It Takes Two to Toast

May 1, 2007

Last weekend, my friend Allan Milham celebrated a “significant” birthday and 18 of us gathered to toast him (several times, over several bottles, over several days . . . Allan’s never been one for downplaying a birthday). Each of us dutifully sweat over what we’d say, practicing in elevators and on balconies until our time came around. But as I raised my glass and said my piece, something hit me.

It takes two to toast.

Yes, there are all kinds of ripe angles to ponder around toasting—when to do it, what to say, do you have to look someone in the eye (and is there really ten years of bad sex involved if you don’t), do you have to clink or is it ok just to motion—and we’ll get around to those. But here, now, I’d like to peel it back to a subject not often discussed. The receiving end.

When someone raises a glass to us, it means they’re putting themselves out there in a vulnerable way to honor us. It may be an achievement, a moment, an emotion, or maybe just a whim. But something has moved that person to publicly say, “I just want to take this moment and recognize you, this, here, now.” That act is profound, no matter how lighthearted the sentiment may be, and I believe it deserves as much attention as when we’re on the giving end.

My husband, Christopher, and I have had a longstanding rule about toasts—that we can’t amend on to the other’s. We made up the rule so that we’d pause and absorb what was just said and give that moment its own weight rather than running right through one into the next. It helps. But sometimes I still feel like I’m moving my glass forward for the clink, while inside I’m shrinking away from the honor just bestowed. Like shrugging off a compliment rather than graciously slipping into it. I need to work on that. So, now that I’ve had my say, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter . . .



One Response to “It Takes Two to Toast”

  1. Christopher Says:

    Great to see the new blog babe. Keep up the good work!

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