Are You More a Teacup or a Mug Type?

It was a somewhat cold day in mid May and I was out shopping with a friend on the Hampstead High street. Her objective was to buy a gift for a friend. I was just accompanying her and taking in the sights and enjoying the vibe (and yes, there is a vibe in London even on a cold day). We went to Whittards of Chelsea- a great place to buy teas, coffees, cups, mugs and other related knick-knacks. Though Whittards has branches all over England, it has still managed to maintain that quaint, ‘mom-and pop owned’ type look in some of its stores. This particular one had a rickety, narrow staircase that took you down to a basement room where all the crockery was displayed.

As my friend debated over buying the blue striped mugs or the red patterned teacups as her friend’s birthday gift, we got into an interesting conversation about personalities. The question that triggered it was, “Are you a tea cup type person? Or More a mug type?” My immediate reaction was to recoil in discomfort and say, “No, No. Definitely not a teacup type.”

Now, I never really did think of myself as any one type or the other, but this was an interesting question. For one, I had to understand why the idea of being a teacup type actually put me off so much. For starters, it has to do with certain associations. I have a cousin from a distant connection, who is very particular about matching her cups to her napkins and tablecloths and vice versa. Now, I do appreciate the effort and the look but sometimes, I find this obsession just a bit tedious. So in my mind, she was the perfect teacup type person. That is, someone who is fussy, traditional, proper and with a lot of time on hand. Oh, and also someone who takes their tea in small quantities.

I also associate teacups with a slower pace of life and excessive luxury (when they are the Vera Wang teacups with etchings of pure gold). The image of an immaculate Dorchester tea party with fresh scones, mini sandwiches and clotted cream starts to form in my mind. It’s a great image, till I see myself sitting in a posh manner struggling to keep up with the formalities. Poof! The image disappears.

I think teacups are cute and very British, but just not that practical. To begin with, the saucers are unnecessary, especially since they can easily be replaced with coasters. Secondly, every time, I drink tea in a cup, I feel the need to top up at least a couple of times, which may seem really rude if you are a guest somewhere. Lastly, tea drinking is something that requires a certain posture and delicacy of temperament. You have to curl your pinky finger at just the right angle; keep your back utterly straight; and cross your legs sophisticatedly to one side, in order to make it look elegant. Tea drinking is a test of true finesse and I am not sure if I can score high in that category.

As for mugs, well, mugs are just mugs. No hassle and no unnecessary accoutrements. A large quantity can be consumed without looking rude or greedy. Mugs are sturdy and reliable and they let you be who you are. They are unpretentious and mature. I feel in control of life when I greet my morning with a mug in one hand and a remote control in the other. Ok, so maybe not the remote control so much. But undoubtedly, I get a positive and satisfactory affirmation on life when I slam my mug down on the kitchen counter. With a teacup, I just get broken ceramic.

It’s strange how an insignificant conversation like this one can make you think about yourself and your values in life. But I, sure as hell, like my mugs and I stand by them- be they striped, patterned, mono chrome or colored.

5 thoughts on “Are You More a Teacup or a Mug Type?”

  1. Surely both mugs and cups have their rightful place of occasion. Formal elevenses or high tea, probably with visitors that you need to impress = a cup and saucer with teaspoon, matching plates for the scone or cakes. More Informal occasions with or without friends = mug.

  2. Definitely the tea-cup type myself, although, I didn’t discover this side to myself until recently. Must be age catching up, but now mugs just seem a bit incomplete, somewhat naked….a bit like walking into a room full of people and forgetting to put your pants on!

    Must confess, I also drink different blends at different times of the day and each one is a moment to savour – far from being a time-wasting ritual I’d say. I think tea cups come into your life when you want to slow down, smell the roses and live a more sensory life. Before that you’re in a frantic time zone, forever rushed and mugs are the perfect companion.

    Lovely reading!

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