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Just imagine…by some miracle, you have been invited to afternoon tea with the Queen. You have donned your best dress, coiffed your hair, and applied your “paint” (aka make-up). You are breath-taking! After accepting your dainty tea cup and finding a comfortable place to retire, it’s time for your first sip. Pinky in or out?

Have you ever wondered from where this affectation came, and is it really the “queenly” thing to do?

I’ll give you a hint…

Harley Quinn, the Queen of bat-crap crazy and girlfriend to Joker in the Batman franchise, (also a member of Suicide Squad), lifts her pinky!

So does this handsome fellow, Mako Rutledge, aka Roadhog!


American author, novelist, and socialite, Emily Post, who was famous for writing about etiquette, was adamant that pinkies out was ill-mannered.

American columnist and etiquette expert, Judith Martin or Miss Manners, thinks it began around the 17th Century, when tea was first introduced in Europe. The hot beverage was sipped from cups without handles and naturally, fewer fingers were used to prevent burns. How does one balance a hot cup with one handle? Since tea was an imported luxury, the gesture was adopted by the elite and remained even after handles were added to tea cups.

A less popular theory is that finger sandwiches and dainties served with Afternoon Tea would be eaten with 3 fingers, not 4 or 5 fingers, like a common person. In order to distinguish themselves from the riff-raff, socialites adopted the pinky affectation. This might account for the attitude that this is a posh statement by the “elite”, and why it is often used as a parody for social climbers.

Tsk! Tsk! Pinky in darling!

The proper way to hold a tea cup is with your thumb and index finger meeting in the handle. Your pinky may be used to balance the cup on the underside of the tea cup. If seated at a table, the saucer should remain on the table. If you are standing, hold the saucer with your left hand at chest level. Finally, if you are not seated at a table, hold the saucer in your left hand, balanced on your knee. Raise the saucer to chest level, holding the handle of the cup with the opposite hand to prevent spills, before lifting the cup to drink. Your tea cup should always be on the saucer when you are not drinking.

Always Pinky IN.

A cup of tea would restore my normality.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy