Fool for Love
"I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."You've got yourself a badass snarker who couldn't care less about anyone. Or could they? Maybe this supreme example of all things awesome is hiding something, some hidden feelings. Maybe they are just a big softy inside. Then we have ourselves the Fool for Love. He may act all macho, but his bravado is really just hiding the fact that his one motivation is to honor his one true love. Given enough time and enough drama, this one true love may even turn out to not be so one and true. Even in this case, the Fool For Love will almost immediately move on to a different love interest and serve them as loyally. All while being the most obnoxious character in the ensemble. In dark and tragic sort of cases the Fool for Love will lose his one true love, leaving him full of angst, bitterness, and more angst. Expect in this cases his one true love to be The Gwen Stacy and/or The Lost Lenore. Often, but not always, the Fool for Love has a secret artsy side. He may seem like a gun (or sword or fist) slinging showboat, but when no one is looking he is reading and writing poetry. Or painting landscapes. Or just looking forlornly at the horizon, but real artfully. Compare Love Martyr.
— Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Anime & Manga
- Sanji from One Piece is a self-confessed Slave to Love. Any moderately attractive woman can manipulate his chivalry, and any woman period is subject to his protection. Even if they're enemies.
- Harima Kenji from School Rumble fits the badass-in-love description to a T in his feelings toward Tsukamoto Tenma.
- A (maybe) platonic version of this is Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann initially appears to be a big, boastful, fearless meathead, but his bluster is both a cover for his inner doubts and a way to inspire courage in others, especially his Blood Brother Simon. He admits to Yoko in episode 8 that he'd have given into despair long ago if it were not for his absolute faith in Simon, and shortly thereafter goes on his first mission where he and Simon fight separately...and only Simon comes back alive.
- The typically caustic Chazz/Jun from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX always goes crazy in the presence of Alexis/Asuka and always tries to impress her, but always fails.
- A villainous, yet quite tragic, example in the Count from Berserk. He was once a Knight Templar who fought pagans, but he maintained a family life with his wife and daughter. He loved his wife dearly, but when he found out about her unfaithfulness, his world comes crashing down and he ended up sacrificing her to the God Hand to become an emotionless demon in his moment of despair.
- Guts also constitutes for this trope. He's the most macho, badass character in the story, yet everything that he's doing currently is for his beloved Casca. Even before things took a turn for the worse in their relationship, Casca was one of those few individuals whom Guts showed his softer, emotional, and even vulnerable side to.
- In Finder Series Asami Ryuichi is usually a cautious and very intelligent man. But when his lover Akihito gets kidnapped by an old enemy he makes several highly questionable choices to get him back. From embarking in a rescue mission with two still unhealed gunshot wounds to cutting deals with other criminal organizations.
- Gets referenced in Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz: when Heero immediately goes to rescue the kidnapped Relena, Duo quietly remarks "Anything and everything for the one you love..." (in the English dub) or "Heh, somebody's got a crush" (in the original Japanese).
- Wolverine sure seems like an uncaring loner until you look at the gaggle of one true loves he has loved and lost throughout the years.
Live Action TV
- Spike, from Buffy and later Angel. He may be the biggest Badass on the show (at least in the show's first few seasons) but he is always doing it for a very special lady, whether she be a psychotic vampire, a troubled slayer, a cute physicist or an elder goddess. He snarks and acts all tough but at the end of the day, all he wants is to watch out for his one true love.
- Sawyer from Lost definitely qualifies as one of these. He may be a rugged con man who insults anyone who will stand still long enough but his only two hobbies are reading and gazing forlornly at Kate.
- At least until Season 6, when he takes up listening to punk music and mourning Juliet.
- Damon from Vampire Diaries is definitely one of these, in the same vein as another snarky vampire. He spends 146 years searching for Katherine and falls for her doppleganger, Elena to whom he is just as loyal to, if in his own crazy way.
- Sherlock Holmes in Elementary is implied to be this. Joan deduces in the pilot that a big part of his motives from his Dark and Troubled Past has to do with his own lost lenore.
- Revealed to be true and then painfully subverted when it is revealed his lenore was never really lost and was playing him the whole time.
- Thomas Barrow from Downton Abbey is an incorrigible bastard most of the time, but whenever he falls for someone he goes to great lengths in pursuit of a (same-sex) relationship - a practice which is likely to get him thrown in prison if exposed, considering the time period.
- Chandler from Friends is typically a Stepford Snarker and committment phobic because of his difficult childhood. However in his few early relationships he's extremely devoted and romantic buying Janice a draw and spending days hunting down a childhood book for Kathy. When he gets together with Monica he comes up with romantic speeches that any guy would be proud of, let alone a cynic who claims all relationships are doomed. Ironically out of the three guys (both of which are viewed as better with women than him) he's the first to get married and actually make a relationship work.
- Simon from The Inbetweeners will do anything for the girl he happens to be in love with at the time. Him being one of the main characters and thus one of the universe's playthings, this usually ends badly for him.
- Neal Caffrey, so much so. This is the man that eluded the FBI for years. The only crime that they had enough evidence to convict him for was bond forgery when he also committed art theft, counterfeit, and assorted other crimes. This is also the man that only got caught because he prioritized finding Kate over logic, and the man that escaped from prison for her.
- The eponymous Galavant tried to defy this trope, saying that he came from a long line of passionate people, including his parents (who loved each other - sometimes violently) and wanted to avoid living the life that they did. However, he met Madelena, and fell hard for her.
Isabella: And Madelena?
Galavant: Well... She fell softer.
- "Fool for Love" by Sandy Rogers, natch.
- Frank Sinatra has two songs in this vain on Songs For Swingin Lovers:
I'd sacrifice anything come what mightFor the sake of havin' you nearIn spite of a warnin' voice that comes in the nightAnd repeats, repeats in my ear:Don't you know, little fool, you never can win?Use your mentality, wake up to realityBut each time that I do just the thought of youMakes me stop before I beginCause I've got you under my skin
- "I've Got You Under My Skin"
The moment that you speakI want to run and play hide-and-seekI want to go and bounce the moonJust like a big toy balloonYou and I, we are just like a couple of totsRunning along the meadowSnatching up all those forget to be nots
- "You Make Me Feel So Young".