by Vaughan Edwards on April 3, 2021

in Books


At first, I didn’t want to read this, the cover’s pink for fucksake! But my girlfriend Cherisse bugged the crap out of me until I did. She’s always making me watch PBS and go to Ethiopian restaurants and stuff like that. We have a deal – Saturdays we do her shit, Sundays I watch ESPN wall-to-wall. Soul mates, right?

The book’s about the Royal Family (what isn’t these days?) and it’s called Don’t Lose Your Head: Life Lessons from the Six Ex-Wives of Henry VIII. Dude had six wives, who knew? It’s not actually written by them but by a lady named Harriet Marsden. I don’t know where she got the lowdown on these babes, but “low down” says it all, it’s like National Enquirer on steroids.

I said to Cherisse, you got me reading about a guy who offs two of his wives and dumps the others? Aren’t you afraid it’ll give me ideas? She said it’s not about him, dummy, it’s an exploration of the feminine point of view. Seriously? Don’t we get enough of that on The View? Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally woke, down with chicks getting equality and stuff, even okay with them driving, though they can’t park for shit. I’m kidding, lighten up!

So, I pop open a cold one and get stuck in. Gotta say it’s a hell of a story. Starts bad, gets worse. Henry, something of a lady’s man but with major control issues, needs an heir but Queen Catherine (wife #1) keeps striking out. He wants a divorce but you couldn’t exactly hop a plane to Reno back then. Catherine’s Catholic, the pope says forget it, and it’s a shit show. Finally, Henry tells the pope to go fuck himself (which is pretty cool), gives himself a divorce and suddenly everyone in England’s Episcopalian. Don’t you wish you could pull shit like that?

So, Henry trades Catherine in for a newer model, this hottie Anne Boleyn. Only snag, she does no better in the heir-raising department than Catherine and pops out a girl, Elizabeth, which bums Henry big time. Next thing you know she loses her head to a musician (those boy bands got it made!) gets thrown in the Tower of London (think Trump Tower with no plumbing) and loses her head for real, as in cut off. At the neck. By now I’m thinking Henry’s kind of a dick, but looking at it another way, it beat paying alimony. And he really needs that heir.

Big surprise, only ten days after Ms. Boleyn gets the axe, Henry’s hiding the weenie with contestant number three, Jane Seymour (no, not Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman, though she’s hot too). She pops out a boy (Finally, yay!) but dies two weeks later. I gotta confess that got to me –  he actually seemed to like her. But Henry being Henry he’s back in the game pronto and orders up this mail order bride, Anne of Cleves. But she blows it from the get-go, sends him a photo-shopped portrait disguising the fact she’s a total dog and that’s the end of that.

So. Henry’s single yet again and long story short, hooks up with another Catherine, who turns out to be as big a tramp as groupie-girl Boleyn, and her head’s on a platter before you can say Masterpiece Classic. Henry’s totally out of control now – if he was around today, he’d be offing chicks just for wearing pussy hats, and that’s not cool.

You’d think by this time the bachelorettes of Olde Englande would give Henry a wide berth – he’s turning the scales at 350 (all that wedding cake) with a bad case of what you get for not keeping it in your pants. But money talks, and up pops the sixth and last, yet another Catherine. Confusing as hell, couldn’t he have picked a Tracy or Tiffany once in a while? Most you can say about this Catherine is she didn’t shack up with the help, or if she did, she made damn sure nobody found out. And when Henry finally kicks off, she minds the store till Junior’s old enough to start torching minorities and generally making a dick of himself.

One way or another I learned a lot from this book; too bad Henry never got to read it. If he had, he’d have found out these chicks were smarter than him, even the ones that got topped in Not-the-Trump-Tower. Trouble with guys like Henry — everyone’s so busy telling them what hot shit they are, they end up believing it. If some of those jerks in the cabinet only had the balls to say, “Dude, you’re being a douchebag!” maybe all those poor suckers wouldn’t have got burned up, beat up and beheaded. And in the end what was it all for? The son and heir bought the farm before his balls dropped and (spoiler alert) Elizabeth ended up as Queen, not the one they got now, wears the nutty hats, but her great, great, great grandmother or something. You don’t always get what you want even if you are leader of the pack.

So, chalk one up to Cherisse for withholding conjugal rights until I finished the book. It gave me a shitload of food for thought. I’m nowhere near as bad as Henry in the asshole stakes, but I’m definitely taking a hard look at myself and rethinking a couple things. Like listening to Cherisse when she tells me what to read.

photos courtesy of Ulysses Press

{Editor’s Note: Since the cover of the book states “An Unofficial Survivors Guide for Fans of the Musical Six,” we thought Stage and Cinema‘s review of the show would help those unfamiliar with said musical.}

Don’t Lose Your Head: Life Lessons from the Six Ex-Wives of Henry VIII
Ulysses Press
February 16, 2021 |
English | Hardcover | 192 pages | $16.95
available at Amazon

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