After Tuesday’s Capoeira class a bunch of us went out for drinks. We had two new students at the table; one a dear friend of mine from Italy and the other a girl from Barcelona who I just met. We raised our glasses to cheers the newcomers and a hard workout. After which the question was asked how a toast would be communicated in Italy and Spain. My girlfriend explained that normally they just say, ‘Salute’. I laughed remembering a strange travel experience I had in college while backpacking around Australia. I was at a travelers bar in Cairns drinking amongst other wondering souls from across the world. At one point, a stout German woman in her forties raised her glass to cheers. In good mirth I clinked glasses with five or so travelers happy to have companions. But before I could take a sip this German woman slapped her beer down on the table between us and sternly said, “No!” Confused and alarmed, I dutifully lowered the rim of my glass from my lips. Then this woman outstretched her two fingers pointing them at my eyes with a look of contempt, “In Germany, if you cheers and do not look someone in the eyes it is considered extremely…eh how you Americans say it…RUDE!” I could feel the guttural vibrations of her last word bounce off my chest as she grunted and nodded. What a brute, I thought, as we looked at each other for an intense moment. Then the German woman motioned for me to pick up my beer, she clinked my glass with enough bestial force that my beer sloshed over the rim, while I kept my eyes wide open staring ahead at her. “Drink, now you drink.” She commanded, as if I were dumb. I smiled in disbelief taking a gulp that drained half my beer while still maintaining eye contact.
A Warrior Princess