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A type of Cannot Spit It Out, this is a condition befalling certain male characters (usually), especially those on the younger side, or who otherwise are lacking in social graces. When he encounters a female, he loses all capacity to speak, or at least make meaningful sentences. He may stammer, blurt out embarrassing nonsequiturs, or become entirely mute. The trigger may be restricted to attractive females, or just the one, in which case it's likely to be Gibberish of Love.

The female, for her part, may become irritated and impatient with this behaviour, may be understanding and accommodating (or even condescending), or may even respond in kind, in which case getting any kind of conversation going will take something akin to a miracle.

Despite the title, female characters who cannot talk to men are not uncommon. In this case it's usually triggered only by male characters they find attractive or have a crush on; if a female character literally has difficulty talking to any male at all, it's usually a sign that she had an abusive or domineering father, grew up in a misogynistic culture, or had some other bad experience that explains the issue. When a male character cannot talk to women, in contrast, it's almost always an issue of a general lack of confidence and/or experience and is rarely portrayed as a result of trauma.

Related to, and not to be confused with, Love Makes You Dumb. Also related to Socially Awkward Hero. In extreme cases may become Allergic to Love.

Examples of Cannot Talk to Women include:




  • Audrey Wait: James' first line of real dialogue with Audrey after she tries to make conversation with him is "...the store needs more butter pecan."
  • Rincewind is mentioned to be a rarity among wizards, in that he can talk to a woman without needing a cold shower and a lie-down after. However, if the subject turns to sex, he's completely out of his depth (wizards as a whole aren't supposed to marry or rather have sex, as this increases the chances of a sourcerer being born).

Live Action TV

  • Raj from The Big Bang Theory is unable to talk in the presence of any woman, unless he's drunk or believes that he's drunk. One time he was able to hit on Summer Glau after having a drink of beer. When he was told it was non-alcoholic he clammed up. He seems to get better at this later on, at least with those he knows well.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Kendra the Vampire Slayer had a hard time talking to men who weren't her Watcher or a vampire, due in part to being brought up by her Watcher to focus single-mindedly on slaying.
    • Oh, she wasn't just bad at talking to men. She was forbidden from speaking with them by her Watcher.
  • In an episode of That 70s Show, Eric can only say "Uh...... buh." in the presence of a girl he finds really attractive.
  • One of Jeff's main traits in Coupling.
  • Simon Tam of Firefly uses almost these exact words after accidentally insulting Kaylee in The Message.

Video Games

  • When Guybrush first meets Elaine in The Secret of Monkey Island, he is unable to do anything except utter random syllables. In their second meeting he acquits himself better, but the conversation quickly turns to increasingly saccharine pet names, which in a way is worse He relapses into gibberish in later games whenever a woman is upset with him, indicating Guybrush just cannot take a woman's scorn.
  • Akihiko in Persona 3 proves completely incapable of talking to women other than his teammates, and in the female protagonist's route in the PSP version he gets pretty tongue-tied around her at times as well.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Groose quickly loses track of what he was doing or saying when Zelda is talking to him.
  • Kent from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade admits in his B-support with his partner and friend Sain that talking to women is not his strong suit. His three romantic supports showcase this a bit; he's shy and apologetic with Farina and hesitates when speaking to Lyn, his canon crush. His conversations with Fiora initially subvert it, but this is when he sees her as simply a likeminded individual trying to keep the army morally pure. When he develops real feelings for her, he stumbles in his attempts to say so.
    • Lon'qu in Fire Emblem Awakening has even worse trouble talking to or just being around women. It's because his First Love died to protect him and he's afraid any other woman who gets close to him will share the same fate. He does get better if the player pursues an S support for him, though.

Web Comics

  • The character of the socially inept nerd Michael in Jen Babcock's webcomic, Cest La Vie.

Web Original

  • In Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog, Billy in the beginning cannot speak to Penny (Laundry Day/ See you there/ Under things, tumbling/Want to say/ love your hair/ there I go, mumbling). This may or may not apply to all women, as Penny is the only female character in the first two acts.

Western Animation

  • In early episodes of South Park, Stan was so nervous around Wendy Testaburger he'd throw up whenever she'd so much as walk by.
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