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Travel Etiquette I would have never known....

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Auntie Mame:
I lived in Eastern Europe for a while and (thankfully was warned about this) when you buy flowers for someone always make sure it's an odd number.  Even number flowers are only given at funerals.

Oh, and if you are introducing a friend of the opposite gender, make sure to refer to them a "colleague", the male and female derivatives of the word firend mean the same as boyfriend and girlfriend when the person is the opposite gender, the words mean friend when the person is of the same gender (yeah, I know, it confused me too).  Every male I knew suddenly became my "colleague" or people would have thought I was a strumpet with multiple boyfriends  ;D

Woo boy, the intricate rules on greeting people in the Hungarian language took me months to figure out. 

laceandbits:
From Cat-Fu
 "The V sign is basically flipping someone off in the UK"

Yes and no.  Done with some energy, and an upward thrust of the hand, yes.  Just holding up two fingers (any way around) to indicate you want two cakes at the bakers, no one is going to be offended.

BUT in France they will.  In France,  if you want one, you hold up your thumb, most important.  For two, thumb and index finger.  I know this from personal experience, and would not be surprised if it applied in other European countries.  The single finger 'salute' is a common insult there, and is spreading to the UK - particularly on our roads!

Vall:

--- Quote from: Auntie Mame on January 16, 2013, 03:23:00 PM ---I lived in Eastern Europe for a while and (thankfully was warned about this) when you buy flowers for someone always make sure it's an odd number.  Even number flowers are only given at funerals.

(snipped)

--- End quote ---

Would the florist or bouquet-seller count the flowers automatically when making the bouquet or would the customer be responsible for doing it?  Would two roses and three carnations be okay since the total number of flowers is uneven?

Carotte:

--- Quote from: laceandbits on February 03, 2014, 07:44:20 AM ---BUT in France they will.  In France,  if you want one, you hold up your thumb, most important.  For two, thumb and index finger.  I know this from personal experience, and would not be surprised if it applied in other European countries.  The single finger 'salute' is a common insult there, and is spreading to the UK - particularly on our roads!

--- End quote ---

Actually, I'd say that was an odd occurrence. No one in France is supposed to be offended if you signal "one" with your index (palm facing outward). That's also the sign for "wait a second please", for raising your hand in class "I have a question/I have the answer" and for asking someone to shush (placed in front of lips).
Palm facing you would be a little odd (and not natural gesture), it does resemble giving the finger/flipping the bird, but that's done with the major here too.
Plus if you're not doing it vehemently and out of nowhere there's no reason to confound the two (asking for one thing and flipping the person.)
Now, I can't speak for the entire country, there might be a few places down south where this mean something else, but that would be 5% of the country so...

Signaling one with the thumb would be seen as saying "ok". But if you are counting stuff yeah, you start with the thumb, then index, major...

I'm always startled when someone point at something with their major but even then it's not an insult, it's just the way they point...

Teenyweeny:
Yup, the V-sign made 'palm inwards' is rude in the UK. The rudeness is enhanced by the aggressiveness of the gesture, but you'd not find any British person making that sign to indicate two of something, at least not IME.

There's a nice story, although it's completely untrue, that says this originated with (what else?) English archers making rude gestures at the French. The English used the longbow, and if an English archer was captured by the French, they'd cut his first two fingers off. Showing the fingers was a sign that they were still able to fight.

Of course, there are several reasons why this story makes no sense, but it's a good story all the same.

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