The Wall Street (1987) movie features the following line from Gordon Gekko (played by actor Michael Douglas) around 00:53:30 (YouTube):

My wife tells me you made a move on Darien. Here's some inside info for ya. That Euroflash GQ type she's going with? He's got big bucks, but he's putting her feet to sleep. Exit visas are imminent. I don't want you to lose your place in line.

I can roughly understand the idea from the context, but what exactly does the expression "to put one's feet to sleep" mean, and when it can be used?

  • @Clare That's exactly the point here (except it's compression of the nerves rather than blood vessels that causes it): Darien is bored by Sir Lawrence, and a breakup ('exit visas') is imminent. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


When someone says a limb is "asleep", it means that the part is experiencing transient paresthesia caused by prolonged pressure on a nerve. Often sitting or sleeping in an unusual way will cause this problem.

In the scene, Gecko is telling Bud that Darien, a woman he is interesting in, is dating another man, but is bored by him (he is "putting her feet to sleep"), and so Bud still has a chance.

It's not really idiomatic, but then, Oliver Stone was never very good at writing dialog.

  • 2
    +1 And "exit visas are imminent" means that she's about to end the relationship. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 0:16
  • @StoneyB -- another example of poor writing, though: a exit visa is a permit to leave. What is imminent would be a metaphorical deportation order, a requirement he leave. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 0:20
  • I'm not convinced it's a reference to the medical condition you speak of. If it is so not idiomatic, then maybe it refers to something else. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 4:51

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