Brief introduction: This week’s issue of DER SPIEGEL
(held up for all to see) had as its cover topic the Gender Problem. Well that happens to be my topic too, but I wrote my “Toast to the Lassies” well over a week before that, as Katharina can attest. However, it is nice that DER SPIEGAL also makes a kind of “Toast to the Lassies”, but we Scotts are well ahead of them - again. Parity of the genders has a long tradition in Scottish country dancing. A set always has four women and four men.
So, without further ado, here is my “Toast to the Lassies”:
The other day, Chancellor Merkel phoned me;
I was flattered; this was really nice.
She wanted me to come to the Chancellery;
It was important, ‘cause she needed my advice.
Evidently, I had a good reputation;
They think I’m smart, have great ideas.
It seems, Frau Merkel, our leader of the nation;
Had read all my old “Toasts to the Lassies”.
Merkel confessed to me quite confidentially;
That she had difficulty rearranging her cabinet.
Why then did she have to call on me?
To move a piece of furniture; some porters she should get.
“Ach, you men are all the same!” she shouts;
“With your lack of brains; I don’t know what to do!
The men in the cabinet are not too smart.
The last foreign minister had an IQ of 82.”
“Where have all the good men gone?
Have they gone to business to spend every cent?
I simply cannot find the male ministers
To fill the obligatory gender quota of 30 percent!”
“Why yes, indeed,” I said. As I arrived, I did notice;
That mostly women were working here on every storey,
From the guards at the gate to the escort to her office;
Not to mention even her personal secretary.
“The beginnings of your problems,” I explained
“Can be found in the dawn of civilization.
Women tended to be the more emotional kind,
Which was good for tending babies and child education.”
“Men were colder hearted, which was fine
For hunting, leading tribes and ruling nations.
Yet that led to patriarchs in time;
Who in turn kept women at lower stations.”
“But in modern times, women learned to think like men!
More cool and calculating in the longer term.
Conversely, men now express their emotions then;
They’re kinder, gentler, but some are also quite infirm.”
“Women then excelled in all the walks of life;
Better grades in school, graduated in vast majorities;
Taking over all political and social responsibilities;
Whereas the men are drinking beer in front of TVs.”
“Women are skilled at multitasking;
There are things that men just cannot do;
They simply cannot do such a simple thing
Like running a ministry and giving birth to babies too.”
So, I promised Merkel I’ll see what I can do.
I’ll call old buddies; see if they need work.
Some might still have the brains, that’s true;
But others, they are lazy, just stupid jerks.
As I was driving home, I was contemplating this;
Deep in thought, I didn’t watch my speed.
Sure enough, I was pulled over by the police;
The patrol were women of course, indeed.
I must have acted suspicious when I flinched;
‘Cause her lipstick and blue uniform were matching.
She had me get out of the car to be frisked.
Her hands went up and down; it was actually stimulating.
It was getting strange, seeing women all around.
My psychiatrist, she said I shouldn’t be so worried.
Just ‘cause women take over the world;
That’s no reason to be so paranoid.
This is so bizarre – what a nightmare!
Being the only real man here is no fun.
Women here, women there, women they are everywhere!
Why, I am even married to one!
And then, I woke up…
So, please raise your glass with me as we toast the lassies:
TO THE LASSIES!
Reading this poem at the Burns Night, 5 February 2011