Taylor Swift, Excellent at Popularizing Commonplace Hand Gestures

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 21: 4-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift took the unprecedented step of opening the last dress rehearsal for her Speak Now Tour for fans as a fundraiser to benefit victims of recent deadly tornadoes in the Southeast. The sold-out show raised over $750,000.00 and was held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on May 21, 2011. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images) Photo: Rick Diamond/2011 Getty Images

So, do you know what a hand-heart is? It's when you curl your index fingers, match your thumbs, and — voilà — your hands are making a heart! The New York Times "Styles" section goes deep on this gesture today, exploring its newfound popularity with celebrities — Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Victoria Justice, Blake Lively, Jordin Sparks, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler, Jennie Garth, Wynonna Judd, Channing Tatum, Usher, Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson — and advertisers, despite the fact that this is a thing D.J.'s have been doing since before many of those celebrities were born and is also a thing you can do with your hands and so has probably been happening for all-time. (Caveman puts down antelope leg, holds out one hand, index finger curled, thumb pointing down, grunts at cave lady. She puts down antelope ear, holds out her hand, index finger curled, thumb down, and, aw, it's a hand-heart over the antelope carcass! Whoops, no one noticed the antelope-eating lion who takes advantage of cave people making hand-hearts! The life-endangering hand-heart strikes again!) Taylor Swift sort of thinks she invented it. Of course she does.

Here's Swift on the hand-heart in the Times:

“At the end of my sophomore year, I left school and went out on a radio tour to play free show after free show,” Ms. Swift wrote. “I was an unknown act playing shows night after night, and I was constantly trying out all kinds of different moves to try and get a response from the audience.”

One day during a festival, she said, she was in the middle of a song and decided to put her hands above her head in the heart shape. The crowd started doing it back and cheering.

If only she had pointed her thumb in the air! She might have kicked off a global craze for the "thumbs-up."

When Two Thumbs Down Are a Sign of Approval [NYT]