We’ll come right out and say it: nearly everybody is making toasts the wrong way.
We’re not talking about the speech—that’s another post entirely—but about the climactic moment when everyone raises their arms and sends their glass careening towards the middle, ricocheting from flute to flute like a pinball filled with champagne.
Gentlemen, this is not how it’s done.
Touching glasses is supposed to be about sharing joy, dispensing your blessing across everyone in attendance, so you need to know whose glass you’re clinking up against. That’s why ever since the 17th century, the custom has been to make eye contact at the moment you touch cups. It takes a bit of coordination, since you can’t have your eye on your glass, but it makes the whole ritual feel more intimate.
And if simple etiquette isn’t enough, legend has it that looking away at the moment of contact dooms you to seven years of bad sex.
As connoisseurs of history, we sometimes find styles, trends and turns of phrase from the past that we wouldn’t mind bringing back to the present, Doc Brown-style. This time around, we’re dusting off superstition.
We’re usually fans of reason.
But while we trust science in 19 out of 20 occasions, there are a few places where the rational order of the universe breaks down and pure, tribal instinct is the only system that can adequately make sense of the world. The shortlist includes job interviews, sold-out concerts, public transportation, local elections, and professional sports.
It’s not exactly the modern thing to do, but it’s the honest human thing to do—and it’s a custom we’d like to dust off.