but spend the subsequent three hours visting every other store just to go back and buy what you saw in the first place. Surely that time could be put toward ‘getting ready’ so you get to the pub before last orders.
Going to the toilets in pairs! You say you’re going for the conversation, we think you just want make sure that ALL of your friends aren’t bitching about you when you leave the table!!
Why are you all so crap at parking?? Apparently physiologically men have better special awareness than women. Sounds like an excuse to me, made up by physiologists or physiotherapists who in my experience have a high incidence rate of being female!
But ladies and gentlemen, there is one 4th and final reason why I don’t understand women and this is it. Rabbie Burns, the man we are here to celebrate tonight was a big fan of ‘the friendship of the thighs’ as they so diplomatically called it back then. He fathered no fewer than 13 children to no fewer than 5 women all without the help of Match.com. And by all accounts the women were hotties going by names such as ‘Handsome Nell’ and ‘Anna with the golden locks’. So why, pray tell, did they all lower themselves for a skinny, peely wally wee ginger who seemed to employ the rule, any port in a storm!! Seriously ladies, if that is where the bar is set, there is hope yet for Jimmy Tyrrell.
But before I finish, I’d like to give credit where it is due – Burns was a lothario, the lover of ‘the friendship of the thighs’, he’s Jimmy’s hero and so he is the kind of guy that women despise. Yet here we are tonight, celebrating the life of the afore mentioned lothario proving that our ladies here truly are the bigger people to forgive those flaws of character and appreciate the mans talent.
So on that note I’d like to invite all the men to their feet and join me in a toast to the lassies.
To the lassies!
Reply to the Toast to the Lassies
Ladies ….and Gentlemen,
You will have to forgive me…. as I give this reply.
As Troy referred to earlier…, behind every man… there is a GREAT woman… and in MY case…. THIS woman stepped in at the 11th hour to save her man from donning a wig and dress and giving this speech himself….- although, if there was nakedness involved I am sure he would have loved it!
Troy, thank you for your toast and explaining PART of why you blokes don’t understand us women.
For YOUR first lesson I want to reveal that although Burns may appear smaller than 21st century man, and as much as I hate to dash your dream of following in his diminutive lothario footsteps, infact in volume 1 of the works of Robert Burns from 1834 it was written that….
‘Burns’ form was vigorous, his limbs shapely, his knees firmly knit, his arms muscular and round, his hands large, his fingers long and he stood (I hate to tell you my wee man) at five feet ten inches high’
A KINDLY description no doubt. But he WOULD have ticked all my boxes… WELL except the height- nothing shorter than 6’7” for me!
However I speculate it was not his outer appearance that attracted the ladies but their fondness for him was because he knew how to woo a lady. He could communicate to women and THAT my friend- is KEY!
Whether match.com is your platform or poetry is your skill- talking and communication is the heart to any women and befriending her thighs!
As Troy highlighted previously there are a number of reasons you “RATIONAL” blokes don’t understand us ladies BUT if you work it all down it comes to a simple conclusion- communication.
Women DO infact use restrooms as social lounges and …we could go off to powder our noses and return giggling like old friends with a fellow female we have only just met in the toilet. We just like a good natter!
We’ll talk to sales assistants- we’ll ask the opinion of a fellow shopper- we may even stop to ask for directions and a chat- a NOVEL idea I know!
We enjoy the art of conversation and the use of language, just as Burns did.
And THAT is where YOUR problems begin.
According to the studies modern men use 7,000 words everyday- most of those words are uh huh, no, where did you put my clean rugby kit? what’s for dinner? And the remaining 6,986 are just additional commentary on the 3 or 4 sports games you’ve watched that day!
Men use language to exchange facts and information. This is THIS and that is THAT- it’s finished, DONE- no small talk.
As women we get very frustrated by this because we try and talk to you and we get that response. Yes, no, what? We get really upset and think that you are not really LISTENING!
But now that I have read these studies I UNDERSTAND it. (It’s not because you’re more interested in the rugby on the tele- ALTHOUGH….…?) It is because you have used up all your words! You’ve got 7,000 words and THAT is IT. There are just no more left!
We SHOULD understand that BUT you see we don’t because women…., according to these studies use 24,000 words everyday- (no doubt having listened to me talk you are not surprised by this!)
We also use language as a reward. If we like you we talk to you. If we don’t we blank you.
The first area of conflict between men and women comes when a women stops talking and goes in a huff. She WITHDRAWS language…. And men…. Well you don’t notice for 3 days!! You just think it’s lovely and quiet.
But the theory that Robert Burns could bridge that gap and language between men and women still holds true today.
I think it says something wonderful about this country, this nation of ours that we have chosen a man of words, a poet, a wordsmith, a man of love and passion to be our national hero. Not a warrior or a politician but a man of the people and a man of the heart.
Any man that could write-
‘had we never loved sa blindly,
had we never loved sa kindly
never loved and never parted
we would ner be broken hearted. ….
And countless other beautiful poetry is a genius in my book. And we in this country are so fortunate to have him and have those words.
So BOYS I hope you have learnt a wee bit tonight. And to those of you on the table over by the window if you want to score more than just a "swamp donkey" (the younger boys slang for an unattractive girl) this evening just get scribbling or pinch a few lines from the bard- I am sure that will do the trick! ………………………..Cheers!