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Eddie Valiant: Seriously, what do you see in that guy?

Jessica Rabbit: He makes me laugh.

All Girls Want Bad Boys?

Hardly. Blondes prefer gentlemen. As do brunettes, redheads, bald women, little old ladies with white hair and girls with Amazing Technicolor Hair.

The heroine, like the hero, tends to be much more mature and likable than in All Girls Want Bad Boys; frequently they've been burned by a previous lover, and generally they've matured. But it is not necessary. Any heroine who finds the hero attractive exactly for his more admirable qualities falls under Single Woman Seeks Good Man. This can range from liking his sense of humor, to appreciating his poetry skills, all the way to his Heroic Sacrifice. Rescue Romance is often a form of this. The Nice Guy, The White Prince, the Knight in Shining Armor, the Nice Jewish Boy, the male Shrinking Violet, The Dutiful Son, the Keet, or the male Pollyanna wins the heroine's heart. Immature and hormonal souls may wonder What Does She See in Him?, but the heroine is much more likely to end up happy this way.

It does create a plot problem, insofar as the heroine has to neither fight her common sense nor reform the hero for a Happy Ending. As a consequence, the writer needs some other method of generating conflict.

The heroine is initially attracted to the Bad Boy, but does not see the scale of the issue; he is one of The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, or she sees only trivial faults, or she believes what he says about past behavior. Or she believes she can change him with the power of like-OMG true love -- after all, Reformed Rakes make the best husbands. Then he actually does something bad, and she is shocked by his behavior. Or a crisis arises and the Miles Gloriosus fails where the hero rises to the occasion; this is a frequent complication of The So-Called Coward plot. This can also occur when they get together, and a Romantic False Lead appears to create complications.

It does not have to be a romantic rivalry; the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter often feels conflicting loyalties between the hero and her father, and has to learn the extent of his evil before she is willing to support the hero whole-heartedly.

Or the heroine may not be good, and have to reform to win the good man; never underestimate The Power of Love.

She may have been seriously burned by the first love, and think Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids; The Power of Love will have to overcome her reluctance. Or it was with a Bad Boy and she is confused; she thought she felt love when it was really adrenaline, and is now Oblivious to Love that doesn't come with danger packaged in.

Or they face no internal problems, but external forces try to tear them apart. Star-Crossed Lovers frequently fall under this, as does It's Not You, It's My Enemies. This was particularly popular in the 1700s when romantic comedies were typically not stories about falling in love, but stories about getting married without being written out of the will.

Or the hero or heroine (or both) face difficulties in admitting their attraction. One of them might even be in a preexisting relationship -- and since he's such a nice guy, he's not going to stomp on his current girlfriend's heart or go after someone who's already taken.

Frequently Victorious Childhood Friend. Compare to Understanding Boyfriend.

Examples of Single Woman Seeks Good Man include:


Anime & Manga

  • X 1999: The relationship between the initially frigid and distant Arashi and the cheerful, sweet and caring Sorata is a textbook example of this trope.
  • Love Hina: In the end, Naru does finally marry Keitaro (after she tones down the worst of her Tsundere traits, though this is more notorious in the manga than the anime), and we have Shinobu and Motoko suffering from unrequited love.
  • Maison Ikkoku: Though occasionally a jerk, most of Godai's jerkish behavior comes from being too nice (and hence unreliable), if that makes any sense.
  • In Fist of the North Star, all the bloodthirsty warriors and cruel overlords want gentle and beautiful Yuria as their wife but she would rather give herself to the Badass yet genuinely kind, generous and caring Kenshiro.
  • In When They Cry, Mion's attraction to Keiichi is due to his being so fun to be around, as she talks to Shion about in the Eye Opening chapter. Shion drops the hint to Keiichi in the Cotton Drifting chapter and outright tells him that Mion loves him in the Festival Music chapter.
  • In Black Lagoon, dangerous and very violent Revy becomes gradually attracted to the decent, kind and caring Rock, even though she hates to admit it. Her being a mashup of Dark Action Girl, Ax Crazy and Tsundere REALLY helps their advancement....
  • Played straight all the way with Atan Hadas from Threads of Time. She despises the ruggedly good looking, sociopathic, Ax Crazy Sali Tayi, and instead falls desperately in love with the shy, polite Bishonen protagonist Moon Bin. Especially during that time period, Moon Bin is a really nice guy.
  • Berserk plays it straight between Guts and Casca. It's not Guts' ultra-macho behaviour nor his ability to destroy a whole army single-handedly that made Casca fall for him, it's rather his righteousness, his consideration towards her as well as their Not So Different backgrounds. The series then deconstructs the trope cruelly as the Eclipse goes down and Griffith-turned-Femto brutally rapes Casca to insanity and taints her unborn child right in front of Guts. Yet Casca was attracted to Griffith because she thought he was a formidable man after he saved her from servitude and prostitution. The same can be said as for the Griffith-Charlotte couple.
  • Gunnm plays with this trope a bit. Alita falls like a brick for the idealistic and sweet boy Yugo, but he isn't much into her and turns out to be a spine thief. When Alita finds out however, she doesn't care. And when Yugo finally seems ready to return Alita's feelings, he dies.
  • In Baccano, scarred Pyromaniac Nice Holystone is in a relationship with her longtime friend Jacuzzi Splot, who has got to be the most nonthreatening man in America -- at least most of the time, anyway...
  • In Ai Yori Aoshi, everyone is Single Woman Seeks Good Man for Kaoru.
  • In Battle Royale, it's revealed that pretty much half the girls in class harbored a crush on protagonist Shuya (and he was completely oblivious to it all). And to drive in the idea of how they seek a "good" man, Shuya is revealed to be one of the most idealistic, naive, kind-hearted boys in the entire series.
    • The "bad girls" in the class all fall into this category. They've all slept with numerous sleazebags -- almost exclusively for cash, yet all they really want is a nice guy who cares about them. Hirono Shimizu is one of the aforementioned girls with a soft spot for Shuya; Yoshimi Yahagi is in love with her boyfriend Yoji Kuramoto, who despises the bad things she's done but loves her anyway. The most notable example, however, is the head honcho, Mitsuko Souma. She doesn't give a damn about any guy who lusts after her, but is deeply distressed when Yuichiro Takiguchi, the only person who was ever kind to her, dies.
  • In H 2, Haruka comments in an early chapter that all the guys she's ever liked have turned out to be jerks. Noticing the way she's looking at Hiro, his childhood friend Hikari comments "I don't think you're off this time". She isn't.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, we have the Action Girl Elisaveta/Hungary. She is head over heels in love with her ex-husband and current boyfriend, Roderich/Austria, who's a Neat Freak White Prince. "My heart is Austrian territory!", she tells to Seychelles in the original script of Gakuen Hetalia. (Although she rarely minds seeing him being felt up by other males...)
  • Tokyo Mew Mew gives us Ichigo Momomiya, a sweet, slightly ditzy girl who has an adorable crush on, and eventually develops a romance with Masaya Aoyama, who's a really nice guy. Sort of subverted later, as despite being a good-hearted person, Masaya is also her Mysterious Protector... and the Big Bad. But his and Ichigo's love conquer it all in the end.
  • Allen Walker from D Gray Man is one of the nicest guys in anime, and is also quite the Chick Magnet. Rohfa has a huge crush on him, Road is openly smitten with him, and it is implied in one of the Reverse novels that Lenalee is interested in him romantically.
  • Shakugan no Shana: It is Yuji Sakai's kind and friendly personality that draws both Shana and Kazumi toward him.
  • Eureka falling for friendly and sensitive Renton for his good-nature fits this trope like a glove.
    • And Anemone falling for Dominic.
  • Keiichi Morisato from Oh My Goddess!. In fact, he never would have even had a chance to meet wish-granting goddess Belldandy in the first place if it weren't for the fact he's an mistreated Nice Guy.
  • In Freezing, the fact that Kazuya Aoi is respectful and kind towards the very troubled Satellizer makes her develop affection towards him.
  • Lacus Clyne falls for Nice Guy and male Shrinking Violet Kira Yamato in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, even though this means breaking her arranged engagement to Athrun Zala. While Athrun is himself a good person, the engagement was arranged by their parents, and it's all but stated that Athrun and Lacus considered each other friends rather than prospect lovers and were going along with it because their parents were expecting it, hence why when Lacus hooks up with Kira, Athrun doesn't mind, and vice versa..
  • Oscar from Rose of Versailles develops a romance with Andre, who's described as a "very sensitive and passionate young man", and a "true working-class hero".
  • One of the things that makes Kimi ni Todoke so refreshing to read is that unlike 99% of all other Shojo manga where the heroine falls for the Troubled but Cute guy, the heroine's love interest is a genuinely Nice Guy who wins her over by simply being sweet and kind to her.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Asuka Sugo doesn't return the affections of the Royal Brat rich kid and racer Randoll, she instead went for the sometimes temperamental but Nice Guy Hayato, who also happens to be her longtime friend.
  • Monkey High: Dignified, aloof Haruna falls for Macharu. Why? He was the first person who went out of his way to befriend her in spite of her cool demeanor. Plus, he's Adorkable and has a fun sense of humor that gets even Haruna.
  • Rosario to Vampire: The girls in Tsukune Aono's Unwanted Harem fell for him before he Took a Level In Badass, and long before Art Evolution kicked in and turned him into a Bishounen. Being a Nice Guy was literally all he had going for him, but he was a really, really nice guy.
  • Spice and Wolf: Holo sometimes makes unfavorable remarks about Lawrence's soft-heartedness, but his kindness is probably the main thing he has going for him. That said, she does cultivate him to be more assertive and outgoing to an extent. And she dislikes it when he holds back from risky business endeavors for her sake.
  • Chrono Crusade plays this trope straight, with the Hot-Blooded Tsundere Action Girl Rosette and the Shrinking Violet Nice Guy Chrono, who also qualify as a mild example of Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy.
  • One Piece: Boa Hancock falls in love with Luffy Because He Was Nice To Her. Well, that, and he punched out a World Noble, one of only two people in the world with the guts to go through with it. And the World Nobles were those who actually enslaved and tortured Hancock and her sisters nearly into insanity, making her the... really troubled person she is.
  • Naruto: While all the other girls like Sakura and Ino were drooling over "bad boy" Sasuke, Hinata Hyuuga never even noticed him, preferring the nice, cheerful, neglected titular character, Naruto Uzumaki.
  • While Hikaru's attraction to Kyousuke Kasuga in Kimagure Orange Road comes from her accidentally seeing him use his Psychic Powers and thinking he's the most awesome guy around, Madoka's own crush on him comes from how Kyousuke is among the few males at their school who treats her as a person instead of just fearing her. (Well, the other guy who does it from the start is Yusaku but he's smitten with Hikaru instead, while Hatta and Komatsu only start talking more to Madoka once Kyousuke does so.)
  • Tsubasa Ohzora might be a member of the Chaste Teens Group, but outside of the soccer fields he's a very kind-hearted guy. No wonder Sanae and Kumi (and lots of nameless fangirls, in the TV series) fall in love with him. Double if you adhere to the Fanon theory about the old anime series having a mostly implied Love Triangle between Tsubasa, Sanae, and "bad boy" Koujirou Hyuuga.
    • Actually, the pilot manga chapter directly alluded to this trope. There was a Love Triangle between main guy Taro Tsubasa, main girl Aki Yamazaki (who'd later become Sanae) and Hot-Blooded Lancer Genzo Wakabayashi: Genzo openly declared his love for Aki, but she apologized and turned him down because she already was in love with Taro.
    • There's also the sweet Fragile Flower Yoshiko. She's completely in love with Matsuyama, a kind and responsible Team Dad.
  • Angel Densetsu: Ryoko's relationship with Kitano looked like it's going to fall into the All Girls Want Bad Boys trope (by his appearance), but after seeing Kitano's true nature, it becomes this trope instead.
  • The flighty and boy-crazy Sonoko Suzuki from Detective Conan ultimately swears by the trope as her long-distance boyfriend is the Adorkable Gentle Giant Makoto Kyougoku. Her best friend Ran Mouri does so too, as the guy she likes is the Amateur Sleuth Shinichi Kudou who is very protective of his loved ones and has a strong sense of justice (And unbeknownst to them, he's living with her... as her sort-of little brother Conan Edogawa)
    • And recently, local Action Girl Miwako Satou joned the group, by choosing Nice Guy Takagi over White Prince Shiratori.
      • Not to say that Shiratori is a Bad Boy. He's a bit of a jerk, but he's an honest cop, a quality that he's had ever since he was a child... Which helps him win the heart of local Hot Teacher Sumiko Kobayashi, who he helped when they were children.
  • Genderflipped in Toradora!; The protagonist Ryuuji is actually interested in the bright and cheerful Minori in contrast to most of his male classmates, who are smitten with Lovable Alpha Bitch Ami Kawashima instead. Of course, his interests change to Taiga as they get to know each other... though Taiga has to tone down the worst part of her Tsundereness and start resolving her issues with her family, for their relationship to work, thus acquiring her own set of Nice Girl traits. Taiga as well, in her attraction to Nice Guy Kitamura and later to Ryuuji, who's a Nice Guy too..
  • Hana no Ko Lunlun is a Magical Girl series in which the titular heroine searches for a MacGuffin through Europe. The closest to a Love Interest that she has is a handsome photographer named Serge, who's a Nice Guy and some more and keeps helping her when she needs it.
  • In Tiger and Bunny, Karina ends up falling for the selfless, hyper-compassionate Kotetsu. Likewise, Tomoe (Kotetsu's late wife) started warming up to him once it became apparent that the supposed Delinquent was skipping classes to perform after school superheroics rather than to get into pointless fights like she assumed.
  • Honoo no Alpen Rose has the kind and sweet Jeudi falling since the beginning for the Nice Guy Lundi, despite the Count's pursuing and the appearance of Teen Genius Leonhardt.
  • Shiranui Hansode in Medaka Box loves Zenkichi because he is "too sweet to stomach". He is the one person she would never truly betray. She's even willing to support his attempts to woo Medaka even though she hates Medaka.
  • D.N.Angel has every female fall for the phantom thief Dark, with the exception of Riku Harada who falls in love with the sweet, good-natured Daisuke.


Comicbooks

  • Blacksad has Alma Mayer who simply wants a man who will be dedicated enough to bring her to Niagara Falls.
  • Jean Grey choosing Cyclops in X-Men over Wolverine. (Before she died, anyway.)
  • Diamondback, a villainess member of the Serpent Society, dated Captain America and offered to drop crime for him on their first meeting. She took awhile getting around to it, but she did do it.
  • The Invisible Woman always chooses to remain with her husband, Mr. Fantastic, instead of indulging in her physical attraction to Namor the Sub-Mariner.
  • Although Catwoman sometimes gets sick of Batman's sense of honor, she is in love with him because of his righteousness and kindness towards her.
    • Earth-2 Catwoman fell for Batman (after she had reformed -- this was not a Love Redeems situation).
  • Also from the Batman comic books, Stephanie Brown (Spoiler/Batgirl IV) was in a relationship with a sleazy douchebag who knocked her up and left her to fend for herself. Her next boyfriend was Nice Guy Tim Drake, who took care of her during her pregnancy, brought her to birthing classes, and even crossed hundred of miles in one night just to see her at the hospital during her labour.
  • In Watchmen, Laurie eventually realizes that Jon really loves her. Although his detachment from humanity caused him to be used as a walking murder weapon during the Vietnam war, she's attracted to his omniscience, his virility and his power over her. She also realizes that, as a god, he's unable to care for her the way a normal guy could. So she ends up with the nerdy, mild-mannered, fat, balding, initially impotent Dan Dreiberg, and they live happily ever after.
  • Lois Lane (eventually) for Clark Kent, before she found out he was also Superman. That freaked her out a little, but she decided that since he's still a Nice Guy and Clark is his natural personality, it would be foolish to throw him over.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after seven seasons of screwing two "good" (according to her screwed-up definition of soul + dead + still walking + penis + about as old as Independent America = good) vampires, a genetically-altered idiot soldier, and a one-night stand with a college sleazeball, she goes after the one good man who had pined for her way back in high school. Only to find that he was now in love with her little sister, Dawn.
  • In Jennifer Blood, the title character fell in love with and married a mild-mannered, goofy, and good-natured accountant precisely because he was the opposite of every man -- all hardened ruthless criminals -- she had ever known in her life. In her own words, her husband is the kind of man her evil uncles would have dismissed as "weak", because he's the kind of man who makes society work instead of preying on it.


Fairy Tales

  • In The Golden Bird, the prince who brings back the golden bird for his father also brings back a princess; when his brothers try to kill him and threaten her, she does not stop grieving until the prince returns alive. Similarly in The Bird Grip and Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf.
    • In some versions, the other brothers try to force the princess to marry one of them. She keeps them away by clawing at the eyes of whoever comes near her, but quickly recognizes the youngest brother when no one else does and welcomes him back.
  • In The Golden Mermaid, the mermaid refuses to leave the body of the murdered youngest son, who actually carried out The Quest, even when his older brothers threaten her.
  • Beauty and The Beast has this trope written all over it. The heroine is terrified at first by the Beast's monstrous appearance, but eventually falls in love with him when she realizes that True Beauty Is on the Inside.


Films -- Live-Action

  • In the 1956 film classic High Society, Rich Bitch Tracy Samantha Lord (played by Grace Kelly) falls in love with Mike Connor, a bad-boy-type reporter (played by Frank Sinatra) sent to cover her wedding with George Kittredge, (a more strict man, played by John Lund) while being wooed by her ex-husband, C.K. Dexter-Haven (a Nice Guy played by Bing Crosby). George is angry at Tracy, but Dexter forgives him, and the wedding ceremony that was meant to be for Tracy and George ends up being for Tracy and Dexter instead (to make up for the fact that they initially eloped).
  • X2: X-Men United has Jean Grey give a major speech about this that sounds a lot like Princess Leia's, though the outcomes of the two speeches are quite different.
  • In The Adventures of Robin Hood, Maid Marian is quite cold to Robin despite his obvious charm, until he reveals that he is actually acting on behalf of the suffering innocent. (Then, he was not interested in her good opinion until it dawned on him that when she called him a "Saxon hedge-robber", what she really objected to in that list was the "robber".)
  • In The Rocketeer, in the Love Triangle between Jenny, Neville Sinclair, and Cliff, it is Cliff's concern for her welfare and Sinclair's manifest phoniness that sends Jenny back to Cliff.
    • Well, that he's phony, and that he's a Nazi spy.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Jessica is madly in love with Roger, for the reason cited above. After Eddie saved the day, she gave him a cool "My hero" and pounced on Roger for a Sickeningly Sweethearts moment.
    • Furthermore, when Eddie incredulously asks for confirmation that she's married to Roger, Betty Boop responds with "What a lucky gal."
  • Neha, the heroine of the Bollywood movie Dostana doesn't end up with either of the two good-looking guys, Sam and Kunal, who are willing to lie and cheat their way into her heart. She falls for Abhi instead, a kind family man.
  • In Just Friends, Chris Brander is mocked during his teenage years for being a fat, but smart and sensitive young man. He decides to abandon his old persona in order to chase wealth, power, and financial success, which he gains in spades. But when his flight is accidentally grounded in his old home town ten years later, he realizes that he needs to rediscover many of the character traits he left behind in order to court his highschool crush, a small town "girl next door" character. A variation of the Childhood Friend Romance.
  • In Rab ne Banadi Jodi, the heroine chooses her nerdy Husband over the Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is wooing her. Of course, this being a Shah Rukh Khan movie, they end up being the same person.
  • The Party has a sweet and shy French singer looking to break into Hollywood with the help of her 'willing' agent. All throughout the movie she talks with A-list members of the scene, and is ready and set to become a star. But during the climactic scene, when it comes down to becoming a starlet or being with extra-good guy Hrundi V. Bakshi? She chooses Bakshi.
  • Most of Tyler Perry's movies have this. Usually the woman is someone who has serious problems (i.e. on drugs, single parent) and resists at first, then falls in love.
  • From Where The Heart Is, Novalee was initially with her Jerkass boyfriend Willy Jack, having no one else and carrying his baby at the time, until he abandoned her at a Wal-Mart. Ultimately, she fell in love with and married Forney, the local librarian.
    • The same situation with Novalee's friend Lexie, who was attracted to several bad boys. Who tended to leave her pregnant and run off on her. She would later marry Adorkable Ernie the Exterminator who, despite looking rather frumpy and plain, had a heart of gold.
  • The whole love story of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and its remake.
  • The titlular Honey starring Jessica Alba, was attracted to the sweet and friendly barber compared to the big-time producer who made unwanted sexual advances to her and then fired her when she declined.
  • Isabel and Donald in Mozart and the Whale. In this case there was no question of choosing a bad boy over Donald. The problem was that they were both autistic and thus constantly and very painfully stepping on each others emotional toes.
  • In Something New, Kenya has to choose between two very different nice guys.
  • In Tucker and Dale Versus Evil Allison rebuffs Chad's creepy advances and eventually falls in love with the awkward yet decent hillbilly Dale.
  • In Kate and Leopold Kate says that Leopold is handsome, honest, courteous. Stands when you walk in a room. Brings you brioche in bed. She realizes that he is someone who came along who knew exactly what she wanted without asking.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, there were hints that Peggy was beginning to fall for the pre-serum Adorkable humble Nice Guy Steve Rogers.
  • In The Whole Nine Yards, Jimmy "The Tulip's" wife Cynthia falls for Oz mostly because he's a really nice guy.
  • In The Mask, Tina falls in love with Nice Guy Stanley Ipkiss. At the end, when Stanley asks her if she really wants him to get rid of the Mask since that means she'll be stuck with just him, she promptly throws the Mask into the river herself.


Literature

  • In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, while Darcy's apparent arrogance puts Elizabeth off, she is won over by the revelation of his actual dealings with Wickham, the testimony of his servants, and his generosity to her family when Lydia elopes.
    • Indeed, all her heroines are won by good men. Usually after being temporarily interested in and/or pursued by thorough cads.
  • Audrey Wait: All of the successful romantic leads are decent, all around reliable guys.
  • Faramir in The Lord of the Rings wins Eowyn this way -- admittedly from a shadow.
  • In The Unhandsome Prince by John Moore, the character who insists she is entitled to marry a handsome prince is shocked and repelled by one brother of the unhandsome prince she disenchanted; she seriously considers marrying the unhandsome prince. As he has fallen in love with someone else in the meantime, she ends up marrying the third brother, who is both handsome and nice.
  • In Piers Anthony's Xanth, the Gorgon fell in love with the Good Magician Humphrey after he prevented her from turning everyone she saw to stone. So she went to his castle, where he would answer any question in return for a year's service, to ask, "Will you marry me?" He made her work the year. He explains to Dor that while he knew from the beginning that he would say "Yes," she was just infatuated with the man who had rescued her from her curse; after a year working for him, she would know him well and thus know whether she wanted to marry him. A bit later, the Gorgon tells Dor she realized this and asks Dor what sort of man would do such a thing. Dor realizes that only a good man, a man worth marrying, would do such a thing. So they do.
  • In Harry Potter, female lead Hermione Granger has a long-running Belligerent Sexual Tension-style attraction to fundamentally good guy Ron Weasley. The thing that finally pushes her to kiss him senseless? It's when Ron realizes in a panic that the House Elves are unprotected during the Battle of Hogwarts. Which is this trope to an almost absurd level, since the welfare of House Elves has long been a moral cause close to Hermione's heart, and one that had opened her up to general ridicule in previous books (especially from Ron). Although it's worth pointing out there's a difference between forcing unwanted freedom on them, and trying to make sure they don't get killed.
    • And even Hermione's brief love interest Viktor Krum, although he's introduced as an intimidating world-class athlete from a rival school, turns out to be a pretty nice guy.
    • In fact, this is a trend throughout the series. Fleur Delacour falls in love with Bill Weasley, Cho Chang falls in love with Cedric and later pursues Harry, Ginny goes to the Yule Ball with Neville (before he fully Took a Level In Badass, even). Arthur and Molly Weasley must also count - after all, they're into each other enough to have seven children! Lily Potter, meanwhile, is specifically turned off by what she considers to be Snape's moral failings (consorting with Death Eaters, dropping the slur "mudblood"). Her eventual choice, James, was a Jerkass in school but later it was outright-stated that by the time Lily and James married, James had matured into someone who wasn't such an a-hole. Perhaps a nod to Truth In Literature, given this tends to happen to a lot of people in Real Life (i.e. When in junior high/high school, some kids were insufferable jerkwads with no concept to the consequences of their actions. Years later, once they've out in the real world, most tend to become wiser and more compassionate).
    • On the flip side, the two biggest cases of lust instead of love - Riddle Sr. and Merope and Bellatrix and Voldemort - all involve men that are very not nice. Riddle Sr. was shown to be extremely shallow and cruel, and had no qualms about abandoning his unborn child.
  • From the Star Wars Expanded Universe: it is explicitly stated several times in profic (and a lot more in fanfic, but that's us mushy shippers for you) that this is exactly why Mara Jade fell in love with Luke Skywalker; she admires his idealism, honor, and willingness to give most everyone a second chance. In Survivor's Quest she affectionately calls him "Farm Boy", and says in the narration that she's both exasperated by and loves the fact that he's always four or five rungs higher up on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism than she or almost anyone else is.
    • This is a large part of why Maris Ferasi, who was in a relationship with a coarse, suspicious smuggler, idolized Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo. She saw him as like the high-minded people she knew in school, but the mature version, grounded in reality. Cultured, intelligent, noble... Of course, she's the Wide-Eyed Idealist character, and Thrawn's much darker than that, even if he does possess the qualities she sees. Thrawn does tell Car'das, who sees Thrawn a little more clearly, not to disillusion her, because true idealists are so rare, and he wouldn't want to be responsible for crushing even one.
  • In John Hemry's A Just Determination, Paul Sinclair testifies on behalf of a captain whom he neither liked nor respected, did not think a good officer, and never wanted to serve under again, because while the man had done wrong, the charges against him were excessive. Jen Shen's original view of this is that it's crazy ... but on reflection, she finds it an attraction.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs's heroines chose the hero for his heroic traits -- eventually. Culture Clash and misunderstandings complicate matters even on top of their usual Damsel in Distress separations.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe Eighth Doctor Adventures, Trix falls in love with Fitz because he's honest and trustworthy. The degree to which these particular positive traits are only relative to the fact she's a bit of a Femme Fatale and a Master of Disguise to boot is debatable, but he is indeed caring, sensitive, and dependable. He's also a consummate Deadpan Snarker, a Man Child to the point of getting on her nerves, and a Chivalrous Pervert, but all told, he is indeed a good man.
  • From Holes, we have Miss Katherine who fell for Sam the onion man because he was a generally friendly Nice Guy, compared to Trout Walker, who was rich, disrespectful, loud, and stupid. It doesn't end well for them, alas.
    • We also have Sarah, who married the sweet Eliya Yelnats despite the fact that he was apparently cursed. Eliya himself could be considered a gender-flipped version, since he initially pursued the idiotic Myra and ended up Happily Married to the sensible and capable Sarah.
  • The "Beta Male" theory is explained in detail in A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. It boils down to the observation that the nice-but-average guys who make up most of the population win in the end after girls get kicked to the curb one time too many by the Jerk Jock and cutthroat businessman.
  • In the Dresden Files, Margaret La Fey ultimately found happiness with Malcolm Dresden, who is always described as a genuinely good guy.
  • This was Christopher Stasheff's in-story explanation for why gorgeous redheaded witch Gwen chose to marry "lean, well-muscled, ugly" Rod Gallowglass:

  [I]f a beautiful woman is betrayed often enough, she will begin to value trustworthiness, warmth, and affection more than romance. At least, she will if she is the kind of woman to whom love is the goal, and romance just the luxury....


Live-Action TV

  • In the very short-lived ABC series Life As We Know It, after Dino's dad found out his wife was cheating on him, moved out and started dating someone else. Her reasons: he's funny and good with kids.
  • Friends: At first, Rachel did not know Paolo was a nasty guy. When she realised he was, she complained to Ross that what she really wants is a nice guy, a sweet, caring guy etc. IIRC she did this more than once before they finally got together. Also Monica dated the Badass from her high school days and got to ride his motorcycle... but he hadn't ever grown out of that old persona and still lived with his parents, so she relished dumping him. And her two main long-term boyfriends in the show were Richard and Chandler, who both fit the "Nice Guy" stereotype pretty well.
    • Don't forget Pete. Sure, he's a little obsessed, but he was still "stupidly charming", as he described himself, and also a billionaire who took Monica to Italy for pizza on their first date. (At least until he went crazy.)
  • Charlotte from Sex and the City kept saying how she was after a good marrying man. She dated a bunch of handsome men, many of whom turned out to be jerks or losers. She finally falls in love with Harry Goldfarb, a short, bald, pudgy lawyer with irritating habits and wound up happily married to him.
    • Two factors certainly helped. One, he was her divorce lawyer and sort-of emotional anchor. Two, despite his average looks he was VERY good in bed.
    • Both Miranda and Samantha's respective men, Steve and Smith, fit this as well. Smith was as sweet and loyal as he was Mr. Fanservice, and Steve is the embodiment of what women say when they wish they could meet a nice man. Big... never at any point resembled this trope.
  • In Charmed, Piper married Leo who was nice and sweet and literally an angel.
    • While Prue is known to have been attracted to bad boys, the only man she was ever in love with was her season one Cop Boyfriend Andy, who pretty much fits the "Nice Guy" stereotype to a tee.
  • In Beauty and The Beast (TV series), Catherine falls in love with Vincent while unable to see, and constantly stresses that to him that he is a good man, not the monster he thinks himself to be.
  • In Firefly Kaylee has a crush on Simon. Simon can't figure out what to do about it.
    • Also, Zoe is Happily Married to Wash, who is decidedly not a bad boy.
    • It's implied that while Saffron has conned a ton of men into marrying her, she still has some amount of affection for Husband Number One, at least enough so that she tries to have him think well of her when she robs him. Mal figures this out when he sees how affectionately the husband greets her, and notes that Saffron could have waltzed right in if she'd wanted.
  • In Chuck, Sarah Walker is a tough, fighting-geared spy who falls in love with the show's titular character, a nice, caring, normal guy who she's protecting.
  • Rachel and Quinn both choose the sweet, ditzy Finn over the Troubled but Cute Puck in Glee.
  • Amy with Rory from Doctor Who. Although she initially had doubts about their marriage, and was attracted to the Doctor (still is, superficially, if her flirting says anything), they finally get married. Rory had to die, be erased from existence and wait 2,000 years, but they finally got together.

  Amy: You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful, and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they're as dull as a brick. Then there's other people, and you meet them and you think, "Not bad, they're okay," and then you get to know them and, and their face just sort of becomes them, like their personality is written all over it, and they just, they turn into something so beautiful ... Rory is the most beautiful man I've ever met.

  • Guinevere from Merlin shows no interest in prattish Arthur whatsoever until he begins to show some humility.
  • Mildred Hubble in Weirdsister College found herself attracted to the bad boy and Jerkass Nick Hobbes but eventually chose nice guy Ben instead.
  • In Magnum, P.I. Lest We Forget a prostitute tries to elope with a navy flier in World War II because of this reason. After Pearl Harbor they each think each other dead and have to wait fifty years before Magnum reunites them.
  • Anna on Downton Abbey, who believes her love Mr Bates is a good man even when he doesn't.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer deconstructs and then reconstructs the trope. Buffy definitely has a thing for bad boys and when she tries to have a relationship with nice guy Riley it doesn't work out because he feels he can't compare to Angel, and Buffy clearly doesn't love him like she loved Angel and later Spike. The reconstruction comes in when we see that, while Buffy does need some darkness in her men, she really does want a good man as she only truly falls in love with Spike after his full Heel Face Turn.
    • Inverted when Buffy thinks that Angel might be interested in Faith. Angel, however, assures her that he doesn't want a "bad girl".
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Lily is happily married to Marshall, who is probably the sweetest guy on the show.
    • Whoever the mother is will eventually marry Ted, who is also kind and good natured.
  • Bones has plainly stated in one episode that she's attracted to good men, and eventually falls for Booth who is charming, kindhearted, and loyal.


Music

  • The premise of the Joan Baez song "If I Knew" which is bascially a hippy love anthem from a girl to boy who will not hunt innocent animals or destroy rare flowers; not for money and not for love. And she loves him even if he is 'called a craven.'


Theatre

  • Kate Monster from Avenue Q goes for nice, college-educated Princeton.
  • Carmen Diaz from Fame falls in love with the shy, Adorkable, music-loving Schlomo Metzenbaum.


Video Games

  • Almaz's eventual marriage to Ax Crazy Princess Sapphire in Disgaea 3 qualifies. Also linked to Laser-Guided Karma.
  • In Odin Sphere, Gwendolyn started out hating Oswald (her marriage was a punishment and Oswald was once her enemy), but she eventually discovers his true colors. He's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who was about the only one to respect her as a person, and fiercely defended her right to make her own decisions.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots there are two examples. There's Naomi who fell for Otacon and then there's Meryl who fell for and married Johnny who turned out to be a good guy.
  • Subverted in Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, Felicity Flitt who at first had a thing for Wallace (who is a very nice guy) even commenting on how she likes his kindness and selflessness, in the end goes for the Jerkass Duncan McBiscuit (who was always trying to woo her). Mind that Wallace is relieved by this.
  • Accounts for some of the appeal of Alistair's Romance Sidequest in Dragon Age Origins.
    • Leliana of the same game is only interested in a Warden who gains her approval through acts of charity and heroism to the general populace as well as generosity with gifts.
    • Of course, in Leliana's case, she was once a All Girls Want Bad Girls type.
  • Final Fantasy X has the lead female Yuna falling deeply in love with the sweet, happy-go-lucky Tidus. Also, Lulu eventually falls for the jovial, good-natured Wakka, after previously falling for his equally good-natured, but deceased, brother Chappu.
  • Quite a few of the possible pairings in the Fire Emblem series fall into this trope, with the woman falling in love with the man because of his kindness, nobility, care for others and classiness. These men are:
    • Marth, Julian and Merric in FE 1 and 3.
    • Sigurd, Dew, Fin, Azel, Midayle, Noish, Jamka, Holyn, and Claud in FE 4. The second generation gives us Celice, Leaf, Oifaye and Sety.
    • Leaf again, in FE 5. Also Fred, Brighton and the already Happily Married Glade. ( And Fin in the past, since it's all but stated he is Nanna's dad and thus Lachesis's Second Love.) Also, while Pirn is a Punch Clock Hero, what draws Lara to him is how he did not take advantage of her when he could have done so, and released her from child slavery instead.
    • Roy from FE 6. Also Noah, Lance, Klein and Zealot, who is also already Happily Married.
    • Eliwood, Guy, Heath, Wil, Kent, Erk, Harken, Lowen, Matthew, and Lord Pent from FE 7.
    • Prince Ephraim, Artur, Seth, Franz, Joshua, Ross, Forde, Saleh and Kyle from FE 8.
      • And played with in the case of Gerik. He has the perfect Bad Boy appearance (well-toned body, a sexy scar across his face, Badassery)... but personality-wise he's a very serene and sweet-natured Team Dad, which is exactly the reason why Tethys and Marisa are in love with him.
    • Geoffrey and Haar in FE 9 and 10.
  • Final Fantasy VII. Tifa loves Cloud for the shy awkward guy that he is, rather than the faux badass persona he displays through the early parts of the game.
  • Kairi only has eyes for Sora rather than Riku.
  • Played completely straight in Tales of the Abyss. The main point of Luke's Character Development is how he grows from a whiny Spoiled Brat into a kind and compassionate, if self-depreciating, Hero. As Tear Grants watches him grow, she falls deeply in love with him.
  • This is exactly why Alicia Melchiott and Juno Coren fall for the sweet, peaceful, nature-loving Welkin Gunther in Valkyria Chronicles.
    • Also: Lynn and Karl, Varrot and Largo, and Edy and Homer, if their Ship Tease is anything to go by. And Rosie and Zaka in the anime. Heck, even Selvaria's feelings for Maximillian stem from the fact that he saved her from a Fate Worse Than Death at a young age.
  • Jaheira's marriage to Khalid in Baldur's Gate is a perfect example.
  • Colette and Sheena, the two female leads in Tales of Symphonia, are both in love with Nice Guy Hero Lloyd Irving for this very reason.
  • Pretty much any girl that falls for Link, considering that most of them only know him because he saves their butts from whatever evil is at hand.
  • In the Tokimeki Memorial series, the kinder, the more affectionate, and the more attentive you are towards basically all the winnable girls of the series, the deeper they will fall in love with you. But this is especially true with the Broken Bird characters of the lot, Mira Kagami, Kaori Yae, and Hotaru Izumi, who have been burned by previous painful experiences with others (the first being on a Revenge of the Nerd crusade after continuous heartbreak, the second having suffered of Et Tu, Brute? after Taking the Heat, and the third still suffering of The Mourning After), and will only fall for you if you're particulary kind and considerate towards them.
  • All of the Love Interests for the Female Protagonist in Persona 3 Portable are this. To wit, Akihiko Sanada is standoffish and Oblivious to Love but mostly is because he's still hurting from his Dead Little Sister, Shinjiro Aragaki has a Badass exteror but has a Hidden Heart of Gold, Ryoji Mochizuki is a Casanova Wannabe but is kind hearted and Ken Amada is a Cute Shotaro Boy with a Precocious Crush. (And if you count Theodore as a love interest of sorts, he also qualifies here.)
  • Similarly, in Persona 4 the Silent Protagonist will get the affections of the girls with more ease when he shows them kindness and understanding, thus helping them resolve their issues.


Webcomics

 Sabine: Sure, women like me swoon for a hero, but that's only because deep down, we think we can change them. But me, I'm done with that now. I want a nice, safe, reliable mass-murderer that I can depend on.


Western Animation

  • There was an episode of All Grown Up where Betty said something along the lines of "All girls date a Z, but then they settle down and marry a Howie."

Everyone but Kimi thought Z was a badboy, but he was a genuinely nice, if quiet, guy who just liked to dress a certian way. He appeared in one other episode, and was also a nice guy there.

  • My Life as a Teenage Robot hints that Jenny will eventually pick Sheldon because she's sick of smooth operators, and wants someone sweet and sincere. Sheldon walks by, and she greets him, still wondering where she can find someone like that. Confirmed by Word of God after the series' cancellation.
  • Kim Possible dated the nice guys. The two of them.
  • The reason Aelita fell for Jeremie in Code Lyoko seems to be his persistence in helping and trying to make her happy without seeking thanks or reward.
  • Heloise, the sadistic girl genius who works for a company that brings misery to others in Miseryville; falls for the sweet, optimistic, Jimmy Two-Shoes. According to Word of God, one reason is that there's "something about sweet, innocent guys that appeals to the last shred of humanity in her". Here's the info.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - While there was an episode in Season 1 in which Katara was attracted to the thuggish Jet, she quickly realized her mistake at the end of the episode. The rest of the series then proceeds to develop her relationship with Aang. Naturally, they end up together in the end.
    • Also Mai seems to have been attracted to Zuko in the first place, exactly because he was not a megalomanic evil aristocrat like his father and his sister. They only get back together after he gets over his anger issues (during the Troubled but Cute phase he is in for the early half of the series) and returns to being a nice friendly young prince. While she's seriously pissed about him leaving in the dark of the night to join the Avatar, she's impressed enough by his descision to do the right thing that she fights Azula to cover his escape.
    • Ty Lee, who was also inspired by Mai's aforementioned turn to finally revolt against Azula as well, has typical Fire Nation college party dudes dreaming about being with her. Yet who's she got a crush on? Sokka.
  • The only problem that Phineas and Ferb fans can find with Candace's Love Interest Jeremy is that he's so ridiculously nice that he seems too perfect. Which is probably good, because a less calm and understanding guy might not be able to handle a girl as neurotic and excitable as her.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, there are three examples of this:
  • In Winx Club, Bloom, Flora, Tecna, Layla, and even Stella's Love Interests have been shown to be really decent guys. Musa... not so much. (Though he does go through Character Development.)
  • In Hey Arnold, Helga Pataki's relationship with Arnold plays this trope.
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