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A good way to show the physical intimacy and trust which a couple have is to rest one's head on the other's lap. Usually, the man does the resting while the woman provides the lap, not only because of anatomical reasons but because the lap-owner is typically of a nurturing nature more associated with femininity. Bonus points if she's feeding him grapes or stroking his hair.
In some cases this is done between people who are not necessarily lovers, to comfort someone who is weeping or injured.
In Japan, if they're really close, the sitter is cleaning out the layer's ears with a pick. This is something old married couples do.
Compare Holding Hands.
- Pictured above: Kenshin Himura and Kaoru Kamiya from Rurouni Kenshin.
- In the story itself, Yumi does this to Soujirou after he loses to Kenshin.
- In Kodomo no Jikan, Aoki uses Rin as a lap pillow. Soon after, they've moved to the tree behind them and she's using him as a lap pillow (in the perfect position to drool right there). Then Kuro and Mimi find them. Mimi leans up against the opposite side of Aoki while Kuro uses the opposite side of the lap (the rear, for the unable to figure out hints) on Rin as her pillow.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima, Negi does this a lot, falling asleep on his students' laps on numerous occasions. The romantic overtones are usually subverted. Such as when he falls asleep on Konoka's lap, leading the cheerleaders (and Ayaka, who promptly freaks out) to believe that they're secretly dating, when in fact he's just exhausted. Naturally, Ayaka is overjoyed when Negi conks out on her lap later on, again due to fatigue.
- In Fate/stay night, Saber makes Shirou rest on a park bench after she realizes that he's about to collapse due to fatigue from his injuries. Then she realizes that there is no pillow, and picking the idea up from another couple on another park bench, makes him rest his head on her lap. Then he falls asleep (he was really tired).
- This happens very early on in 11eyes for a Yuka/Kakeru bonding scene.
- In Skip Beat, Ren uses Kyoko's lap as a pillow in one scene. They aren't a couple, but there's much romantic tension there.
- Specifically, Ren was overcome by his feelings and nearly either confessed or propositioned her, but realizing halfway through that this was already freaking her out and if he finished she'd probably be scared out of his life for good, he managed to turn it into the claim that he thought he might feel better if he napped and he couldn't sleep without a pillow. Both of them feel very awkward, until Kyoko (thinking Ren is asleep) starts petting his hair.
- It is very cute, but like most of Skip Beat manages to avoid the standard way its cliche situations are arrived at. So that's something.
- In Great Teacher Onizuka, when Anko and Noboru, Anko accidentally smacks Noboru in the face with her purse thinking he's a perv, so she lets him rest his head in her lap until his nose stops bleeding.
- The implied intimacy of the situation is the reason why Dolores and Mr. Raptor (Both Humongous Mecha, mind you) end up going straight to Instant Seiza when a bump during transportation puts them in this position in Zone of the Enders: Dolores, i. That, and the cockpit sticking out from between Dolores' legs...
- In the last episode of the first Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series, Fate rests her head on her familiar Arf's lap while sleeping in her cell.
- In Kodomo no Omocha, Akito puts his head on Sana's lap and she cleans out his ears, except...she was pretending to be his mother and had to blackmail him to get him to do it.
- In the Pool Episode of Sasameki Koto, Ushio offers her lap to Sumika, who is exhausted from her competition with Tomoe. Sumika certainly enjoys the view from her position.
- In Inuyasha, the first time we learn that Inuyasha is human once a month, his entire demeanor change from Jerkass to Jerk with a Heart of Gold is symbolised by his request to lie in Kagome's lap. Aaaawwww...
- Used with a twist in the Akira manga. Not only the girl (Kaori) is the one who rests her head on the guy (Tetsuo)'s left hip as she sleeps, but the environment isn't exactly idyllic and peaceful - they're in the middle of the ruined Neo Tokyo, and the guy's right arm is almost wholly mutated.
- Which had just been reversed earlier, with a freaked-out Tetsuo laying and resting his head in her lap with her stroking his hair and comforting him.
- Done by Minami for Yutaka in one episode of Lucky Star. Yutaka seems oblivious to the romantic implications but Konata and Hiyori are not.
- Happened in Kämpfer during a date, where Shizuku gives one to Natsuru who fell asleep after eating lunch. It is implied that she also kissed him at that moment.
- This happens betweens between Momoko and Yousuke in Wedding Peach.
- Mayoi Neko Overrun has it between Kaho and Takumi in episode four. Both of them are naked, after a series of circumstances involving hot springs, a forest trek and Kaho not having any shame.
- Happens four times in Bleach. Once, after losing against the Hollow Grandfisher, Ichigo falls unconscious and Rukia rests his head in her lap.
- The second instance occurs in the Soul Society arc, during a flashback, between Yoruichi and Soifon.
- Much later, a rather shaken Rukia is seen letting a badly wounded Orihime rest with her head on her lap after both she and Ichigo are badly defeated by the Big Bad.
- And the fourth one is a part of an illustration from the very last chapter, which has Rukia leaning on the lap of her husband Renji.
- One of Naoko Takeuchi's art books has this cute drawing of Usagi and Mamoru. "I love sleeping with my head on someone's lap. I also love having someone's head on my lap. Since both really put me at ease, I can be happy." she says of it.
- Another illustration has Haruka leaning her head on the lap of her girlfriend Michiru.
- Kunzite's first apparition in the first anime has him gathering his boyfriend Zoicite on his lap, stroking the other man's hair and comforting him after his rival Nephrite is favored by Queen Beryl.
- Also in the first anime, Usagi is the one leaning her head on Mamoru's lap in the R movie.
- In a more tragic manner, in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal as Setsuna/Pluto passes away after stopping time (which is a fatal taboo in the SM canon), she's lying on the grond and with her head leaning on Makoto/Jupiter's lap.
- In the manga version of The Legend of Zelda, Link is lying on Princess Zelda's lap, although this turns out to be a dream.
- Ch. 19 of Aki Sora has one page of this between Nami and Sora. The subtext gets a heavy and rather ironic lampshading.
- A villainous version occurs in Soul Eater with Big Bad Asura resting his head in the lap of Arachne while she comforts him, telling him he'll be safe with her, and that she will never leave him.
- A more violent version occurs in Fairy Tail: due to Natsu's extreme motion sickness, Erza punches him in the stomach and that causes him to fall in her lap.
- One episode of the Gravitation anime has Yuki letting Shuichi lay his head in his lap and tell him about his work-related worries.
- Kazuki gets to do this with Tokiko at the end of the Papillon arc of Busou Renkin.
- During one chapter in The Electric Tale of Pikachu, Ash and Pikachu are seperated. At the end of the story, Misty is doing this to Ash after the poor guy has run himself ragged trying to find him. Unfortunately for her, when Pikachu returns Ash bolts up so fast that he ends up knocking her back.
- There's also a rather cute example in the Pokemon anime - during a flashback Meowth has, we see a brief shot of Jessie and James asleep, with her head on his lap.
- In the manga Seven Days, Yuzuru attempts to lie down on Seryou's lap to take a nap. He promptly complains that it's not as soft as a girl's would be.
- D.Gray-man: Occurs in chapter 168 with Johnny resting his head on Lenalee's lap.
- In Hetalia Bloodbath 2011 Italy is shown sleeping with his head on Germany's lap.
- An illustration has a child Hong Kong sleeping like this, his head on Victorian England's lap.
- In episode 17 of Kiniro no Corda Shimizu uses Hino's lap as a pillow.
- In the Zero no Tsukaima official art Cattleya lets Louise use her as this.
- In Clannad Yukine uses Tomoya's lap as a pillow during one of their visits to the library, much to Nagisa's chargrin.
- During the storyline in which Tatewaki is possessed by a cherry tree in Ranma One Half he lays on Ranma's lap.
- In Madlax episode 24, Margaret sleeps with her head in Elenore's lap during a flashback. Also contains Ear Cleaning.
- In One Piece, Baby 5 is seen sleeping with her head on Don Sai's lap.
- Subverted in the Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics version of Rapunzel: as she and the Prince discuss their potential relationship, a kneeling Rapunzel is leaning her head on the arm of an armchair the Prince is sitting on and not on his lap. Though the pose itself is similar to the one the trope depicts.
- In Sin City: Family Values, Miho rests her head on Dwight's lap in a rare moment of affection.
- Notting Hill, in a gender reversal: Pregnant Julia Roberts with her head in Hugh Grant's lap, sitting on a park bench.
- Done by Rupert Everett and Reese Witherspoon in The Importance of Being Earnest.
- Star Trek: Insurrection. Will Riker goes round to Troi's office for some counselling, or so he claims. Troi realises otherwise when instead of lying down on the couch he lies down with his head in her lap, which is much more comfortable. We next see them taking a bath together.
- Jim (James Dean) and Judy (Natalie Wood) in Rebel Without a Cause.
- Mary Jane holds Harry's head on her lap in Spider-Man 3 after he's been brutally injured.
- Connor does this with Brenda at the end of the original Highlander movie.
- In Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince Draco lays his head on Pansy Parkinson's lap while she strokes his hair. Harry finds this rather disgusting.
- In The Wheel of Time, er... some guy does this with his Aes Sedai girlfriend after the battle to cleanse saidin.
- In The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Kit's cousin Mercy is in love with John Holbrook. Kit eventually discovers that despite previous confusion, John returns Mercy's feelings, and debates whether to tell Mercy the truth after they believe him dead. Before she gets the chance, however, the door opens to reveal John -- who wordlessly stumbles across the room to drop to his knees and put his head in Mercy's lap.
- In the Night Huntress books, when Cat is extremely drunk, her love interest Bones tells her to rest her head on his thigh. She thinks he's asking for something else, but he laughs and tells her to get her mind out of the gutter.
- From The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers:
"In his lap lay Frodo’s head, drowned deep in sleep; upon his white forehead lay one of Sam’s brown hands, and the other lay softly upon his master’s breast. Peace was in both their faces."
- A not-even-remotely romantic variant in Fuzzy Bones, William Tuning's continuation of H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy series: a small group of Marines get the word that they've about forty minutes to chill before raiding a criminal stronghold, so they lie down in a rough circle, each man using another's stomach as a pillow.
- Happens in The Dresden Files book Summer Knight, between Harry and the Summer Lady, Aurora.
- In a flashback scene at the end of an episode of Monk, it is revealed that Trudy Monk would put her feet up on the coffee table (the sole reason why that piece of furniture is crooked in an apartment of perfect right angles) so Adrian could put his head in her lap.
- On Dexter, when Lila and Dexter share a hotel room, he ends up falling asleep with his head in her lap after a breakdown following a confrontation with his mother's murderer.
- In The X-Files episode 'Detour', Mulder sleeps with his head on Scully's lap when they're forced to camp out in the woods overnight. She even sings him a song.
- Lampshaded in "Recession Proof" from season seven of House, when the titular character flops, drunk and soaking wet, on to a couch with Cuddy, head in her lap.
House: Heh heh, my head is on your vagina.
Cuddy: Go to sleep, House.
- Hamlet lays his head in Ophelia's lap -- and proceeds with a string of Double Entendres about what else he might lay in her lap, including the trope namer for Country Matters.
- Reportedly Douglas Spedden slept in his Nanny's lap like this while in the lifeboats of the Titanic.
- During the ending of Persona 3, the Protagonist rests his head in Aigis's lap and falls asleep. Except that he never wakes up.. In the PSP version, there are no images or cut-scenes, but the lines between Aigis and the Female Protagonist and the last choice ("You're getting sleepier..." "Close your eyes") imply that this happens as well.
- The Persona 4 Protagonist can force one of his party members to lay their head on his lap during the King's Game.
- In Persona 5, a Protagonist who romances Kawakami-sensei will get this from her in their Relationship Upgrade.
- Tidus has a moment like this with Yuna early on. While it does show Yuna's sympathy for him, it's less romantic as Tidus is having an inner freakout at that point.
- This is part of Minori's good end in Brass Restoration. Ryo breaks down crying and then falls asleep with his head in her lap. Because he cried himself to sleep, he doesn't realize what happened until Tsubomi tells him, leading Kouri to ask what a lap pillow is. He says it's a new type of pillow.
- In the second game of Blaz Blue, Noel and Ragna have a moment like this at the end of the game after Ragna sacrifices his left arm to save her life.
- The cover of Touhou Project: Lotus Land Story involves Marisa sleeping in Reimu's lap this way.
- The player can get some lap action in Steambot Chronicles while dating either the female lead, her best friend, or the ship captain.
- In Crescendo, the cover artwork has Kyoko sleeping with her head on Kaho's lap. Ryo can also get this from Miyu after one of their sex scenes; as a bonus, she's naked.
- In the Prince of Tennis Dating Sims, Jirou (Gakuensai), Mizuki (Umibe no Secret) and Sanada (Sanroku no Mystic) allow themselves to do this if they're romanced. In Rush and Dream, on the other hand, the Player Character can get this from Saeki.
- Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow has Saori giving one to Kagura in his route.
- Questionable Content has had this happen a few times. If you count passing out, that is. The puking is usually optional.
- Order of the Stick had Roy's mom offer to let him do this while she reads him his favorite bedtime story from when he was a kid after he meets her in Celestia. Due to his mother's appearance having reverted to her teenage years, he doesn't take up the offer.
- Batman the Animated Series: Joker and Harley during the Joker Jury episode, to the disgust of the attorney defending Batman.
Attorney: I object to this witness! She's obviously trying to influence the judge.
Joker: (sounding genuinely confused) What makes you say that?
- This is an actual real life pillow in Japan. The one meant for women is a male torso with an arm extended in a way that the woman would sleep under that arm.