Being English I do love a good hand gesture.
Unfortunately most of them don’t translate over the pond. On a few occasions, I have given other drivers the fist shaking, circled thumb and forefinger sign (known as the ‘tosser’ or ‘wanker’ sign anywhere in Britain). This rarely gets a reaction from an American driver – they just think you are shaking your fist at them. I tried to elaborate by sticking my tongue in my cheek at the same time, but that just makes me look strange and feel a bit stupid, if truth be known.
I have now taken to using the middle finger or “flipping the bird” as it’s called. I have no idea why it’s called the bird – I have done extensive research (i.e. I Googled it) and couldn’t find any answers. It’s supposed to represent a phallus, so the bird doesn’t make sense to me. But that gesture is now my go-to hand signal while driving. Not that I’m driving and flipping people off all the time, but there are moments when you just need to express your opinion or distaste for others' driving habits.
People who know I’m English do still get the ‘V’ sign. It’s so much nicer than that solitary middle finger. And it has a great history. Also known as “the two fingered salute,” “The Longbowman Salute,” “The Agincourt Salute,” “the Rods” or a number of other names, it's believed to have originated during the Hundred Years War at the Battle of Agincourt when the longbowmen used the gesture towards the French, showing they still had their bow fingers and could still shoot arrows. It is said the French would cut those fingers off any captured Brits. This may not actually be true, but in good English tradition, it sounds brilliant so we’re keeping the story.
|Oops Mr. Churchill - wrong way round!|
It just feels so nice to shake the good old ‘V’ sign with both hands now and then that I just don’t want to give it up. So whether anyone understands it or not, I won’t stop!