have someone by the short and curlies
have (one) by the short and curlies
To have complete control or dominance over someone; to have someone at one's mercy. "The short and curlies" refers to the hairs on one's neck (not pubic hairs, despite popular misconceptions). With all that evidence against you, I'd say the police have you by the short and curlies. Sometimes, I think Mark's wife has him by the short and curlies.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
have someone by the short and curliesor
have someone by the short hairsBRITISH, INFORMAL, RUDE
If someone has you by the short and curlies or by the short hairs, they have you completely in their power. The union's chief negotiator last night said: `We had the company by the short and curlies.' The managers knew they had us by the short hairs. Note: In this expression, `short and curlies' may refer to a person's pubic hair, to hair on the back of their neck, or to the hair in their beard.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012