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Now Ernie rushed out into the street, his gold top in his hand,"And just to make it interesting we'll have a shilling on the side."
He said, "If you wanna marry Susie you'll fight for her like a man."
"Oh why don't we play cards for her?" he sneeringly replied,
The Hero and the Romantic False Lead have one goal in common: getting the girl. In essence, a Cock Fight is what happens when the vying between the two suitors escalates into open hostility. Often occurs if neither was aware of the existence of the other, or when the hero has been courting the girl for a while. Typically, the fighters tend to focus on each other with the woman becoming secondary goal or, in a nastier tone, treated as a trophy.
As the title implies, this trope is Always Male and is very different from a Betty and Veronica situation in its execution. Namely, it is more about posturing and machismo and much less about emotions; it tends to be more violent and physical, instead of being catty and verbal.
Needless to say, this is a staple of romantic films, works where romance is an important part of the plot. However, it can show up in any type of work. Usually, this happens before the girl's heart is clearly settled between her two suitors but, even when her choice is made and spoken out, there is still a chance for the Cock Fight to turn up again, since Romantic False Leads are not known for giving up easily. If the Romantic False Lead utterly refuses to acknowledge defeat, the next step is almost always If I Can't Have You.
When it comes to the competition itself, it is generally about displaying protectiveness, doing nice things for the girl, strength contests and other kinds of...er...symbolic measurements comparisons, preferably in front of her. More often than not, things can get out of hand -- sometimes up to physical confrontation -- if one of the suitors gets too close to the girl in front of his rival, or worse still, if he openly claims the girl for himself.
During such conflicts, the girl can either stay neutral or try to intervene whether or not her choice is made. If she takes the second option, what she does can go from trying to soothe the guys's differences, telling them to shut up and stop fighting over her, or even get the HELL out at least until they stop being stupid.
Not related to Cat Fight. (Though if two girls have mutual interest over the same dude, they can get into one.)
This trope is named for the rooster as a metaphor for a male animal which fights. For literal animal fights, see Beastly Bloodsports and Mon. It has nothing at all to do with the word's secondary meaning of "the penis".
Anime & Manga
- Pictured above: Inuyasha: Inu-Yasha and Kouga over Kagome.
- Godai and Mitaka over Kyoko in Maison Ikkoku (Rumiko Takahashi count: 2).
- Ranma and Ryôga over Akane in Ranma ½ (Rumiko Takahashi count: 3). Not that Ranma will ever admit that he likes Akane that way.
- Tristan/Honda vs. Duke/Otogi in Yu-Gi-Oh!, over Serenity/Shizuka.
- A brutal variation in Berserk, during the Eclipse, for Casca, Guts and Griffith. The development of this situation began when Guts left Griffith and came to a head when Griffith learned that Guts and Casca, both of whom he was Yandere for at this point, were in a relationship together. It did not end well for either of the Star-Crossed Lovers.
- Greece and Turkey in Axis Powers Hetalia fight over Japan's affection, though they're easily distracted and not above borrowing a camera and making prints for one another if Japan gets (cute and) angry.
- Narrowly averted in Junjou Romantica. Akihiko was about ready to storm in his brother's room and give him a good punch in every imaginable part of his body when he found out that his brother was 'going to take Misaki from him', had Misaki not held him from going through the door.
- This is a subplot of Hayato and Randoll's rivalry in the latter half of the Future GPX Cyber Formula TV series as they competed for Asuka's love in the Spanish GP, and at one point, Randoll even made a bet with Asuka that if he wins that race, he gets her kiss (that never came to be).
- In Akazukin Chacha, Shiine and Riiya are constantly squabbling over Chacha, who remains blithely oblivious.
- Ai no Kusabi has the two Yanderes Iason and Guy fighting over the latter's former lover which Iason refuses to let go of.
- Tomoe and Mizuki from Kamisama Kiss have a pretty intense rivalry over Nanami's attention and affection. Tomoe also has a even worse rivalry with Kurama over Nanami.
- Samurai Pizza Cats: Speedy and Guido fight each other over Lucille.
- Kyatto Ninden Teyandee - Yattaro and Sukashii fight each other over Omitsu.
- Half-brothers Kai and Enjouji do this over Ranmaru in Kizuna. Kai eventually backs off and falls for his bodyguard Masa
- A tragic version of this is seen in the X-Men universe, as Elixir and Wither compete over Wallflower. It didn't end well for anyone.
- In Excalibur, Nightcrawler got in a very violent fight with Captain Britain over Meggan. Captain Britain thought he was invoking this trope, but in reality, courtesy of grinding stress, a bout of alchoholism, a curse, and exceptionally poor phrasing on Nightcrawler's part, he overreacted and took a swing at his teammate. Nightcrawler, for his part, was strongly tempted by Meggan, but steadfastly refused to act on it in any fashion.
- Cutter vs. Rayek vying to woo Leetah in the Elf Quest Trial of Head, Hand and Heart arc. Slightly subverted in that whoever wins, Leetah has the final say. Then re-subverted in that she's Recognized Cutter and ultimately can't fight it.
- Putting Donald Duck, Gladstone Gander, and Daisy Duck in the same story is a recipe for disaster... and humor. It's interesting to note that in Daisy's eyes she is "officially" engaged to Donald, and the boys' attempts to impress her romantically either go unnoticed or frustrate her to no end. These stories also tend to play up Donald's bad luck and contrast it with Gladstone's legendary good luck, such that the former is desperately afraid of losing his girl while the latter is desperately trying to win the one thing his luck can't provide. Jealousy, envy, and wacky hijinks all around.
- Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Let's just say Germany and Japan ended up in one over Italy. If Italy hadn't intervened, it would have become a case of Murder the Hypotenuse.
Films -- Animation
- In The Rescuers Down Under, Bernard competes with Jake over Bianca's affections. Though in this case, Jake isn't openly competing with Bernard, just unaware of his relationship status with Bianca.
- Bambi and Faline's dance of love through the clouds is rudely interrupted by another stag, resulting in a savage fight.
Films -- Live-Action
- In a non-romantic example, Played for Laughs in Spaceballs. When Lone Starr and Dark Helmet have their climactic Laser Blade fight, they both extend their Schwartzes from their rings, while holding their hands over their pants. Then Dark Helmet finishes the joke by saying "...your Schwartz is as big as mine. Now let's see how well you handle it."
- In The Green Hornet, Britt Reid and Kato's argument turns violent after Kato implies he's been with Lenore Case (though it's revealed later that he was more concerned with antagonizing Britt). Despite Kato's Crazy Awesome credentials, it's not the fight you'd expect, especially when it ends.
- Lampshaded in the Blake Edwards film Skin Deep:
[Visual]: Two naked men in a pitch-black bedroom are both wearing glow-in-the-dark condoms, and discover they're both trying to have sex with the same woman. All we see are two erect phalluses moving around the room. At first, the two of them are throwing stuff at each other, then, they get interested and start swinging their (glow in the dark) dicks at each other.
[New Scene], Man in Bed Answering phone: Uh, Hello? Yeah? Oh really. Okay, I'll come down and bail you out. (Hangs up)
Wife: What happened?
Man: Jack's been arrested.
Wife: What's the charge?
- Apparently the plot of the upcoming spy comedy This Means War.
- Edward and Jacob over Bella in Twilight.
- Variation in Fried Green Tomatoes: In the book, Ruth's husband fights with Ruth's lesbian lover, Imogen (Idgie), when Ruth says she wants to escape her abusive marriage to live with her.
- Colas Breugnon has the protagonist reminiscencing on his young love, which eventually drove him to fight his friend Pinon for her affections, to the death (but nobody died, though there was a lot of bleeding). Both competitors are even referred to as roosters.
- In Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, a rivalry of this nature springs up between upper-class lawyer Eugene Wrayburn and schoolteacher Bradley Headstone, over Lizzie Hexam. Particularly in Headstone's case, it's debatable whether love for Lizzie or hatred for the other man is stronger.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire there was a non-heroic example of this long before the events of the book. Though she eventually married Eddard Stark, as a child Catelyn was betrothed to his older brother Brandon (who died in an unrelated incident) but was loved by a young Petyr Baelish (who would grow up to become the series premiere Magnificent Bastard Littlefinger). This rivalry over Catelyn eventually led Petyr to challenge Brandon to a duel for Catelyn, where he got utterly curb stomped. The resulting effect on his character causes no end of problems for the whole of Westeros.
- What makes two people who are friends and comrades in battle fall apart? Being mutual lovers of the same girl. This is the fate of Akihiko Sanada and Ken Amada in Persona 3 Portable. Granted it's only relevant in Tartarus and is optional but oh, those wars.
- An ongoing character arc between Gilgamesh Wulfenbach and Tarvek Sturmvoraus in Girl Genius, both vying for the affections of Agatha Heterodyne and neither holding the other's integrity of character in particularly high regard. Played with at least a couple of times where Agatha has shown herself to be willing and capable of stepping in and kicking both of their asses just to get them to behave for a while.
- Amusingly subverted/lampshaded in Errant Story, as Jon interrupts a Cat Fight between his sister and Sarine.
Sarine: Oh, hello, Jon. We were just having a little girl talk. Sweaty, violent, mostly one-sided girl talk with lots of sword fighting.
Jon: ... Ah. Now see, guys don't have those kinds of talks. We just whip it out and see whose is longer.
- In The Dreamer, Alan Warren and Alexander Hamilton often get into snippy fights around each other, often involving Beatrice as the subject.
- This is the premise of nearly every Popeye cartoon ever made, ever.
- In Tom and Jerry, Tom and Butch are often in competition over the affection of an attractive female cat.
- Ulrich and William over Yumi in Code Lyoko. Actually came to blows in "A Bad Turn"... and that's just the beginning!
- In Batman: The Animated Series, The Joker gets into a brief argument with the Creeper over ownership of Harley Quinn. Subverted in that it's more about "There Can Only Be One batshit-insane creep in Gotham City", rather than who is Harley's man.
- It's often seen during the mating season, between most animals.
- And yes, that definitely includes humans.