Just a Little (Hand) Gesture

So what is exactly is a hand gesture? Well, the definition of gesture is a form of nonverbal communication, using hands. Meaning, no talking, duhhhhh….

There have been tons of hand gestures, unique ways of getting your point across across the years. During the war, there were all the women flexing their muscles when they started helping the war effort. Then, during the flower power era in the sixties, there was the peace sign. The thumbs up sign. Or, something as simple as the okay sign.

But you know, SOME of our gestures may have a slightly different connotation in another country. Or at least a similar one that definitely does not mean the same thing as it does here. Like, giving somebody the thumbs up sign; Here in the US, it means “all good!” BUT, in Russia, it’s the equivalent of giving them the finger!

X-ray of someone sticking up their middle finger
The middle finger, a Universal language…

Then there’s the ever popular “call me!” sign, making a fist but extending your thumb and pinkie. To an Italian, sticking out the index finger instead of the thumb is “giving someone the horns.” That’s wishing them bad luck. Just think of Johnny Carson as the Great Carnac, saying, “May the flies of a thousand camels infest your armpits,” lol!

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m Italian and I grew up in a pretty dang Italian family and household. If you did as well, between the words and the physical gestures, I’m sure we can ALL tell quite a story.

When I was young, my grandmother (my dad’s mom) used to threaten us holding up her hand backwards at us. That was threatening us with the “I’m going to give you bacca bach!!!” (a slap upside the head, or spanking) My other grandmother, all she had to do was hold up the wooden spoon, that was the universal language. If you really peed in their Cheerios? You were running from that spoon as if your life depended on it, because IT DID. Grandpa with the belt was universal as well…

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If you annoyed my mom and you weren’t family, she would give you the chin flick, the flick of her hand from under her chin and outward, more or less telling you to go screw yourself. After that would be the good old Italian salute. You know, the one where your left hand grabs the inside of your right forearm and you swing your right fist in an upward direction?

Now, if you really started to piss her off? She would be shouting choice Italian expletives at you and giving you the finger purse with her right hand. That’s when all of her fingers were touching each other, with the forward backward motion…

But if you got my mom really angry, and you were REALLY into suicide, you would get her bad enough where she would curl her index finger and bite it not to slap the living shit out of you.

If it was really REALLY bad? She’d be biting the entire knuckle of the top of her fist not to just all out throttle you. Rule number one in life? Do not ever, I repeat EVER, get your Italian mother angry, no matter how funny she looks when she’s blowing a gasket, rofl!

And, the CARDINAL sin: If you dared to bring a jar of Ragu into her house, you’d better RUN. Why? Because she would just wing it at the back of your head as you bolted for the door! Just ask a friend of mine, he’d recount the story like it was yesterday…

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Hand gestures: Life’s way of saying SO MUCH without saying a word….

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