A Toast tae the Lassies
Esteemed fellows of the College, honored guests, fellow students. To be among such a fine assembly, to enjoy such a feast as we have this evening is privilege enough. But to give public praise where praise is due – such is a rare honor indeed.
Now speeches of this sort are usually tongue-in-cheek: this one is not. Speeches of this sort are usually humorous, ironic even: this one is not. No indeed: the occasion does not warrant what may be the usual course of things at Thomas More College. For, if I may venture to say so, to adequately express even a measure of the esteem in which I hold the ladies of the College is the most difficult assignment I have been given these past four years. Think not, good people, that I have come here to ridicule. I come to praise the ladies of the College, not to bury them.
But what is praiseworthy about a paradox? Try as we might, gentlemen, to understand the fairer sex, our efforts will end in bewilderment. Try as we might, our theories will never be able to fit the facts, because the facts are changing as rapidly as their shoes. At one moment we are confronted by a gaggle of giggles, at another a court of royal disdain. If the complementarity of men and women is like a mirror, we men are looking in a glass darkly. Yet, when we do see, what we see is admirable indeed, and should not go unspoken of. The qualities of such excellent and admirable ladies as this College can boast of should be hallooed to the hills. Let us enumerate a few.
Piety. We would be ashamed, gentlemen, if we were to tally our Mass attendance with that of the ladies. If it wasn’t for their prayers, the Barn would have fallen around our heads long ago. There may be a few saintly fellows among us, but whenever I go to daily Mass, I see that Wisdom has set up her house on seven pillars, and their names are Mary, Marie, Mary Grace, Penelope, Catherine, Bernadette and Bridget.
Charity. Last semester, I was amazed by the concern that the ladies show for their more somnolent classmates. I cannot tell you how many times Miss Clark, Miss Lloyd, and Miss Martin roused me from languidly following a late afternoon lecture by a gift of tongues marvelous to hear. But this was not all. The class management techniques they employed were so practiced that it seemed effortless to derail Dr. Powers.
Compassion. After Mr. Guenzel was carried off the field at the last Virtus Bowl, he was immediately attended to with the greatest sympathy. As he grimaced in manly pain, he was asked “does that hurt?” and “are you alright?” Only a sensitive feminine mind would be able to show such compassionate concern. But this is not an isolated incident. When Mr. Smith came limping down the stairs to lunch, the concerted “awwwww” that went throughout the cafe could only fail to move the stoniest heart.
Gracefulness. It is difficult, nay, it is impossible to be but awed by the ease with which the College’s ladies move about in the world. Only yesterday, To see Miss Ashton Weed so elegantly smash sheets of ice into pieces with a shovel was, to my antiquated notions, the epitome of ladylike charm.
I could go on to list virtues yet more admirable than these, but my time runs short. Gentlemen, our manly pride has already been subjected to its annual laceration. But while we still have even a shred of that pride, let us not fail in our duty to give praise where praise is due, however humble our praise may be. This is a rare and honorable thing indeed. Therefore, gentlemen, I ask you to rise to your feet and raise up your glasses: let’s have a toast. Here’s tae the lassies!