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Loving cup

Ladies, or indeed gentlemen, do not fall in love with a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This snippet from The Telegraph explains why. (And no, my use of the word "snippet" has no bearing on the matter in hand.)

Scientists have developed an electronic wine glass that allows pining couples to share a drink, even if they are on opposite sides of the world.

The glasses, fitted with liquid sensors and LED lights, communicate over a wireless internet connection. When one glass is picked up, red LEDs within the other glow warmly. When it is put to the lips, sensors light up white LEDs on the rim of the other.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston who developed the prototype glasses, told New Scientist magazine that communal drinking was a vital part of social interaction.

A clue as to why this is a non-starter can be found in the highlighted words in the last paragraph. In any case, this idea of sharing a drink with an absent partner completely misses the point. When the cat is away, the mouse, male or female, should seize the opportunity for solitary indulgence, not sharing. Why should your better, more virtuous half know how much, how fast, or what you are drinking? You can tell him you are sipping delicately at a single glass of Château d'Ychem 1911 and nibbling daintily on a piece of sushi, when in fact you are washing down your kebab and pork scratchings with your fifth pint of Old Peculier. Table spy ware might give the game away.

Were I a Cockney, I might say, “Electronic cup? I should coco!”

Talking of which, who better to comment on wine and women than Wendy, who made cocoa for Kingsley Amis, when Kingsley couldn’t cope. Here is her parody, preceded by the original:

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action lust
Is perjur’d, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust:
Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and prov’d a very woe;
Before, a joy propos’d; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

—William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


The expense of spirits is a crying shame,
So is the cost of wine. What bard today
Can live like old Khayyám? It’s not the same—
A loaf and Thou and Tesco’s Beaujolais.
I had this bird called Sharon, fond of gin—
Could knock back six or seven. At the price
I paid a high wage for each hour of sin
And that was why I only had her twice.
Then there was Tracy, who drank rum and Coke,
So beautiful I didn’t mind at first
But love grows colder. Now some other bloke
Is subsidizing Tracy and her thirst.
I need a woman, honest and sincere,
Who’ll come across on half a pint of beer.

—Wendy Cope (1986)