Created By: ThePopeSeptember 26, 2011 Last Edited By: ThePopeOctober 8, 2011
Nuked

Hot Guy, Ugly Wife

The inversion of Ugly Guy, Hot Wife

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Trope
Alternate title: Ugly Girl, Hot Husband Needs A Better Description

A very common trops (in both Real Life and fiction) is the Ugly Guy Hot Wife pairing. This is mostly because society's standards for female beauty are far higher than that for men, and women are often thought of as loving people on the inside, while men love women for their beauty. Or it can be for another very good reason.

However, as rare as it may be, the inversion does in fact exist. While it's nowhere near as common, sometimes a totally hot hunk will end up with a Gonk of a girl. This usually plays on previous misconceptions of men and women's stances on love. Maybe the man has some ulterior motive. Maybe the girl managed to force him into such a relationship. Or maybe, just maybe, they really are in love.

This is not a YMMV trope; this is when the woman is clearly ugly, fat, or very visually displeasing in some way, while the man is incredibly attractive. Don't put down an example where "the guy is kind of good looking and the girl is kinda ugly, I guess".

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Hare Guu Deluxe has an example going in line with May December Romance. The Muscular bank robber ends up with the elderly Dama in a case of Love At First Punch.
  • Shiro's parents in Jubei-Chan.
  • Invoked in Spice And Wolf: Lawrence explains that Holo (who he introduces as "my wife") is hiding her face in a cloak because she's embarrassed by her horrific burn scars. In fact, Holo is hiding her Unusual Ears.
  • Sumiyoshi's parents from the Excel Saga manga. His father is a "normal" attractive anime guy, while his mother looks like a girl Sumiyoshi (Gonk). Also hilarious is that the mother is the only one in that family that actually speaks, while Sumiyoshi, his father, and his adorable little sister Canal all "speak" the same way.

Comic Books
  • Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters, where Tyr looks like a Mr. Olympia contestant but his fiancee is fat, smelly, and very ugly. To be fair, they're aliens and from the way he acts she seems to be attractive by the standards of his race.
  • In Runaways, Chase, the tall, blond athlete, ends up with Gert, the one girl on the team who isn't conventionally beautiful and thin.

Film
  • In Hairspray, the chubby and homely Tracy Turnblad is dating mega-hunk Link.
  • High School High: Mr. Clark took after his mother (who looks exactly like John Lovitz).
  • This becomes the Sheriff of Rottingham's fate, in Robinhood: Men in Tights, after cutting a deal with the Witch to save his life; where he reluctantly agrees to marry her in exchange for a magic pill.
Film
  • The failure of such a relationship drives the plot of She-Devil. In it, a man played by Ed Begley, Jr. is married to -- and later cheats on and abandons -- his wife, played by Roseanne Barr, who then seeks revenge. It's stated that he was trapped into marrying her after getting her pregnant in high school.

Literature
  • Dark Lord Of Derkholm: Maree is fat and dumpy, with frizzy hair, a droopy nose, and what's described as a very annoying voice. Rupert still falls hard and fast for her, and they too get married.
  • In The Obsidian Trilogy, Idalia, while certainly a beautiful human, has an elf pining for her. Then, at the end of the series, it's subverted, when she's reincarnated as an elf, though it's acceptable because this is the only way both would find long-term--by elven standards--happiness.
    • Semi-example with Kellen and Vestakia--the fact that she looks like a Demon may repel others in-universe, but the reader is more likely to see her as a Cute Monster Girl.

Live Action TV
  • Married With Children has Jefferson and Marcy D'Arcy, the Bundys' neighbors. Amanda (Marcy) Bearse was hardly ugly, but the joke was that she was a "chicken", a scrawny woman with no feminine features, and Jefferson was her trophy husband.
  • In Gossip Girl, Dorota's husband Vanya is much more attractive than she is.
  • An example of this trope appears in Glee. Lauren, a fat girl (not Hollywood Pudgy, she's actually pretty fat) goes out with the super-hot, super-popular jock, Puck.
  • The British sitcom The Vicar Of Dibley sees plump Dawn French paired with tall, dark and brooding Richard Armitage—granted, she's the protagonist, and it was only in the season finale, but still. In Real Life, Dawn French was married to Lenny Henry. The show played a little with the issue. Her significant weight gain and eventual loss was even made part of the storyline. So this can depend on which episode you watch.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Eek the cat and his love interest Annabel. (source?)
Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • September 26, 2011
    Ekuran
    I like this trope, but... I can't think of any example. Damn. Fuck Double Standards.
  • September 26, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    The only example I can think of is:

    • An invoked hope in The Lonely Island song "Dreamgirl". It's not even that the guy is that attractive, it's that the description of the girl just gets incredibly worse.

    I think the majority of examples you'll find will likely be of the fix or Relationship Sue type fanfics.
  • September 26, 2011
    nitrokitty
    • In Hairspray, the chubby and homely Tracy Turnblad is dating mega-hunk Link.
  • September 26, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    I mined Ugly Guy Hot Wife for inverted examples. I just listed them exactly as is, because I'm too lazy to alter them all. Do with them as you will.

    Anime and Manga
    • Hare Guu Deluxe has an inversion going in line with May December Romance. The Muscular bank robber ends up with the elderly Dama in a case of Love At First Punch.
    • Jubei-Chan Inverted with Shiro's parents.
    • Inverted with Sumiyoshi's parents from the Excel Saga manga. His father is a "normal" attractive anime guy, while his mother looks like a girl Sumiyoshi (Gonk). Also hilarious is that the mother is the only one in that family that actually speaks, while Sumiyoshi, his father, and his adorable little sister Canal all "speak" the same way.

    Comic Books
    • Inverted in Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters, where Tyr looks like a Mr. Olympia contestant but his fiancee is fat, smelly, and very ugly. To be fair, they're aliens and from the way he acts she seems to be attractive by the standards of his race.
    • Inverted in Runaways: Chase, the tall, blond athlete, ends up with Gert, the one girl on the team who isn't conventionally beautiful and thin.

    Film
    • (left out Hairspray example ^)
    • Inverted in High School High. Mr. Clark took after his mother (who looks exactly like John Lovitz).

    Literature
    • Dark Lord Of Derkholm: Inverted in her Deep Secret. Maree is fat and dumpy, with frizzy hair, a droopy nose, and what's described as a very annoying voice. Rupert still falls hard and fast for her, and they too get married.
    • Inverted in The Obsidian Trilogy. Idalia, while certainly a beautiful human, has an elf pining for her. Then, at the end of the series, it's subverted, when she's reincarnated as an elf, though it's acceptable because this is the only way both would find long-term--by elven standards--happiness.
      • Semi-inverted with Kellen and Vestakia--the fact that she looks like a Demon may repel others in-universe, but the reader is more likely to see her as a Cute Monster Girl.

    Live Action TV
    • Inverted on Married With Children with Jefferson and Marcy D'Arcy, the Bundys' neighbors. Amanda (Marcy) Bearse was hardly ugly, but the joke was that she was a "chicken", a scrawny woman with no feminine features, and Jefferson was her trophy husband.
    • Inverted on Gossip Girl. Dorota's husband Vanya is much more attractive than she is.
    • A very rare inversion of this trope appears in Glee. Lauren, a fat girl (not Hollywood Pudgy, she's actually pretty fat) goes out with the super-hot, super-popular jock, Puck.

    Web Comics

    Western Animation
    • Inverted with Eek the cat and his love interest Annabel.

    No, I have no idea what that last one means.
  • September 26, 2011
    ThePope
    Thanks a ton; that really helped to beef up the YKTTW.
  • September 26, 2011
    Routerie
    But... is it a trope? Or is it just a list of pairings that feature an ugly girl and a hot guy?
  • September 27, 2011
    ThePope
    Considering it's a rarity, yeah, I'd say it is.

    It's at least as much of a trope as Ugly Guy Hot Wife is.
  • September 27, 2011
    nitrokitty
    I think this is tropable on its own, rather than just an inversion of Ugly Guy Hot Wife, because of the aforementioned Double Standard. We'll need to make sure to clean up Ugly Guy Hot Wife on launch.
  • September 27, 2011
    ThePope
    Yeah, strip out all of those examples and instead add a link to this page.
  • September 27, 2011
    captainpat
    Rarity, is never a good reason to make a trope page. This is gonna need a lot of examples to justify not simply classifying these are an inversion of Ugly Guy Hot Wife
  • September 27, 2011
    packardcaribien
    Also in Ugly Guy Hot Wife :
    • A Gender Flip in the British sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, which sees plump Dawn French paired with tall, dark and brooding Richard Armitage—granted, she's the protagonist, and it was only in the season finale, but still. In Real Life, Dawn French was married to Lenny Henry. The show played a little with the issue. Her significant weight gain and eventual loss was even made part of the storyline. So this can depend on which episode you watch.
  • September 27, 2011
    Teddroe
    It's debatable, but due to different standards of beauty vis a vis age for men and women, sometimes a woman who was certainly not "ugly" when younger will advance past the attractiveness threshold faster than a man her own age, leading to something that kind of looks like this trope.

    Meryl Streep comes to mind; in recent movies she's been paired with Steve Martin, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Alec Baldwin to name a few, all of whom simply due to this double standard (although I suppose YMMV about how "hot" Streep ever was; she always made her money more with talent than looks) would be considered much more attractive. Although I should note that Streep is three years older than Brosnan and has a full decade on Baldwin and Firth, so maybe still an example of this trope even without a double standard.
  • September 27, 2011
    lebrel
    The Eek The Cat example doesn't really fit; Eek himself is not particularly attractive, and his love interest isn't drawn in a way to indicate that she's ugly as such, it's just that she is very fat. It's more a case of Ordinary Guy Fat Girlfriend.

    I do think this is tropeable, because Ugly Guy Hot Wife runs on pervasive stereotypes (women are valued for their attractiveness but value men for other reasons); thus, doing the Gender Flip isn't a trivial variation.
  • September 27, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Yeah, I think it's tropeable, when it's done with intent anyway, or is mentioned or lampshaded in any manner. For instance, if it's done very deliberately to invert the old Ugly Guy Hot Wife stereotype, then it's a trope. Or, if it's done as an inadvertent Distaff Counterpart to Ugly Guy Hot Wife, then it's still a trope for precisely the same reasons that Ugly Guy Hot Wife is a trope. Hairspray is a wonderful example of the latter form. It's a perfectly played inversion - the trope is played exactly the same, but with the genders swapped.

    I don't really think it's a trope if it's unintentional (i.e. the guy happens to be pretty good looking and the girl happens to be fairly homely) but since actresses are almost never ugly, it's generally worth noting when they are.
  • September 27, 2011
    ThePope
    From the looks of it, we have a ton of examples already.
  • September 27, 2011
    Routerie
    But if it's done purely to invert Ugly Guy Hot Wife, then isn't it just an inversion, not a trope of its own? And if it isn't done to invert that trope, isn't it just something that happens, rather than a convention or attempt to express something?

    Notice how the Ugly Guy Hot Wife page has a long description about the origins, justification and meaning of the trope. Hot Guy Ugly Wife, in comparison, has nothing to say beyond its laconic - which, in turn, has nothing to say beyond its title.

    These examples are all cases of Unattractive Mate, where the sex of the attractive member doesn't mean anything. (In Ugly Guy Hot Wife, the sexes DO matter.)
  • September 27, 2011
    ThePope
    I know; I didn't put a lot of time and effort into the description on this yet, hence the Needs A Better Description.
  • September 28, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^^If it's an inverted narrative intention that provides it's own narrative purpose, then it's a trope.
  • September 28, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Could also be an example of Trophy Husband.
  • September 28, 2011
    ThePope
    Any chance someone could put up an elaborate description?
  • September 30, 2011
    Antheia
    Basically, what Routerie said.

    I could see this as a trope, though - I can't think of any examples myself, but I think I may have seen it. The meaning would be different than from Ugly Guy Hot Wife - or, paradoxically, very close to that, but twisted around. We barely notice when a woman is considerably more physically attractive than her husband in fiction, but when it's the other way around, it's really easy to notice. People (ideally, for example-writing, other characters) will comment "What does he see in her? She must be filthy rich, or an amazing cook, or he must be under a spell!" In both tropes, the expectation for women to be beautiful (and the relative lack of such an expectation on men's part) is highlighted.

    All examples that aren't "woman is really ugly, husband is really hot" should be weeded out, lest Trope Decay turns this into "man+woman couple where I think the man looks better than the woman". Also, like I said before, other characters should ideally comment on the couple's relative looks. May December Romance doesn't really count either if the "ugly" part in those cases just means "old, and it shows". If that does leave 3+ examples, well, then this is tropable.
  • September 30, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^Agreed. Only particularly striking or lampshaded examples.

    That said, a questionable example:
  • September 30, 2011
    BraveHoratio
    Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady, before her transformation.
  • October 1, 2011
    MiinU

    Film

    • This becomes the Sheriff of Rottingham's fate, in Robinhood: Men in Tights, after cutting a deal with the Witch to save his life; where he reluctantly agrees to marry her in exchange for a magic pill.
  • October 5, 2011
    captainpat
    remove the Runaways example and Gossip Girl example. Those characters are average looking at best
  • October 5, 2011
    OmarKarindu
    Film
    • The failure of such a relationship drives the plot of She-Devil. In it, a man played by Ed Begley, Jr. is married to -- and later cheats on and abandons -- his wife, played by Roseanne Barr, who then seeks revenge. It's stated that he was trapped into marrying her after getting her pregnant in high school.
  • October 5, 2011
    randomsurfer
    This is the Hottie's plan in The Hottie And The Nottie - I ass/u/me, I haven't seen it.
  • October 8, 2011
    ThePope
    This ready to go?

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