Awkward tortoise is a hand gesture one does in an uncomfortable social situation.
My informant was a 19 year old college student.
What’s Awkward Tortoise?
GB: Awkward tortoise is something you do with your hands when you’re in an awkward situation. You stack your two hands and wag your two thumbs in opposite directions. I think it’s because if a tortoise were to move its flippers that way, it wouldn’t go anywhere, just in circles, and I guess that’s awkward
The Awkward Tortoise hand gesture has also been referred to as “Awkward Turtle”, although the informant was not aware of that. There is also an alternative version in which both thumbs move in the same direction.