Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Game Tip o’ the Day: How to Hold a Glass

Here is an iconic scene from the movie Good Will Hunting:

Watch how Ben Affleck holds his beer at, for instance, 0:48.  Notice how the bottom two fingers (pinky and ring) come off the can?

GWH is too well made a movie for this to be an accident.  Affleck’s character is a working-class schlub in a reasonable-paying but really go-nowhere job.  Something is being communicated here with the pinky lift.  I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be good.

Contrast that with how Don Draper and Roger Sterling hold their glasses in this collage of Mad Men scenes at, for instance, 0:34:

Notice how both of them keep their lower two fingers on the glass and lift their index finger.

Mad Men is also too good a show for this to be an accident.  Jon Hamm’s and John Slattery’s characters are intended to be the princes of Manhattan.  Everything they do is calculated to project wealth, power, status and sex-appeal.  The way they are holding their glasses are cool, even if I don’t understand why.

But I have a theory.  Personally, raising my index finger instead of my pinky is something I have to think about.  It doesn’t come naturally.  Perhaps that’s the point:  the cool way of glass-holding indicates a higher level of self-possession.



callowman said...

Cool observation. Pinky-lifting seems effete and womanish - overcivilized. Forefinger-lifting, on the other hand, when not holding a cigarette, suggests a man poised to break into the conversation. "Hey, I have something to say ... and yes, I'm holding this drink, but it's an incidental prop. I might just toss it down behind me because I'm so passionate about my next point."

månesteiner said...

I was born in Boston in the early 1950's. I lived there until 1978. Nobody I saw ever held a beer can the way Ben Affleck did at 0:48.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck grew up in Boston and Good Will Hunting was certainly a well made movie but I'm not sure how much I'd want to read into Affleck's grasping of that beer can.

He's been in Hollywood for a long while. Even I've lost most of my accent by now.