Created By: lexicon on April 4, 2014 Last Edited By: lexicon on May 11, 2014

Romantically Unavailable Lady (hats?)

An attractive high class woman in who repeatedly refuses suitors

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Trope
Men of all levels of society will try to court her but this lady won't have any of it. She will be beautiful of course, high class, well-dressed, and rich but lonely. There's a good chance that she's just waiting for the right one to come along but doesn't see anyone worthy of her attention. That might be part of what makes her a Rebellious Princess or Spirited Young Lady. If the men look up to her she's a Peerless Love Interest as well as this.

Contrast Proper Lady. Compare Onee-sama.

Examples

FairyTales
  • The fairy tale "King Thrushbeard''—the princess does not want any man, so goes out of her way to find fault with all her suitors. This being a less tolerant age, her father declares she will be wed to the next man to come to the castle. He means it, too, and she is married to a wandering fiddler. It all turns out okay in the end.
  • The Japanese Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter has Kaguya-hime, who is very beautiful, but would reject every suitor by asking them to do impossible tasks.

Film
  • In Aladdin Jasmine likes rejecting the arrogant suitors the Sultan offers her but Aladdin wants to be a prince just for the chance to be with Jasmine.
  • Jocelyn from A Knight's Tale seems used to young knights looking up to her and doesn't really respond to William's advances with anything but amusement bordering on annoyance until he stops treating her like an ideal by actually listening to her and trying to get to know her as a person.

Literature
  • Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice is the daughter of a landowning gentleman. She tells her sister that she wishes to marry for love so when Mr. Collins and later Mr. Darcy propose she strongly refuses.
  • George MacDonald Fraser's Author Avatar, Lieutenant Dand McNeill, is at the centre of much plotting and scheming when n a visit to his favourite aunt in the Scottish highlands. Aunt Alison is an independently wealthy woman who owns and runs an upscale hotel. This formidable, handsome and extremely strong lady is always surrounded by besotted male admirers but remains single, adeptly manipulating her would-be husbands whilst keeping all at arms' length. To her nephew's soldiers, she is a terrifying but just judge of their foibles and illegal dealings whilst in Perthshire - a county of Scotland that she practically runs as her fiefdom.

Live-Action TV
  • Fiona Coyne from Degrassi is the gorgeous daughter of a wealthy foreign diplomat. She keeps having to tell the guys that she's not interested when they flirt with her.
  • The Brady Bunch: Jan meets her Aunt Jenny, who in childhood photos was an exact double of her. However as an adult she looks like Imogene Coca. Nevertheless, due to her sparkling personality she gets marriage proposals a few times a week from assorted royalty and internationally powerful men; she turns them all down though, because if she married one she'd have to settle down and she enjoys her jet-setting lifestyle.

Mythology
  • While Odysseus spent many years trying to return home after the Trojan War, his wife Penelope had a phalanx of suitors at her doorstep. The suitors tried fervently to convince Penelope that Odysseus had surely died, but Penelope refused to abandon hope. When Odysseus finally arrived, he found his home overrun with horny mooches, so he massacred them all.

Theatre:
Community Feedback Replies: 61
  • April 4, 2014
    DAN004
    • Princess Merida in Bra Ve is set in an Arranged Marriage between three competing suitors. She, being a free-minded teenager, objects to the idea and sabotages the contest. In the end of the movie she manages to convince everyone that she isn't ready to marry anyone. The three suitors also revealed that they're only pressed by their fathers to marry.
  • Dan beat me to it. :P
  • April 6, 2014
    SKJAM
    The fairy tale "King Thrushbeard''—the princess does not want any man, so goes out of her way to find fault with all her suitors. This being a less tolerant age, her father declares she will be wed to the next man to come to the castle. He means it, too, and she is married to a wandering fiddler. It all turns out okay in the end.
  • April 6, 2014
    DAN004
  • April 6, 2014
    lexicon
    Good example. Thank you.
  • April 6, 2014
    DAN004
    Add my example plz.
  • April 6, 2014
    lexicon
    The suitors were only pressed by their fathers to marry. They didn't want her. They weren't trying to court her. And no one said that she was attractive.
  • April 6, 2014
    sablesword
    • Cimorene, in the first part of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. She runs away from an arranged marriage to become the princess of a dragon, and then has to spend time and effort foiling attempts by various knights and princes to "rescue" her.
  • April 6, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Does she have to be attractive?

    and if anything, the three suitors would be male examples.
  • April 6, 2014
    DAN004
    If that's the case, though, might as well rename it Unavailable Pretty Princess.
  • April 6, 2014
    lexicon
    Unavailable Pretty Princess sounds good to me. She's attractive but wants to be single. Does that sound clear to everyone else?
  • April 8, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    Downplayed in Frozen. Prince Hans mentions that people have tried to court Queen Elsa but not have made any progress, though it's implied it might not be because she has no interest in marriage than because she's trying to keep her ice powers secret.
  • April 8, 2014
    lexicon
    I don't remember him saying that. Anyway that would fall under The Woman Wearing The Queenly Mask.
  • April 9, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    He says it just after his Evil All Along reveal. "As heir, Elsa was preferable, but no one was getting anywhere with her, but you were willing to marry me just like THAT!"
  • April 10, 2014
    lexicon
    Hats?
  • April 10, 2014
    TobuIshi
    Honestly, I'm not sure this is tropeworthy.

    We've already covered the concept of a potentially unwanted marriage in Arranged Marriage, the concept of a sassy female royal in Well Excuse Me Princess, the concept of a "pretty" princess in Princess Classic, the concept of someone refusing to get married yet in Child Marriage Veto, the concept of a gorgeous person who doesn't notice all the admiration s/he attracts in Oblivious To Love and Clueless Chick Magnet, and the concept of someone who just isn't interested in sex at all in Asexuality. Not to mention Committment Issues and Runaway Bride.

    Making a trope specifically for "attractive princesses who don't want to get married", and calling it "Unavailable Pretty Princess", just seems...weirdly punitive and a little bit sexist. Especially since a lot of the examples here are women who do choose to pursue romance eventually, on their own terms. There's an uncomfortable implication that it's somehow worse for a beautiful woman to choose to "withhold" herself from a suitor.

    Also, the phrase "looks down on those who court her" included in the description sounds weirdly bitter and angry - more undertones of bitterness at beautiful uninterested women here - and doesn't match several of the examples. Merida and Elsa aren't personally contemptuous of their suitors, they just aren't ready to settle down yet.

    Personally, I'd be more interested in something like:

    - Vow Of Chastity: A male or female character swears for personal reasons that s/he will NEVER MARRY or NEVER LOVE (AGAIN), like the goddess Artemis or Buttercup in The Princess Bride

    - Too Young For Love: A young character is flustered by romantic attention due to not feeling ready for that sort of thing yet, though s/he admits that s/he might be someday)

    Either of those would cover an admittedly blank spot in this index without dragging issues of gender or attractiveness into it. (Seriously, how do we not have a Vow of Chastity trope yet?)
  • April 10, 2014
    DAN004
  • April 13, 2014
    lexicon
    You sound like you're suggesting that Merida and Elsa are examples. Merida's suitors didn't actually want her and men never had a chance to get close to Elsa to try to court her.

    Does anyone else think this isn't tropeworthy?
  • April 13, 2014
    mimitchi33
    This was the whole plot of the The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie episode "A Royal Mis-understanding", where Mumfie brings a few suitable suitors in for the Queen of Night, who rejects them because she was really looking for her heart-shaped locket that she lost.
  • April 13, 2014
    TheHandle
  • April 13, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    I don't think this is tropeworthy only because it's limited to princesses.

    take out "princess" in the description and you get "woman who wants to remain single", which is broader, and which we don't seem to have.
  • April 13, 2014
    lexicon
    If it's just "woman who wants to remain single" would men still want to be with her or would a shrew count?

    I do think princess are stereotypically thought of as beautiful and desired in the story but not easily won by just anyone like a Well Excuse Me Princess without the sarcasm. Princess Jasmine is listed on that page because she's haughty but Aladdin is the opposite of snarky toward her.
  • April 14, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ I don't get the joke.
  • April 14, 2014
    DAN004
    The anime term for this is "himedere".
  • April 14, 2014
    lexicon
    I don't know what you're referring to. I wasn't making joke. It appears that hime means princess and I know dere means sweet so the himedere is princess-y on the outside and sweet on the inside? That seems to fit my examples. There should be a page for it.
  • April 14, 2014
    PistolsAtDawn
    I agree this isnt a trope, at least not as it is.

    More specifically, I think "Princess rejects suitors who find her attractive" is not really different from "Princess rejects suitors who want her for her power" at least not in the narritive sense. In terms of the Princess herself, her motivations are the same: She doesnt want to get married yet. Adding in the requirement that her suitors all be in love with her makes it a bit oddly specific

    Alternately, "Attractive woman who rejects the men in love with her" is also a trope, but that is not narritively different from "Atracctive Princess woh rejects the men in love with her."

    This honestly seems like X Meets Y for two real but non-existant tropes, if that makes sense
  • April 14, 2014
    DAN004
    Maybe it's more like "an attractive girl in high class who repeatedly refuse suitors and would-be suitors". Which is part of what makes a himedere (the other is that she's haughty and expects everyone to treat them as of a higher class).

    Though in this trope the girl may be Spoiled Sweet instead.

    Himedere works better as an Internal Subtrope, methinks
  • April 14, 2014
    PistolsAtDawn
    ^ that too

    Either way, this trope is about the princess and her feelings, and it shouldn't matter what her suitors think of her, as long as they want to marry her
  • April 15, 2014
    lexicon
    So how many should this be split into, three?

    "an attractive girl in high class who repeatedly refuse suitors and would-be suitors". - needs a name

    "Princess rejects suitors" - needs a name

    Himedere - needs a laconic
  • April 15, 2014
    DAN004
    Subtrope of Ice Queen and a frequent target of defrosting.
  • April 16, 2014
    lexicon
    So what should these be called, Independent Beauty and Independent Princess? I don't think I can do Himedere because I'm not that familiar with anime. I could use some help with Independent Princess if that's what we're going to call it.
  • April 16, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    me no likey the himedere name. that's a recent term snowcloned from Tsundere. it should have a more accessible name like Kuudere, which is a No Examples Please page.
  • April 16, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Sugar And Ice Personality does at least mention kuudere without the latter being the actual trope name. (Also Cute And Psycho for Yangire).

    Why not this one?

    Btw Independent Upperclass Lady would work, methinks
  • April 18, 2014
    Synchronicity
    I don't think the princess/noble lady tropes need to be split, by the way. Independent Upperclass Lady or something to that effect works perfectly fine for both, although I'd recommend a different adjective other than "independent" because, y'know... a lady's independence isn't tied to the presence/absence of suitors in her life...
  • April 18, 2014
    DAN004
    I'd up "unavailable" again.
  • April 18, 2014
    Synchronicity
  • April 18, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I'd like that.
  • April 18, 2014
    DAN004
    Note that the "unavailable" here is Tempting Fate - you can expect this lady to be together with someone (frequently the protagonist) by the end.
  • April 19, 2014
    lexicon
    Does anyone have anything to say about Independent Princess?
  • April 19, 2014
    Synchronicity
    ^Honestly, I don't think it's distinct enough from this YKTTW. Also, I take back Romantically Unavailable Lady as a name, it brings "unrequited love" tropes to mind. Maybe Romantically Independent Lady or something to that effect (adding "romantically" removes the Unfortunate Implications imo).
  • April 21, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Mythology
    • While Odysseus spent many years trying to return home after the Trojan War, his wife Penelope had a phalanx of suitors at her doorstep. The suitors tried fervently to convince Penelope that Odysseus had surely died, but Penelope refused to abandon hope. When Odysseus finally arrived, he found his home overrun with horny mooches, so he massacred them all.
  • April 22, 2014
    TrueShadow1
    Fairy Tale
    • The Japanese Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter has Kaguya-hime, who is very beautiful, but would reject every suitor by asking them to do impossible tasks.
  • April 22, 2014
    lexicon
    Thank you. There's no reason she can't be already married.
  • April 24, 2014
    lexicon
    Is there anything else this needs?
  • April 24, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    no. new name and definition is better now.
  • April 24, 2014
    lexicon
    May it have hats please then?
  • April 24, 2014
    DAN004
    Needs examples.
  • April 24, 2014
    lexicon
    Three Rules Of Three isn't good enough?
  • April 24, 2014
    DAN004
    Personally, three examples = Too Rare To Trope. Three examples are just there to convince people to add example, and doesn't mean that it's launchworthy.
  • April 27, 2014
    lexicon
    Thank you for the first hat.
  • April 27, 2014
    TheHandle
    Theatre:
  • April 30, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In The Taming Of The Shrew Katherine is the older of two sisters, and their father won't let Bianca (her younger sister) get married until she does. Problem: she doesn't want to get married and drives off all potential suitors.
  • May 1, 2014
    lexicon
    Has to be an attractive lady.
  • May 1, 2014
    DAN004
    A married lady is also "romantically unavailable", right? :P
  • May 1, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^^Huh? Was that a response to the Taming of the Shrew example?
  • May 1, 2014
    lexicon
    Yes, she's called a shrew because no one wants her. Petruchio is attracted by her large dowry, not by her.

    Dan, what are you responding to about a married lady?
  • May 2, 2014
    DAN004
    Just pointing out a joke, if you're joke-blind.
  • May 3, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Kate is generally thought to be (and usually cast as) a physically attractive lady. It's her personality people find abhorrant.

    • The Brady Bunch: Jan meets her Aunt Jenny, who in childhood photos was an exact double of her. However as an adult she looks like Imogene Coca. Nevertheless, due to her sparkling personality she gets marriage proposals a few times a week from assorted royalty and internationally powerful men; she turns them all down though, because if she married one she'd have to settle down and she enjoys her jet-setting lifestyle.
  • May 5, 2014
    AgProv
    Literature:
    • George Mac Donald Fraser's Author Avatar, Lieutenant Dand McNeill, is at the centre of much plotting and scheming when n a visit to his favourite aunt in the Scottish highlands. Aunt Alison is an independently wealthy woman who owns and runs an upscale hotel. This formidable, handsome and extremely strong lady is always surrounded by besotted male admirers but remains single, adeptly manipulating her would-be husbands whilst keeping all at arms' length. To her nephew's soldiers, she is a terrifying but just judge of their foibles and illegal dealings whilst in Perthshire - a county of Scotland that she practically runs as her fiefdom.
  • May 10, 2014
    lexicon
    Do people think this is worth launching or not?
  • May 11, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ not yet...
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=732n7xtg7tee7k2oug81v52k