Every morning, I wake up and turn on the coffee pot for a cup of joe. On the way to work, I probably stop at a Starbucks for a second cup at least three times a week. Once I get to work, chances are that I am going to have at least another cup in the morning and maybe one more after lunch to keep from crashing. It might seem like a bit much, but I love to drink coffee. At this point, it feels like the mug is an extension of my arm. But that is also why it confuses me so much when I look at others drinking coffee. Most people seem to hold the mugs the same way, but some (like the girl pictured) hold their mug like they have never used their hands before. Here are just a few mug holding techniques and their pros and cons.
The thing about the girl in the picture that is different from normal is her thumb placement. You might think of your thumb like the lock on a diary. After you close the diary, a small, leather strip slides into a loop for an extra measure of security and to hold the book shut. When you wrap your four fingers around the outside of the mug handle, the thumb nestles nicely on top of your pointer or middle finger to lock the grip in place. It seems like a simple and natural enough technique and should be able to keep you from spilling. Where the girl in the picture goes wrong (and where I would claim that she is a psychopath) is that she holds her thumb up, like she is giving a thumbs up while drinking. It is mind-boggling, confounding, and, honestly, I hope that she spills hot coffee all over herself as a result of her cavalier attitude towards carrying a mug.
Some mugs, if not most, are equipped with a handle on the side. I say some because there are some mugs that are almost closer to bowls in size that do not have a handle for you to hold and force you to put a hand on each side to drink like you were slurping the milk out of your cereal bowl or downing the last of the ramen broth. I will say this: mugs should have handles. This is not a decree, but mugs are too hot for you to just hold them willy-nilly. You need to have something that the hot water is not directly touching because most times, the mug gets too hot to hold because of the liquid. That said, the handle does sacrifice some control over the mug.
Most people do this as a variant of the standard handle hold and it is far more acceptable than the thumbs up hold. Instead of the thumb being the guy not invited to the party, the pinky finger becomes the odd man out. This can be seen as high class or by others as pretentious.