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12 Rude Hand Gestures to Avoid in Other Countries

If you’re planning an international trip this summer, be careful how you use your hands.  Gestures that are completely innocent here can get you in big trouble in other places.  Here’s a good list of 12 gestures to avoid.

1.  The peace sign.  You probably know this, but if you give a peace sign with the back of your hand facing out, it means “eff you” in the UK and other places.  George Bush Sr. got in trouble for doing it in Australia back in 1992.

2.  The thumbs-up.  Kind of surprising, because here we use it to be friendly.  In a lot of other places, they take it as a big insult . . . as in, “You can sit on this.”

3.  The A-OK.  In some places it’s used to call someone a homosexual . . . and obviously a lot of people still see that as an insult.  It can also mean “A-hole,” or sometimes it’s just another way to say “Eff you.”

4.  Curling your finger to say ‘come here.’  If you’re in the Philippines and you beckon someone by curling your index finger toward yourself, they’ll arrest you.  For them it’s a gesture that’s only meant for dogs.

5.  The left-handed shake.  Here, you might sometimes shake with our left hand if you’re carrying something in your right, and it’s no big deal.  In other places it’s really rude, because that’s the hand that everyone uses for their personal business.

6.  The devil horns.  We use it to rock out over here.  In Brazil and other places, it means “I’m doing your wife.”

7.  Spreading your fingers.  If you’re in Greece and you spread out your five fingers to show someone your palm, you’re telling them to use their mouth on you.

8.  Crossing your fingers.  What we do here to wish for good luck is a big insult in Vietnam.  Just like the fig sign, they think it looks like female genitalia.

9.  Baring the soles of your feet.  Some cultures think it’s rude to show the soles of your feet, because they’re lowly and dirty.

10.  The middle finger.  This one actually means the same thing just about everywhere.

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