In a hopeless situation;facing defeat;staring defeat.(1) I have read the following para in an article on "Excuses for Adultery": "let's say you started your marriage with hair, and you were a Good Person. And now you have very little hair. You are staring down the barrel of having to shave your remaining hair off and meet mortality full in the face. You are still good, you haven't got any worse. And yet your standing in the partnership has gone down since in all likelihood, your wife still has hair. Of course you must have an affair." What is the meaning of " staring down the barrel" . I've heard of "Over a barrel = helpless" and " to scrape the barrel = to use one's last resources" , but never come across " stare down the barrel. (2) What is the meaning of " six degrees separation". I'm familiar with this phrase but don't remember where read it.