When a character is describing someone really sexy (or just their preferred gender in general), sometimes words are not enough. In these cases, the character may choose to show how sexy this sexy person is, by using a gesture that "paints a picture" of the sexy person's physique.
Some of the most classic examples are:
- The "hourglass figure" gesture, used to describe a sexy woman. With both hands moving in parallel, a character traces a shape in the air that is wide at the top, narrow in the middle, and wide again at the bottom. In other words, an hourglass figure: wide at the bust, narrow at the waist, and wide again at the hips.
- The "large bosom" gesture (two cupped hands).
When used in a work, these kinds of gestures can call attention to the sexiness of the character being described, but they usually do more to emphasize the lustfulness of the character making the gesture, since characters commonly direct these gestures towards their Lust Objects. Think of it as the visual equivalent of the Wolf Whistle.
On the other hand, in scenarios where a character can't speak or doesn't speak the right language, gestures like these might be the only way the character can get the idea of "woman" (or "man") across to their audience. But even in these cases, a certain amount of lust may be implied.
There is a noticeable gender gap here; women are far more likely than men to be the "targets" of these kinds of gestures, while men are far more likely to be making the gestures.
- The famous "Hardware store" ad for Coca-Cola, where a guy tries to explain what he wants by tracing the outline of a bottle, and the store owner thinks the guy some improper intentions toward his daughter.
- In this advertisement for an ouzo brand called "Matarelli", the men try to order it by gesturing to describe the shape of the bottle... which leads to the middle-aged waitress become very flattered. The ad advises asking for the product by name.
- In the first arc of Dragon Ball Master Roshi does this when asking Goku about Bulma.
- In the original manga of Fullmetal Alchemist, this is how Barry the Chopper describes Lust - he says, "She looks like this," and traces the hourglass shape with his hands.
- Played for Laughs in Naruto when Jiraya sends Naurto to get him a woman, miming the general figure while saying he wants a "juicy one with curves". Naruto brings him back an oddly shaped watermelon.
- In a Discworld tale, the City Watch are interrogating an arrested mime artiste. To Sam Vimes' great irritation, the arrested person is miming his statement. Sam is further not amused when the mime artiste, who is trying to explain what he was doing in the vicinity of the City's two iconic hippopotami note , sketches what looks like the classic hourglass figure in the air - only with some very expressive and wide hand gestures in the vicinity of the hips. Fred Colon and Nobby Nobbs, who are conducting the interrogation, look at each other, and say "Lady Sybil!" At this point, Sam intervenes.
- In Disney's Hercules, Hades decides to throw "the right set of curves" (i.e. Megara) at our hero, emphasizing the point by making the gesture around Meg, tracing her figure.
- In Monsters vs. Aliens, General Monger unconsciously cups his hands while describing Ginormica as having "enormous strength and size."
- The Three Caballeros: Panchito makes the hourglass gesture during the titular song while describing a "Latin baby". As he makes the gesture, a silhouette of the woman appears in front of him. The silhouette then walks away from the three friends - hips swinging and beckoning them to follow - and they briefly fight over who gets to chase after her.
- The 400 Blows: Antoine's stepfather is discussing a secretary at his office got promoted through sleeping with the boss. He pronounces her "well-armed" then says "She has the talents for the position" while making the 'big breasts' gesture.
- A Day at the Races (1937): In this Marx Brothers movie, Stuffy (Harpo) does a pantomime to tell Tony (Chico) about The Vamp who plans to seduce and frame Dr. Hackenbush (Groucho). When Stuffy makes the hourglass gesture, Tony's first guess is, "A snake! A big, big snake!" After Stuffy's gestures and whistles get more and more exaggerated, "That's-a no snake." (The brothers used a similar gag in their later movie Go West.)
- Five Star Final: Taylor is appalled when the newspaper hires sexy Kitty Carmody as the new reporter.
"They fired Julia Murphy because she was flat-chested. Now they're gonna put this girl on because she's—" (makes "big breasts" gesture with hands)
- Grease: Used by Danny Zuko during the "Summer Nights" number. More specifically, as he sings the line "We made out under the dock", he makes the hourglass gesture and follows it with a Pelvic Thrust.
- In The Hunt for Red October, a Soviet sailor on the mess deck makes the hourglass gesture when Captain Ramius describes Cuba as having warm "comradeship".
- In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Swamp King does the "big breasts" gesture when describing to Prince Hubert how the princess he's going to marry has huuuuge... tracts of land.
- So This Is Harris!: The old golfer at the club gives an entendre-laden golf lesson to the hot ladies in which he emphasizes the importance of "form" while making the hourglass gesture.
- In one episode of Criminal Minds, Morgan and Spencer are analyzing the décor of the teenaged unsub's bedroom. When asked how he decorated his own room at that age, Morgan describes posters of Walter Payton and the "sexy ladies of Sports Illustrated", wrapping up the description by making the hourglass figure gesture with a nostalgic, wistful look on his face.
- Friends: In "The One Where Ross Dates A Student", as Ross describes his new girlfriend Elizabeth, Joey keeps cupping his hands over his chest to ask if she's stacked.
- Played with in a Harpo Marx TV appearance. When the host of the program asks why Harpo is late coming out, Harpo makes the hourglass gesture. The host gets it immediately and asks if Harpo has one for him too. Harpo nods, walks off-screen, and comes back with two bottles of Coke.
- Tricky Business: Phil meets some El Salvadoran gamblers while on the cruise ship. In the course of their conversation, one asks him if he was playing roulette at the table "with the lady" (i.e. Tina the ex-stripper) while making "the international hand gesture for large bosoms" to illustrate his point.
- A book about a sign language developed on an island with a significant number of deaf inhabitants lampshaded this: the local sign for "girl" or "woman" was hands cupped near the chest, with the hands held increasingly far from the chest and lower down to indicate the approximate age of the female referred to.
- Eric: When Eric describes the World's Most Beautiful Woman, he draws a figure in the air that is described as indicating a woman who would have trouble standing without tipping over.
- Dad: In the music video for "Diane", Dad is trying to not think about his feelings for his wife's friend, Diane. One lyric goes:
Cheryl is gentle, she is so special
(Dad cups his hands near his chest) But that Diane is on another level!
- In the Adventure Time episode "Play Date", Ice King and Abracadaniel are looking at the clouds and Ice King does the hourglass gesture when he sees a cloud that looks like Princess Bubblegum. Abracadaniel does the same gesture when he sees a cloud that looks like a cat head.
- Spongebob Squarepants: Parodied in one episode where Mr. Krabs traces the figure of Mrs. Puff in the air...but since she's a pufferfish, he traces a perfect circle. When SpongeBob gets tired of Krabs' contradictory messages over whether to spend money on her, he mocks this by wildly flailing his arms with the line still tracing their path.
- In Total Drama World Tour, during Blainley's song "Blaineriffic", Owen, who has a small crush on her, joins in and draws the shape of her body while singing:
Owen: Bl- Bl- Blainerrific! So so so terrific!