THE MIDDLE FINGER FOR NON-AUDACIOUS
text + ink on paper
the whole text published in KAJET DIGITAL
It all began one Christmas Eve in Copenhagen, when Letiția came up with a brilliant idea to make henna tattoos using a set she bought in the corner shop, along some asian, rather suspiciously looking snacks we never really consumed. Instead, we cooked some polish delicacies, ate and drank accompanied by a non-stop stream of jokes to finally give up and move to the living room.
With our bellies full of dumplings, bigos, and wine, listening to a reggae song about a rowing fisherman we sat on a tiny green sofa and set up our tattoo studio. Frankie disappeared, ostensibly talking to his girlfriend on the phone, but I believe the real reason was to avoid the ink. After some innocent anchors, mermaids, names of lovers placed in hearts, and a classic #judging (a statement celebrating our gossipy nature) she asked me to draw her a six-fuck. It is a “fuck you” hand but with six fingers, I drew it once accidentally and I think it is a wonderful concept. - she said.
The concept is indeed splendid: it looks like a normal “fuck”, until you realize something disturbing and begin to count. The classic “finger”, according to a reliable source, is performed by showing the back of a hand that has only the middle finger extended upwards. But in the case of six fingers, which one is actually the middle one? It is impossible to really tell - that makes the gesture softened, milder. It seems like a perfect half measure for our times when signing an online petition with one click became a form of resistance. A six-fuck is a solution to all the problems caused by the innate propriety. This is the middle finger you always wanted to give to patriarchy, homophobia, or fossil fuels, but you never had guts, cause you are too polite and kind, and you believe that mutual respect is the key for a healthy and happy society. You admire Ai Weiwei showing his middle finger¹, maybe you are even jealous of his braveness - you would also like to try, but some part of you, a hidden prude sleeping inside suddenly awakens and he takes over. Your inner prude will not allow you.
It’s different with a six-fuck. You could even get it tattooed for real and still not lapse into self-judgement. What’s more, shall a potential mother-in-law inquiring about it, it would be easy to point out that it is actually not really an obscene drawing - it consists of six fingers, the actual middle finger cannot be established, it is a joke. Ah, indeed - she would say ,relieved that her boy is not dating some kind of a rebel. Meanwhile, work on your inner prude, exercise him, stretch him a bit, so he’s not so stiff - that way, you will be able to use your own hand, all five fingers performing an obscene gesture whenever your civic freedom is in danger.
¹ Study of Perspective series, 1995-2017
Text was written around a month ago after the Polish government started a serious discussion about tightening up the regulations on abortion ban and the leading party tried to push these laws further. Few days ago I’ve learned (from Rainbow Europe Index 2020) that Poland is the most homophobic country in European Union.