Rude fingers

A dear friend visited our home a few years ago.  This friend was inordinately fond of our then three year old daughter Petunia (not her real name), whom he had always found charming and engaging.

Upon entering our lounge our friend encountered Petunia who looked at him, smiled, raised the middle finger of her left hand in what is undoubtedly an internationally recognised gesture, and waved it at him. She kept the finger raised  and danced her hand around a little in the air.

Our friend was shocked, really shocked.

Luckily the situation was saved seconds later when our five year old advised him that Petunia was showing him her “invisible finger puppet”.  And she was.  Earlier in the day she had been in possession of a lovely horse finger puppet and though she had now lost the actual prop, she wanted to share with our friend her now invisible finger puppet.

Much hilarity ensued, but my eight year old was confused.  When everyone had left the room she came and demanded to know what all the fuss was about.

“Well Petunia showed him the rude finger” I said.

“The rude finger?!” she repeated.

“Yes the rude finger” I replied.

“Hoooooooow can there be a RUDEEEE finger?” she bellowed.  “HOW ridiculous, how can a finger be rude?!” “It’s just a finger!”

Which made me think.  Because she was right.  It really is quite ridiculous. But the fact of the matter is that raising your middle finger at someone is now one of the most offensive things you can do now that a host of swear words have become part of many people’s daily vocabulary.

There is no moral to this story, the only take away being that if someone under the age of five flips you the bird, don’t panic, for it is possible that they too are sharing with you their invisible finger puppet.

2 thoughts on “Rude fingers

  1. My lady-friend is reading a book called ‘Cunt’ which talks about how the word ‘cunt’ was originally intended as a sort-of honorific to women, and not as a derogatory term as it is used now. I wonder if your daughter would say the same of that word as she does of the ‘rude finger’, i.e. it’s just a word – how can it be offensive?

    Gotta love kids for pointing out reality sometimes.

    • I do think that delivery is the key – it’s usually the way you say it that makes it offensive, rather than the actual words used.. thanks for popping over and commenting Mat!

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