olio di gomito

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by orca, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. orca

    orca Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    Hi again,

    I can't find a suitable translation/explanation to my example:

    Fa bene un massaggio prima del transfer embrionale, aiuta a rilassare i tessuti. Per lei no, – si rivolse a Bern, – niente massaggio, le basta un po’ di olio di gomito.

    Context:
    Sempre "Divorare il cielo" di Paolo Giordano. The couple, this Bern and the narrator, Teresa, are sitting at the Doctor's office and he explains about a procedure to get pregnant in Kiev (insamination). In this sentence he recommends the hotel, the spa and the massages.
    I read all the threads with olio di gomito, I understand that it is something abstract, labour, hard work etc. Sometimes it means literally oil that is in the body. But what about this case? What does the doctor suggest for her instead of a massage?
    Thanks!!

    P.s
    Coming to think of it, I'm not even sure he means "her" when he says "lei". He could mean Bern himself is the one who needs olio di gomito - and by that he would refer to the act Bern has to do in order to produce sperm for the procedure.... is that it?
    It's just that by this time in the story, he usually refers to them by their first name and uses "tu" and not "lei".

    I'd appriciate your thoughts.
     
  2. elfa

    elfa Senior Member

    Bath, England
    English
    "Elbow grease" springs to mind. This means a bit of vigorous manual effort.
     
  3. MR1492

    MR1492 Senior Member

    Newport News, Virginia
    English -USA
    I agree. Sounds a lot like "elbow grease!"

    Phil
     
  4. orca

    orca Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    Thank you!
     
  5. furs

    furs Senior Member

    Lombardia
    Italian
    Although you only quoted one line of text, it seems to me that in this case 'lei' is nothing but the 3rd person singular used as a courtesy form to address an individual, therefore it means 'you'.
     

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