It's Burn's Night, and seeing as I've no party to attend (missing out on haggis over here!), I thought I'd post this 'toast to the laddies' I wrote for a Burns supper I attended last year. It was my first ever one, and I was completely new to all the traditions. I guess what I mean by that is, be kind - and invite me to yours next year so I can learn some more...
Enjoy your neeps and tatties, lovely people!
A TOAST TO THE LADDIES
I am instructed (by Google, no less) that women were not originally permitted to attend Burns suppers except as cooks or waitresses, so I find the tables quite entirely turned in the present circumstances. Not only am I officially in attendance as a guest, but I am also tasked with responding on behalf of the sex to which I do not belong, and which in past times may have relegated me to the role of serving wench! And since the father of a childhood friend would repeatedly refer to me as 'tea wench' during my teens, perhaps those times are not so far past. But before you can say with Burns, 'and there begins a long digression about the lords o' the creation, let me assure you I will (in the main) be kind.
The truth is that for all they are much-maligned as simple creatures, the laddies have their mysteries too. I personally am married to a man who quite truly cannot to my knowledge boil and egg, but is miraculously transformed into a culinary genius once he has the right playlist and can shut me out of the kitchen. What goes on behind the closed door is anyone's guess, but I can only assume his loud singing is actually an incantation as whatever he produces under these circumstances is delicious.
There is also the matter of multi-tasking, in which field I could name dozens of laddies of my acquaintance who are expert. To observe them on a Saturday afternoon, one football match on TV, another playing on their phone, and the cricket results coming through on the laptop screen, while they hold conversation about a different sport altogether, quite frankly blows the myth out of the water. And as for what a Scotsman keeps under his kilt - well, that is a mystery I have yet to investigate, but perhaps some things are better left to the imagination.
Personally I think Burns can show us something of the modern man, all the way from the 1700s. Any man who can wax lyrical about violets and romance on the theme of hunting roe deer in the highlands, then hold forth on the human qualities of courage and brotherhood, with the occasional heartbreak episode, seems to have Cosmo's definition of a 'metrosexual' down.
Inexpert as I am, I feel it's safe to say that Burns and indeed the laddies here present have more to them than the likes of Cosmo would give credit for, and that in itself is to be celebrated. Let us toast the indomitable male spirit, the wit and wonder of the poet and the not-so-poetic alike. For as Robbie says, 'there's some are fou o' love divine, there's some are fou o' brandy.' We've not any brandy, so whiskey will have to do.
Cheers all - here's to the laddies!