->''"So many engagements called off..."''
-->--'''Mei Terumi''', ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''

Buying a cake for Christmas is a [[ChristmasInJapan Japanese tradition]]. But these cakes have a definite expiration date -- no one wants to eat Christmas cake after December 25th. And no matter how attractive a woman is, it's said, no Japanese male will want to [[DoubleStandard marry her after she's 25]]. Thus, "'''Christmas Cake'''" is used as a metaphor term for a woman rendered unmarriageable because she is past the freshness of her youth; roughly equivalent to "OldMaid." It's a common trope for a character to at least be surprised that another isn't married yet by this age. Even when the writers are sympathetic to the character, nagging to marry will still come from someone, usually her parents.

A CoolBigSis may be one, or heading there, usually with extreme annoyance; referring to this character as ''ObaSan'' is about as tactful as referring to someone as ''[[MaamShock Ma'am]]'' and is likely to induce a rage. Sometimes this is just a device to explain [[MustHaveLotsOfFreeTime them hanging around]] other characters younger than them.

On the antagonistic side, a PunchClockVillain is often a ChristmasCake. She tends to be very attractive but is relegated to cake status by annoying habits. The other problem occurs if she's also stuck in an ImprobablyFemaleCast or any such place where men are slim pickings. The CompetenceZone might force her to hang around and even fawn over men ''much'' [[{{Shotacon}} younger]] [[{{Ephebophile}} than her]].

Interestingly, the more unexpected the presence of the ChristmasCake is, the more likely her being one is emphasized as [[AuthorAppeal being an attractive point]]. If a character expresses this point in-story, he LikesOlderWomen.

This is on its way to being a DiscreditedTrope: the latest Japanese census data shows that more and more people are marrying older, with most people under 25 remaining unmarried. Many teens and young adults have never heard of the concept and many that have think it's old-fashioned. Having a character believing in the Christmas Cake concept may mark them as being likewise old-fashioned.

The ChristmasCake trope is related to NeverASelfMadeWoman. As the Japanese-culture specific variant of OldMaid, only Japanese examples should be listed here. Also, a woman being single and 25 years or older is '''not''' enough to qualify for this trope, even if they ''are'' Japanese. In order to fall under this trope, the woman must make a specific reference to the concept of "needing to have been married by a certain age" - typically by either having a complex about being older and unmarried, or making it clear that they don't believe in the concept of being "too old to marry". If the trope itself [[DiscussedTrope is brought up]] but not in reference to any specific female characters, that counts as an example as well.

Another more modern, but no less blunt, term used in Japan is "urenokori", which is also a term for leftover unsold items in a store's inventory.

See also GrandeDame and MaidenAunt for the much older Western variants. Also see MyBiologicalClockIsTicking and IWantGrandkids. Not to be confused with [[TheDitz Fruit Cake]]. Not to be confused with [[TheCakeIsALie being a lie]], either. Compare and contrast with StacysMom, an older character who has an excess of younger suitors.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
%% The following {{Zero Context Example}}s have been commented out and copied to Discussion. Please don't add them back unless you also add context to show how they fit this trope.
%% Sawako Yamanaka from ''Manga/KOn''.
%% ''OL'' (''Anime/OruchubanEbichu'', aka ''Ebichu Minds The House'').
%% Dominura (''Anime/{{Simoun}}'', unusually old for a Sibylla).
* Taeko Yasuko of ''Manga/{{Area 88}}'', Ryoko's loyal secretary. She is very sensitive about her age and exploded when someone hit on her since she thought he was making fun of her.
* Minamo "Nyamo" Kurosawa (''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'': nagged by mom and frequently teased by Yukari, despite the latter being a "cake" herself).
* Linna Yamazaki in ''[[Anime/BubblegumCrisis Bubblegum Crisis 2040]]'' has to deal with her parents who not only nag, but set up meetings (''omiai'') for her with potential partners.
* Emu Hino, the female lead from ''Manga/CryingFreeman''. She was in her late 20's and a virgin by the time she met Yoh Hinomura and was set up for death. So, she asked the handsome and gentlemanly Yoh to take her virginity before killing her... which partially breaks Yoh's conditioning and makes him fall for her, thus he decides to [[BattleCouple make her his partner instead]].
* Mitsuka Yoshimine from ''Manga/DearS''. Her age is never specified but she sure ''looks'' like she's at least 25, and despite the ridiculously {{Stripperiffic}} costumes she routinely wears (and/or strips out of) ''while teaching a high school class'' (presumably full of horny high school age boys), plus the fact that pretty much everything that comes out of her mouth is suggestive or overtly about sex... Nobody pays any attention to her. At all. Her love life is deader than a doornail.
* Subverted in ''Manga/DetectiveConan''. 28-year-old detective Miwako Satou was offered a matchup by her mother since she looked as if she MustHaveLotsOfFreeTime, and hence, would become a Christmas cake. Which turned out to cause a WeddingDeadline-like moment for her ''boyfriend'', Detective Takagi. Really not helped by how the guy Satou Sr. wanted for her daughter was Takagi's ''romantic rival'', Detective Shiratori.
** Subverted in an earlier case, too. The victim is Sayuri Matsumoto, a ChristmasCake that was Shinichi and Ran's middle school teacher, and even when she's getting married now, she's still past the "average age" of 25. [[spoiler: The would-be killer was... the groom, hell-bent with revenge since her OverprotectiveDad caused his mother's death many years ago. They ''do'' reconcile and get married for real... but only several years later.]]
** While not directly stated, it's very strongly implied that Yayoi Himeno from episode 32 is about to become one these. She's already 24 years old, [[JerkAss looks and acts perpetually angry]], and later we learn that [[spoiler: the reason why she was ''brutally'' murdered (first strangled, then stabbed in the chest) was that she kept bugging her much-older boyfriend for marriage... but didn't know that said boyfriend was actually [[YourCheatingHeart a married man]], so he killed her to keep his wife from finding out.]]
** The ''Stranger from 10 Years Ago'' OAV shows that [[spoiler: if Shinichi never returned, it's highly likely that [[TheFirstCutIsTheDeepest Ran would prefer to stay alone]] and become this [[IWillWaitForYou while waiting for him]], even turning down Dr. Araide's marriage proposals. Said OAV was [[AllJustADream just a dream of Conan's]], but still.]]
** In the "Distinguished Family's Consecutive Accidental Death Case", the eldest daughter Nobuko not only is single while her younger sister Yasue is married and her brother Hieomi is engaged... she is already ''39''. It doesn't help that she treats her brother's girlfriend Miyuki (herself a little past the limit) like shit; her father reacts via openly citing the trope.
-->'''Nagato''': I apologize for my daughter's behavior... [[LampshadeHanging I believe she's like this since she hasn't been able to get married.]]
-->'''[[DeadpanSnarker Conan]]''' (inner thoughts): With a personality like ''[[HairTriggerTemper th]][[JerkAss at]]'', she never will.
* Mika-sensei from ''Manga/DokiDokiSchoolHours'' is 27 and still lives with her parents. She doesn't mind though, since she loves to be spoiled by her father and cares mostly for good food. Her mother is worried though and sets her up for a date for an ArrangedMarriage, [[spoiler:which doesn't turn out too well]].
* Miz Mishtal in ''Anime/ElHazardTheMagnificentWorld'' is another example of this; her first appearance shows her negative reaction to a letter from one her old (and married) schoolmate.
* Mayuko-sensei from ''Manga/FruitsBasket''. [[spoiler:In the ending she gets together with Hatori.]] This is even lampshaded at one point, when Shigure meets her while standing in as Tohru's guardian for a parent-teacher conference. As they snipe at each other, one thing he says is how she's pretty much all but past her marriageable years.
* Yura Kawada from ''Manga/FutariEcchi'', before she meets her match in the equally cute and even-then-not-taken Makoto, whom she met via [[PerfectlyArrangedMarriage an arranged date that went really well]]. Her cousin-in-law/neighbor/counselor Kyouko also fits in, until she gets married as well.
* Namiko-sensei from ''Manga/KashimashiGirlMeetsGirl'' has gone without a boyfriend for thirty-five years. Or [[RunningGag so she says all the time]]. She also [[{{Dojikko}} tends to fall into holes]].
* Shura Kirigakure from the anime adaptation of ''Manga/BlueExorcist'' is hinted to be this when Yukio starts to say what age she will turning this year. He gets an empty beer can thrown at his forehead for his troubles, but not before he says enough of the word to make it seem like he was going to say 26 or 27.
* Haruka Urashima from ''Manga/LoveHina''. She ''hates'' being reminded of her single status and called "ObaSan". Though she ultimately marries her VictoriousChildhoodFriend ([[spoiler:none other than Seta Noriyasu]]) in the manga
** The anime seems to be the source for the tales of her discomfort with 'Auntie'; In the manga she seems to understand Keitaro means it as a sign of his affection for her; in any event she doesn't hunt him down for it.
** In the manga she hardly seems to care at all. Although that might be due to the fact she does not appear that often.
* Nanako Kuroi (''Manga/LuckyStar''), 27 and still single. After hearing her students discuss the christmas cake/unmarried woman metaphor earlier in the episode she actually buys a Christmas cake after the 25th and proclaims (as she walks into the sunset) "You are wanted".
** Further joked about when Nanako meets Kona's cousin Yui and assumes because she is alone at a festival that she is also unmarried at an advanced age. Yui however ''is'' married, but with a husband seems to always be off at work [[ImprobablyFemaleCast and offscreen]]. Everyone but Nanako just finds it embarrassing.
* Mari Iijima (voice actress for Minmay in Macross) mentions this trope by name in the DVD commentary for ''[[Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross Macross]]'' episode 9, on the ADV release. "We are like Christmas Cakes"
* ''Manga/{{Mahoromatic}}'' turns the idea into a gag, where a much older Suguru is shocked to find his old [[{{shotacon}} boy-chasing]] teacher looking exactly the same.
* Touko Kuzunoha of ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' is the calm and composed Shinmeiryuu mentor of Setsuna. At least, she's calm and composed most of the time. When the scheme of the BigBad in the Mahora Festival StoryArc went off without a hitch, ruining her love life, and leaving her a future where she'll remain an unmarried 30-something, she snapped.
-->'''Kataragi:''' It could still work out...
-->'''Touko:''' I'll be in the magic world, and on top of that, an [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment ermine]]! What the ''[[SoundEffectBleep bleep]]'' kind of long-distance relationship is that!?
* Shizune, as shown in one of ''[[Manga/{{Naruto}} Naruto Shippuden]]'''s {{omake}}s where she whines about how she's unmarried at age 31, unlike Kurenai who has already a boyfriend. [[spoiler: Becomes a FunnyAneurysmMoment when said boyfriend, Asuma, dies.]]
** The current Mizukage, Mei Terumī, is apparently one as well. While nobody is dumb enough to actually say this, [[TwistingTheWords she often misconstrues]] one of her bodyguard's words as claiming this. She then promptly [[BerserkButton threatens to kill him]] if he won't shut up, [[DissonantSerenity while still maintaining a smile on her face]].
*** The way she treats her younger bodyguard and her comments about Gaara and Sasuke have some fans joking that she fits the "fawning over [[{{Ephebophile}} younger men]]" part of the trope as well.
*** The fact that she called Sasuke attractive before [[spoiler:trying to melt him]] doesn't help at all. For some it might however, and you know who you are.
** There's also Tsunade, though of course she only ''looks'' young because of a special seal that storing chakra in her forehead, giving her a youthful appearance. She's really quite old but she never bothers to look for marriage [[spoiler: Though considering two of the men she did loved died. You can't blame her.]]
** This is even called out in the final chapter when the former Hokages have a get together and this subject comes up for Tsunade and Mei, with both expressing it's "too late for them" when it comes to romance.
* [[MsFanservice Misato Katsuragi]] of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' makes this one of the few tropes the show plays straight, feeling discouraged at having to go to a friend’s wedding while single. There are also subtle and very ambiguous hints that she might actually be into Shinji, but [[spoiler:she’s also very attracted to Kaji and is devastated when he’s killed]]. All in all, she has issues when it comes to men.
* Robin from ''Manga/OnePiece'', as a 28 year old unmarried woman, qualifies for this trope, except that that fact doesn't seem [[NoHuggingNoKissing to matter at all in that universe.]]
** Funnily enough in the movie, Z, she ends up de-aged back to 18 by a foe's Devil Fruit. Usopp makes a comment that accidently implies this and she wasn't amused to say the least.
** Boa Hancock, who's 31, would also qualify (though ironiclly men do fall head over heels from her, not counting her Mero Mero power), except women in Amazon Lily do not seem to take husbands. However, she is madly in love with Luffy, who's 19, but doesn't return her feelings in the least.
* Haruka Shitow of ''Anime/RahXephon'' is 29 years old and has presumably remained unmarried due to still [[TheFirstCutIsTheDeepest carrying a flame]] for her childhood sweetheart [[spoiler:Ayato]], whom she lost when she was 16.
* Yomiko Readman of ''Anime/ReadOrDie'' is 25 years old and lives by herself in an apartment full of used books. She used to have a boyfriend/lover in Donnie Nakajima, but he died [[spoiler:...and it turns out that Yomiko was the one who sent him to his end in the manga. In the anime, it's implied Joker killed him off, though it's never explained what happened. Though, the manga clarifies that it's both: Joker arranged for Yomiko to be forced to kill Donnie. When Yomiko found out at the end of the manga, the events of the anime backstory happen.]]
** She still has a couple potential suitors. It's just that [[LesYay neither of them are men]].
* Megumi Takani from ''Anime/RurouniKenshin'' is 23 years old, meaning she's still ''not'' one technically speaking, but Sanosuke pretty much calls her Christmas Cake to her face after Kenshin tells his friends about Enishi and Tomoe. She is ''very'' displeased. [[spoiler:In the end, she decides to come back to her hometown to pursue her dream to be a doctor rather than marrying.]]
* Marie Mjolnir from ''Manga/SoulEater''. In her introductory scene she's freaking out, because she wanted to have been married and retired by now, so she declares that she wants to [[CargoShip marry the toilet]]. Later things look up for her. [[spoiler: She is about to get back together with her old boyfriend, and then he's murdered on the way to their reunion date. By the end of the manga, she is pregnant and the father is heavily implied to be Stein.]]
* Yuri-sensei from '' LightNovel/{{Toradora}}'' (who is 29) to the point that she talks about it to herself constantly, and nearly acts like a zombie.
** In the LightNovels, this trope is referred to, especially in earlier volumes when she didn't have a large role in the story, literally [[RunningGag almost every time she is mentioned]]. The omniscient narrator seems personally to hate her.
* Sumire from ''Manga/KimiWaPetto'' is viewed by her coworkers with a mixture of awe and hostility for being a 28-year-old working single woman whose high education and intelligence scares away men. She does find a patient boyfriend in her first crush, Hatsumi, but in the end [[spoiler:goes the LikesOlderWomen route and hooks up with Takeshi who is 8 years her junior.]]
* Mai Kujaku/Valentine in ''Anime/YuGiOh'': [[CelibateHero doesn't really seem to want to get married]] (one of her duels actually was against her "fiancée", the actor Jean-Paul), as her tastes may point to ''younger'' men, AKA Jonouchi/Joey (despite WordOfGod from Takahashi himself) or possibly Varon. This would explain what an adult woman is doing on an island playing children card games with children. (She's not the ''only'' adult, but most of the people are children.) Then again, card games are a SeriousBusiness, and she does state that she just wants the outrageously large prize money.
** Though there was no (explicit) prize money in the Battle City tournament... hmm....
** She could have done it for the rare cards.
** Mai is actually 24 years old, so she technically has not reached Christmas cake status yet. Not that it would matter to most fans anyway considering how good she looks.
* Ayako, the ShrineMaiden in ''Manga/GhostHunt''. Naru teases that she's a bit old to be an unspoilt virgin.
** Ayako is only 23 years old according to Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} and a few other sites, so she's actually still a few years away from becoming a Christmas Cake.
* Subverted in ''Manga/FairyTail''. [[SexyMentor Ur]] gets advice from a friend that she should settle down and get a man since she's approaching that age. It turns out Ur already had a daughter, which she never mentioned because she believed her daughter was dead. While we don't know what happened between them, her daughter Urtear is alive and kicking as TheDragon (and hates her mother because she was tricked into believe that Ur had abandoned her to her luck [[spoiler: but she still planned to go back in time and fix that "detail" to not lose her]]).
* ''Anime/YuugenKaisha'': Ayaka realizes she isn't getting any younger and wonders if she'll ever find that 'special someone'. So she sometimes asks Madam Sumei to read her fortune, only to be told her chances are nil. Though it's {{subverted}}, since she knows Detective Karino is in love with her and she isn't above flirting with him. [[PlayingHardToGet But she doesn't make it easy for him either.]]
* ''Anime/{{Patlabor}}'': Shinobu is in her mid-late 20's and a dedicated police captain of the Special Vehicles 1st section. As such, her mother worries about her chances of marriage, fearing she may be injured before she finds a husband. While Shinobu appreciates her mother's concern, she appears to be in no rush to get married. Though, [[LikeAnOldMarriedCouple given the way she and her fellow captain, Gotoh, relate to each other]], you'd think she already ''was''.
* Taeko from ''Anime/OnlyYesterday''. She's 27 and unmarried, which gets brought up many times in the film to the point where Toshio's grandmother suggests she marry him. [[spoiler: Since Toshio and Taeko quite like each other, it ultimately works.]]
* ''Manga/HighschoolOfTheDead'' flat-out defies the trope with [[SchoolNurse Shizuka]], since her age (27) hasn't stopped ''anyone'' from finding her sexually appealing. Takashi's friend, Imamura stated that he thought she was hot specifically ''[[FetishFuel because]]'' [[http://v2012.mangapark.com/manga/Highschool-of-the-Dead/cextra+3/6 she's an older woman.]] Takashi and Hirano [[http://www.mangareader.net/170-11316-22/high-school-of-the-dead/chapter-6.html have also been aroused by her]] and Shimada said she had a nice body, before [[spoiler: [[http://www.mangareader.net/170-11328-36/high-school-of-the-dead/chapter-18.html attempting to rape her]]]].
* In ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'', Mizore Shirayuki is a yuki-onna, and her race can only bear children from the mid teens to mid twenties. A literal ChristmasCake, she is forced into an ArrangedMarriage so she can marry and have kids. She tries to escape by going to the one she is in love with, [[spoiler: stripping, tackling him, straddling him and begging him to have sex with her.]] The next three chapters show very explicitly- Mizore's problem is not that she personally wants to have children. It's the fact that her [[SacrificialLamb particular]] version of 'arranged marriage' means 'legally bound, forever, to be the SexSlave, or watch said slaver destroy your hometown and everyone in it.' Nothing justifies her [[spoiler: attempted rape]] of Tsukune, but it's understandable that she got a little crazy. (We see Mizore's fiancée sexually violating her later in the manga, incidentally. [[spoiler: It is the trauma of this that drives her to attempt suicide.]]
* The adult manga ''Manga/ToshiueNoHito'' uses this for some drama when the 20-year-old protagonist (in university at the time) introduces his new girlfriend to his parents; they're scandalised that he's living with a 26-year-old widow. When they actually meet her, they're somewhat surprised to find she's really, ''really'' [[OlderThanTheyLook young-looking]].
** How young? She later models clothes for ''pre-teens''.
* In ''Manga/{{Otoyomegatari}}'', it is mentioned that the newly-wed Amir is a bit old for marriage. She's twenty, and her husband is twelve. A bit of TruthInTelevision because Asian girls at the time did tend to be married off in their early teens.
* The Second Guest in ''Anime/GregoryHorrorShow'' is an unmarried woman who is, if Judgement Boy's observation is true, in her late twenties/early thirties. The fact that she chose her career over her boyfriend (resulting in him breaking up with her) and that she had to watch her best friend marry the guy actually turns out to be the root of [[SanitySlippage all her mental problems.]] [[TheWoobie Poor woman...]]
* A RunningGag in the early episodes of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' is how Madoka's {{Meganekko}} homeroom teacher, Kazuko Saotome, complains endlessly about her Christmas Cake status. ''Even in class''. Her age isn't fully disclosed, but she is a friend of Madoka's mom Junko... so she may be already in her ''thirties''. To give you a good idea, one of her lectures is based around many ways the world could end, with her quipping that she'd rather have the world end than carry the label of Cake.
* Hitomi Shinonome from ''Manga/{{Loveless}}'', Ritsuka's homeroom teacher, is just 23, but still counts. Made worse by how she is also a virgin, thus she still has her cat ears (which are supposed to disappear once the person has sex) - a symbol of [[VirginityMakesYouStupid her immaturity]] and [[ShrinkingViolet insecure nature]]. [[DeconstructedTrope All of this has a devastating effect on what's left of her self-esteem.]]
* Haruna Sakurada from ''Anime/SailorMoon'' is one of the most famous examples of this, specially in the first anime. in its second episode she has a sobbing HeroicBSOD when a BrainwashedAndCrazy Umino flips her skirt and gives the audience and the boys quite a PantyShot ([[DefiledForever "... I'm soileeeed! I'll never get marrieeeeed!"]]), shows LOTS of envy when a fellow teacher accepts a marriage proposal and then almost catfights with Rei and Usagi for the bridal bouquet, and when she ''does'' get an off-screen prospect boyfriend and the guy cancels their date due to work she becomes ''very'' irritable.
* Keiko from ''Manga/TwentyYearOldGirlXThirtyYearOldMaiden'' angsts about this, especially once she starts dating Emi, a cute girl ten years her junior, whose [[{{Moe}} youthful beauty]] makes Keiko even more aware of her age. Fortunately, [[LikesOlderWomen Emi doesn't seem to mind]].
* Tomoe from ''Anime/HanasakuIroha'' is ''[[BerserkButton REAL]]'' [[BerserkButton sensitive about her lack of relationships]].
* Tesla Magnets in ''Anime/MegamanNTWarrior'' is not only a ChristmasCake but obsesses over it. Just to give you an idea, she hijacks a robot named Thirty and goes on a rampage. And if she's ever especially angry, expect a backdrop covered in "30" to appear.
* [[Manga/HidamariSketch Yoshinoya-sensei]] is [[VagueAge hinted]] to be at least thirty years old, but doesn't seem to care all that much.
** In her own mind, at least, she's eternally seventeen.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Although she's never directly called "ChristmasCake" in the [[{{Filler}} anime]], Rangiku Matsumoto's age is a very sore point for her, with one filler episode going so far as to even create a male version for the sole purpose of having one [[BrattyHalfPint kid]] press two {{berserk button}}s by referring to Rangiku as "oba-san" and Yumichika as "o-san" in the same conversation. The anime later takes Rangiku's age references [[UpToEleven even further]] by making it such a big issue in the Zanpakutou Arc that it's actually the reason why Rangiku's zanpakutou, Haineko, is angry with her. Averted in the manga, where it's never an issue for either Rangiku or Yumichika, making it an anime-only trope.
* Implied to be the case with Major General Armstrong in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''. She uses it to her advantage when charming information out of an enemy.
* PlayedForLaughs at implication in ''Anime/CarnivalPhantasm'' in the Ilya's Castle Special: After defeating Rider, Ilya boasts that mature women had no value, then Caster retaliates by calling her a {{lolicon}} doll that doesn't understand the true value of mature women. Ilya retaliates again by defeating Caster... but not after claiming this:
-->''"All Japanese men are lolicons!!"''
* Played with by Meme Touwa in ''LightNovel/DenpaOnnaToSeishunOtoko''; she leaves a note for Makoto saying that the refrigerator contains a cake that's about to hit its expiration date. Naturally, [[spoiler: she's hiding in the fridge.]]
* The club advisor's single status become a running gag in ''LightNovel/YahariOreNoSeishunLoveComeWaMachigatteiru'', to the point where it the physiological damage could bring her down to her knee,
* {{Implied|trope}} in ''Manga/KiniroMosaic''. Local {{Sensei-chan}} Karasuma said she's "praying" on [[UsefulNotes/ChristmasInJapan Christmas]]. This probably means she's praying for a boyfriend.
* Shizuku Ninomiya from ''LightNovel/KyoukaiNoKanata''. The very mention of marriage around her is a BerserkButton for her.
* Bekki Natsumi from ''LightNovel/NoRin'' anguishes about this all the time. She claims to be 40 years old, but only looks to be in her mid-20's. She often makes it a point to mention her single status to her class a lot as well, which often sours their mood but also breaks up any arguments that may have been occurring too.
* Aya Kunitachi in ''Manga/HighSchoolNinjaGirlOtonashiSan'' is still husband hunting at age thirty. To her dismay, the man she falls for, Kariya, is a {{Jerkass}} who considers her an AbhorrentAdmirer due precisely to her age, despite being 32 himself. To him, there is a significant difference between thirty years old for a man and for a woman.
* Mayumi is one in ''Manga/BokuraWaMinnaKawaisou''. Some of the comedy in the series is derived from her terrible luck with men, and how she always laments when a younger female coworker announces she either has a boyfriend, or is getting married. And she always seems to go after JerkAss men who have a tendency to be two-timers, which only exacerbates this problem.
* The third story in ''Manga/SchoolMermaid'' has a school gym teacher named Noriko join in on the mermaid hunt because she nearing 30 and desperately wants a boyfriend that's she willing to invoke the mermaid spell to get one. [[spoiler: The disturbing thing however the object of her curse is a ''school-aged boy''.]]
* Koumoto Akari, [[TwoTeacherSchool the teacher of the school]] in ''Manga/MyMonsterSecret'', is considered a LivingLegend for her sheer number of failed attempts at getting a boyfriend, and her inability to attract any man is treated as an almost supernatural aura that deprives even [[MsFanservice Shiho]] of her sexiness when the latter tries to give her advice. Her [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld great-great-grandmother]] [[{{Troll}} Akane]] takes an intense delight in reminding her, and often pays dearly for it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Invoked in ''[[Film/TheKarateKid The Karate Kid Part II]]''. Yuki-san, Miyagi's old flame, ''willingly'' decided to remain an "old maid" as she considered that it was the better alternative to being a TrophyWife to Sato, Miyagi's RivalTurnedEvil.
* ''Late Spring'' (1949), by the renowned director Yasujirō Ozu, is all about this, but a bit subverted and downplayed. The 27-year-old heroine has remained unmarried to take care of her widowed father. All her male friends and colleagues are either married or engaged. However, she's quite happy in her life. It's her family members who worry, and eventually set her up with a nice man from her university. Her dad even pretends he's about to remarry so she won't worry about him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Arianne Martell from Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire is considered this for being unwed at 23 in a setting where most women are bethrothed or married off in their early-mid teens.
* In ''Fear and Trembling'', a semi-autobiographical novel by Amélie Nothomb in which she describes her disastrous experience as a foreign OfficeLady in a Japanese corporation, her immediate superior is an unmarried 29-year-old woman. It's hinted that her parents are desperate to see her get married before she turns 30 (which she doesn't).
* A western variant is deliberately invoked in Literature/TheParasolProtectorate series. Alexia Tarrabotti is considered a spinster in the alternate Victorian world the books and manga take place in, though she would still be considered rather young by modern standards.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Until the 90s, Wrestling/AllJapanWomensProWrestling's policy was that their wrestlers had to retire at age 25. To put this in perspective, they were the last surviving women's promotion in Japan since the WWWA toured back in the 1950s up until the establishment of JWP in 1986. Nearly two generations of Japanese wrestlers did not have the option to jump to other promotions unless they were willing to leave the country.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* Katisha in Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's ''Theatre/TheMikado'' pursues the much younger Nanki-Poo as a lover despite his vehement protests (he even runs away just to avoid her) though she's mostly played sympathetically and ends up [[PairTheSpares with someone her own age]] at the end.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Muffy from the ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon'' series; she's always lamenting her failure with men, and in the Japanese version of ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon DS,'' her parents even try to arrange a marriage for her! (In the American version, they just try setting her up on a blind date.) She's also one of the available marriage candidates in ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon: A Wonderful Life'' and ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon DS'' -- in DS, she'll also eventually end up marrying Griffin if the player doesn't marry her, though in ''A Wonderful Life,'' she and Griffin will merely remain in a state of perpetual [[UnresolvedSexualTension UST]].
* Ms. Noriko Kashiwagi from ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', who is immediately fingered as one of these in her introduction and later is so delusional about her looks that she competes in a ''high school'' beauty contest and genuinely acts surprised at her loss. One could say she is an {{Expy}} of [[DearS Mitsuka Yoshimine]].
** In the earlier ''{{Persona 2}}'', this was deconstructed with Ulala. She not only has no man, she has no job or skills [[spoiler:leading her to attempt to kill her best friend Maya, who is much more successful.]]
* The basis behind a joke in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars Original Generation 2'', where Aguija is called an "Old Hag" by the teenaged Lune Zoldark. She takes particular offense to this, saying that she's still in her 20's. HardDrinkingPartyGirl Excellen (23) then gets into it, pointing out that all the females in their team are ''still'' younger than her, drawing a few uncomfortable laughs from Katina and Rhada, who at ages 25 and 27, are only ''just''.
** In MX, Aqua Centrum has this stigma as she is among the oldest pilots in the game, older than her copilot Hugo by a few years and significantly older than the various pilots from series such as Gundam and Dragonar.
* Raine Sage of ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' isn't ''quite'' to this point yet, but she does make more than one reference to worrying about her age. All the more ridiculous because, as an elf [[spoiler:or, rather, half-elf]] she'll live for about a thousand years. She can, indeed, pursue romantic involvement with the much younger main character.
* Reina Mayuzumi of ''TraumaCenter Under The Knife 2'', also TheVamp, is 35, single, and constantly tries to sex up Derek, after which Angie furiously complains that she has to be much older than she looks. Her ultimate fate is related to this trope.
* In ''VideoGame/MitsumeteKnight'', becoming one is [[LoveFreak Sue's]] greatest fear, as she's already 22 by the beginning of the game. She wants to have a husband and have a lovey-dovey relationship with him, but can't find one because she drives away her suitors with her WellExcuseMePrincess and MoodSwinger attitudes.
* In ''LuminousArc'', the Garden Children talk about Vanessa in this manner, shortly before she starts a BarBrawl with them...
* Rorona in ''VideoGame/{{Atelier Meruru|The Apprentice of Arland}}''. Rorona would have been in her 30s in Meruru, but Gust couldn't stand the thought, so they had her take a potion that turned her into an eight year old. [[TheScrappy A large portion of the fanbase was not pleased.]]
* Parodied in ''TheKingOfFighters XIII'', as Mai gets ''pissed'' when she pretty much [[TwistingTheWords tricks herself]] into believing that Athena is calling her an "old maid" in their pre-fight chat. Poor Athena has '''no''' idea of what's going on.
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[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* [[spoiler:Liliana]] spends most of ''VisualNovel/PrincessWaltz'' pretending to be a middleschooler, yet rather pointedly asks Arata if he likes 'older women'. His mother on the other hand outright accuses her of being a cradle-snatcher.
* Lotus from ''VisualNovel/NineHoursNinePersonsNineDoors''. She's graphically depicted as MsFanservice, in a skimpy outfit with large, shiny assets. But the game's ''characters'' complain repeatedly about being forced to look at her "wrinkly grandma boobs". [[spoiler:She's actually 40 years old and a divorcee with twin daughters.]]
* A male version is given a minor examplie in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'' as a VERY brief Joke. Tomitake quips "A man becomes is more attractive at 30!", in response to Mion quipping "You like photography so much, you missed your chance to be married!"
* Chizuru in ''VisualNovel/GrisaiaNoRakuen'' ruefully admits in the afterstory that she really does need to get married soon if it's every going to happen at all, but unfortunately the only person she's shown any interest in and can meet with often is ten years younger than her, her student ''and'' her family wouldn't approve of him. However, she does have a bonus sex scene that would fit into the canon ending [[spoiler:where Yuuji basically has a harem]] that has her quit worrying about appearances and just go for it.
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