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You're prettier than half my daughters.
Craster, talking about Jon Snow, Game of Thrones

You know that ruggedly handsome manly man the ladies all sigh for? This isn't that guy. Oh, he still gets the sighs, but it's because he is so dang pretty. These guys are often slender or slight, with fine facial features. Height is variable: if his prettiness comes from his youthfulness, then he's probably shorter; if it comes from his status as Mr. Fanservice, then he's going to be taller.

This doesn't necessarily mean he's androgynous, or looks like a girl, though; that's a different trope, Dude Looks Like a Lady (or Viewer Gender Confusion, if he's androgynous enough that the audience is genuinely confused about his real gender).

The Pretty Boy also isn't necessarily effeminate or weak. He may well be as strong or physically powerful as the other, more muscular guys, and as masculine as the more ruggedly handsome ones. Expect one of his more rugged counterparts to sneeringly call him "Pretty boy" at least once. Increasingly common for even his detractors to comment on just how much they appreciate his looks.

Note: East Asian media (particularly Japanese and Korean) uses a related trope, Bishonen. The main difference is that in western media there seems to be a cutoff point as to where a male can be too pretty, whereas eastern culture doesn't really have that.

See also Agent Peacock.

Examples of Pretty Boy include:


Comic Books


Film

Literature

  • The Honor Harrington series by David Weber uses the trope extensively. The two biggest examples are Victor Cachat who is described as being young and very cute at least once in every book he appears in and Jeremy X who was genetically engineered to be one (he is designed to the point were he can't have any facial hair even!) It is helped along and justified by all the Designer Babies roaming around, Magic Plastic Surgery, and by the pro-long life extension treatments that can make a hardened military officer that is over 40 years old look like he is barely out of high school.
  • Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray is described as intoxicatingly, androgynously beautiful. Making this.
  • Aramis in The Three Musketeers is described as being as pretty as a woman. Of course, he's the one of the Musketeers who's most popular with women.
  • Raziel in Lamb the Gospel According To Biff is pretty enough even to provoke Stupid Sexy Flanders moments from the First-Person Smartass protagonist, Biff. It's apparently a standard angel trait.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. Lizard and Ted describe the teenage protagonist Jim McCarthy this way, though he doesn't believe them. But definitely the case with Shaun -- a sixteen year-old, bisexual attendant on the luxury airship Hieronymus Bosch, whose duties include prostitution and military defence.
  • The protagonists in the Warchild Series are usually described this way, even when they have extensive combat training and are capable of great violence. The third book, "Cagebird" has a protagonist described as cherubic-looking who eventually becomes a prostitute/assassin, and the protagonist from her second book is described as a beautiful boy with large, kittenish eyes.
  • Shakespeare's Sonnet 20. The young boy is described as such: "A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion", until Nature "pricked him out for woman's pleasure."
  • The temporary protagonist of Crow on the Bridge by Max Frei reminisces meeting one of these:

 Entered the room a young man of such a blinding beauty that to me it seemed not as much pleasant to the eye as absolutely out of place in the given circumstances. Really, here happens such things, i should make the Gloves of Death and it's yet unknown how to survive this fancy-work; civil war continues for umpteenth year in Conjoined Kingdom, and ultimately the world will fall soon; and he walks here with such a look as if a human had no more important task than to look beautiful. My feelings were about these, though when spoken aloud they sound absurd, i see it myself.

  • All of the male vampires in Twilight. They even come with the Bishie Sparkle pre-packaged.
  • There are a bunch in A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Ser Loras Tyrell is described as "beautiful" rather than handsome, called "The Knight of Flowers" and clad in rainbow armour until he joined the Kingsguard. Of course, this is probably to do with the fact that he's only about sixteen at the start of the series.
    • Joffrey Baratheon, who is described as a combination of his sister Myrcella and his uncle Jaime who also happens to be his father.
    • Rhaegar Targaryen was a beautiful White-Haired Pretty Boy who despite being a great warrior, was also a sensitve/emo man who liked to play the lyre (fans have joked that the character seems to have walked out of an anime or a JRPG).
    • "Young Griff" is a beautiful young man who has long eye lashes and dyes his hair blue He's actually Aegon Targaryen, the son of the above Rhaegar, or at least a convincing impostor.
    • The Citadel student Alleras is probably the female Sarella Sand in male disguise, with the result that (s)he fits this, and is described as being comely, pretty, etc. as opposed to handsome.
  • The title character of Billy Budd.
  • It's implied that Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife is one. Apart from being called "pretty" on occasion, it's also mentioned that he looks a good deal like his Hot Mom.
  • From Harry Potter we have Cedric Diggory AKA "Pretty Boy Diggory"...
  • We'd better not even begin to describe Tadzio from Death in Venice...
  • Les Misérables brings us both Enjolras and Montparnasse.
  • Finding H.F.: Bo, H.F.'s best friend (and likely half-brother) definitely qualifies. He takes utmost care of his appearance, his wavy blond hair.
  • Sufi poetry extolls the beauty of beardless boys, and some mystics believe such boys represent the perfectness of God.
  • Fablehaven has the Last-Episode New Character Bracken, who is tall, willowy, youthful, and has long, soft silver-white hair.
  • Diane Duane's Young Wizards series gives us Roshaun ke Nelaid, a Human Alien prince with Hair of Gold and a really stuck-up attitude. He gets better.
  • This is the defining characteristic of Markus in the Lonely Werewolf Girl books. Apparently he looks even hotter in a frock too.
  • Sodapop Curtis is described as being incredibly handsome and looking a lot like his (most likely hot) mother. Cue The Film of the Book, where he is definitely this, because he's played by Rob Lowe.
  • Despite the scars, many characters in Wicked Lovely explicitly refer to Niall as 'pretty boy'.
  • Lord John Grey from the Outlander series of books (and eventually his own). He's described as blonde, pretty, and a bit on the petite side.
  • Torak from The Belgariad was often described as �overly pretty� (that was before he had the left side of his body burned off of course).
  • Francis from The Secret History is described like one of these, as well as a fastidiously flamboyant dresser. Charles, too, but only because he looks like Camilla.
  • Vanyel Ashkevron from the Valdemar books.
  • Dark Life has a male character actually called Pretty. He's pretty, all right...and usually also very very scary.
  • Thomas Raith from The Dresden Files. Mind you, he is a White Court vampire (aka, "an incubus").
    • Subverted (?) in that while he's got a very pretty boy face, from the neck down he's built "like the high priest of Bowflex".
  • Marcello Clerici, the protagonist of the 1951 novel The Conformist, is described as very handsome and feminine-looking both in adolescence and adulthood.


Live-Action TV

  • Vince Noir from The Mighty Boosh. [1]
    • What are you talking about? That's Lance Dior
  • In the Bones episode "The Girl in the Mask", a doctor flies in from Japan to aid with the investigation and the team spends most of the episode trying to figure out his/her gender. Angela divines at the end of the episode through a very thorough hug that he/she is a man, despite the fact that the character was played by a woman.
    • Also, Dr. Lance Sweets.
  • The Tenth Doctor. Other than oft-repeated fangirl affirmation, there's also:

 River Song: Pretty boy! With me I said.

(Long pause. Donna looks at the Doctor suggestively.)

Doctor: Oh, I'm "Pretty Boy"!

Donna: Yes!" (shocked at her own enthusiasm) "Oh, that came out a bit quick."

    • The Eleventh Doctor is what happens when Pretty Boy meets Adorkable.
    • The Tenth Doctor is pretty Adorkable anyway.
    • The Eighth Doctor definitely counts. Some fans jokingly call him The Oncoming Pretty.
    • The Fifth Doctor is the embodiment of this trope in the Classic Series. Although, Executive Meddling often deterred the female characters from commenting on this fact.
  • Spencer Reid of Criminal Minds, played by Matthew Gray Gubler. As co-star Shemar Moore bluntly put it, "Matthew is so pretty he's almost a girl." Yep, Dr. Reid is practically the living, breathing definition of this trope. Even in-universe, one of his nicknames is "Pretty Boy".
  • Dean. Winchester. His face is the perfect combination of prettiness and manliness.
    • Also Castiel, who ups the ante by also being slender and being the shortest (barely) of the main Supernatural trio.

 Japanese gameshow host: Mr. Trickster does not like pretty-boy angels!

      • Co-star Jared Padalecki has said of Collins: "With those big Blue Eyes, he can't play a demon. They're like 'aww...' he's too pretty."
  • Dark Angel has a younger and prettier Jensen Ackles as twins Ben and Alec. The latter has Stoic Spectacles in one episode.
  • Derek Jupiter on I'm in the Band.
  • Charlie Pace in Lost, particularly during his clean shaven phase.
  • The title role of Tom Jones in the 1997 BBC version (Max Beesley).
  • Chase on House.

 Dr. Foreman: Chase, you're a pretty boy. Works well with the ladies, not so much with the patients. No one wants an underwear model performing their splenectomy.

 T-Bag: One things for sure, you just as pretty as advertised. Prettier even.

  • Nathan from Misfits.
  • Mr. Brain: In "Eccentric Neuroscientist vs. Beautiful Revived Ghost" the "beautiful revived ghost" isn't a woman. The ghost is played by the very pretty, yet very male Gackt. Gackt himself finds Gackt rather tasty.
  • Vincent Chase from Entourage.
  • Niles Crane in the early seasons of Frasier.
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was this as William the Bloody(-Awful Poet) before he was bitten.
  • Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World was pretty enough that at one point he passes very convincingly as a girl. However, he grew out of it near the end of the show's run, especially after he grew a beard.
  • Merlin from Merlin is most certainly this.

 Barmaid: Mmm, you're an handsome fellow.

Arthur: Well, just wouldn't be the first to say it.

Barmaid: Oh. No, sorry. I was talkin' about your friend here.

(Looks suggestively at Merlin.)

Arthur: (shocked) Him?

Merlin: (smirking at Arthur)Thank you.

 Joe: Just because I'm younger, smaller and more easily intimidated...?

Music


Religion and Mythology

  • In Norse Mythology, Balder is so pretty that everything in the universe that can pledges their love to him.
    • Loki. Even in the post-Christianization days, he's described as "pleasing and handsome" in appearance, but never the rugged, muscled type.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Greek god Dionysus in some depictions, such as Euripides' Bacchae. Ganymede sometimes gets this treatment as well.
  • A surprising amount of images of Jesus.
  • Cu Chulainn is described in Celtic Mythology as a very attractive man of the elfish, smooth-faced sort, at least when he wasn't in a warp spasm.


Tabletop Games

 "The Eldar are physically similar to humans, but with longer, cleaner limbs, slim and elegant features, pointed ears, and penetrating eyes."

      • Additionally the chapters based on Sanguinis' gene seed are also noted as being somewhat prettier than the other marines.
    • The Emperor's Children (Chaos) Space Marine Legion. So Bishonen that they are derrisively referred to as "peacocks" by most of the other legions while they are still loyal to the Imperium's cause. Their primarch, Fulgrim, is one of the prettiest humans alive. Furthermore, even after falling to Chaos, they continue trying to make themselves look as alluring and attractive as possible, part of their pact with the Chaos god Slaanesh. It doesn't help that their armour is various shades of purple and pink...
      • Pretty much any follower of Slaanesh in either classic Warhammer or Warhammer 40k qualifies. The Emperor's Children were always bishonen, after falling in thrall to Slaanesh they became more like Bosch-onen.
        • Unlike the Pretty Marines, the pre-Heresy Emperor's Children were just as brutal and ruthless as any other Space Marines, so looks can be deceiving.
  • "Bishonen Look" is an Advantage in GURPS (introduced in GURPS Mecha), which works like Attractive, except the bonus to reaction roles apply to both sexes. In 4e the same Advantage is simply named "Androgynous".
  • Exalted. To give just a few examples: the Solars Moray Darktide and Swan, the Infernal Captain Gyrfalcon, the Abyssal known as the Prince of Shadows, and the Alchemical known as Voice of Authority. There are many others.
  • The 3rd Edition of Nobilis whimsically notes that mysterious bishounen are usually Imperators, Powers, Excrucians, or the offspring of the Star-Beast Qot. In the event they happen to be human, they're probably not that mysterious.
  • Despite metal growing out of his body, and his muscles, and clothing so scanty as to show off those muscles, Magic: The Gathering's Koth of the Hammer has a very pretty face.


Theatre

  • Herbert von Krolock in Tanz der Vampire is one of these whenever the actor's makeup can create the effect, and the results tend to be stunning. His father, meanwhile, looks like the less fortunate end result of the formula "Pretty Boy + age + suffering and guilt".


Video Games

  • Male blood elves in World of Warcraft. (Although they can have a little bit of facial hair.)
    • Lampshaded in some of their /silly and /flirt emotes. A silly- "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 5: Agrael is this underneath that big red suit of armor.
  • Johnny Cage of the Mortal Kombat series, though Johnny himself is the one who enforces it. He constantly refers to himself as "pretty" and is always praising his own good looks. Even one of his battle cries revolves around how pretty he thinks he is:

 Johnny: Oh yeah! I'm so pretty!

Webcomics

  • In the Animesque Web Comic El Goonish Shive, Tedd normally wears Nerd Glasses to keep bullies from insulting him for being androgynous; he doesn't seem to be aware that without them he (or in this case, Grace disguised as him) is attractive enough to make (mostly) straight guys extremely uncomfortable. His habit of changing his sex into an even prettier female form is probably at least partly because he can feel comfortable about being attractive while a girl. He isn't quite the classic bishie, being short and rather geeky, but this only seems to underscore the effect.
  • Rieken in A Distant Soil, fits this trope to a T, down to white hair so long it drags on the ground. The twist, though, is that he is probably the most supernaturally powerful being alive.
  • Parody/subversion: This strip from the Stick Figure Comic Stickman and Cube has the cartoonist supposedly draw the two characters Bishonen. The joke is that they look exactly the same, being of course a stickman and a cube, except with added Bishie Sparkle. But... so bishie!
  • Maxim of Girl Genius, sporting a narrower, pointier face, thinner build, and longer, bishi-er hair than his compatriots Dimo and Oggie, very nearly fits here. There are only a couple things off: First, he has purple skin, smiles too much, smiles too big, and has a mouth full of sharp teeth, all because he is a Jaegermonster. Second, he's too fun-loving, upbeat, and goofy, also because he is a Jaegermonster. Third, his personality is far too distinctive. Other than that he fits perfectly.
    • Foglio has said that he designed Maxim for fun, to see if he could draw a bishonen Jaeger. Well, he can!
  • The titular character from Terinu is definitely bishie, coming from a genetically uplifted race designed to look cute. Being marsupials, even the females are fairly androgenous in appearance (flat-chested after all).
  • The Cyantian Chronicles: Jules reacts this way to Sean. Although that might just be because of his wings.
    • Similarly, Alien Dice has Lexx. Who, in a noncanon segment from Cafe Anime, got kidnapped, blasted with a jar of bishi glitter, and paraded around in a leash and an undershirt as a demonstration of "How To Bishi". And who has a large fan base in Canon.
  • Blip portrays Lucifer this way. At one point, Luc meets an angel who is his exact double. His reaction: "I'm... gorgeous!"
  • RPG World has Eikre, whose whole character is based on this. Along with him are his friends Hawk and Jeff. In fact the three of them took high school classes on how to BE BISHONEN.
  • Overlord of Ravenfell has two main bishonen characters in Razin and Javanshin.
  • Fey Winds has bishonen, but also parodies it in regards to Sidney's twin brother.
  • Nearly all of the main male characters from Khaos Komix, but especially Tom. Probably comes with being Ft M transsexual. He doesn't have any of the typical personality traits, however, being Straight Gay (bordering on Manly Gay).
  • Oswald of Knights Errant gets special mention for being known as a Pretty Boy in-story. Most of the other characters aren't too bad-looking either.
  • Large portion of the cast of Roommates and its Spin-Off s Girls Next Door and Down the Street (but not enough to qualify as a Cast Full of Pretty Boys mostly because there are enough strong women in the series' who get panel time).


Web Original

  • Bladezz in The Guild, especially in his modeling pictures and the music video.
  • In Sapphire, you have Boris Rubanenko, Daisuke Midori, and Nikolai Kitano, to name a few.
  • Gabriel Dunn from Broken Saints has elements of this, especially in some panels. Also, despite writer Brooke Burgess' disdain for the idea of Raimi being played by a pretty boy in a theoretical Big Hollywood Movie Version, Raimi isn't too far off from this himself.
  • In The Secret Life of Dolls, Lyra and Elizabeth Swann had this discussion about a picture of the Will Turner doll:

 Lyra popped up over Elizabeth's shoulder. "That scarf is a girly scarf."

"Well, that's just how guys dressed back... now."

"In tights?"

She sighed. "Sometimes Will was prettier than I was."

  • Apollo, Dionysus, and Eros in Thalias Musings.
  • Hashimoto Daichi, and Nektarios Lekas, who along with most male demigods, is described as being handsome.
  • The Nostalgia Critic. Even he lampshaded it in the Battlefield Earth review by trying to say he got more handsome, but couldn't do it and chose "pretty" instead.


Western Animation

Real Life

  • Just about every single teen/Disney Channel star ever is put up as this. Zac Efron and Justin Bieber are two Egregious examples.
  • A young Christopher Walken. "I was a pretty boy. Particularly in my early movies. I don't like looking at them so much. There's a sort of pretty thing about me."
  • Jamie Campbell Bower has a slender build and relatively feminine facial feautures which definitely make him a pretty boy. This is lessening slightly as he gets older.
  • Andrej Pejic. Ridiculous. Example?

  Perhaps Long-Haired Pretty Boy? Or maybe Bishonen

  • Leonardo Dicaprio. In his younger days, especially in Total Eclipse, Romeo + Juliet, Titanic, and The Man in Iron Mask.
  • Bjorn Andresen. This didn't always make him happy.
  • Nico Rosberg, a Formula One driver, whom one driver referred to as "the prettiest girl in Formula One". He's earnt himself the ("in-universe") nickname "Britney".
  • Astronaut Roger Chaffee. Poor guy had to die before he was taken seriously by the press. Graying hair and occasional stubble did nothing.
  • Paul McCartney, known as "the cute Beatle".
  • Tenor Franco Corelli broke the stereotype of the overweight, plain-looking opera singer by being this. He was idolized like a rock star.
  • Cillian Murphy.
  • Johnny Yong Bosch.
  • Daniel Radcliffe.
  • Matt Bomer. Sweet Jesus...
  • Johnny Depp.
  • Chris Colfer.
  • Jensen Ackles.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • Tom Hiddleston
  • The late Heath Ledger.
  • The young Gregory Peck could look like this.
  • If it's possible, youtube singer Nick Pireta looks like a poutier Dean Winchester.
  • Mathew Baynton of Horrible Histories. His co-stars' standard response when asked about the show's success is "Mat's eyes".
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