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    #1

    problem with sentence understanding

    Hello. :)
    I have searched the Web, but I couldn't guess the meaning.

    "The men wore white tuxedos and the girls wore bright eyes, ruby lips, and tennis or golf muscles."

    How one could possibly wear his muscles? And what's more, golf and tennis muscles ? I am confused.

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    #2

    Re: problem with sentence understanding

    Sounds like the girls were naked to me.

  1. José Manuel Rosón Bravo's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: problem with sentence understanding

    [Not a teacher]

    It is just a trope to express that the girls were naked.
    José Manuel Rosón Bravo

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    #4

    Re: problem with sentence understanding

    Not A Teacher

    'Golf and tennis muscles' implies the girls in question were fit and toned as opposed to rubensesque. plump and fleshy looking girls

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    #5

    Re: problem with sentence understanding

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrfatso View Post
    Not A Teacher

    'Golf and tennis muscles' implies the girls in question were fit and toned as opposed to rubensesque. plump and fleshy looking girls
    But not overly muscular, like they were lifting weights or something like that. They had muscular tone, but in a feminine way, from light exercise.

  2. José Manuel Rosón Bravo's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: problem with sentence understanding

    [Not a teacher]

    Are you joking? What about the "wore bright eyes, ruby lips"?
    José Manuel Rosón Bravo

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    #7

    Re: problem with sentence understanding

    Quote Originally Posted by José Manuel Rosón Bravo View Post
    [Not a teacher]

    Are you joking? What about the "wore bright eyes, ruby lips"?
    Is who joking? What about the eyes and lips?

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    #8

    Re: problem with sentence understanding

    What is the source of your quotation, wiokiczyj, and who wrote it?

  3. José Manuel Rosón Bravo's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: problem with sentence understanding

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Is who joking? What about the eyes and lips?
    Sorry If I have offended any of you. I thought you were joking or sarcastic about the comment on the muscles.

    The issue is that there is a considerable difference between this sentence with or without a context (as in many other cases, I guess).

    As SoothingDave said, it sounds like those girls were naked, and that is what I understood. The men wearing tuxedos and the girls wearing parts of their bodies, as a way to suggest that they are naked.

    The sentence is taken from the novel "Playback" by Raymond Chandler (chapter 8), which offers a context that allow other interpretation.
    José Manuel Rosón Bravo

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    #10

    Re: problem with sentence understanding

    No. They are not naked. Chandler is being figurative and funny.

    Bright eyes and ruby lips are his way of saying the women are attractive. In his comment about their muscles, he's saying that they are in good condition from outdoor sports.

    But - notice WHICH outdoor sports! He is saying that they belong to the idle leisure class. When he wrote the book, only rich women played tennis and golf.

    The book is written in the voice of Marlowe. He is not rich, and he has a wry sense of humor, a sardonic wit. Marlowe is never impressed by the rich (except the woman he marries in a later book).

    Many of Chandler's characters are Marlowe's social superiors. By making fun of them, Chandler elevates Marlowe and knocks down the wealthy in the eyes of the reader.

    It can be hard to recognize humor in a foreign language. Chandler has remained popular for many years because he combined humor with suspense and made a poor working man, Marlowe, into a hero. His readers identify with Marlowe: we might not be rich, but we're smart and know how to get things done.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 22-Apr-2015 at 22:50.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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