Created By: ayjazz on October 8, 2012 Last Edited By: ayjazz on December 2, 2012

Casanovas Fail At Love

A character that can charm people into bed, but not into actual love

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Trope
Obviously needs a better title, Do We Have This? Is this tropeable? Seen it a million times

You have a character (usually male) who knows all the moves with potential sex partners. Within only a short time of meeting one, he or she can charm them into having sex with him or her with little to no effort.

However, when the character tries to go for something meaningful, they ends up falling flat. The reasons can vary. Perhaps from inexperience; he or she has never had a relationship go past a one-night stand or a regular booty call, so they are woefully ignorant on meaningful romance, perhaps the character is so used to their swinger life style, that fidelity is a real challenge, or perhaps the character could be good at romance if given a chance, but his or her reputation of being a heartbreaker has scared off any potential interests from considering anything beyond casual sex with the person. Whatever the reason, meaningful relationships are shown to be a real challenge and this fact is one of the driving forces of the plot.

Sometimes the character can be contrasted against another character who lacks the Casanova's quick charm skills, but actually knows what to do in committed relationship, bringing up an interesting situation where the non-Casanova ends up teaching the Casanova a thing or two about real love.

Film
  • Phil Connors in Groundhog Day uses his curse to find out as many details about a woman as he can, thus to charm her into bed. It works with many women but not with Nice Girl Rita, who is initially charmed but then gradually is put off by how calculating he seems. He's not able to get her to love him for real until he changes his Jerkass attitude for good.
  • At the beginning of Hitch we see that the date doctor knows how to get a woman's attention in the bar so he can take her home, but later on while Albert, his client, and Allegra's relationship continues to progress, Hitch finds that none of his tried and tested methods are working for him, despite being a master of the art. The reasons for his methods not working is that he's in a stressful state... because he's trying to make a good impression... while also dealing with his commitment issues... trying to avoid all these awkward conversations.
  • This is a key problem suffered by Michael Fassbender's character in the film Shame.
  • According to Face, this is his and Lieutenant Sosa's backstory in The A-Team. They originally got together because he was a player and she was looking for something casual, but then he got serious and she freaked out and ran.
  • Touched upon in Love and Other Drugs. Jamie is able to charm himself into the pants of many women, however is scared out of his mind when it comes to falling in love with Maggie.
  • This is a major theme in The Tao Of Steve (which why don't we have a page on?) where Dex is a highly successful Pick Up Artist who draws inspiration from Buddhism and Taoism, but has trouble making a real lasting connection with a woman he likes.

Live-Action TV
  • On Sex and the City Samantha is infamous for her distaste for monogamous relationships and preference for one night stands and other sexual encounters. When she actually falls for Richard, a man with the same outlook as her, she gets frustrated that he can't make a real relationship work when it's the only time she's actually wanted on. (However, this was not her last attempt to go against her own character and try a serious relationship. These later attempts were more successful)
  • In Gilmore Girls Logan first appears as a traditional chronic ladies man who is more interested in partying than studying. Rory soon develops a crush on Logan, and while Logan has feelings for her too, he makes it clear he is not a commitment guy, so they agree to a no strings attached relationship. During their relationship there are signs that both want more, and Rory eventually decides the relationship is too much for her so she tries to end it. However, Logan takes this as an ultimatum, and agrees to a monogamous relationship.

Music
  • In Gerry Rafferty's song Baker Street, the last verse talks about a man who plans to give up flings and alcohol and actually have a stable relationship, and settle down. However, the song points out that despite the man's best efforts, he will most likely be unable to settle down, and that he will always "keep movin'."
  • The John Mayer song Assassin is a story about the "player being played." The song is about how the main character was so good about getting one night stands, yet when he actually falls for a girl, she does the same thing to him that he did to other women, and he is left empty-handed.
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • October 8, 2012
    captainpat
    I think is covered by Ladykiller In Love.
  • October 8, 2012
    TheHandle
    Ladykiller In Love is a plot, and says nothing about their success rate. This seems more like a common trait of Casanova types. There's some overlap, but it's not the same thing.

    The description is too male-centric. There are female Casanovas, please take them into account.
  • October 9, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    funny you should mention female Casanovas because the first example I thought of was female!

    • On Sex And The City Samantha is infamous for her distaste for monogamous relationships and preference for one night stands and other sexual encounters. When she actually falls for Richard, a man with the same outlook as her, she gets frustrated that he can't make a real relationship work when it's the only time she's actually wanted on. (However, this was not her last attempt to go against her own character and try a serious relationship. These later attempts were more successful)

    Is this significantly different from Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places? Both are about characters that sleep around but want true love and have difficulty finding it, but they do seem different.
  • October 9, 2012
    DracMonster
    No True Love For The Lady Killer? With.. uh... Vamp as a redirect...? The problem is female casanova is heavily associated with "slut".
  • October 9, 2012
    ayjazz
    I hate making this male-centric, but generally, this tends to be a male-dominated trope, although I will welcome female examples.

    But like Drac Monster said, most people unfortunately equate female casanovas with sluts in their minds...
  • October 17, 2012
    tardigrade
    This is a key problem suffered by Michael Fassbender's character in the film Shame.
  • October 22, 2012
    acrobox
    In some ways the polar opposite of the Friend Zone They can have physical relationships but not personal ones.
  • October 22, 2012
    StarSword
    Film:

    • According to Face, this is his and Lieutenant Sosa's backstory in The A Team. They originally got together because he was a player and she was looking for something casual, but then he got serious and she freaked out and ran.
  • October 24, 2012
    DracMonster
    ^^I don't think so, Friend Zone means you really have neither (Friend Zone With Benefits, hah!) Chastity Couple would be closer to the opposite.
  • November 1, 2012
    NimmerStill
    • This is a major theme in The Tao Of Steve (which why don't we have a page on?) where Dex is a highly successful Pick Up Artist who draws inspiration from Buddhism and Taoism, but has trouble making a real lasting connection with a woman he likes.
  • November 2, 2012
    lexicon
    • At the beginning of Hitch we see that the date doctor knows how to get a woman's attention in the bar so he can take her home, but later on while Albert, his client, and Allegra's relationship continues to progress, Hitch finds that none of his tried and tested methods are working for him, despite being a master of the art. The reasons for his methods not working is that he's in a stressful state... because he's trying to make a good impression... while also dealing with his commitment issues... trying to avoid all these awkward conversations.

    • In Gilmore Girls Logan first appears as a traditional chronic ladies man who is more interested in partying than studying. Rory soon develops a crush on Logan, and while Logan has feelings for her too, he makes it clear he is not a commitment guy, so they agree to a no strings attached relationship. During their relationship there are signs that both want more, and Rory eventually decides the relationship is too much for her so she tries to end it. However, Logan takes this as an ultimatum, and agrees to a monogamous relationship.
  • November 2, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • Phil Connors in Groundhog Day uses his curse to find out as many details about a woman as he can, thus to charm her into bed. It works with many women but not with Nice Girl Rita, who is initially charmed but then gradually is put off by how calculating he seems. He's not able to get her to love him for real until he changes his Jerkass attitude for good.
  • December 2, 2012
    lexicon
    This should link to related tropes in the description. Try figuring out where to put the ones that have already been suggested, Ladykiller In Love Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places Just Friends and Chastity Couple. Say on the page what the similarities are and the differences between each of them and this.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=umcq1y4sspdm8vje0k3opopu