I have three distinct ways to flip someone off perfected through years of practice that began one afternoon in the summer before I turned 5.
“The Finger” is my most commonly used method. My middle finger extends, my thumb settles atop my index finger while my pinky and ring fingers bend out of the way. The full measure of my intent is conveyed with my mouth, from a smile for a joke to a sneer for disdain.
“The Upswing” is my most nonchalant method and begins with sweeping hand flourish bringing the middle finger upward and barely extended. It is often pared with an eye roll to emphasize I care so little this is all the effort you deserve.
The final method, “The Eagle,” is by far my favorite and takes a bit more dexterity so I prefer to flip it after my fingers have been warmed up and stretched. Here, my middle finger is completely erect while my other fingers are bent at the knuckle and my thumb is extended. This can be achieved in one smooth motion of straightening the middle finger while simultaneously sliding the other to a bent position and can be combined with “The Upswing” flourish as desired.
I call this “The Eagle” because it is not just flipping any ole bird, but a beautiful majestic bird of prey soaring above all others. I remember the first time I saw my dad perform this variation of a familiar gesture and thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I was mesmerized as to how his fingers could move in such a precise and effortless way and I knew I was meant to master this movement.