Episode #5 of the course English idioms (B2) by Kasia Sielicka, PhD
“So what? You need a partner for your brother’s wedding. You’ll take your boyfriend,” said Alice happily.
“Well, my dear best friend, I don’t have one,” replied Susan snappishly.
“Oh,” replied Alice, a bit shocked. “What happened to Alfred?”
“Well, he turned out to be a confirmed bachelor,” replied Susan sadly. “He never really wanted a girlfriend and definitely never wanted to marry! He and I were never really a thing.”
“Okay…And Albert?” Alice asked.
“That wallflower?” answered Susan, laughing unkindly. “Any party we went to, he just wanted to sit hidden in the corner. And you know how I love dancing!”
Alice kept thinking. “There was George…”
“That wet blanket?! He was so negative, always complaining! We broke up after a week.”
“Well, then,” said Alice, refusing to give up. “We have to find you a new boyfriend. You know Derek, right? He is the life and soul of the party—you could dance with him nonstop!”
“True enough,” admitted Susan. “But he really is a pain in the neck. He’s always showing off and saying how wonderful he is. No…”
“You’re right, he is a show-off. Maybe Allan, then?” suggested Alice. “He really is the salt of the earth. Remember how he brought you chicken soup when you were ill? And he fixed my computer.”
“He is a good guy,” admitted Susan. “But such a loose cannon too. Remember how he left the party because there was meat, and he’s vegetarian? Or how he left his friends in the middle of nowhere to drive a stray cat to the shelter?”
“Oh yeah, that,” admitted Alice. “And remember how he went mad because he got mud on his shoes? Such an old woman!”
“There just isn’t anyone, is there?” cried Susan desperately. “Maybe I should stop looking for a nice guy and relax instead? When I fix my health and get a rest, it will only do me good. And who knows, maybe I’ll get promoted, earn tons of money, and become a fat cat? Might be nice for a change…”
“Well, it’s not such a stupid thought,” admitted Alice, struck by the brilliance of the idea. “And I may have a plan…”
A confirmed bachelor is a man who never wants to get married.
A wallflower is a person at a party who doesn’t talk or dance with anyone, usually because they are shy.
A wet blanket is a negative person who is always complaining.
The life and soul of the party is someone who is very lively at social events.
A pain in the neck is someone who’s really annoying.
A show-off is a person who wants to attract people’s attention and make people admire them.
The salt of the earth is a person who is respected because they are good and honest.
A loose cannon is a member of a group who tends to do unexpected things, which causes problems for others.
An old woman is a person (even a man!) who worries about details that are not important.
A fat cat is a rich, powerful, self-satisfied person who abuses their money and power.
What is Alice’s plan for Susan? Find out tomorrow!
Is That Fish in Your Ear? by David Bellos
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