What do I have in common with Lady Gaga?

Not a lot, I would have thought.

Yesterday, the textbook focussed on adjectives describing personality. One question for discussion was ‘Who is the most glamorous person you know?’. The students asked and answered the questions in pairs first, then I asked random students in front of the whole class. One student said ‘Teacher!’. I asked ‘Why?’. She hesitated, then said something to a classmate in Chinese. The classmate said ‘Body language’. Yes, I do tend to gesticulate and use a wide variety of facial expressions and tone of voice, as part of ‘total communication’, but I wouldn’t have called that ‘glamorous’.

I asked the second student the same question, and she said (you’ve guessed it) ‘Lady Gaga’. I asked ‘You know Lady Gaga?’, followed by a short discussion of ‘know’ in a question like this (know, know about, know of). I then asked ‘Why?’ and she said clothes, makeup, hair, lifestyle etc.

So the concept of ‘glamour’ is wide enough to encompass me and Ms Germanotta. Dictionary.com defines ‘glamour’ as ‘the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting, especially by a combination of charm and good looks’. Hmmm … I’ve never thought of myself as fascinating, alluring, attracting, charming or good looking. On the other hand, I am possibly the first (or only) ‘foreigner’ that many of these students have spent any extended time in close proximity to, and may be ‘exotic’: ‘of foreign origin or character … strikingly unusual or strange in effect or appearance … of a uniquely new … nature … of, relating to, or involving stripteasing’. No, cut that last one. For all the rest, add ‘to them’.

(Note the alternation between ‘glamour’ with a <u> and ‘glamorous’ without (the first one). ‘Glamourous’ is just to much, though it is used occasionally, according to Google Ngrams.)


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