Thursday, 7 April 2011

The awkward turtle

Borrowed from
Some time ago I learnt about the awkward turtle. It’s a hand sign made during an embarrassed silence.

I found it useful in the pub one night: five of us stood in a circle by the bar, sipping beer and generally talking rot. Our ranks were breached by Natalie, a chatty, attractive brunette known for her penchant for gargantuan circular steel earrings.

“Hide me,” she said, clutching the front of my shirt, adding, “Sorry,” when my less-than-manly eek made her realise she’d grabbed a handful of chest hair.

Pausing for no more than a second - it was obvious whoever she was dodging was hot on her heels - she broke from our circle, disappearing among the twinset and pearl brigade.

Colin, a carrot-topped kitchen supplies salesman from Stockton, eased in and expanded our circle.

“I reckon I’m in with that Natalie,” he said, taking a swig from his white wine spritzer.

The rest of our group, acting as one, took a sip of beer then studied the fading paisley carpet.

I placed my glass on the bar then made the sign of the awkward turtle.

“Oh shit,” said Colin. “Really?”

“Afraid so,” I said, placing a sympathetic hand on Colin’s shoulder.

So there you have it. The awkward turtle, a great communications tool. Also, according to the Internet - so it must be true - the awkward turtle is the American sign language gesture for platypus.

Can you think of any other useful hand signals? Except that one .. and that one .. and definitely not that one.

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