Hello, I'm a bit in the dark..I'm trying to work out whether the expression in bold is used in the idiomatic way, i.e. being a bit slimy towards people in a higher position.. or if its used in its literal sense ... To be honest, the latter somehow does not make much sense to me considering the immediate environment.. and I'm more inclined to the former. Could I ask you for a suitable paraphrase? Thanks a lot. G.M.Malliet: Wicked autumn "Max picture Maurice: a gentle, somewhat backward man who nearly had to be dissuaded from tugging on his forelock, and whose thick, expressive eyebrows gave him an unfortunate resemblance to the crazed author in The Shining."