Out of the corner of my eye I think I see the flash of my wife’s middle finger, the bird. My back isn’t turned, we are in the car setting side by side. I am concentrating on the road ahead but I ask her if she just gave me the finger.
Without hesitation she says, “yes”.
“Do you give me the finger behind my back often?”
“NO!, it wasn’t behind your back! If I want to throw you the bird, I’ll do it face to face! I would not do that behind your back!”.
I’m not one to argue. I can tell when a conversation will be going nowhere. But we did come to terms. It was decided that on the occasion that a finger is going to be thrown then the questions “Are you looking at me!? Are you looking at me!?” must be asked first.
Nothing can be said, thrown or gestured until full attention is drawn from the receiver. That way it will be honorable and up front. Not sneaky and behind each other’s backs. You call that an open relationship. We’ve been married a long time and deals like this have been made often to make things work.
Don’t get me wrong. We have very seldom used the F you or flipped bird in a detrimental way. We nearly always say or do it with tongue in cheek. A finger flipped my way during a card game confirms that I have the better hand. Or if given after a request for a cup of coffee or to bring a sandwich pretty much conveys that I will probably be getting it myself. The flipped bird has never, as I remember, initiated anything more than a silly frown or an ornery smile. Not so with the F— You.
The F— You from your mate can mean one of two things. And you must learn to react correctly to each.
The first kind of F— You can mean, conversation is over. I hold you and what you say in total disregard. There will be no facial expression. You must learn to recognize this one. It is best to be very quiet, do not make a smart-ass remark and very slowly back away.
With the second kind of F— You, you will notice a bright gleam in the eye and a slight grin. This confirmed, it is safe to say “F— you, too!” right back at her. But really smile when you say it, I mean really smile! She’ll probably return a laugh. Oh God, you better hope she returns a laugh!