Jason, I would love to start this essay, but I cannot concentrate per the bagpipes blaring outside my home office. The second Wednesday of every month, a coterie of elderly men convenes across the street at the Atlanta Burns Cottage, a historic clubhouse replicating Robert Burns’ Scottish childhood abode. Built in 1911, the cottage houses monthly Burns Club meetings, where members celebrate the life and work of this 18th century poet. Chauvinistically per tradition, though, the club only accepts male Burns enthusiasts.
I wonder what all those men are up to in the cottage. Are they smoking pot and summoning Robert Burns’ spirit with the assistance of a Ouija Board? Are they sipping Scotch and reminiscing about their trysts with some of Atlanta’s most notorious middens and hizzies? Or are they listening to a guest lecturer who specializes in the influence of Rabbie Burns on Bob Dylan’s songwriting? I cringe with jealousy at the thought of all three.
Last month I arrived home after work, just as the Burns Club meeting was about to commence. I squinted at the cars parked in front of the cottage, lining its periphery like autumn ferns. I cracked my knuckles while watching one man hobble over the gravel on a cane, snickering when his slacks got hung on a red, red rose.
Upon reflection I have decided to respond to the Burns Club’s myopia with maturity and grace, and to form the Plath Club in the carriage house on my property, aptly nicknamed the Atlanta Plath Cottage. The gas oven in the kitchen bears uncanny resemblance to the oven in which Sylvia Plath placed her head, and died of carbon monoxide poisoning the morning of February 11, 1963.
Because Plath’s fans hail from both genders and because male perspectives only would enrich our monthly discussions, I will allow men to apply for membership to the Sylvia Plath Club. I will not accept paper applications; instead prospective male members must pass a test. Per tradition, they must place their heads in the oven in the Atlanta Plath Cottage and withstand a moderate amount of carbon monoxide poisoning. At that point I will welcome them with open arms.
Well now I feel bad because my neighbors have congregated around the Atlanta Burns Cottage, and the bagpipe player is taking requests. If he covers “Over the Hills and Far Away,” I’ll abandon the Plath Club and offer Band-Aids to the seniors who maim themselves on the aforementioned unruly rose bush.
Bobbin, the last time I was invited to a Burns supper, my ex-girlfriend recited the following poem during the “Toast to the Laddies” portion of the supper:
“Here’s to Honor!
If you can’t come in her,
Come on her!”
This was an especially helpful limerick, as Robert Burns himself never wrote any poems on when and where to ejaculate, if not inside a vagina. Most of us men just have to wing it whenever we have an orgasm. Whatever direction we point our penis at is our best guess.
We don’t have a handwritten guide by Robert Burns to guide us, you know? We don’t have a copy of “The Robert Burns Guide to Busting a Nut” just sitting on our bookshelves, Bobbin—with a winking cartoon of Robert Burns on the cover giving a thumbs-up saying, “Let Ol’ Burnsy show you where to skeet!”
Nobody ever gave us a big book full of diagrams and schematics of Robert Burns pointing at different objects and parts of the body saying “YES, LADS!” or “NO! ACCHH, ANYWHERE BUT THERE!”
Most of the “NO!” diagrams would feature paintings of Scotland, or kilts, or plates of haggis—you know, Scottish stuff. Also not acceptable to come in or on or around: anything featuring a picture of Shrek. Even graven images of Shrek! It just feels wrong, you know? Shrek would never let you finish on his face. He’d make you do it onto a towel or something.
“Here’s to Shrek!
If you can’t come in him,
come on his towel.”
That would be my “Toast to the Lassies.”
Anyway, I hope I’m not ruining your notion of the Burns Supper with my filthy talk, Bobbin! Not everybody can honor the national poet of Scotland with a poem that’s NOT about ejaculating. As for my ex-girlfriend, everyone at the table laughed at her instructional semen-based toast and then we all had shepherd’s pie, which falls into the same category as Shrek’s face on the list of places you should never, ever come in “The Robert Burns Guide to Busting a Nut.”
In addition to “The Robert Burns Guide to Busting a Nut,” I wish “The Robert Burns Guide to Sex for Beginners (G-rated edition)” had been available during my tweenhood. Because I felt uncomfortable asking my mother about the mechanics of sex, and because my father hid his copy of The Joy of Sex after he caught me ogling its illustrations, I resorted to grilling my friend Amanda’s twenty-something stepmother about coitus’ ins and outs.
We sat in the Arby’s parking lot, packed in Amanda’s father’s rickety Dodge Ram truck, while he went inside to order some curly fries.
“Tammy?” I turned to Amanda’s stepmother. “When yer havin’ sex with someone, how long’re you s’posed to hold the penis in there?”
“Oh Lord,” Amanda sighed.
“Well the penis has to ejaculate first,” Tammy answered.
Tammy’s advice advocated for ejaculation inside the vagina, clearly demonstrating a market need for “The Robert Burns Guide to Sex for Beginners (G-rated edition).” The manual would help prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and elevate towels, shoulder blades, and fists as socially acceptable places to deposit one’s semen.
Strangely, speaking of Shrek, my college boyfriend demanded that I give him a hand job during Shrek 2 in a movie theatre in Rome, Georgia. Luckily we attended the matinee, and the only other patrons in the second row on the opposite end of the room heard nothing. So my then-boyfriend didn’t come on Shrek’s face but achieved orgasm because of Shrek’s face.
Did you know that Robert Burns impregnated his mother’s servant while in a relationship with another woman? Perhaps in the foreword of “The Robert Burns Guide to Sex for Beginners (G-rated edition),” Rabbie can explain that he, too, was once unaware of the pull-out method and thought the vagina was the only place to blow his load. I wonder if, upon honing control over his cock, Rabbie poetically splooged on symbols of his country’s arch enemy: an English flag, a plate of fish and chips, a ceramic figurine of Queen Elizabeth I. Large full-color graphics of said symbols would appear in “The Robert Burns Guide to Sex for Beginners (G-rated edition),” no doubt.
I’m going to contact the members of the Atlanta Burns Club and gauge their interest in providing monthly sex ed courses to our community’s youth — perhaps on the second Wednesday of every month since Burns Club meetings take place every fourth Wednesday. I can think of no better instructors than experienced old men to deliver a “Toast to the Tweenies”:
“Here’s to teenage sex!
Always pull out!
Come on her copy of Shrek!”
Thank you, Bobbin, I’ve always wanted to be on a government watchlist. I’ve also always wanted to be on a government Shreklist.
“But I shot a Shrek in Reno/just to watch him die.”
Sorry, I just got back from the Johnny Cash museum in Nashville and now I’m inserting different things into Johnny Cash lyrics.
“I hurt my Shrek today, to see if I still feel/I focus on the Shrek/The only thing that’s real.”
I know that’s actually a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song by Johnny Cash, but I think if Johnny Cash came back from the dead right now, he’d give his blessing. Right there on the spot in his black shirt and black pants!
:: in the gravelly voice of Johnny Cash :: “Well, you know June and I have always loved Shrek and this is the best way to honor his memory.”
Don’t tell the newly risen Johnny Cash that Shrek’s not dead, Bobbin!
You know, the thing that struck me the most about the Johnny Cash museum was that it mostly displayed different outfits he’d worn in his life. “This is the cowboy hat Johnny Cash wore when he starred opposite Andy Griffith in Murder in Coweta County.” “This is the shirt he wore at his beach house in Jamaica all the time.” “Here’s his wallet.” The actual descriptions were more elaborate, but you get the idea.
Weirdly, all the outfits were immaculately cleaned and hung on headless mannequins. First of all, if I drive all the way to Nashville to see the Johnny Cash museum to look at his clothes, I want to see his sweat stains. I want to know that sequined black tuxedo has been lived in!
Nobody needs Johnny Cash’s puffy shirt with the lace collar to wear to a job interview tomorrow—it’s okay to let us know that a human being wore it!
Second of all, if the Johnny Cash museum needs any suggestions on whose head should go on the mannequins, may I nominate a certain green ogre? Do you think it would detract from the Johnny Cash museum if if Shrek wore all the outfits? And if you pressed a button Shrek sang Johnny Cash’s greatest hits?
“I fell into a burning Shrek of fire/ I went down,down,down/ And the Shrek went higher”
Now there’s a song you can give a handjob to! In fact, the Johnny Cash museum ought to write those lyrics on the little white card by the glass case featuring Shrek in the suit Johnny Cash wore when he met President Nixon.
So come on down to the Johnny Cash Shrek Memorial Handjob Museum and live out a terrifying fever dream!