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September 25, 2005



oh man, you're giving me new bad habits to pick up. I can't recall doing a typing gesture during conversation to indicate emailing, but now you've planted the seed so we'll see. Damn you!

Of course there's also the peace sign, rock on, evil eye, Vulcan live long and prosper greeting, and at least 10 ways to convey f**k off though some are culture specific.


Typing sign...Hmm *does typing sign* - Nope, doesn't feel right. The only sign I'm thinking of now is the one where you point your finger at the side of your head and go in a cirlce around your ear! :)


This is where a question of ethnicity comes in... Being half Puerto Rican, I talk with my hands. I have a gesture for everything.

That's why Puerto Rican's make terrible plane hijackers. They'd have to put down the gun to talk.

Plus there's no way we get up at 8 a.m. to catch a flight.

Okay, I'll stop now.

The Daily Ranter

I use the "typing" gesture all the time! More often to demostrate instant messaging than emailing. I also do the phone hand signal. The worst part of it is, I even do it when I'm talking on the phone and the other person can't even see me.

Other gestures I use are the "thumb and forefinger in the shape of a gun" when I'm saying something like "They're so dumb, they should just shoot themselves in the head."

I also use the "jerking the steering wheel to the left or right" to demostrate how I quickly swerved to avoid a near fatal accident.

I don't think I can talk with out hand gestures. I'm 100% Italian. It's second nature. If I had to sit on my hands while I was talking, I don't think I'd be able to get the point across as effectively.

Thank God I don't have any deaf friends. They probably wouldn't want to talk to me!


When I was on a semester study abroad program in the Soviet Union, our language classes were held in a grade school. The kidlets were studying English, so we used to speak to them in Russian and they spoke to us in (much better) English. CUTE kids!

As a gift to them at the end of our semester, we put on a show for the whole school, teaching them American folk songs and games. My work group decided to teach them "Little Bunny Foo Foo" including the "scoopin' up the field mice and boppin' them on the head" hand gestures. Little did we know that, in Russian culture, the "boppin' them on the head" gesture indicates, ummm... penetrative sexual contact. Oops.

So, just imagine the horror on the faces of all the teachers - and the squealing laughter of all the kids - as we gestured that Little Bunny Foo Foo scooped up all the field mice and f'd the living daylights out of them.

We did not live that down. It was fortunate that we were leaving in a couple of days. However, when I lived in Moscow, I flew back down to this city to visit, and the students - now in high school - gleefully remembered The Day the Bunny F'd the Field Mice.

Also, the finger crossing that we use to indicate "good luck" for Russians is an old school way to say F-U. (You can even see Yul Brynner express that gesture in the movie "Anastasia.")


Also a hand-talker, I am guilty of using many wild flourishes and gestures to get my point across. Usually in a degree proportionate to how much I've had to drink.

If I'm four or five glasses of wine into the evening, someone is liable to lose an eye.

P.S. Only really cool people do the typing on the internet hand gesture, by the way. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.


How about the guy who points to his wrist to ask "if you have the time?"

The "hang loose" pinkie and index finger up and the middle two fingers folded down is a symbol in Italy of the 'cormuto' which means that "Your spouse is being unfaithful."

Extending one hand, palm forward means "stop!" in the United States. But In Greece, it is the moutza, or hand push which is a common sign of confrontation. The gesture is five times more insulting than the upraised middle finger.

BTW, If I was handcuffed I couldn't carry on a conversation. ;-)


There's also thumbs up, a-OK with the forefinger-thumb circle (not nice in some cultures), finger across the neck for a good ol' throat slit. A fist for fight the power or stop when used to direct someone's maneuvering in a car.

Special Sauce

They always said that the only way to get me to shut up is to tie my hands behind my back.

(Minds out of the gutter, people)

I can't say it's specific gesticulating, usually just emphasis. Though, I have been known to do the "tap the bridge of your nose/point simultaneously" thing for "you got it" to the point of driving people crazy. Heh


I talk with my hands . . . a lot (part Italian), but I don't think I use any specific gestures. It's more like wild flailing than anything else. People have been wounded.

ms. sizzle

I am not Italian or Puerto Rican so I don't know why I gesticulate so much when I talk. I am a visual peson and believe my stories are at least 20% better with the hand gestures. They help give the full effect.

The one hand gesture I do is the one where I take my pointer and middle finger and point them at my eyes and then turn my hand and point those same fingers at the person I am talking to. I do this to say: Do we see eye to eye? It also kind of scares them, like when you are across the room and you do it. It's sort of becomes a "I'm watching you" kind of thing.

I am also partial to gesturing the letter "L" on my forehead when someone is being a dumbass.

I don't do the typing gesticulation to indicate emailing though I do use the hand gesture for phone conversations. Further indication that I am a complete dorkus.

Jennifer Lankenau

I suppose I don't email enough people.

I do an imaginary jumpshot when something good happens.

(My husband and I do the ctrl+alt+del gesture at each other when we want to be left alone. We're sooooo sad...)

always write

I use the finger-wiggle with some humming to mime piano music: "You know, that piece I used to play. The one that goes 'hm hmmmmm hm hm hmmmmm hmmmmm...' (wiggling the fingers on my right hand) 'bom bom bommmmm' (banging the air with my fingers splayed on the left)."

A lot of graphic designers do the lefthand thumb-forefinger shuffle, which is how we undo a mistake on a Mac (Command-Z! Command-Z!). If someone says something stupid in a meeting, you'll see left hands twitching all along the conference table trying to take it back. It doesn't work in real life.

And also, being Jewish, I use the hands-outstretched-toward-the-sky gesture ("Why, God, why is it so hard to find a decent bagel in this town?") and the dismissive one-handed downward wave ("You're out of poppyseed? Meh, forget it. I'd rather eat Lender's than that blueberry dreck.")


I gesture with my feet! Seriously! Picture it, I'm reclined back with my hands behind my head and my feet are doing all the talking! I never realized I did this until someone brought it to my attention quite recently.


Oh, by the way, I interpret ASL sometimes and one time I was trying to say "associate" when my friend told me later I was actually saying "circumcise".

We must circumcise our friends?! Wow, I'm sure I had those deaf guys worried for a minute there!


Oh! I forgot one my dad does.

Index finger pointed to the eye, and a dramatic expression of wariness on his face. Sometimes accompanied by the phrase, "Ojo" (Eye). In Argentina at least, this is a gesture that means Look out, or Keep a sharp eye.

Usually used when I'm talking about the wonderful new boy I met.


Speaking from an ex-military standpoint...I was an avionics tech, but I heard many times (although I didn't witness it personally), that whenever two fighter pilots were talking, they used hand gestures to indicate what their planes were doing in whatever flying incident they were talking about. I've worked in commercial aviation for several years now, in the operations side (although I'm not a pilot) and I've never seen airline pilots talk this way...but then, "it's a totally different kind of flying, altogether." (Catch the movie reference there?)


Wow. Nothing interesting going on in your life, huh? I am glad you posted something else, though. I was tired of looking at Jenny McCarthy's ass.


Okay, I have to add my "gesture". Don't lie, you do it too. When you are the passenger in a car, and the driver needs to break, you immediately press down your right foot. Admit it. You know you do. Okay, not really a gesture. More of a quirk.


I'm a chronic email gesticulator, I do the phone thing as well also a twirling of the first finger for "we're so screwed", which is worrying, but it comes up at work at lot.

He's Dead, Jim!

The typing thing is not in my repertoire, though the piano keys gesture is.

I used to be one of those fierce gesticulators, a veritable hand hurricane, until my five year stint in Minnesota.

I found that my hand gestures would frighten or confuse many of my patients, who, but for eye blinking, might easily be mistaken for dead. Thus, I've taken a page out of orchestral conductor school and now contain my gestures and use the "double pinched index to thumb" gesture as my main hand movement.

My Italian relatives think I have Parkinson's disease, but otherwise this tactic is working just fine.


The gesture I have noticed is that made when someone asks you if you have a bottle of something. They will say "Do you have any ketchup?" and then make a loose fist, thumb-down, and shake it as though they are shaking something out of a bottle. Annoying as shit, by the way.




I talk with my hands and just like Helena, the more I have had to drink the more I use them! I could not carry on a coversation handcuffed that is for sure :-)

I really like the one where you point two fingers at your eyes and turn your hand around and point one finger at whoever you are talking to - ala, DeNiro "I'm watching you, Focker"
I use that one on my kids all the time!


i'm thinking of a gesture...can you guess what it is?

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