Giving the finger, shooting the bird, flipping someone off, the one finger salute. No matter what you call it, I still hate it. I think there’s nothing more vulgar than the sight of a middle finger protruding forward, throbbing with the anger extended by its owner in a barbaric stance of independence. Yet, no matter how much I hate it, I cannot help myself from doing it whenever I get beeped at.
Today, for instance, there I was, just walking down the road with my shopping when a car full of men darted past alerting me to their presence with a sharp beep and a multi-leer from the windows below. Before I even had a chance to contemplate what had just happened, my subconscious mind had already lifted my arm into the air, pinging forward my middle finger. How on earth did it get there? And now it was up, what do I do??! Fuck it, it’s up there now- aha! How liberating! What’s that? There’s children crossing the street?! Well fuck them too, I’m having a silent protest here! What?! Oh there actually are children crossing the street, I thought you were just teasing. Yes, okay, fine! I’ll put it away. I’m not a complete animal.
My female friend and I were openly chatting about these gangs of hoodlum hooters recently when a guy piped up and said ‘but isn’t it a compliment?’
*OUR EYES SLIDE DAGGERS INTO HIS EVERY ORIFICE*
This is the first problem. Complaining about these honk happy drivers is often interpreted as ‘god, I cannot believe all these men think I’m hot… It’s like SO EMBARASSING’ when in actual fact most of the times I’ve been hooted at, the carload are approaching from behind and haven’t even had the chance to look at my face or even calculate how old I might be.
Oh, but you’re always wearing a skirt, right? Not right. I once got hooted at whilst wearing a bumbag. A BUMBAG, FOR GODS SAKE.
Oh but you’re just so bootilicious they can’t help it, right? Not that it would be an excuse, but my Mum once said that I inherited my body shape from my Granddad so that can’t be it…
Oh but they’re just having a laugh, right? Yes. Nothing says ‘LMAO’ like a bunch of Neanderthals giving you the old rape eyes from their clapped out nova.
Whilst hooting has since graduated from the white van driver, it’s currently enjoying the lower rungs of its clamourous career amidst the backseats of souped up chav wagons and hunks of rust that once dreamt of owning its very own vented bonnet. If you’re lucky, like me, you may even get beeped at by a Ford Galaxy. This, of course, sent me into a sweaty disarray – I couldn’t help but run after the car shouting ‘Father of 3+ children, come back and get me, you sexy little minx!’
It’s easy to label all of the above as undesirables. I could even go as far to say that not once have I peered into the offending car and thought ‘THE LOVE CHILD OF GEORGE CLOONEY AND HELEN OF TROY HAS JUST DELIGHTED ME WITH THE RINGING OF HIS AUTOMOBILE’S VOCAL CHORDS! I MUST GO WITHIN!’ But then again, this isn’t about beauty. The more logical argument is that decent fellas don’t partake in this activity meaning that even Jamie Dornan in a pair of Calvin Kleins, reclining out the side of his Porsche Boxster after a hearty hooting session would bring crinkles to my brow.
Our male friend, now feeling a little hot under the collar and wishing he’d never chimed in at all, put in a last ditch attempt – ‘but surely it can’t happen that often?’
Perhaps I live on a pervy road (and if that’s the case, I should probably think about moving) but in a ten-minute walk to and from the tram 5 times a week, I probably get honked at 2-3 times. No, it’s not terrible. No, I don’t go home and weep into my sofa, kicking me feet in the air whelping ‘whyyy meeeee sweet Jesus, why meeeee?!”. But at the same time, why me? Why anyone? What do you suppose to get from this?
I’m not an unfriendly person – most people who know me will vouch that I love a good talk with a stranger (sorry Mum) and I’m a big fan of people helping people. There was a time when I used to think being hooted at was funny but as is often the case with amusing items that are on a high repetition cycle (please see: The Simpsons), they get boring and stale and then just become goddamn annoying.
I’m not writing this as a tirade against men as this isn’t about most men. I’m not even writing this thinking that it will make those guilty think twice. If anything, I’m merely writing this as an appeal to the greater perfectly polite public. A plea that please, if you ever, ever see a woman walking down the road, violently waving a valiant middle finger in the air, then don’t frown in judgement or dive to cover your children’s eyes. Instead, why not flip a bird at the offending car in front too?
Middle Finger Salute Stitch has been cropped.