Etiquette & superstition: toasting

deviltoast
Benny’s kids seem to be using a certain kitchen appliance a lot today; I keep hearing a “ding” every fifteen minutes or so. Perhaps they are merely preparing toasts for tomorrow night.

ETIQUETTE: A point of etiquette that some may find troublesome or awkward is the one that indicates it is bad form to drink when one is being toasted by guests at a party. There is rarely any indication of how one is supposed to behave when a toast is being offered in one’s honor other than looking humble and gratified, and I strongly suspect this is one of those points that will soon be dropped (much like the dictum against applause at the end of a wedding) in the code of polite behavior.

The proper thing to do is to merely remain seated and say, “Thank you,” but this predicates that the rest of the party understands you are not to toast yourself and they will toast you and be done with it. If this is not the case, and everyone is just standing there with their glasses aloft waiting for you to take a sip, just raise your glass with a “you are too kind; cheers” sort of comment. You really can’t offer a counter-toast to your guests previous to them completing your toast, as that is rather rude to the first toaster, and if you toast them after you’ve been toasted, you’re stuck in the position of just drinking in front of everybody (if you’re going to be correct about things), and oh brother. Maybe everyone should start toasting the lovely day instead. The lovely day doesn’t have to worry about taking a drink or not.

SUPERSTITION: In France, Germany, Italy, and Serbia, a toast at a private party is usually a simple affair. One word to everyone’s health, or life, or to empty glasses. You must, however, clink glasses with everyone at the table, and you must look them in the eye while you are doing so, or you will have seven years’ worth of bad sex.

Drinking a toast with water will cause the honoree to be drowned.

Illustration by the Strobridge Lithograph Co., Cincinnati, New York, ca. 1899, uploaded to Flickr by trialsanderrors

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