Saturday, June 9, 2012 9:10:40 AM
If people are offended by a smile, the hell with 'em.
BTW, according to Desmond Morris in his book `Gestures` the thumb-bite gesture (as in R&J) has been argued to have originated in the 12th century when the citizens of Milan rebelled and expelled the wife of Barbarossa by tieing her to a mule facing backwards. The Emperor captured the city and brough the mule along.
The principle citizens were brought before him with nooses round their necks and a fig was inserted in the mules arse. If they wanted to live they had to pluck it out with their teeth. Those who did were known as `fig-pluckers` and permanently dishonoured.
Morris considers this unproven but possible. The `fig` gesture was already long established as a general `up yours` but after the 12th century became a more specific gesture indicating cowardice and dishonour.