The Pinky Myth ☕

The Pinky Myth ☕

Did Queen Elizabeth raise her pinky when enjoying a cup of tea? 

I am not sure why but one of the most common reactions I get when I tell people I teach etiquette for living is them asking: So you are one of those who raise their pinky finger when drinking tea?

No, I am not. In fact, as an etiquette teacher, I strongly advise you not be that either.

Where did it all come from?
When looking into historic sources, we cannot really pinpoint the origin of this habit as there are multiple versions to it. The one that I find most likely to be true goes as follows: 

Allegedly, the habit of drinking tea was first associated with the aristocracy only who started enjoying their favourite tea from delicate porcelain cups in the 18th and 19th century. The porcelain cups were not only fragile and expensive, yet also quite wide in design which made it tricky to balance in one hand. And here comes the pinky to the rescue: by lifting it up, the aristocrats were able to balance the cup with more ease and therefore minimise the risk of spilling or dropping it. 

At that time, the lower social classes wished to belong to the elite, so they started mimicking their gestures including the pinky trend. 

Is it still relevant?
Fast forward to the 21st century, nowadays we can purchase tea cups in all shapes and forms made from various materials. Some have a handle, others not, some come with a saucer, others are made of a paper with our name on it. Regardless of the shape, we are perfectly able to hold a tea cup in our hand without raising the pinky. In this day and age, raising the pinky is not only obsolete yet it can also be seen as snobbish, elitist and rude - and there is certainly nothing respectful about that. After all, even Queen Elizabeth herself used to keep her pinky well tucked in.  

If you still happen to hold a delicate, wide porcelain tea cup that might be challenging to balance, I suggest using the pinky in a reversed mode - secure it at the bottom of the cup rather than waving it in the air. This way you will gain some stability and won’t break any social codes.

Happy tea drinking, my dear readers!

Yours sincerely,

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