[[quoteright:350:[[Disney/{{Tangled}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/affectionate-gesture-to-head_tangled_5907.png]]]]

->''"Just pat me."''
-->-- '''Annie Edison''', ''Series/{{Community}}''

Adults will pat the head of a child to show them they've done well, tousle the child's hair affectionately to take the sting out of a teasing comment, or do one of the former in a playfully patronizing way.

Also can be done from one adult to another if one feels protective and affectionate of the other, or just wants to annoy them.

The gesture is done to and from people of both sexes, and can be gentle or rough, though the rough version is most common among boys and their dads/older brothers (or substitute father-figures). Expect the dad to be playfully rough, and the boy to shut one eye while letting his head move with the gesture and maybe complain.

The gesture can also be performed genuinely or insincerely. Expect the gesture to be done awkwardly by a closet ChildHater.

This is mainly true of North America. In Asian countries, this may be considered rude, due to spiritual connotations.

See also DopeSlap, which is a head pat of "You've Messed Up" and tends to be less affectionate.

'''Relational Troping:'''
* SuperTrope to: HeadbuttOfLove, in which both participants' heads are part of the gesture.
* SisterTrope to: GottaGetYourHeadTogether, which is usually one clutching at one's own head and messing up the hair.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'', Tomoya does this to Nagisa.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' [[spoiler:Itachi's brotherly]] gesture was ''affectionate'' by definition. Possibly the most dramatic, emotionally-eliciting gesture you could give considering the circumstances.
* Young Gohan is patted on the head quite frequently -- even by [[TheRival Vegeta]] -- in ''Anime/DragonBallZ''. One particular moment that stands out was during a flashback when Piccolo does this to [[BeautifulDreamer a sleeping Gohan]] and promises that he won't let anything happen to him, cementing his HeelFaceTurn and PapaWolf status towards Gohan.
* In the ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'' anime when Shingen seems about to give a standard MegatonPunch to Yukimura but switches to patting and tousling his hair at the last second, telling him he's done well.
* In ''Manga/{{Higurashi}}'', the missing character Satoshi Hojo had a habit of doing this, especially to Satoko. So much that when Keiichi does it to her in Tatarigoroshi-hen, it actually {{trigger}}s her. Rika also does this to people when they're feeling down.
* ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'':
** General rule with ''Baccano!'': left-handed head pats are affection. Right-handed head pats? [[ImpliedDeathThreat Not so much.]]
** After thinking that he is going to die, Czeslaw gets a pat on the head from Maiza instead of having his life force sucked from him as he'd expected. [[spoiler:This, along with the love that Isaac and Miria had shown him, leads to his breaking free from his past woes.]]
** Subverted at the end of the 2002 arc with Fermet's return. His ambush of Czes is bad enough just with the massive creeper overtones he practically oozes all over his "favorite toy". When he makes it clear how ''utterly'' helpless Czes is against him... puts his right hand on Czes' forehead... and ''pets'' him before walking off to [[BreakTheCutie let the mindbreak settle]].
* In ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'', Kotetsu often pats younger characters on the head as a sort of fatherly gesture.
* In ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'', this is one of Sanzo's few outwardly affectionate gestures towards Goku.
* ''Manga/HeavensLostProperty'':
** Ikaros does this a lot, usually to soothe someone who is upset. One time, she even randomly did it to a {{Yakuza}} boss. The man's bodyguards are shocked by this violation of personal space and move to attack her, but the boss stops them and enjoys it.
** Astrea ends up patting Chaos' head.
* This is essentially the signature gesture of the Kasahara/Dojo relationship in ''LibraryWar''. The first one occurred when Kasahara was in high school and Dojo was her [[MysteriousProtector "prince"]]. The next time he gave her one, it strongly reminded her of her "prince" and kickstarted their SlapSlapKiss relationship. Pretty much every important the two of them have is accompanied by one.
* In ''Anime/DogDays'', this is a trademark of Princess Millhiore. Everyone she pets comments on how soft and gentle her hands are. Cinque also does it to her and a few other girls.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' Ed often pets Al's and Winry's heads to reassure them.
* ''Manga/GAGeijutsukaArtDesignClass'':
** Kisaragi gets patted from Noda and Tomokane after telling the story of how she came to buy a "god's pencil", then again from them plus Miyabi and Namiko after she explains that it "worked" (though it's pretty clear that practice was really what worked).
** In a chapter image, Namiko seems to be giving Tomokane and Kisaragi one of these as the younger four of the five seem to be engaged in a group hug.
* ''Manga/HidamariSketch'':
** Yuno is patted by her mother because she was worried about her father being at home alone.
** Yuno gets one from Sae and Miyako at her explanation of Hiro's setting aside an ''onigiri''.
* ''Manga/KOn'':
** Azusa is frequently patted against her will, even though it's what Yui used to calm her down when she blew up. But she does take it better when it's employed while they're reminding her that they haven't forgotten the club. (The others had been too involved in the play to practice for the concert.)
** One time, when Nodoka jokingly asks the Hirasawa sisters if they didn't come out in the wrong order (Yui needs help with a math problem that Ui knows how to solve after glancing at it while setting tea she made down, Yui and Ui briefly interact as though they were the other way around; this gesture is part of it.
** Nodoka pats Ui in the very next strip after being randomly hugged by her.
** In ''K-On! High School'', Azusa tries to reach ''kouhai'' Sumire's head, saying "Rub... head..." as she stretches for it. Sumire takes this as a request and confusedly rubs ''Azusa's'' head.
-->'''Azusa''': No, not me!
* In one episode of ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'', France affectionately ruffles America's hair during the latter's [[Really700YearsOld hundredth birthday]].
* Taishi of ''Manga/ServantXService'' occasionally pats younger women on their head out of unconscious habit, due to his sister.
* Usui often affectionately pats Misaki's head in ''Manga/KaichouWaMaidSama.''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* During the "Obsidian Age" arc of ''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'', ComicBook/MartianManhunter applies his fingers to Franchise/GreenLantern's head to try and find out why he's having visions of the League being slaughtered. Lantern jokes that in some of the alien cultures he's visited, this would make them married.
* During ''ComicBook/{{Flashpoint}}'', Traci Thirteen goes searching for allies to help her stop a plan to kill all the belligerents in the war between the Amazons and Atlantis, and ends up freeing Circe, who was locked up by the Amazons. Circe refuses to help Traci because she figures the Amazons deserve to die for locking her up, but gives the girl a kiss on the forehead for her troubles.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'', Nico uses an affectionate head touch to administer a spell that forces Klara to sleep after her powers get out of control. Molly, whose parents used to do the same thing to her, [[WhatTheHellHero is not pleased by this]]. Later, Molly is seen [[LapPillow cradling Klara's head in her lap]] and running her fingers through her hair.
* The last issue of Creator/GeoffJohns' run on ''JusticeSocietyOfAmerica'' features Ted Grant giving his son an affectionate noogie.
-->''"I'd be your sidekick any day of the week, you pain in the ass."''
** A few issues later, Hourman tousles Stargirl's hair while suggesting that the reason villains seem to be avoiding her lately is because she's so cute. His wife Liberty Bell finds this patronizing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* In the ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' fanfic ''FanFic/IchLiebeDich'', Doc absentmindedly strokes Marty's hair while the teen is asleep.
* In ''Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero'', Kyon tousles his little sister's hair pretty much whenever he sees her.
* There is a ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' doujinshi where a very drunk Sanae asks to be patted on the head and called a "good girl". This has become something of a meme in the Touhou fandom.
* In ''Fanfic/FieldOfInnocence,'' [[BigBrotherMentor Lu Ten]] ruffles his little cousin Zuko's hair before leaving for the Earth Kingdom.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CasperTheFriendlyGhost'': In ''Casper: A Spirited Beginning'', Fatso strokes Casper on the head while lying about them being uncle and nephew, it happens again in ''Casper meets Wendy'', where Fatso strokes Casper on the head after his uncles and the witches save him and Wendy and once more in ''Casper's Haunted Christmas'' when they, Stretch, Stinkie, Spooky and Pearl are being banished to "The Dark".
* In Disney's ''Disney/{{Tangled}}''. Mother Gothel pats Rapunzel "sweetly" on the head as a gesture of "affection" but also to remind her that she's dumb, helpless, naive, ditzy, etc. [[CharacterDevelopment It is a sign that Rapunzel has grown up]] that she blocks the gesture and grabs Gothel's wrist once Rapunzel realizes who she is.
* In Disney's ''Disney/{{Tarzan}}'', the infant who will end up as Tarzan gets a ''genuine'' ruffle of his hair by his human father during the opening of the movie, for pointing out a great tree to build in.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie'', a kid in a commercial asks Creator/TomHanks to tousle his hair. Magic sparkles appear as he does.
* At the end of ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'', Milo is saying goodbye to all his friends. When he comes to [[ThePigPen Mole]], who offers a big hug, he hesitates before patting his head instead.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'', Bonnie's mother gently strokes her daughter's hair before she steps up to Andy to accept his toys.
* ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'':
** The Beast strokes Belle's hair and cheek when they're having romantic moments.
** After the curse is broken, Belle sort of brushes Beast's hair so she can better see his face, before they kiss.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film -- Live Action]]
* In ''Film/GranTorino'', Creator/ClintEastwood pats the head of a child in a Hmong household as a gesture of kindness; the family of the child is shocked by this due to their cultural differences.
* Plot-relevant in ''Film/DefinitelyMaybe'', as recognizing the gesture is how Maya works out which of the women in the story is her mother.
* ''WarGames''. During the movie, Dr. [=McKittrick=] had been suspicious of and antagonistic toward David Lightman. At the end, after Lightman had prevented WorldWarIII, Dr. [=McKittrick=] tousled his hair in a friendly way.
* Boromir pats Frodo in ''Film/LordOfTheRings'' during their attempted trek over Caradhras. After picking up the Ring, he gives it back to Frodo only after an order from Aragorn. He ruffles Frodo's hair to lighten the mood, but the Fellowship stay wary.
* ''Film/LaReineMargot'' pets her brothers' hair when they are upset about her wedding night. And again Margot pets Charles when he is crying after the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.
* ''Film/AdeleHasntHadHerDinnerYet'': Police commissioner Ledvina comforts detective Nick Carter when he was recovering from the attack by The Gardener's chamberlain. TapOnTheHead ''and'' chloroform? He deserved the affectionate pat, plus Ledvina promised him fresh air and beer drinking, if he would feel up to it.
* In ''Film/TheLastPictureShow'', Sonny often shows his affection towards Billy by taking his cap off and putting it back on.
* ''Film/TheQuickAndTheDead''. [[NoNameGiven Lady]] is curt in response to [[TagalongKid Katie]]'s adoration, until just before her first gunfight when Katie assures her she will win; the Lady then strokes Katie's hair in thanks. Subverted when she does win.
-->'''Katie:''' Lady, I think you're great!
-->'''Lady:''' ''(pushing past her)'' [[YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame Grow up]].
* At the end of ''Film/{{Attenberg}}'', Marina gives Bella an odd affectionate gesture to the head just before [[spoiler:Bella goes to have sex with Marina's dying father]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', Jon shows his affection to Arya by mussing up her hair. Arya later misses having him do this to her.
* In the ''Literature/OctoberDaye'' novel ''One Salt Sea'', the scary, unaffectionate Luidaeg gives Quentin's hair an affectionate ruffle.
* In ''Cheaper by the Dozen'' by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, there is a part when the children's Aunt Anne comes to visit and Billy pushes her over the edge to the point where she yanks his hair. They get on better terms with each other, though, to the point where Aunt Anne gives Billy one of these.
* The ''XWingSeries'' has Han Solo once vigorously muss up Wedge Antilles' hair as demonstration of the fact that he can get away with a lot as a General. For the record, they're friends.
* Used contemptuously in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear''. Young Tash takes offense to SecondFaceSmoke, but this amuses the smoker, who puts a hand on her head and looms over her, then spins her towards the BadGuyBar door and shoves her. He's a serial killer, so she's fortunate he was amused. [[spoiler: Later [[GrandTheftMe his brain]] ends up [[GenderBender in her skull]].]]
* In the ''Literature/LuckyStarr'' series, Lucky [[HoYay often]] tousles his smaller sidekick Bigman's hair to show affection. In ''Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn'', the affection is mixed with frustration, and Lucky goes as far as to "[seize] Bigman's hair affectionately and [tug] his head back and forth".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Buffy stroking Dawn's hair.
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** Clark does this to Lana quite a bit.
** Whitney to Lana.
** Chloe tenderly pats Clark, who is unconscious, in "Fever".
** Clark pats Chloe in "Onyx" when [[spoiler:evil (well, eviler) Lex]] knocked her out cold.
** Clark gently touches Chloe in "Abyss" along with a forehead kiss [[spoiler:before wiping her memories of his secret]].
** Clark and Lois start patting each other's head after they drop the VitriolicBestBuds facade and start acknowledging their mutual attraction.
%% ** In "Devoted", Lois pats (who?).
* Played with on the kids game show ''[[DoubleDare1986 Double Dare]]''. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3VD95RIn-4&t=7m41s In one of the physical challenges]] A contestant would have a slime filed balloon put on her hat, and then sit down receiving a pat on the head from a giant hand. This would break the balloon leaving her CoveredInGunge.
* In series one, episode one of ''Series/JeevesAndWooster'', Bingo Little does this to Oliver Glossup (the boy he's tutoring) during dinner, dismissing something the boy just said.
* ''Series/{{Community}}'', as is expected of such a troperiffic show, discussed this. Jeff and Annie's relationship is characterized by him being an older brother to her, except that the increasing sexual tension is making that awkward and they can't keep it up, meaning their relationship has to evolve. The discussion ends with "We can't keep doing this kiddo," with a gentle chuck of the chin. "Can't we?" [long pause], "No, it's gross."
* JJ from ''Series/{{Skins}}'' is forever having his hair ruffled; he's well aware that it's mostly patronizing.
-->''"Then I'd tell Freddie and Cook to stop fighting over Effy before they hate each other forever, and not make me take sides. And they'd listen to me for once and not fucking ruffle my hair!"''\\
And then about two minutes later, Karen [Freddie's sister] does exactly that.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'': Mulder and Scully would frequently touch each other's forehead, stroke each other's hair, hold each other's head or cup each other's face. {{UST}} at its best.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'': The jury is still out as to whether Gibbs’ [[DopeSlap dope slaps]] to [=DiNozzo=] are kind gestures or an attempt to stop him being so... erm... so [=DiNozzo=]. [=DiNozzo=] claims he's sure they're affectionate.
* "The Duchess and the Devil" from ''Series/HoratioHornblower'' has this trope all over the place.
** The Duchess of Wharfedale is a lady who is cheeky, spirited, older yet still sexy as hell. She gently touches Horatio's face when she teases him about not having any razors to shave himself because he's in Spanish jail. That lady knows how to flirt.
** The Duchess affectionately strokes Archie Kennedy's forehead when he lies in bed, slowly recovering [[spoiler:from his suicide attempt by starvation]]. Lucky Duchess and lucky [[PrettyBoy Archie]].
** Horatio caresses Archie's head and loose hair when he tries to take care of him and nurse him into health. He also hands him a cup of water and tries to make him drink. These are extremely intense hurt/comfort moments between HeterosexualLifePartners.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': [[TheNthDoctor The Eleventh Doctor]] is very fond of kissing companions and loved ones on the forehead as a reassuring gesture.
** In "Shada", Chris allows the Doctor to wire his brain up to a man left braindead by a particularly brutal MindRape. The Doctor hooks him up to the machine, realises that Chris is finding it excruciatingly painful, and kisses him on the forehead out of pity. Then he kisses the Mind Rape victim on his forehead, 'for luck'.
* Towards the end of the first season of ''Series/{{Homeland}}'', Tom Walker ties up an old woman and uses her home as a sniping post. After he's finished, he musses her hair before leaving.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E20WhatIsAndWhatShouldNeverBe "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20)]], the Mary Winchester in the wishverse stroke's Dean's face and kisses him on the forehead.
* ''Series/{{FridayNightLights}}'' once had Tim Riggins kiss Becky on the forehead as both an apology and a promise to come back for her.
* The titular serial killer in ''Series/{{Hannibal}}'' is creepily fond of stroking and caressing his victims' faces as he kills them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* {{Lampshaded}} in one strip of ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'', the PointyHairedBoss is criticizing Dilbert's work (while not being overly specific as to what's wrong). As Dilbert becomes more frustrated, the boss asks Dilbert to "come here so I may pat your head in a condescending manner".
-->'''Dogbert:''' So you took the pat on the head?\\
'''Dilbert:''' I didn't want to leave empty handed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Sports]]
* Quite commonplace in professional team sports, and considered a bit less HoYay than a pat on the backside.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Gears of Destiny'', [[UnfinishedBusiness Dark Piece]] [[ParentalSubstitute Rynith]] gives one to Levi the Slasher after the two properly introduced themselves. Turns out, TheBerserker BloodKnight likes it.
--> '''Levi:''' Nehehe~, feel free to pat me more~!
* Rin's flashback in the prologue of ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' features a scene where her father pats her on the head. She remarks that because it's the first time he's ever done so, he's using far too much strength and dragging her head around as he does it.
* OdaNobunaga pats GenkiGirl Xiao Qiao's head in the Sengoku ending of ''WarriorsOrochi''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''MyGirlfriendIsThePresident'': Jun often does this to Yukino, and it always causes her worries to vanish instantly. Jun even complains that she's too simple-minded. He also does it to Ell in her route, and it works so well that, whenever Jun looks concerned, she starts doing it to him as well. It also works that way, though obviously more because of the cuteness than anything else.
* Harada Sanosuke in ''VisualNovel/{{Hakuouki}}'' distributes these regularly to Chizuru and Ryuunosuke.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheDevilsPanties'': A security guard condescendingly pats Jennie on the head in [[http://thedevilspanties.com/archives/5939 this comic]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'', Nei'kalsa Tions Sarghress keeps her hand placed on the head of her younger brother Sar'nel as the two are made to watch [[spoiler: Ariel]] beat [[spoiler: Mir'kiin]] to death.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CasperScareSchool'': Mantha and Stretch stroke Casper on the head in "Vote for Casper" and "What Possessed You?" respectively.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': in an [[ShowWithinAShow educational film]], Troy [=McClure=] does this to little Tommy at the end.
-->'''Tommy:''' You're...hurting...me.
* ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'': "Professor Tom" has Tom teaching mousing to a kitten. When the kitten does a good job, he gets a pat on the head.
* ''WesternAnimation/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas'' has the titular Grinch patting Cindy Lou Who on the head before he gives her a drink and sends her back to bed.
* In a certain comic based on ''ThePowerpuffGirls'', Buttercup gets annoyed with the Mayor's constant patting her on the head, to the point where she punches his lights out after repeatedly telling him to stop.
* A standard gesture of affection among WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}, the equivalent of kissing.
* ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries'': Hal does a "tousle the hair" to Amaya -- an alien without hair -- when showing her a kindness over a family loss.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** In [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E5GriffonTheBrushOff "Griffon the Brush Off"]], Pinkie Pie gives one to Fluttershy right before Gilda's party.
--->'''Pinkie Pie:''' Don't worry your pretty little head about mean old Gilda. Your auntie Pinkie Pie's got it all taken care of!
--->'''Fluttershy:''' I'm a year older than you.
** In [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E7MayTheBestPetWin "May the Best Pet Win"]], Rainbow Dash gives a condescending pat on the head to Twilight Sparkle, when she asks if "coolness", "awesomeness" and "radicalness" aren't all the same thing.
--> '''Rainbow Dash:''' You would think so. And that is why ''you'' would never qualify to be ''my'' pet.
** In [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E5SisterhoovesSocial "Sisterhooves Social"]], Rarity's father gives Sweetie Belle a tousle as he praises her cooking. She clearly appreciates it.
** In [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E11FamilyAppreciationDay "Family Appreciation Day"]], Apple Bloom is patted by her Uncle Apple Strudel and Granny Smith.
** In [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E8TheMysteriousMareDoWell "The Mysterious Mare Do Well"]], Rainbow Dash gives Scootaloo a tousle/noogie when she thinks that Scootaloo's there to apologize.
** Twilight gets a few of these in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E25ACanterlotWeddingPart1 "A Canterlot Wedding"]].
** Fluttershy gets one of these from Pinkie Pie again in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E18MaudPie Maud Pie]] when Pinkie tells her that the rocks used to make the rock candy are a secret.

* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'': "Call All Titans": Jericho reaches down and pats an exhausted Beast Boy on the head after he climbs all the way to the top of the mountain to give Jericho a communicator.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersRescueBots'': Cody is frequently the recipient of head pats and hair tousles by every human adult on the show.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': Garnet does this fairly often to Steven Universe, enough so that it is seen in the opening. While all the gems are very affectionate towards Steven, it's especially noticable due to Garnet's normally stoic demeanor.
[[/folder]]
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