The second installment of “Hot Dudes Doing Cute Things” highlights the Fab Four and their participation in the great English tradition of drinking tea. Is there anything more quintessentially British than drinking tea? It's what everyone asked me about when I came home after a few months in London -- forget the countless historical institutions, museums, and other opportunities in the city, because apparently people just imagined that I sat around drinking a cuppa and snacking on scones while wearing a skirt suit and a fascinator.
Apparently, the Beatles were never too concerned about perpetuating cultural stereotypes because they were photographed drinking tea, like, all of the time. Whenever they picked up a porcelain cup and saucer, forgotten were their Scouse accents, Mop Top hairdos, and anything else that might have ever been considered unsavory by the older folks. Whenever you see them drinking tea, it’s like OH WOW LOOK AT THEM DRINKING TEA, THEY’RE SO BRITISH AND REFINED, as though every sip of English Breakfast was in honor of the Queen Mum. I don't see any of them pointing out their pinkies as they drink so they might lose points for form, but excel in overall effort.
It must be said that I am just assuming that they’re drinking tea in all of these photos because I like to make cultural assumptions. Because, you know, they’re so British and refined that way.
The love that the Beatles held for tea is well documented in such tunes as "All Together Now" ("A B C D / Can I bring my friend to tea?"), "All Too Much" ("Sail me on a silver sun / Where I know that I'm free / Show me that I'm everywhere / And get me home for tea"), "Lovely Rita" ("Lovely Rita, meter maid / May I inquire discreetly / When are you free to take some tea with me?"), "Good Morning Good Morning" ("It's time for tea and meet the wife"), "Cry Baby Cry" ("The Duchess of Kirkcaldy always smiling / And arriving late for tea"), and arguably "A Day in the Life" ("Found my way downstairs and drank a cup"). So obviously, tea has had an enormous impact on the artistic output made by the Beatles. (I'm about 79% serious about this entire subject.) Let's look at each lad's relation to tea, shall we?
Apparently John was so particular about how he took his tea that it warranted an essay in the New York Times. Written by Yoko about her late husband's tea-drinking habits, it's appropriately titled "The Tea Maker." John's explanation how to steep the perfect cup of tea (plus a special shout-out to Aunt Mimi!) results in a surprisingly touching piece, very sweet, a delicate memory that a woman has of her husband's final hours with her.
In addition to all the Beatle songs littered with references, Paul wrote a song called "English Tea" for his 2005 album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (which is really just a fantastic album in part because: the cover is a photo of teenager Paul; the sound is quite minimal and intimate like on McCartney (which I dig); the lyrics are more introspective and wrought with sadness, and I prefer a darker Paul wondering where all the lonely people come from rather than him asking about silly love songs; also in high school I would listen to "Jenny Wren" and think it was about me (also I still do that)). In "English Tea," he dubs the act of drinking tea to be "very twee, very me," so who am I to argue?
No known statements have been made by Ringo about tea and the number of photos of him drinking a cuppa was unfortunately quite low. BUT on his 70th birthday he was honored with a specially blended Peace and Love Tea, so that obviously means there was a profound connection there.
The highest volume of photographs featuring any Beatle-tea relation came from images of George. For some reason, he was the one most often documented eating and drinking -- far more than any other member of the band. Seriously, pics of George while mid-sip or chewing something occurred with such frequency that there are numerous Tumblrs dedicated to his habits of consumption. It's almost comical to look at a photo blog or watch one of their movies because HE'S ALWAYS EATING, despite being incredibly thin (a marvel that causes him to become the source of every woman's jealousy). I wonder if early on in their careers George just happened to be snapped a few times while eating and then that became his thing so he would never travel without a mini bagel or something. I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge George's amazing expressions (especially top row, middle photo and bottom row, second from left), which I think deserve a post of their very own.
THEY'RE EVEN TEA PUSHERS! Look at them trying to lead the younger generations into a world of hot beverages made from aromatic, dried leaves. I honestly wonder what led up to this particular moment -- how do you offer a sip from your cup of tea to a toddler that is not your own? Just wondering. I'll accept never knowing the answer because THIS IS SUPREMELY ADORABLE. See, hot dude doing a cute thing. Yay!