So...we were talking today and wondered out loud if "he's a tall glass of water" means what we think it means. (We were a little bit in the gutter...) Well, I did a little digging and found some FANTASTIC results on a public forum:
"Apart from the obvious (that he was tall)... maybe the person using the phrase in English was trying to imply that the man was also "refreshing" (mentally/emotionally/physically???)."
"In the Southern part of the U.S. we say someone is a tall glass of water when they are physically attractive. "Look at her, now that woman is one tall glass of water..." "
"I have only heard the expression "a tall drink of water," which simply means "a very tall person." I would only use it for a person who is also thin. It wouldn't have anything to do with whether they are attractive or not."
"Any idea of the origins of these idioms? If a very tall person took a drink of water, it would have a lot longer to go to reach their stomach. Maybe that has something to do with it?"
"Yes, I've heard "she is a tall, cool, drink of water", meaning that she is "refreshing" to look at and a pleasure to behold! Also, it gives the idea that someone is very "cool" or composed."
"Just another note--the fact that the person is attractive is more important than the fact that they are tall."
"Apparently we "yankees" take things more literally. I can see why someone in the sultry South would think a cold beverage was very attractive. If I called someone a "warm cup of cocoa" on a cold January day up here in the North, I would certainly be saying that they were appealing--not that they were short and fat with a head that looks like a marshmallow. "
"A tall glass of water refers to someone who is innocuous, harmless, basically of no importance."
People are amazing.