Don't Look at Me!

"Don't you fucking look at me!"
Frank Booth, Blue Velvet

Exactly What It Says on the Tin, this is when someone doesn't like to be looked at, with the title being the Stock Phrase you're most likely to hear them bellow to underline the point. Compared to Hates Being Touched, this one tends to be a more temporary state of being, often triggered by a Heroic B.S.O.D., transformation into a Body Horror, or revealing a Red Right Hand — after all, it can be understandably difficult to write a character who actively seeks to go unnoticed. Such situations are often remedied with The Hero giving the afflicted Love Interest a Cooldown Hug and telling her that he still loves her, or that her wings are beautiful.

In a more mundane setting, this can be merely indicative of body image issues, warranted or otherwise. This version is almost Always Female.

Another version is a character being caught doing something they're ashamed of, for example if they've been Caught With Their Pants Down.

Not to be confused with the remarkably similar, defensive stock phrase said when everyone in the room labels a character as the most likely culprit of some misdeed of which he's not (entirely) guilty by leveling him an accusing stare — "Don't look at me!" rather than "Don't look at me!" — which is... another trope entirely. Nor is it to be confused with the also similar stock phrase where the characters are trying to figure out an explanation for a confusing or mysterious situation, and one who is believed to have special insight, or simply intelligent enough to figure such things out is looked to, only to respond this way. It should also not be confused with a situation where the characters are trying to single out a patsy to undertake an unpleasant but necessary task, leading the victim to offer this response.

Something to keep in mind when adding examples: it only counts as an example of this trope if it is used to imply that a character is ashamed of their appearance. It's not a example if it's yelled at an Accidental Pervert stumbling upon someone taking a bath.

Compare Hates Being Touched.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Envy keeps yelling this when he first reveals his true form.
  • Fruits Basket: When Kyo's true form is revealed in front of Tohru, he yells this before he runs off.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Miaka yells this at Tamahome, covering herself after nearly being raped. In a later four-paneled parody at the end of the volume, Tamahome does the same.
  • In Spice and Wolf when Holo transforms fully into her wolf form, she says this specifically to Lawrence. Notably, she didn't mind Lawrence seeing her stripping naked, but she didn't want to frighten him with the transformation.
  • Black Butler: In the anime, Sebastian tells Ciel to close his eyes when he transforms into his demon form in order to kill Ash - a surprising (and yet disappointing) non-romantic version of this trope.
  • A heartbreaking example occurs during the climax of the Eclipse from Berserk. During her horrific rape by the now demonic Griffith, the last sane thing that Casca says to her lover Guts is "don't watch," despite the fact that he is being Forced to Watch by the demons who dog-piled him after he severed part of his own left arm in his last attempt to save her. After she passes out from her defeat and humiliation, Casca awakens only to have become insane and mute and has not spoken coherently since the events of the Eclipse.
  • Was a pretty important moment for Jiro's mental state in Kikaider when he ran off screaming this.
  • Happens in the Martial Arts Dining arc of Ranma ˝. Before Ranma goes into the bathroom to train for a match, he tells Akane to not look inside. She doesn't, until she hears screams of pain. She runs in to find Ranma turned into a boy and in a feminine, iron corset too small for his male body. He yells at her to stop looking.
    • When Ranma loses the Dragon Whisker that stops his hair from growing rapidly, Akane runs after him. She finds him alone in a dark room and moves to get in closer, but Ranma shouts at her, "Don't look at me, Akane!"
  • Ryoshi from Ōkami-san has a severe aversion to being stared at, and will yell these words whenever he becomes the center of attention. He gets better as the series progresses.
  • Neji does this at the end of Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth's first chapter, because Lee's Zany Scheme of faking ninjutsu involved dressing him as a turtle. Then Naruto and Konohamaru come upon him.
  • This frequently occurs in hentai with female characters who are concerned about their dignity. And that's all we'll say about that.
  • This trope is the very power source of the Ultimate Girls, which kicks in (at least for two of them) once their spandex suit proceeds to disappear each battle.
  • Black Lagoon. In "Roberta's Blood Trail", Roberta has sex with a FARC commander, then beats his head literally to a pulp. When Garcia (who has heard all of this) comes around the corner and begs for her to stop, she has a complete mental breakdown and say these exact words.

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Doom as regards his unmasked face.
  • In X-Men: Inferno, Illyana said this line to her brother, Colossus, after being turned into a demon. Colossus looked anyway. And after that, the beaten demon, though he is responsible for the death.
  • In Empowered, when Sistah Spooky is briefly depowered and returned to her mid-puberty appearance, she screams this as she traded her soul to become forever beautiful.
  • Secret Six: Horrifyingly done by Junior, due to the heavily implied sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father and a policy to kill anyone who does.
  • In Morbius #1 Michael says this while trying to hide his face when he is confronted by his ex-fiancée Martine.
  • When Invincible returned to Earth after an extended absence, his girlfriend Atom Eve had this reaction, due to having gotten out of shape from not using her powers enough while he was gone. Not horribly so, but she's clearly ashamed over her now slightly pudgy physique.

    Fan Works 
  • In Starbound, this is exactly how Kagami and Miyuki feel about their hair having been irreversibly updone against their will.
    • Mondo has his moment as well, having been talked by Rokuna into appearing in a speedo in front of their friends and practically the entire canon cast. (Don't worry; nothing like Haruhi.)
  • In The Witch of the Everfree, Sunset keeps herself covered in her cloak whenever she can, because she doesn't like letting ponies see her scars.

    Film 
  • Hellraiser: Frank tells this to Julia before stealing flesh from his victims.
  • Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense keeps telling people, "Don't look at me like that!"
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula has Mina walk in on Dracula ravishing a spell-ensnared Lucy. Since he's not exactly looking his best in any number of ways, he tells her "Do not see me!". It works due to his hypnotism powers, and Mina seems to have no memory of what she saw.
  • Said frequently in Blue Velvet. One of the film's most iconic lines is Frank Booth's "Don't you fucking look at me!". Thanks to an extremely disturbing case of Stockholm Syndrome, Dorothy has ended up enjoying abuse, and so uses the same line when the power positions are reversed with another character.
  • In one of the film versions of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff (played by Tom Hardy) says this to his wife Isabella while they're having sex. He later mentions that because she shares eyes with her brother Edgar Linton, whom Heathcliff has hated for most of his life, he "can't look on them without wishing [her] harm". Much is made in both the book and film of how different Catherine Earnshaw's dark eyes are from the Lintons' blue ones.
  • In one of the many film versions of Oliver Twist, Bill Sykes (played by Tom Hardy) seems to hate people staring at him, but is rather inconsistent in it; several times he threatens people who do look at him, but other times he seems fine with it, and will hold a conversation with them and have no problem making eye contact. This is possibly a nod to the book, where Sykes' last words refer to "the eyes" of dead Nancy.
  • The Bleeder, one of the maniacs who escape from the asylum in Alone in the Dark (1982), doesn't like to be looked at by strangers, and is always shown hiding his face. This sets up the reveal that he has managed to get in the psychiatrist main character's house, as even he doesn't know what he looks like.

    Literature 
  • In The Elenium and The Tamuli series by David Eddings, the goddess Aphrael is normally in the form of a six year old child. She has several different forms, including her "real" form as an adult woman, which she never uses except when changing forms. She doesn't like anyone to see her changing forms.
  • In Discworld, Angua von Uberwald, a werewolf, has no problem with people seeing her as a human or as a wolf, but hates anyone seeing the actual change. It's hinted to be a Brown Note for canines and humans alike, since Gaspode was reduced to a whimpering mess the last time he didn't shut his eyes in time.
    • All werewolves seem to have this; Angua's Ax-Crazy brother Wolfgang will gladly walk around naked in his human form (claiming it's more natural), but he and all his fellow werewolves will avert their eyes from each other during the actual transformation.
  • In Kingdoms and Conquerors, T'zinkin refuses to look at Ryan, and begs him not to look at her, because she 'isn't worthy' when he explains for the thousandth time that he isn't a god, she replies that she isn't worthy- because she wasn't able to save the others.
  • Hermione in Harry Potter when she is accidentally turned into a cat thanks to the Polyjuice Potion.
  • In the Schooled In Magic series, Emily has been scarred by her leering stepfather's constant gaze. Therefore she is uncomfortable with her appearance and tries to hid her looks lest she been stared at.

    Live Action TV 
  • Angel: Angel says this when he sees his true demon form in Pylea.
    • It's implied that this is why vampires don't show in reflections, that the demon they truly are despises their own visage and avoids it when they can. Angel takes on that form in Pylea because its physics enhance his powers, making his Game Face a complete transformation but also apparently removing the ability to hide their reflection.
  • Shouted word for word by Kramer on an episode of Seinfeld after a bout of chain-smoking ruins his appearance.
  • Spoofed in Just Shoot Me!, when Finch cries about King Lear twice, and says this both times.
  • In the Scrubs episode "My Bad Too," Dr. Kelso says this to J.D. and Elliot when they find him eating a chocolate cake he had thrown away before out of the trash.
  • There is something of a blink-an-you'll-miss-it moment in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Fear Itself". When Buffy enters the Goat Room she comes across a lot of terrified party-goers. One of them is trying to hide his face: Oz, who had been turning into a werewolf moments before and doesn't yet realise he's changed back.
    • Earlier on she says this very line when everyone's nightmares are coming true and she finds she's been turned into a vampire.
  • In the Doctor Who episode Daleks in Manhattan, Lazlo says this and tries to hide his face when his girlfriend finds him. Given that the poor guy has been turned into a humanoid pig, it's understandable that he's not happy.
  • Two-Faced injured veteran Richard Harrow of Boardwalk Empire doesn't much like being looked at with his mask on, but is mortified to be seen with it off. Gets an Ironic Echo in the season three finale when he doesn't want his girlfriend to look at the good side of his face, because it's splattered with blood.

    Music 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Whilst utilising his "Dashing" gimmick, Cody Rhodes had his nose (legitimately) broken by Rey Mysterio's 619. Psychologically broken by the perceived "imperfections" in his face, and forced to wear a protective face mask, Rhodes' narcissist gimmick shifted to that of a deranged, self-loathing, paranoid AxCrazy. He took to wearing a hooded jacket on his way to the ring, shielding his face with his hands, and giving interviews/promos in diminished lighting. As his mania grew, Rhodes took to covering the faces of his felled opponents (and audience members) with paper bags, he was so disgusted with the ugliness he saw around him and in himself.
  • When Kane's mask was forcibly removed in 2003, he under went an Heroic B.S.O.D. that led to a full-on Face–Heel Turn. He took to walking to the ring with a black towel draped over his head, and brutally attacked anyone he thought was mocking his appearance.
  • Often the reaction of rudo Luchadors when they lose a Mask Vs Mask match and react violently about having to unmask. Technicos tend to handle the shame with a bit more dignity.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Promethean: The Created: Expect a Promethean to yell this if they suffer Glamour Failure - Disquiet takes a vicious spike if a sufferer sees a Promethean's Disfigurements.
  • The Freak archetype from WOD Slasher is also quite given to using this line, given that such killers are ugly as sin and often aren't too happy about it.

    Theatre 
  • In Follies, Sally sings this when she meets Ben.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: The eponymous Phantom reacts violently the first time Christine tries to take his mask off and look at him. He even has a despair song once she does. Justified in that he was born with a hideous deformity.
    This face, which earned a mother's fear and loathing. / A mask, my first unfeeling scrap of clothing.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past contains a very quiet guy just sitting there in the desert. He is a retired thief who wants his old reputation to just go away already. Next to him is a sign:
    I'm just an average guy. Do not try to talk to me. DO NOT remove this sign.
  • In the Super Mario Bros. series, Boos (ghost enemies) do not like to be looked at, and turn invisible and hide their face when you look at them, only attacking when you turn away.
  • Happens when you take a picture to scandalize and show the PC's mom (no, seriously) of a rival Mafia member in a diaper with prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Collette uses this phrase when her clothes are torn, revealing that her Cruxis crystal is taking over her body.
  • There is a rare comedic example in the poorly translated Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal. Your rival shouts angrily, "WHAT DON'T STARE ME ALWAYS" and kicks you when you talk to him at the beginning of the game.
  • At the end of Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle Of Flesh the grossly mutated real Curtis Craig says this to his player-controlled clone before summoning his spectral puppet for the final Battle in the Center of the Mind
  • Played for drama in Fallout: New Vegas by the Nightkin. Their nature as stealth experts who spent all their time shrouded by Stealth Boys makes them despise being stared at, and the trope phrase is their reaction to the player character even glancing in their general direction. The side effects of prolonged Stealth Boy use also all but guarantee they'll develop debilitating mental disorders such as schizophrenia (on top of being Super Mutants). In one case, you can even annoy one of them just by staring at him.
  • In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, this is one of the things the Professor's ward Flora says if she gets a puzzle wrong.
  • In Minecraft, looking directly at one of the Endermen (as in, moving the crosshairs in the center of the screen over them) causes them to freeze and turn to face you. The moment you look away, they attack, moving very fast and teleporting if necessary to close the distance. They also make a creepy growl/scream sound.
  • In Persona 4, this is what Chie says to Yu and Yosuke when they see her confronting her Shadow self.
  • In Blaz Blue Chrono Phantasma when Noel faces off against Ragna in the form of Mu-12 she yells at him not to stare at her. He insists that he's not.
  • In Nier, Emil screams this after he discovers that fusing with his monstrous sister stabilized his powers and transformed him into a skeletal being similar to her. Without any hesitation, Nier hugs the sobbing Emil and does his best to comfort him.
  • Antichamber: Certain parts of the environment change or activate depending on whether or not you're actively observing them.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Lieutenant Felix Iresso from the Jedi Consular's crew is very vocal about not wanting to be stared at.
  • In Wick, this is Tom Weaver's motivation for wearing his mask. He will attack you if you look at him for too long. Stare too long at Lilian, and she'll kill you outright.

    Web Original 
  • Street Fighter: The Later Years: Zangief says this in the first episode.
  • Charles in Charge: When the Wiiviewer is caught watching Charles.
  • SCP-096, a humanoid creature that goes into a murderous rage if anyone sees its face, becoming an Implacable Man as it charges in a straight line towards the offending individual without any possible way to slow it down. This even applies to photographs and video (but not drawings) that show its face, including one instance of a photograph where its face made up a grand total of 4 pixels and had been in somebody's house for years without incident because nobody had looked at those exact 4 pixels before. Also, SCP-173, which follows Boo rules in that you have to be looking at if you don't want it to kill you.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: The Shape (formerly) in Grove Park that No One Speaks Of Or Acknowledges. It turns out that the reason no one speaks of or acknowledges it is because it gets mad if you do. Cecil finds this out the hard way.

    Web Comic 
  • At the end of the Cocoon Academy arc in Brawl in the Family, when Pinky realizes that his exposure to Dark Matter turned him blue, he tells everyone in the room "Ugh, geez...don't look at me, you guys." Even as an adult as Metaknight, he is extremely paranoid about being seen without his mask.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons.
    • Marge's father screamed this at Marge when she found out about his career as a stewardess [sic] , thus causing her lifelong fear of planes (amongst other things).
    • The Count Chocula expy.
    • When Homer lands the role as the star of Everyman, a superhero movie based on a character created by Comic Book Guy, he's given a fitness trainer who helps him get in shape for the role. However, when said trainer leaves once his job is done, Homer quickly degenerates back to his normal eating habits.
    Homer: *stuffing himself with cheese cubes from the buffet table* Dont look at me! DONT LOOK AT ME! Except you, you watch!
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Beast is angered by Belle's father's intrusion into the castle, saying that he's "come to stare at the Beast".
    • In the prologue he wraps his arms around his head as he tries to hide his ugliness and keeps to the shadows of his darkened castle so no one has to see him.
  • Batman: The Animated Series
    • Two-Face tries to hide his disfigurement when his girlfriend comes to see him, and gets mad when she removes the cloth covering half his face.
    • There was also the former starlet who covered her face with a mask at all times, at the risk of her Berserk Button. When she's unmasked at the end, Batgirl whispers that "She's beautiful," but Batman coolly replies that to the woman herself, all she can see are the flaws.
  • The Venture Bros.: Grand Galactic Inquisitor doesn't want anyone to interact with him in any way. His catch phrase is "Ignore me!"
  • On Chowder, Gorgonzola said this once so that no one would look at his shame!
    • Gazpacho says this when he banned himself from his own stand.
  • In Steven Universe, Peedee says this when Steven tries to talk to him while he's wearing a pizza costume.
  • Spoofed on Invader Zim by Chickenfoot, a man stuck in a chicken outfit who's convinced that he's a hideous abomination. During the retelling of his backstory to Dib, he screams "Don't look at me!" at random intervals.
    Chickenfoot: I used to be human, like you. And I worked at a Chicky-Licky, just like you!
    Dib: But I dont work at a Chicky Licky-
    Chickenfoot: DONT LOOK AT ME!!!
  • Parodied on Sonic Boom when a TV show convinces Knuckles that his past behavior may have severely harmed the life of someone he used to know.
    Knuckles: Don't look at me! I'm a monster! A MONSTER! *runs out of the room*
    Sonic: Ugh, hope this turns out better than when he thought he was a ballerina.
    *cue flashback*
    Knuckles: Don't look at me! I'm a ballerina! A BALLERINA! *gracefully dances out of the room*

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DontLookAtMe