Created By: jason1420 on April 20, 2011 Last Edited By: ThePope on April 17, 2015

Boasting About Your Scars

A character boasts about having a scar/suffering an injury in the past.

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Trope
DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft


Random pirate: I got the scar of my face during a mighty struggle!
Guybrush: Yeah, I think you better stop picking your nose.
One line of the insult swordfighting sessions and its appropriate response in Monkey Island

Scars Are Forever. They can indicate that someone is a Badass or has suffered through being abused or has survived some terrible illness. Some characters are Covered with Scars. Therefore, it is likely that some people with those scars will boast about it to show their bravado.

Contest of Scars: when two scarred characters meet, they will attempt to compare their scars, boasting about how they got each scar and quite likely how much it hurt or how long it took to heal.

A variation is where the character(s) boast/one-up each other with wounds they have suffered (a long time ago or recently) but don't necessarily have the scars to prove it.

Sometimes Truth in Television for martial artists, athletes, and young children. May or may not be the case of militaries or cops.

Commonly used for Exposition. Compare Rugged Scar, Every Scar Has a Story and Scar Survey. Contrast Cut Himself Shaving. Compare and contrast Macho Masochism and Real Men Get Shot. See also Good Scars, Evil Scars.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Inverted in One Piece: Shanks explained to Whitebeard that the claw marks that he got around his left eye was Blackbeard's doing, and he says that Blackbeard is dangerous because he manages to do it to him, one of the four strongest pirates of the world. In short, when Shanks boasts about that scar, he isn't being grandiose about himself, but the one who made the scar.

Film
  • Chasing Amy has a humorous example where two main characters compare sex-related scars.
  • Happens in Jaws between Quint and Hooper. Parodied when Brody considers joining the contest via his appendix surgery scar but reconsiders.
  • Used in Lethal Weapon, between Riggs and his love interest, and played for maximum Fanservice.
  • Loaded Weapon contains a parody of the Lethal Weapon incident, where Luger and his love interest show off increasingly ridiculous scars, ending in Luger opening his chest to reveal a hamster in a wheel. "Low budget organ transplant."
  • Two guards in Return of Swamp Thing compare scars, and it turned out the lady had bite marks on her breast from a wild rock concert.
  • Mentioned by one of the soldiers in Mulan, saying he wants a girl who will "marvel at [his] strength, adore [his] battle scars!"
  • In Rock N Rolla, the two former Spetznaz Russian mercs who have since turned to Organized Crime have a scene where they try to one up each other by comparing their various war wounds and scars. Shortly afterward they demonstrate just what a force they are to be reckoned with.

Literature
  • In Brisingr, Eragon and Roran get into such a contest with all the bruises, scrapes and lumps they got in a recent battle (naturally, they're both much too badass to have taken actual wounds).
  • Halfway through The First Law, the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits sit around a fire while comparing scars. Bayaz opens the field with a near-lethal scar across his chest from when The Maker nearly killed him, 700 years ago. Logan Ninefingers (missing finger aside) ups the ante with a pair of matching scars on both sides of his torso, from where he got run clean through with a spear, surviving by a miracle of chance. However, Ferro Maljinn sweeps them both aside with a nasty collection of facial scars... which were self-inflicted, from when she was a slave and working in a whorehouse, before she learned to fight. The only way she could hurt her owner was by decreasing her own value... good thing she can Feel No Pain.
  • Vorkosigan Saga. Miles Vorkosigan always wins such contests.
  • In The Zombie Knight Roman and Hector (both of whom are unkillable) pass the time with a Bloody Hilarious conversation about the biggest wounds they've ever taken.
    Roman: Oh yeah. Okay, then what's the worst you've had that didn't kill you?
    Hector: Hmm...I'm not sure, uh...There was one time in Klein where the cops pumped about a hundred bullets into me. There was the time my whole mouth got shot off—oh, but the time I had my, uh...my chest cavity ripped open...with like, surgical clamps...that was pretty bad. Though, I guess I was technically dead when it happened...
    Roman: Impressive. Worst for me was probably the plane crash. Had to shield Lynnette or she would've been toast, so I didn't have time to protect myself from this huge metal beam—came straight for me, basically cut me in two.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, former pit fighting slave Strong Belwas claims that he always lets any opponent he fights in combat cut him before killing the man. He boats tht if you count his scars you will know how many men he's killed. Belwas is Covered in Scars.
    I let each man cut me once, before I kill him. Count the cuts and you will know how many Strong Belwas has slain.

Live-Action Television
  • In one episode of Criminal Minds Morgan and another profiler do this.
  • In Leverage, Eliot and his opposite number on another crew of thieves have this exchange at the end of the episode:
    Dayan (showing a scar on her chest): "Grenade. Somalia."
    Eliot (pointing to one on his arm): "Myanmar. Sniper."
    Dayan: "I was a sniper in Myanmar for a while."
    Eliot: ...
  • House has a long exchange with a CIPA patient, who can't feel pain. He shows off the scar on his leg, she counters with the burn marks all over the inside of her mouth, he raises the stakes with the constant fear of his pain meds destroying his liver, but that is matched by her having to constantly check her eyes to see if she's lacerated her corneas. House appears to win with "I got shot", until the patient pulls up her hospital gown to show him the scar from when she sat on a hot stove. Turns out he was goading her to do that so he could inject her with sedatives.
  • An episode of Arrow starts off with Oliver, Diggle, and Sara comparing scars. Felicity feels left out. At the end of the episode after getting shot, Felicity is happy to have wound with a story just like the rest of the team.

Newspaper Comics
  • There's a The Far Side strip where a man with a peg-leg is trying to one-up a guy who's just finished telling the story of his peg head.

Video Games
  • In Monkey Island, one of the insult one liners in the insult swordfighting sessions is "I got the scar of my face during a mighty struggle!" The appropriate response to it is: "Yeah, I think you better stop picking your nose."

Western Animation
  • Arthur. In an Imagine Spot from "April 9th," Arthur dreams his father is catering for a band of pirates, some of which are comparing and showing off their stitches:
    Pirate 1: (Points to his face) Ten stitches from a moray eel!
    Pirate 2: (Lifts his shirt) Fifteen stitches from that vicious cod!
    Pirate 3: (Holds up finger) I have a... little bite...
  • Averted by Captain Amelia in Disney's Treasure Planet when introducing herself to Doctor Doppler and Jim Hawkins: "I'm Captain Amelia, late of a few run-ins with the Protean armada. Nasty business," flashing a fey smile, "but I won't bore you with m' scars." Being a bona fide Action Girl, she likely has some dandy scars.
  • A variation occurs in the Family Guy episode "Stew-Roids". Connie tries to ask Meg to help her take down Chris to restore her titles as the most popular student. Meg understandably refuses, citing all the humiliating stuff Connie pulled on herm, and shows her the scars she got from cutting herself (and she can name each embarrassing incident that led to each scar).
    Meg: This is from when you called me "sticky-ass cow" in sixth grade. This one is from when you made a plaster cast of my vagina, freshman year.

Real Life
  • Mensur fencers, particularly in Austria during the 19th and early 20th century, would show off the scars acquired in their fights - some fencers deliberately cut themselves and/or badly treated their wounds so that their scars would be more impressive.


Community Feedback Replies: 45
  • April 20, 2011
    jaytee
    Do We Have This One? I could swear I've seen it.

    Mallrats has a humorous example where two main characters compare sex-related scars.
  • April 20, 2011
    Scooter007
    Happens in Jaws between Quint and Hooper. Parodied when Brody considers joining the contest via his appendix surgery scar but reconsiders.
  • April 20, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    I looked, but it seems we don't have this. But I suggest Comparing Scars as a name.

    Two guards in Return of Swamp Thing compare scars, and it turned out the lady had bite marks on her breast from at a wild rock concert.
  • April 20, 2011
    jaytee
    I like Scarring Contest as a name. Puns off of staring contest and is nearly clear as to what it means. Comparing Scars is 100% clear, but loses a little punch. Just my opinion.

    I just double-checked for this as well... I think what I've seen in the past was listed under Shout Out as a reference to Jaws.

    Also, when I said Mallrats, I actually meant Chasing Amy.
  • April 21, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Well the pun also makes for awkward spelling. Not to mention it seems like who can scar each other the most. Plus this is more like a dick measuring contest than a staring contest.

    What about Wound Upsmanship? EDIT: Okay, that's not as clever written out as I thought. But I'll keep trying.
  • April 21, 2011
    Arivne
    ^^^^^ @jaytee: You may be remembering a YKTTW from not too long ago. It focused on the "comparing scars leads to romance" angle. I contributed the Jaws example to it, but I can't find it now.
  • April 21, 2011
    dalek955
    • In Brisingr, Eragon and Roran once got into such a contest with all the bruises, scrapes and lumps they got in a recent battle (naturally, they're both much too badass to have taken actual wounds).
  • April 21, 2011
    BlackDragon
    Halfway through The First Law, the Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits sit around a fire while comparing scars. Bayaz opens the field with a near-lethal scar across his chest from when The Maker nearly killed him, 700 years ago. Logan Ninefingers (missing finger aside) ups the ante with a pair of matching scars on both sides of his torso, from where he got run clean through with a spear, surviving by a miracle of chance. However, Ferro Maljinn sweeps them both aside with a nasty collection of facial scars... which were self-inflicted, from when she was a slave and working in a whorehouse, before she learned to fight. The only way she could hurt her owner was by decreasing her own value... good thing she can Feel No Pain.
  • April 21, 2011
    Premonition45
  • April 21, 2011
    bbofun
  • October 9, 2014
    DAN004
    Sounds like Macho Masochism
  • October 10, 2014
    Sahira
    ^ Not exactly, that trope is deliberate self-harm to show that you're tough, this trope is two people one-up-ing each other by showing evidence of wounds inflicted by other people.
  • October 10, 2014
    DAN004
    Kinda wanting it to be called Boasting With Your Scars or Boasting About Your Scars.
  • October 10, 2014
    dalek955
  • October 10, 2014
    Sahira
    ^ Not sure if that counts given that there are no scars involved.
  • October 10, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ but there are definitely injuries. In fact I believe comparing injuries is more common than comparing scars.
  • October 10, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Averted by Captain Amelia in Disney's Treasure Planet when introducing herself to Doctor Doppler and Jim Hawkins: "I'm Captain Amelia, late of a few run-ins with the Protean armada. Nasty business," flashing a fey smile, "but I won't bore you with m' scars." Being a bona fide Action Girl, she likely has some dandy scars.
  • October 10, 2014
    eowynjedi
    Do pegs count as scars? Because there's a The Far Side strip where a man with a peg-leg is trying to one-up a guy who's just finished telling the story of his peg head.
  • October 10, 2014
    Alvin
    I saw an episode of Criminal Minds in which Morgan and another profiler do this.
  • October 11, 2014
    Dalillama
    • Loaded Weapon contains a parody of the Lethal Weapon incident, where Luger and his love interest show off increasingly ridicilous scars, rnging inLuger opening his chest to reveal a hamster in a wheel. "Low budget organ transplant."
  • October 11, 2014
    henke37
    I Thought It Meant A contest about scareing people.
  • October 11, 2014
    DAN004
  • October 11, 2014
    randomsurfer
  • October 11, 2014
    Sahira
    ^ Already comparing that.
  • October 11, 2014
    DAN004
    Wait, I just found Real Men Get Shot.
  • October 11, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Western Animation
    • Arthur. In an Imagine Spot from "April 9th," Arthur dreams his father is catering for a band of pirates, some of which are comparing and showing off their stitches:
      Pirate 1: (Points to his face) Ten stitches from a moray eel!
      Pirate 2: (Lifts his shirt) Fifteen stitches from that vicious cod!
      Pirate 3: (Holds up finger) I have a... little bite...
  • October 11, 2014
    Sahira
    ^^ That trope description is pretty vague. Not really sure what it's about but it seems different... Possibly related?
  • December 16, 2014
    dalek955
    Bump. Needs hats.
  • December 16, 2014
    DAN004
    In Monkey Island, one of the insult one liners in the insult swordfighting sessions is "I got the scar of my face during a mighty sstruggle!" The appropriate response to it is. "Yeah, I think you better stop picking your nose."
  • December 16, 2014
    DAN004
    Would this count as inversion?
    • In One Piece, Shanks explained to Whitebeard that the claw marks that he got around his left eye was Blackbeard's doing, and he says that BB is dangerous because he manages to do it to him, one of the four strongest pirates of the world.
  • December 16, 2014
    TheWanderer
    • In Rock N Rolla, the two former Spetznaz Russian mercs who have since turned to Organized Crime have a scene where they try to one up each other by comparing their various war wounds and scars. Shortly afterward they demonstrate just what a force they are to be reckoned with.
  • December 17, 2014
    Snicka
    Does the following example count? It has one character mentioning battle scars as a way to attract ladies.
    • Mentioned by one of the soldiers in Mulan, saying he wants a girl who will "marvel at [his] strength, adore [his] battle scars!"
  • December 17, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ it's still boasting so why not?
  • December 17, 2014
    Snicka
    ^ I asked because the Laconic explicitly says two characters boastfully comparing scars.
  • December 17, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Then Laconic should change
  • December 17, 2014
    reub2000
    • An episode of Arrow starts off with Oliver, Diggle, and Sara comparing scars. Felicity feels left out. At the end of the episode after getting shot, Felicity is happy to have wound with a story just like the rest of the team.
  • December 19, 2014
    sigh824
    On Teen Wolf, Lydia is attacked. The next day, while she's getting ready for school, her mom asks her if she's going to cover the bruises on her neck:

    Lydia: Someone tried to strangle me and I survived. I don't need to hide that.
  • December 19, 2014
    sigh824
    Also, does The Dark Knight count?

    Joker: Do you wanna know how I got these scars?

  • December 19, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Teen Wolf may not count cuz she isn't really boasting. Joker may count though.
  • January 1, 2015
    DAN004
    If I'm allowed to take this over, I may change the trope into boasting about your scars in general.
  • January 21, 2015
    TheWanderer
    In A Song Of Ice And Fire, former pit fighting slave Strong Belwas claims that he always lets any opponent he fights in combat cut him before killing the man. He boats tht if you count his scars you will know how many men he's killed. Belwas is Covered In Scars.
    I let each man cut me once, before I kill him. Count the cuts and you will know how many Strong Belwas has slain.
  • February 12, 2015
    Kartoonkid95
    • A variation occurs in the Family Guy episode "Stew-Roids". Connie tries to ask Meg to help her take down Chris to restore her titles as the most popular student. Meg understandably refuses, citing all the humiliating stuff Connie pulled on herm, and shows her the scars she got from cutting herself (and she can name each embarrassing incident that led to each scar).
      Meg: This is from when you called me "sticky-ass cow" in sixth grade. This one is from when you made a plaster cast of my vagina, freshman year.
  • April 17, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump plz.
  • April 17, 2015
    lakingsif
    I'm sure there's another one than Every Scar Has A Story that really is this... though I also think it's covered by Covered In Scars and what's the one about getting visible injuries and adding to the looks

    EDIT: Rugged Scar, Scar Survey, Scar Tropes. I think this is really a combination of a few of them.
  • April 17, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ this is indeed related to Rugged Scar and especially Every Scar Has A Story.
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