Oil-baron's undershirt affects a cow's husband

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Grablevskij

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Dear friends,

could you have a look at this excerpt.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald THE SMILERS

We all have that exasperated moment!
There are times when you almost tell the harmless old lady next door what you really think of her face — that it ought to be on a night-nurse in a house for the blind; when you'd like to ask the man you've been waiting ten minutes for if he isn't all overheated from racing the postman down the block; when you nearly say to the waiter that if they deducted a cent from the bill for every degree the soup was below tepid the hotel would owe you half a dollar; when — and this is the infallible earmark of true exasperation — a smile affects you as an oil-baron's undershirt affects a cow's husband.
But the moment passes. Scars may remain on your dog or your collar or your telephone receiver, but your soul has slid gently back into its place between the lower edge of your heart and the upper edge of your stomach, and all is at peace.


Could you help me understand the meaning of this phrase.

Michael
 

riverkid

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Dear friends,

Could you help me understand the meaning of this phrase.

Michael

I'd say that it means that there is zero affect from a smile upon the 'you'; the affect is as much as a bull [cow's husband] is affected by the undershirt of an oil baron, or anyone's for that matter; the bull simply doesn't give two hoots/a rat's ass/diddly squat/squat about anyone's undershirt.

Then again, I could be right out to lunch.
 
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Grablevskij

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Joined
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Student or Learner
Native Language
Russian
Home Country
Russian Federation
Current Location
Russian Federation
Thank you.

Michael
 
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