Yesterday when I woke up, I looked in a mirror. I looked very neat and organized. Not a hair was out of place. But today when I woke up, I knew I was going to have a bad hair day. My hair was standing up in all the wrong places. I thought I would be unhappy all day and things would not go well. I work at home so I just hoped that my computer would work right and not have a bad hair day also.
I was very tired because I did not sleep well last night. I made the mistake of watching a horror movie on television. The movie really made my hair stand on end. It was about a house possessed by evil spirits. The thought of having to live alone in a house like that was so frightening it was enough to curl your hair. I will say it another way: watching that movie was a hair-raising experience.
I prepared a meal for my children but they were behaving badly. I turned on the television so they would be quiet. I did not want them to be difficult or to get in my hair while I was working on the computer.
My children were making so much noise that I could not work. I was getting angry. In fact, I was ready to pull my hair out. I told them to please be quiet or I would punish them. But they knew I would not harm a hair on their heads.
I decided to make myself some strong coffee so I could work better. But my drink was so strong that it could put hair on your chest.
Finally, I got back to work. I was writing a proposal for a project. I knew that I was very close to finishing the proposal. Success was very close—within a hair’s breadth. My supervisor called me to discuss the project. She wanted to argue about very small differences and unimportant details. But I told her not to split hairs.
Later, I got a telephone call from a friend whom I had not seen in a long time. In fact, I had not seen hide nor hair of him in months. So I was glad to know that he was all right.
I worked all day and finished my project. So I decided to celebrate, have some fun and let my hair down. I played some old recordings, and my children and I danced around the room. The recordings are from my favorite musical, a show called “Hair”. It takes place during the 1960s when many young people wore their hair very long.
● “not a hair out of place”是个常用的短语,字面意思为每根头发都在原位,其实就是形象非常干净利索,一丝不乱的意思。
● 几乎大家都有过这样的体验,当你顶着一个糟糕无比的发型时,心情肯定也好不到哪里去。“have a bad hair day”就运用了这一心理层面的意思。如果某人“have a bad hair day”,并不是真的指他今天的发型有多糟糕,而是指他今天过得很不顺心。所以大家在回答的时候可要小心了,不要自作聪明地安慰别人说:“Well, I think it’s OK.”这可会闹出笑话的。
● 我们形容某种东西非常恐怖、可怕的时候,总是会说:“吓得我头发都竖起来了。”在英语中,就是“make one’s hair stand on end”。另外,“make one’s hair stand on end”=“make one’s hair curl”。因此,下文的“curl one’s hair”也同样表示某事或某物让人毛骨悚然的意思。这样的体验也叫“a hair-rising experience”。
● 想象一下有只虱子爬进你的头发该有多恼人,多难受,那么你也能大概知道“get in one’s hair”这个短语的意思了。它指某事或某物让人不胜其烦,激怒别人。例如:That kid practicing the drum next door every night is really getting in my hair.(隔壁那小孩每晚都在练习打鼓,这让我异常烦闷。)
● “pull one’s hair out”这个短语非常形象,表示生气得抓自己的头发;与之相近,但程度更深的短语是“tear one’s hair out”,这里“tear”是扯,拔的意思,所以,如果说“pull one’s hair out”表示普通的生气、发怒的话,那么“tear one’s hair out”便是气得冒烟了。
● “not harm a hair on one’s head”这个短语通常用于否定式,表示不伤人一根毫发。
● 外国男人都喜欢胸毛,认为那是男性特征的一个表现,“hair on chest”就是胸毛的意思。在西方国家有个有趣的说法,如果你说什么饮料或食物会“put hair(s) on your chest”,那就表明这种食物或饮料非常刺激,能振奋你的精神和大脑。
● “a hair’s breadth”顾名思义,就是微乎其微的距离。
● 头发那么细,如果还想把头发拆分(split),那就未免有点吹毛求疵了。“split hairs”就是指人们把精力集中在微小又不重要的细节上,在鸡蛋里挑骨头。
● “(neither) hide nor hair”是个比较口语化的说法,更加通常的说法是“haven’t seen hide nor hair of somebody/something”,表示很久没见过某人/某物,某人/某物无影无踪。例如:I haven’t seen hide nor hair of her since last Sunday, and I’m beginning to get rather worried.(我自上周日后就再没见过她的影踪,我开始担心她了。)
● “let one’s hair down”有一段典故:过去,西方女子的发型多数为盘发,到了晚上,她们必须把很多发卡一个个从头发里拿出来,让头发自然地披在肩上。这个短语引申为“解除表面的装饰,使一切自然、放松和真实”的意思。不过,如今这个短语不单单用于女性,也同样用于男性,表示放松、坦率的意思。