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The Awkward Turtle is a hand gesture with a fair amount of social utility. It is used when someone has said something or done something in a conversation that is inappropriate or gauche. This is followed by an uncomfortable, awkward silence. In order to break said silence, a person need only:

  1. Place one hand over the other.
  2. Make certain that all fingers are together and pointing away from the chest.
  3. Stick the thumbs of each hand out.
  4. Make a circle with each thumb at the same time, in the same direction.
  5. Optional: Say "Awkward tur-tle" in a high-pitched voice.

This pantomimes a sea turtle swimming through the water, and will most likely cause everyone to laugh. The effects of this are two-fold: the person who made the gaffe saves face and everyone else is freed from the discomfort of an awkward silence.

"And then I realized the woman in the dream I was having sex with was my Aunt Gladys."
"Awkward Turtle!"

Related Gestures

TMI (for too much information) turkey is a gesture used when someone has shared too much of their personal life or has told a story that was more explicit that you would have liked. To make a TMI turkey:

  1. Give a thumbs up with your right hand.
  2. Place the back of your right hand against the palm of your left hand, thumb pointing out.
  3. Slightly curl the fingers of your left hand.
  4. You now have a TMI turkey.

Melancholy Moose is a gesture that attempts to cheer up a sad friend. You:

  1. Tilt your head to the side.
  2. Fan out your fingers.
  3. Put the thumb of each hand to the corresponding temple.
  4. Close each hand.
  5. Optional: Say "Melancholy Moose" in a sad voice and pout.

For visual aides, youtube is lousy with people eager to tell you the "right" way to awkward turtle.

There's also - I feel it must be said - a superlative version of this gesture: the Very Awkward Turtle. It is identical to the normal version, except the hands are placed palm-to-palm and the thumbs lie together. The movement of the thumbs is thus limited to a feeble single-flippered twitch that is, indeed, very awkward.

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