In time, these lessons and "stubs" will be migrated to the Buzzwords site.
Until then, consider them historical.

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep


1. Can you guess the meaning of this saying?
2. What do we know about the woman the first man is talking about?


James sees his friend, a man named Richard, shopping in a department store. Richard has just picked up a large knife.

James: Hey, planning on stabbing someone with that?
Richard: Oh, hi James. Naw. Well, maybe my girlfriend if she keeps it up.
James: Why's that, Rich?
Richard: She nags me constantly; she never lets up! Nothing I do is ever good enough for her.
James: Have you tried counseling?
Richard: She won't go. She doesn't think there's a problem. I've done everything I can.
James: So dump her!
Richard: I can't! She's such a knockout, I'll never get a babe like that to love me again.
James: That's not a very good reason to put up with her BS. I guess it's true what they say, "Beauty is only skin deep."
Richard: I know, but what if I can't find another like her?
James: Would you listen to yourself? Hello! Better ugly on the outside and beautiful on the inside than vice versa.
Richard: Maybe so. I'll think about it.
James: And while you do, would you please just put down that knife?
[They both laugh]


I think we all recognize the truth of today's proverb: Appearances can be deceptive, because "Beauty is only skin deep."

So why do we keep falling for beauty? Why do we want to drive a fancy car that runs poorly? Or live in a big house that's uncomfortable? Or wear expensive shoes that pinch?

More notes:
  • Naw: A casual way to say "no."
  • dump her: This is a rather rude way to say "break up with her" or "end the relationship."
  • knockout, babe: "Guy" words to describe beautiful women.
  • BS: This is the abbreviation "bullshit." This is not a very nice word; it means "nonsense" or in this case "bad behavior." You should NEVER say "bullshit," because you need to understand a culture very well before using its sensitive words. You might use "BS" carefully, like among friends.
  • Would you listen to yourself?: Often, if people just examined what they were saying (or thinking), they would see the truth for themselves, without the need for advice.
  • Hello!: Sometimes said humorously, this is like saying "Wake up!" or "Pay attention."

Also noted: James started the conversation by jokingly asking Richard if he was going to "stab someone" with the knife he had picked up. At the end, he asks Richard to "please just put down that knife." This is funny to both men because it refers back to the joke James made at first.


Use the above terms in one of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. Look at that babe over there! She's a __________!
2. What? You want me to loan you $10,000? __________?
3. A: Want to see a movie tomorrow night? B: __________. I have to work late.
4. Now, the next part of my presentation--__________! Are you listening? Put away your phone!
5. Your new boyfriend is useless. You should __________ and find a better one.
6. If you think I'm going to listen to your __________ one more minute, you're crazy!


If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers.

1. Do you think it's worth it to have an attractive boyfriend or girlfriend who treats you badly? Why or why not? Have you ever seen someone stay with a person like that, just because he or she is attractive? If "yes," what did you think of it? If "no," why do you think people do such things?
2. Have you ever "dumped" anyone? Or been dumped? How and why did it happen? How did you feel about it?
3. Have you ever heard of "inner beauty"? What do you think it means?


1. knockout; 2. Would you listen to yourself; 3. Naw; 4. Hello; 5. dump him; 6. BS

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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