THE LINGER LONGER TOAST
“The Linger Longer Toast” was developed for Sally Szwed’s second Pairings event at the Sunview Luncheonette. Pairings is a wine and art tasting event, matching five wines with five creative works over the course of a single evening. The “Linger Longer Toast” is a simple social choreography that asks people to pair up briefly, make eye contact, and drink to one another. Each participant received a glass of red wine (flavor-paired to match the language of the toast) and a custom-stamped, custom-scented cocktail napkin with the basic choreographic instructions. The toast was read aloud by the artist, almost as music to accompany the “dance.” The paired wine was Fenouillet 2013 Vin De Pays de Vaucluse: a dusty, dusky almost-autumn red.
The script of the toast is as follows:
If I told you seven years of bad luck, if I told you bad sex, if I told you I love you, (Cheers.) (Move to the left.)
If I looked and you looked away, if you looked and I looked away, if we found each other for just one second, what would that be? (Cheers.) (Move to the left.)
When we drink to absent friends, what does that mean? (Cheers.) (Move to the left.)
If I said drink to your country, how would you feel? (Cheers.)
It’s autumn, the leaves are falling, this is no time to linger. Move on.
Warmer. We will never have been more or less than this. Hold each other tight. Move on. (Cheers.)
The “Linger Longer Toast” was designed to promote intimacies that we usually reserve for family and close friends (or even romantic partners) between strangers. The simple instructions to connect and move on highlighted both the discomfort of finding a partner, and the sense of loss accompanied when asked to disrupt a new connection. The performance also required all present in the room to participate, raising questions of who a performed act is for in a condition where no one serves as an audience. The toast is part of my ongoing series “Interactions & Play.” The series utilizes simple gestures, clear vocabulary, and brevity of time to spur varying conditions of intimacy.
“The Linger Longer Toast” is dedicated to Naeem Mohaiemen.