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"It must be that ass, cuz it ain't your face!"—Nelly, "Tip Drill"
Suppose you're a heterosexual man and you see a gorgeous woman walking down the street. Your eyes pan up the long luscious legs, that round bottom swaying oh so nicely, that slim waist, full, round breasts...BUTTERFACE! ("But her face", get it?)
This is when a girl is otherwise a total package, but Mother Nature didn't complete the package and she has a face with the shapelessness and sliminess of butter. The kind of face that makes you want to put a bag over it. Often Played for Laughs in cartoons and comedy films. In gags, the woman will often be wearing a veil, setting up for The Reveal. This woman often ends up being a Abhorrent Admirer. Somewhat the opposite of the Gorgeous Gorgon.
Although this is mostly intended for female characters, the trope is hardly applicable to women only and some male characters also qualify as Spear Counterparts of this (ie Heroic Build without the handsome face).
Also known by the acronym BOBFOC ("Body Of Baywatch, Face Of Crimewatch").
The Japanese have their own word for it, "bakku-shan" (a combination of "back" and "schön", German for "beautiful"). Hence, "beautiful only from the back". In the Philippines, this is called "hipon," which means "shrimp," because when eating shrimps, you only go for the body and not the head (A similar analogy is used in Australia, with "Prawn"). Meanwhile in Poland, in an inversion of Lie Back and Think of England, this kind of woman is described as "flag on her face, and for the Motherland!". In Brazil, the common nickname is "Raimunda", for "feia de cara mas boa de bunda" (ugly face, but a pretty ass).
Needless to say, this is considered a hugely impolite thing to say to another person.
Anime & Manga
- The one hundred forty years young ass-kicking medic Kureha in One Piece has a lovely, hourglass shaped body, but the face of a hag. Also Young Kokoro was quite a looker...from the neck down.
- In a flashback, Franky's adoptive mother Kokoro the mermaid.
- The Abyssal Eaters from Claymore; 11 women that are either outright naked if not Stripperific, with pretty good bodies.....but their eyes are sewn shut and their teeth are just weird.
- In the Hot Springs Episode of Outlaw Star, Gene and Jim are happy to find a woman pulling the Marilyn Maneuver...until they look up and realize she's a Silgrian woman.
- Celty from Durarara is a variation: her problem isn't that her face is ugly, but that she doesn't have one. Or rather, she did, but it's never been attached. Her head does, in fact, have a pretty face, but given that it's in a jar instead of on her body...
- Pakunoda from Hunter X Hunter. She may sport an impressive cleavage, but her crooked nose spoils everything.
- Bleach: This is Tia Harribel. This is Tia Harribel when she unzips her jacket...
- Subverted when she unleashes her resurrection, as the bone mask disappears and her fully uncovered face is as gorgeous as you'd expect from any adult woman drawn by Tite Kubo.
- It depends on who you ask (especially if you ask me), but Rock Lee, Usopp, and Chocolove could be considered this from a fandom perspective. Chocolove's body and personality are okay and somewhat feminine (for chicks who dig that), and from the neck down Usopp and Lee are undeniably hot, but when some people see their faces...Let's say that things will get base-breaky if you're debating whether they're actually ugly or not.
- Then again, there are plenty of people who don't view it as this. Guess if you do, then you're kinda shallow.
- Sadie Hawkins from the Li'l Abner comic strips.
- Way back in the early days of the JSA, Johnny Thunder was thrown back in time and was betrothed to a princess who always wore a veil. Since this example belongs to this trope, you can see where this is going...
- Big Ethel in Archie Comics could be considered one, as recently as the 1970s. But she got better...
- A number of recurring female characters in Dick Tracy fit this description.
- Female slasher Butter Face from the Hack Slash special Trailers 2.
- Male example: Deadpool who has a smokin' body but whose face is anything but gorgeous.
- Played straight by his alternate reality female counterpart Lady Deadpool. Hot bod, but her face is as ugly as Deadpool's.
- Some fans consider Watchmen's Rorschach to be one. Since he spends his nights beating up criminals twice his size, he at the very least must be quite fit.
- In Judge Bao and the Jade Phoenix, there's a prostitute named "Two Moons", for reasons that prove themselves quite obvious, and a very impressive figure. She also always goes around wearing a hat with a veil that hides her face. Considering the title of this trope, it should be obvious why.
Films -- Live-Action
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Eddie Valiant sees what he thinks is the silhouette of Jessica Rabbit in the window of an apartment. But when he gets up there, she's wearing the same outfit...Butter Face!
- What actually happened is, it was really Lena Hyena, who'd somehow managed to make herself look just like Jessica (toon physics or something), excluding the face. As soon as she saw Eddie, the rest of it unraveled.
- Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo: The chick from Chernobyl with the, erm, appendage in place of her nose.
- Happens in Spaceballs when the Captain of the Guard believes they've recaptured Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) and her compatriots. Turns out he's only half right.
Captain of the Guard: (yelling at his men) You IDIOTS! These are not them! You've captured their stunt doubles!
- Makes sense for this trope when you take into account that Princess Vespa's stunt double is a grotesque-looking man with long, straggly hair and a cigar, who just happens to have a fantastic body.
- Princess Vespa herself was an example before undergoing major rhinoplasty. The Spaceballs Blackmail her father the king by threatening to undo it (he cracks almost instantly).
- In Porky's Revenge!, Porky's daughter Blossom is like this, with Porky forcing a Shotgun Wedding on Meat because she told her father they went "all the way". (They hadn't, and however far they did get, it was all Blossom.)
- The Witches of Ar in The Beastmaster are bikini-clad centerfoldesque women...with hideously deformed faces.
- In The Three Stooges, Curly or Shemp often ended up with one of these while Moe and Larry got attractive women.
- A few times, Curly and Shemp became this as they dressed up in a drag disguise.
- Done as a gag with a horse-faced alien prostitute in the So Bad It's Good 1980s movie Space Raiders.
- '40s film star Martha Raye was often this. She had a great body and a terrific singing voice, but was often the "butterface" sight gag in films like 1941's Hellzapoppin due to her disproportionally large mouth.
- Played with in John Waters' Cry-Baby-the aptly named Hatchetface is introduced in the classic "gag" manner in the opening scene, where two hoodlums standing in line behind her waiting to get vaccinations reach for her attractively swaying bottom-only to be shocked when she turns around and reveals her flattened nose, crossed eyes, and horrible teeth. The traditional Abhorrent Admirer aspect of this trope is averted in the rest of the film, though-she has a very happy relationship with one of the male characters of the film, and none of the Drapes treat her any differently than the gorgeous Wanda, played by Traci Lords.
- One issue of Fangoria played with this in a sneak peek of Splice, describing Uncanny Valley Girl Dren as a "butterlegs".
- Parodied with the ghoul that attacks Shorty in the second Scary Movie. At first he's horrified and it looks like she's strangling him, but he's actually having sex with her, solving the problem with a paper bag ("No no, no kissing!"). They're still together at the very end.
To see such a face as this set on shoulders that a sculptor would have longed to model—to be charmed by the modest graces of action through which the symmetrical limbs betrayed their beauty when they moved, and then to be almost repelled by the masculine form and masculine look of the features in which the perfectly shaped figure ended—was to feel a sensation oddly akin to the helpless discomfort familiar to us all in sleep, when we recognise yet cannot reconcile the anomalies and contradictions of a dream.
- In Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Joelle Van Dyne is genuinely gorgeous until an accident leaves her face "hideously and improbably deformed." Her body, however, remains pristine.
- A complete inversion of this trope occurs in the Twilight Zone episode "The Eye of the Beholder" (aka "The Private World of Darkness"). The main character's face — bandaged until the reveal at the end — is just as beautiful as her body...but to the standards of all other characters — who have hideous faces — she is the one with the butter face.
- On Reno 911, Deputy Trudy Weigel is said to have a decent body but she's still a triple-bagger (a bag for you, a bag for her, and a bag for anyone unfortunate enough to be watching).
- On Curb Your Enthusiasm, this turns out to be the case with a woman who was wearing a full burqa and veil on her date with Larry's blind friend...who dumps her as soon as he finds out she's ugly.
- This was often a gag on The Benny Hill Show, in a manner similar to the Spaceballs example above (the "female" actor would actually be a man in drag, often with a rugged face and a beard).
- In one Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, one of Quark's customers requests a holobrothel session with a duplicate of Major Kira. Kira and Odo find out about it, and hack the program so that the client is greeted with an image of Kira's body topped off by Quark's head.
- Patty Maloney as the little woman in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Thaw".
- The title character of the Masters of Horror episode "Jenifer" is this. Possibly to the point of exaggeration, in that her face looks downright monstrous while still having a model's body.
- Many who have watched Queen's video for "I Want to Break Free" have admitted that, facial hair aside, Freddie Mercury makes a pretty hot chick. Then of course, there's the drummer, Roger Taylor, who borders on Uncanny Valley.
- Aphex Twin's music video for "Windowlicker". The end.
- The Strawbs' song (covered later by The Monks), "Nice Legs, Shame About the Face".
- Nelly's song "Tip Drill" got a lot of flak for exploring this trope in a provocative manner. (WARNING: The music video is definitely NSFW.)
- The Alternative Rap group Black Sheep's song "Strobelite Honey" is about the rapper Dres meeting a girl in a club. He can't see her face due to the strobe lights, but he can make out her "slammin" silhouette. Then he gets her in the light. Hilarity Ensues.
- Medusa always has a hideous face with snakes for hair, and usually fangs, a beard, and bulging eyes as well. But sometimes she's depicted with a beautiful, human body. Then again, in ancient Greek artwork she's usually depicted with a scaly, clawed, inhuman body below the neck. And one of the oldest images of her incongruously makes her a centaur with a leering skull for a head.
- A Japanese Youkai appears as a beautiful yet familiar girl if seen from behind, but has actually the face of a bearded brute or an old man.
- Comedian Pablo Francisco has a routine called "Nice body, ugly face."
- One of the sample characters in the Nosferatu clanbook from Vampire: The Requiem, Mary Contrary. She loves to wear Stripperiffic clothes that compliment her hot body, but her face..."looks like it's been hit with a shovel. Over and over again". Of course that being a Nosferatu, Mary takes this trope Up to Eleven. It would be bad enough just with this description, but then we actually get to see her.
- In the Scarred Lands monster book Creature Collection II: Dark Menagerie, the Blood Maiden, is introduced as an otherwise gorgeous shoal-dwelling siren who just so happens to have a lamprey-like maw instead of a face. Obviously, they feed on blood, and not only that, but they are all female as well. Guess how they reproduce?
- Any game that features orcs fits this trope. Both male and female orcs qualify in that they always have attractive bodies and horrible faces.
- The nurses in the Silent Hill series apparently have very nice bodies, and tumors for heads.
- The Battle Nuns in Brutal Legend look pretty hot from the neck down. Their, uh, "faces", on the other hand...look like zippers (and little more) that produce weaponized Vomit Indiscretion Shots. Still, Eddie remarks that they are "kinda sexy, though, in a weird way".
- Mileena from Mortal Kombat looks like your typical Femme Fatale in a purple ninja outfit. That is, until she takes off her mask and turns out to have More Teeth Than the Osmond Family.
- Same can be said about Baraka, a Rare Male Example, whose body is suitably muscular and athletic for a fighting game but whose face is anything but attractive.
- Shao Kahn is another male example. The guy has the physique of a bodybuilder and normally wears little else than a loincloth, boots, shoulderpads, and a harness. He also normally wears a full-faced helmet, but when he doesn't... except in Mortal Kombat Annihilation, where he has a normal human face (specifically, that of Brian Thompson) under the helmet.
- He also has a normal human face in Mortal Kombat Legacy.
- The Ghost Lady from Uninvited. When seen from behind, she does kind of look harmless and look like Scarlett O'Hara. When you look at her face, though...well, she doesn't really have a face, per se.
- Zevran of Dragon Age mentions this trope by name in a conversation with Leliana, remarking on a woman that he'd been ogling. Leliana tells him, "You are a very bad man."
- Luna of Dominic Deegan got this sort of response from Siggy, even though her face is fine, and from several supporting characters. She has orc tusks because of a curse.
- Demonstrated in this Cyanide and Happiness.
- Thelma of Nip and Tuck, in her original appearance, is implied to be this. She Cleans Up Nicely, though.
- In the Tex Avery cartoon Big Heel-Watha, the chief's daughter is one of these...but turns out to be Red wearing an ugly mask.
- A similar switch happens in the Woody Woodpecker cartoon, Socko in Morocco. Woody and an Arab vulture fight over a harem girl; in the end they lift the veil to see a horridly ugly face. (Woody finds out after the vulture gives up that the face was a mask and she's really beautiful.)
- Another Avery "Droopy" cartoon, The Chump Champ, has the Queen of Sports, who looks shapely from the neck down, but is a literal dog from the neck up.
- Technically, they were all literal dogs...but this one was a dog in more ways than one. She also became an Abhorrent Admirer at the end.
- Anna Baldavich from The Venture Brothers is a Take Our Word for It example.
- Family Guy: Quagmire approaches a hottie at a bar, she turns around, and we (and he) discover that she's carrying all her fat in the front and has a terrible face. She turns away again and Quagmire is about to hit on her again, but then reminds himself of what he saw the first time.
- In the episode "Boys Do Cry", Peter says: "You can't ask me to make dinner, Lois. That's like asking me to choose between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kirsten Dunst in a hot body/weird face contest. It can't be done."
- Even more to the point, in reference to late night Cinemax: "There was one on last night where the girl had a butt face but her breasts was immaculate."
- Another episode had Meg join the Baton Squad in school, after being rejected as a cheerleader. The squad contains all unattractive girls...and one perfectly acceptable looking one. Meg asks her why she's in the group, and when she opens her mouth a super-long tongue rolls out.
- In the Futurama pilot, Leela is introduced this way, as Fry's Male Gaze only sees her from behind until she turns around, revealing her single, giant eye. Since she looks perfectly "normal" otherwise (better, in fact) it doesn't bother him (or the audience) for long.
- Mrs. Manface from Batman the Brave And The Bold.
- Bleh from Drawn Together, if only because of her eyes.
- Curare, a villain from Batman Beyond, has a rather nice body. But apparently she wears the mask for reasons besides stealth. When Terry sees her without it, he looks rather repulsed, though we don't get to see it.
- Cars 2: During the scene where Mater, Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell are looking for Tomber, an odd three-wheeled car running the local black market in Paris, France; Mater actually sees a car facing away from him while inside the black market, and as soon as Mater talks to her, the car immediately turns around, revealing that her eyes are actually on her headlights instead of her windshield like everyone else's! Mater than screams and drives away to find his teammates.
- Carly Jean-Dooley in Survival of the Fittest version four is described this way.
- One Cracked article about words in other languages that we really need in English has a Japanese word for this, the aforementioned "bakku-shan".
- The planet Venus. It's named after the Roman goddess of beauty, and when seen from Earth it looks like a bright star in the sky. But seen up close, it is a roughly Earth-sized planet that is covered entirely by clouds. Remove the clouds, and all you get is a hot, volcanic world, covered in a crushing atmosphere that rains sulfuric acid, completely devoid of any life!
- There is a saying in Spanish-speaking countries: "Cuerpo de tentación, cara de arrepentimiento" (roughly translated as "Body of temptation, face of regret").
- ↑ FYI, the phrase tip drill is a street colloquialism for a Butter Face.