Robert Burns: Burnie on Burns

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Robert Burns

What would an agony aunt have made of the sad plight of Burns’ wife? We wrote a letter to Joan Burnie, the famous problem solver from The Daily Record

I'm in such a mess! I met this guy a year or so ago and really fancied him. All the girls did. He's tall, dark, handsome and writes poetry. Maybe it sounds like a cliché, but when he stares into your eyes your heart starts to melt – and other places too. He didn't really notice me at first. I think he liked all the blonde bimbos, but I flirted and one thing led to another. He was awesome in bed. I shouldn't have, I know, but I couldn't help it. Once you've done it, you might as well do it again.

Then a few months ago I found out I was pregnant! It was awful. My parents hate him. He said he'd marry me and I thought it would be all OK. I love him. I really do. But despite our kind of marriage (complicated, but it is a marriage) my parents won't have any of it. They packed me off to my uncle's place so I was out of the way.

I know this guy’s got a bad reputation with women, but I don't know if I can live without him. He says that he can't write poetry without womanising. What do I do? Should I tame his wicked ways and make a respectable man out of him just or leave him to his poetry (and womanising) for the good of the nation?

Jean Armour, 20

Joan replies:
Not sure the nation needs this kind of a two-timing louse, the crowlin’ ferlie. Who does he think he is – Will Shakespeare?

Poetry is all well and good but it doesn’t put food in the kiddies’ bellies does it? I bet this bonny gallant isn’t paying any kind of child support either. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had not only other women but a whole clutch of other kids. But then you knew all this when you took up with him, didn’t you?

No wonder your parents don’t approve. Can you blame them? It’s bad enough that you are their hapless daughter. So is it really any surprise they are horrified at the thought of you being your lover’s wretched wife? And believe me, sweetheart, you would be wretched. You’d end up having child after child while he was off chasing someone else. Fortunately, I gather the marriage isn’t valid which, whether you like it or not, is a blessing.

Of course I don’t doubt, once he discovered you’d been sent off to your uncle that he wrote a nice poem about it – full of flowery thoughts about how broken hearted he was.

Comparing you to a rose and anything else on God’s earth to worm his way back into your affections. But he’s the thorn. As soon as he’d won you back, he’d be off after the next woman daft enough to fall for his dubious charms.

What you’ve got to remember about men such as him, basically they don’t like women – just sex. Lots and lots of it.

You wouldn’t need to be a Holy Willie to think someone like your ex needs to be made to behave and keep his breeches buttoned.

Of course we’ve all met his type before. They make all these extravagant promises and whisper sweet nothings – but ‘nothings’ is the key word. It’s all meaningless. If you think you’re ever going to change him, you’re nuts. Once a womaniser, always a womaniser.

You go back to him and you’ll be left on your own with the kids, night after night, nursing your wrath while he’s out carousing with his mates but then he’ll come home, flash those big brown eyes at you, you’ll fall into bed with him and two minutes later you’ll be up the duff.

He’ll write a pretty poem about that too. Then give you ae fond kiss and you’ll be left holding the baby. Again and again and again. There’s not a lot poetic about that, dearie.

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