A young cousin of mine was fairly sheltered as a small child. His parents didn't let him watch violent movies or play with gunlike toys, and aggressive behavior wasn't tolerated. To work around this, when he became very upset, he'd mimic a gesture he'd learned from Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story wherein he'd bend his wrist downward, point his forearm at whoever or whatever had offended him, and firmly press his opposite index finger to a patch of flesh about 6 inches past his hand, as though he were shooting a wrist laser. Once his mother realized what the gesture meant, she told him that trying to shoot people to death with imaginary lasers was not a nice thing to do. It was his little toddler Fuck You.
Impotent rage is the universal language. In your travels around the globe, it's important to be able to express that rage and other impolite impulses in the proper manner. Thankfully, new book Rude Hand Gestures of the World is here to be your Rosetta Stone of all things rude, from "Let's fuck" to "Piss off," lest you end up Buzz Lightyearing your way into strange looks from the locals.
The Atlantic has put together a nice slideshow of some of the highlights of the volume, including how to declare something to be bullshit in Brazil, how to indicate that you desire a dalliance in Jordan, and "you're wife's a strumpet!" in Spain.
Buy it for yourself, buy it for your frenemies. I still am not convinced that anything the rest of the world has to offer could possibly compare to the "jerk off" motion that Kenny Powers made so beautiful in Eastbound and Down.
The World's Rudest Hand Gestures [The Atlantic]