A Conversation for Thumb Twiddling
more normal behaviour
nihili Started conversation May 7, 2004
I have not been a frequenter of this website, and it is perhaps late for me to comment, but I feel I must express my surprise at the content of this article. I fail to comprehend why only the onanistic variety of thumb twiddling is mentioned. I hope I do not come across as unduly puritanical, certainly I would not wish to intrude on anyone's private behaviour; nevertheless, I suspect that the balance here requires to be redressed with a thorough examination of what I consider is, after all, the "normal" form of thumb twiddling - that with a partner.
It is not needful for me to to go on at great length, as any of the specific practices examined in the article and previous comments may be more fruitfully engaged in by two persons; however it is worth noting that companionable twiddling adds the dimension of conjugations of right hands, left hands, three or even four hands - and that is not including the more exotic possibilities of group twiddles. (My own experience here is strictly limited, but perhaps some adventurous researchers might tell us if their more orgiastic experiments have produced original results...?)
On the advantage of companionable twiddling, I might note that unlike certain other practices we were warned against as children, it is not necessary in the normal course of events to use prophylactics, or to enter into any solemn declarations or legal entanglements. Thumb twiddling, properly practised, is an honourable activity which may be undertaken between friends without commitment, and may even serve as an introduction between strangers in some cultures. Although in our grandparents' generation public twiddling, as much else, was frowned upon, I am happy to report that in our experience, it has been regarded with tolerant smiles rather than disapprobation, where it has been noticed at all. And this is more than can be said for the solitary pursuit, which in my personal view may best be described as a waste of time better spent in productive socialisation.
It may not be precisely relevant to this topic, but there might also be room for a brief study of the companionable twiddling of toes, though as we have found, this may not be regarded as suitable behaviour in a public place. Not, at any rate, in Scotland in 2002 ... but I digress. The solitary twiddling of toes (thankfully) is not something the human species is well adapted for, but may serve as a topic for agile researchers.
I should add a final note of caution, that companionable twiddling has been occasionally confused with the deviant practices of Masonic "handshaking". It is difficult to draw a precise boundary, but as a guide for the concerned I would suggest that this "handshaking" is a quick and furtive activity, while a genuine twiddle is sincere, lengthy, and above all, is in the modern world practiced openly and without shame.
I hope that this goes some way towards restoring the perspective of this article.
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