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mileage in the nymphs-at-your-flies thing

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Oltda, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Oltda New Member

    Olomouc
    Czech
    Hi guys, I need your help. I am translating a short story by Ali Smith and I got stuck on this phrase: (Maybe there’s mileage in the nymphs-at-your-flies thing, I said.)
    Can somebody explain me what that phrase could possibly mean? There is a little bit of the context :

    And when I was speaking to my father at lunchtime he told me you can fish for trout with a nymph.

    ...<< -- excessive quotation deleted -- >>...


    I know, she said. What do you reckon to the anthology joke?

    << -- excessive quotation deleted -- >>


    Okay. I’ll try and think of something better.
    Maybe there’s mileage in the nymphs-at-your-flies thing, I said.



    Thanks for any answer :)

    <<More context available here:

    The First Person and Other Stories - Ali Smith - Google Books

    The First Person and Other Stories: Ali Smith: Amazon.com: Kindle Store>>
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  2. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    The clue is probably in "What do you reckon to the anthology joke?" Have you any idea what this joke in the anthology was?

    A possibility is that a real nymph would mistake a fishing fly for a real one and try to mate - though I doubt it as nymphs are sexually immature.
     
  3. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    They are talking about finding a good joke for the anthology. The current one isn't very good - it only rates six out of ten. They want a better one.

    "There is mileage in X" This means that X is a good idea and may be useful in the future especially with some development. http://www.wordreference.com/definition/mileage (meanings 5 and 6)

    The joke they are considering is a pun.

    A nymph can refer to a beautiful young woman. http://www.wordreference.com/definition/nymph (meaning 2)

    Flies can refer to the zip used to fasten a man's trousers. http://www.wordreference.com/definition/flies (noun meaning 1)

    The old mental image was of a fisherman and fishing flies. http://www.wordreference.com/definition/flies (FLY2 - meaning 3)

    The new mental image is of a lot of attractive women trying to open a man's flies. (perhaps he is a rock star)

    They now need to engineer a story so that the 'audience' will initially think it is about fishing but the punchline will reveal it is really about sex.

    EDITED to add links and extra detail.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  4. Clause Junior Member

    London
    British English
    Perhaps in the joke, 'Nymphs' is meant to refer to the word 'Nymphomaniacs' which are people who are is obsessed with sex.
    'Flies' can refer to the zip on a pair of trousers.
    So the joke could be - The people obsessed with sex at your trouser zip.

    In my mind when someone says 'Nympho' they are abbreviating 'Nymphomaniac'. i.e. She is a nympho. Meaning she likes sex a lot. Or those girls are nymphos. Meaning they like sex a lot.

    Perhaps the author is further abbreviating the word 'Nymphos' to 'Nymphs'.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nymphos
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  5. Clause Junior Member

    London
    British English
    OK I am confident this is the answer:

    'Nympho' is the slang for 'Nymphomaniac'

    So the joke is a play on words from 'nymphs' to 'nymphos'.

    Maybe there’s mileage in the nymphs-at-your-flies thing.
    Maybe there's mileage in the nymphos at your flies thing.
    Maybe there's mileage in the people obsessed with sex at your trouser zip.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  6. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    I'm not at all confident that you are right :)

    There is no need to change the word from nympho to nymph when the word "nymph" already exists with appropriate meanings.

    nymph (n.) ...from Latin nympha "nymph, demi-goddess; bride, mistress, young woman," from Greek nymphe "bride, young wife," later "beautiful young woman," ... Sense in English of "young woman, girl" is attested from 1580s. ...
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=nymph&allowed_in_frame=0

    I won't argue about it however now that I've made my point. ;)
     
  7. Clause Junior Member

    London
    British English
    Actually you are right in a sense. 'Nymph' by itself works. But I don't think the author means 'beautiful young woman'. I think she means 'sex maniac'.

    'Nymph' (now I remember) is also the slang for 'Nymphomaniac' How ever right or wrong that is, it is used commonly.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nymph

    For example: 'I met this girl last night. She was a right nymph!' Meaning sex maniac.

    I concede 'Nymphs' by itself works. But I believe the author is referring to 'sex maniac' not 'beautiful young woman'. :)
     
  8. Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    You need to read the surrounding text - the links are there in the edited OP. There is a play on nymphomaniac in the conversation the OP text is extracted from.
     
  9. Oltda New Member

    Olomouc
    Czech
    Thanks a lot for your suggestions! They really helped me. I was particularly confused about the expression "there is mileage in something". I suppose it will be a pun refering to nymphomaniacs, because earlier in the text they are arguing that "short story" is like a nymphomaniac because one likes to get to many antalogies and the other to sleep around with many different men. Anyway thanks again ;-)
     

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