Fish ISO bicycle

Couple of things here.  Firstly, ISO is an acronym for many a thing, like International Organization for Standardization but in personal ads it stands for “in search of” so here this would translate into fish in search of bicycle.

This fish seems to really need its bicycle, pic: forums.ec.europa.eu

Which brings us to the second point – the expression: like a fish needs a bicycle.  The point is, the fish does not need a bicycle ever and so the bicycle is superfluous.

The slogan is attributed to Gloria Steinem and was originally a feminist slogan ” A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”  That makes this idiom a young one  – as idioms go.

It can, of course be used in other contexts to indicate that something is utterly superfluous.

Example:

“I think I am coming down with a cold.  Right now I need a cold like a fish a bicycle.”

There are, however, curiously few google results for that particular idiom and not very many at all that refer to something other than women and men.

The expression is somewhat sarcastic but altogether light-hearted.  It is fine in personal use but on the job I would use it sparingly and if so only with a facial expression and body language to indicate that I mean to make a silly little joke.

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