Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ho! Stand to your glasses steady!

You may not believe this but I've been known to imbibe on occasion.  Sometimes more occasionally than others.  Shocking, I know!

As a matter of tradition, whenever I’m drinking with someone else we always toast each other; a simple clinking of the glasses.  I mindlessly touch my glass with the person I’m with or simply raise my glass to the other; symbolically clinking.  After all, that is what is done.  

That is as long as it is done with alcoholic beverages.  Many cultures believe that a toast with water is to wish death on all your drinking buddies.  So, unless you actually want them to die save the toasting for the booze!

Why exactly do we perform that little ritual?  The answer is rather simple.  Raising a glass and striking them together demonstrates harmony and friendship.  And the clink is a nice exclamation to punctuate the toast.

Must we actually clink?  A common rule of etiquette states that it's okay to toast if your buddy happens to be out of arms reach, you simply raise your glass and make eye contact.

However, in Russian tradition, a toast only matters if you actually touch glasses.  The only time you don’t clink glasses is when you’re drinking in honor of the dead.  Conversely, if you fail to clink when making a happy toast means that someone is going to die.  Clinking glasses seems a small thing to do to keep someone else (or yourself) from an untimely death.  No?  

Or, possibly worse, it is a widespread European superstition that failure to make eye contact with your drinking buddies as you clink results in a bad sex life for a year.  That sounds pretty risky.  
It’s also fairly dangerous to clink with an empty glass or to clink across someone else’s arm.  

Who knew clinking - or not clinking - could be so perilous?!

All I know is that from now on I'm clinking.  And, if I happen to be clinking with you, you had darn well better look me in the eye.  Don't make me have to hurt you.  Just sayin'.


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