Friday, January 5, 2018

The Reply For The Lassies revisited

I was wandering around my house at four o'clock this morning, annoying the dog and cat, stuck in some Groundhog Day editorial hell. But at six am I pressed send on the Ts for book ten.  

And now I am back at the day job.  So here is a reblog from ...well... I think it was from my first month of MIEing. Interesting reading!

 I wonder how the reply for the lassies goes now- does it steer clear for political correctness? Or go for the testosterone jugular. I hope you enjoy it second time around.
Normal service will resume next week,


Warning: This blog contains extremely sexist material. It is supposed to.

Burns; a man who live for writing and women

It was my great honour (translate that as terrified!) to give the Reply for the Lassies at a very prestigious Burns Supper last Friday. I had been asked as a crime writing female, not as a Burns aficionado but they have very high standards and expectations. When I say I was at the top table sitting next to the President of the World Burns Federation, you can gauge the magnitude of the gig. And my trepidation.
                        The is Jane, the President of the World Burns Federation dressed as Jean Armour (Burn's                                              wife). This event was in St Petersburg.

The Immortal Memory is the serious bit. The Toast to the Lassies is a speech by a man with a  humorous take on womankind and all its marvellousness. Which as I said in my speech is easy as there is lots about woman that is marvellous.

I then get on my feet to reply, for 12 ½ minutes. The Reply for the Lassies is generally by a female, trying to find some thing nice to say about men.
                                                                The real Mrs Burns

Nowadays, it is good natured sexism with a little booing (against), table thumping (for). I must add, many drinki poohs had been consumed by this point.

Both the minister and myself got standing ovations, but I, as woman tend to do, got the last word.

Here are some highlights….

 So I went  back to the original  inspiration- the man himself.

Robert Burns had taste, he loved women.  In fact, without us, he would not have written a single word.  He said, “I never had the least thought nor inclination of turning poet until I got heartily in love then rhyme and song became the spontaneous language of my heart.” Which is interesting because I never had the least thought nor inclination of turning crime writer until I got heartily in love then murder and bloodshed  became the spontaneous language of my heart.
Looking round my friend's path lab, I commented on the difference between two brains in specimen jars. One was large and healthy looking, one small and shrivelled. The notation showed they were the same age. The pathologist explained that the male brain was the bigger. It looked that good because it had never been used. And Burns agreed  “Mither nature…her prentice hand she tried on man and then she made the lasses, O’”.

Burns, as you know is held by most sociologists as a huge believer in womens' rights. You can take that with a pinch of salt as a sociologist is a man who goes to a strip joint and watches the audience.  But there are some famous words that show what Burns felt about the rights of the fairer sex -

While Europe’s eye is fix’d on mighty things,
The fate of Empires and the fall of Kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention..

But if Burns thought we were equal in the 18th Century then why nowadays do women still have to do the same thing twice as well to be considered half as good. Everybody knows that Fred Astaire was a great dancer but what about wee Ginger Rogers. She did everything he did, but she did it backwards, wearing a frock and in high heels.
                                They are either tripping the light fantastic or ripping the tight elastic....

If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism. Stealing from many is research so here is my research; an excerpt from 1955 issue of Housekeeping Monthly. Ladies of the audience, this is what to do when your husband comes home from work.

Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair. Be a little gay this will be more interesting for him….. ( I’ll leave that up to your imagination).

At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. (doesn’t say how but any of the benzo diazapine will work. Or duct tape. Or put them in the cupboard under the stairs). 
                                                           Is this about removal of blood spatter.....

Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first, remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours. Make the evening his. Never complain when he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure.

Arrange his cushion and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

Don't ask him about his actions. Remember, he is the master of the house and you have no right to question him.

Nowadays  we know that the best way to light up a man’s eyes  is to shine a torch in his ears  so I thought you might be interested in a course at the university for life long learning. It’s an evening course, over two years. It’s for men, it includes basic female vocabulary…

The importance of  Yes Dear.  Fine means it’s far from fine. Nothing means             something, and be scared. Go ahead - that’s dare not permission. Oh you think so,     means think again.  That’s ok, she’s thinking of revenge. That’s Ok with arms folded means she’s already thought of the revenge. And it will hurt.


Finally beware the symptoms of love – the quickening of the pulse, the  shortness of breath, slight reddening of the cheeks as they are exactly the same as the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. So instead of marrying him, get your boiler checked.

Tee hee

Caro Ramsay  05/01/18


  1. Caro, I can hear that wonderful lilt in your voice as you spoke the lines. And the roars of laughter. I am reading this before getting up to face a difficult day. You lightened my heat, my friend.

    1. I meant "heart," dear heart. Google has a lot to answer for on how this product works on mobile devices.

  2. I'm not sure what had me laughing harder, your torch in his ears, Caro, or Annamaria's confusing (though she blames her browser) "heat" with "heart." Both make me want to shout, "Burns, baby, Burns!" [My unshriveled brain just couldn't resist].

    1. Handing you straight lines is one of the great pleasures of my life, Jeff!

  3. Robert Burns -- poet, patriot and now women's rights proponent! Who would have guessed?

  4. Indeed Kathy, Burns was a huge humanitarian who spoke out for the rights of the oppressed in any society.

  5. I have great sympathy for the oppressed, as I (a member of the large-brained caste) am beginning to feel a bit oppressed myself these days, with all these brain-withering onslaughts from the so-called 'fairer' or 'timid' sex.

    Hah. As if.

    (Classic column, Caro, thanks for regurgitating.)