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Foot Popping

"When kissed for the first time, a girl should close her eyes. The second time, she should give an ecstatic back kick, clutching her sweetheart by his coat lapels."
— "An Outline of Motion Picture Etiquette", October 1923 issue of Screenland

Traditionally, when a woman and a man kiss, the woman tends to lift her leg to show just how hot and heavy it's getting or to demonstrate how much she trusts the man to hold her up.

A somewhat Discredited Trope nowadays, and mostly crops up in parody (though the alert viewer will still sometimes see it played straight, mainly in romantic comedies), as often a man will do this to emphasize his effeminate side, or both people will do it at once. The Trope Namer is the film version of The Princess Diaries.

Though the trope originated earlier, one of The Hays Code's dumber demands required that women, in love scenes, at all times have "at least one foot on the floor" (in other words, no love scenes in bed). It may even be an example of Getting Crap Past the Radar if it's combined with Something Else Also Rises. However, this euphemistic meaning has become mostly forgotten over time, to the point where it can be used without a single raised eyebrow in children's programming, or conversely, seen in pornographic movies, where the need for euphemism is lessened, to say the least.

According to some commentary on the topic (including several actresses from The Golden Age of Hollywood), this trope was/is also intended as a way for starlets to draw attention to their shapely legs. This is borne out by numerous posed "cheesecake" photographs from the 1930's through the 1960's where the model is striking a Foot Popping-style pose without actually kissing anyone (generally she's the only one in the picture). Many old hosiery advertisements (stockings and pantyhose) also used the trope in this way, to showcase their wares by calling attention to the legs wearing them.

See also Stock Kisses.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Older than Television: A magazine stocking advertisement from the 1920s features this trope, suggesting that it developed as soon as skirts became short enough to show off female legs.
  • This trope used to show up frequently in pantyhose and stocking commercials (and some shoe commercials as well) in the 1960s and '70s.
  • In the '80s, commercials for Big Red chewing gum would occasionally show this trope, sometimes spoofed, sometimes played straight. Example here.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Done straight in chapter 22 of Little House with an Orange Roof when Natsumi and Shoutarou embrace for the first time.
  • In Sachiare!, Sachiko is so short she often has to do this on a stool to kiss her husband. Unless he just picks her up, of course.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Barbie in Toy Story 3 does this. Considering that she's a Barbie Doll, it's a weird moment in the film. Ken does the same in the follow-up short Hawaiian Vacation.
  • Shows up in the Disney version of Hercules, where Megara, naturally, is not a victim of Pater Familicide but a Femme Fatale.
  • Parodied in Chicken Little, right before the title character leaves to go stop aliens from destroying the town; he grabs his friend Abby, the Ugly Duckling, delivers a rapid-fire confession of his love for her, and kisses her. Her foot pop is immediate and rather funny.
  • At the end of Ralph Bakshi's Fire and Ice, when Larn and Teegra embrace, she pops a foot.
  • Done by Leah at the end of Osmosis Jones when she kisses Ozzy. According to commentary, the animation was added in for laughs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 had a scene where both the man and the woman stick one foot in the air as they kiss. Then each puts the other foot in the air at the same time. They just sort of hover there.
  • In the first The Princess Diaries movie (the protagonist's life dream is to meet a guy, fall in love at first sight, and kiss him like this. She expressly specifies the foot pop. Subverted three times and then played straight.
    • First try: Daydream sequence, when the protagonist is kissing the boy and she can't pop her foot because it's cemented to the sidewalk by used gum.
    • Second try: protagonist and boy are hiding in a shed. Kiss is attempted, foot gets caught in fishing net and she falls over.
    • Third try: guy forces her into a kiss with paparazzi surrounding them. She starts to do this, then takes off her sandal and beats the guy over the head with it.
    • Fourth try: protagonist is (finally) kissing the boy she likes outside, her foot pops properly. Her foot pops such that it turns on the fountains in the garden as well as all the lights, demonstrating that when one kisses the right person, foot pops go perfectly.
  • Anne Hathaway's character indulges in Foot Popping again in the second The Princess Diaries movie on two occasions:
    • First attempt: Mia gets smooched at a garden party and she does the foot pop.
    • Second attempt: Played straight. Mia encounters her true love (the same guy who kissed her earlier) and kisses him in front of the throne; she lifts her foot as the camera pulls back out of the room. Heck, she picks up both feet on the second one.
  • Spoofed in The Naked Gun when Frank Drebin and his Love Interest do this at the same time.
  • In the 1932 Jean Harlow film, Red-Headed Woman, the protagonist and her boyfriend go behind the cupboard in a bar, so we only see their feet. She lifts one of their legs, showing that they're kissing — quite scandalous in a public place back then.
  • Spoofed in the Bob Hope/Jane Russell film Son of Paleface, in the scene where Jane kisses Bob. One of Jane's shapely legs goes up as per trope specifications, then both of Bob's legs fly up in the air and the spurs on his bootheels (he's in full-dress cowboy gear) begin to spin madly.
  • This was subverted in Date Movie. Julia pops her foot while kissing Grant, and Grant pops his foot also — the wrong way.
  • Seen and played straight in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when Ferris (Matthew Broderick) greets his girlfriend (Mia Sara).
  • Also played straight in Working Girl at a key romantic moment between Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford's characters.
  • Faye Dunaway's character does this briefly in Network as part of a montage of stereotypically romantic scenes — it's kind of played straight, but also satirical as she spends all of these scenes talking nonstop about work.
  • Played straight in the classic musical Three Little Words, where Red Skelton's character finds his fiancee kissing another man backstage.
  • In the Dean Martin/Tony Curtis/Janet Leigh movie Who Was That Lady, the movie opens with a scene showing Leigh arriving at her husband's (Curtis) office and catching him in the act of kissing a foot-popping girl.
  • Played straight by Brigitte Bardot in her 1950s' movie Une Parisienne.
  • Also in Contempt, but she lifts it the other way.
  • Martine Carol strikes a Foot Popping pose in her movie Nana during an onstage scene, though she doesn't actually kiss her male opposite number.
  • Done in So I Married an Axe Murderer by Mike Myers' character, kissing his bride at the altar, dressed in a kilt.
  • Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster has one between Shaggy and Velma played entirely straight.
  • Some Like It Hot: when "Sugar" Kane kisses Joe as he's lounging on a couch, one leg stands up straight in the air behind her back.
  • In And Out contains a male-on-male example, when openly-gay Peter cuts off inadvertently-outed Howard's "you've got the wrong man" protests with his lips, giving the audience its first solid indicator that, no, in fact, he doesn't.
  • The Professional. When Léon rescues Mathilda from corrupt cops at the DEA office, she throws herself into his arms; naturally as she's only a little girl the subsequent Foot Popping closeup shows her feet hanging a foot above the floor.
  • The last kiss in OSS 117: Lost in Rio.
  • Something similar to this happens in the 1996 film Michael, during Archangel Michael's (John Travolta) dance with hippie waitress Anita (Joey Lauren Adams). After catching Anita in a hug and lifting her up before playfully spinning her around, Anita's shows her enjoyment by her big grin and also by both of her legs doing some foot popping (although this differs from normal as neither of her feet are touching the ground).

    Literature 
  • In the photo-novelization of the 1980 Village People movie Can't Stop the Music, there is a picture of Valerie Perrine Foot Popping while she kisses Bruce Jenner. In the actual movie, Perrine and Jenner are shown only from the waist up.
  • In a Magic: The Gathering novel of the long-running "Weatherlight Saga", the Weatherlight crew is fighting a group of Mooks. One of them tries to get a jump on Hanna from behind. She turns her head, kisses him and does a foot pop. The mook goes down clutching himself. This may also qualify as both a Crowning Moment of Funny and Crowning Moment of Awesome.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Smallville
  • Scrubs did a gag in which J.D. and Kim both lift their legs while kissing.
  • In Heroes, Isaac's prophetic painting of Peter and Simone kissing under an umbrella in the rain has Simone with her leg up.
  • Pushing Daisies has an Daydream Surprise from Olive Snook where she is literally swept off her feet.
  • Happy Days
    • In one episode, the boys watch a kissing scene involving an actress with whom they might have a chance to win a date and discuss how much they'd like to raise that foot up.
    • In another episode, Potsie observes Fonzie kissing a Foot Popping girl and comments that Foot Popping is a signal that the girl is "worldly".
  • In the episode of Living Single where Overton and Sinclaire finally Spit It Out, they both pop their feet when they finally kiss.
  • Sarah does this in the "Something Ida This Way Comes" episode of Brothers and Sisters.
  • Mork and Mindy: Mork does this while kissing Mindy in the episode "Mork the Prankster".
  • In the movie version of The Man From UNCLE episode "The Double Affair", The Spy with My Face, Senta Berger disrobes, enters a shower and kisses Robert Vaughn. Only their legs are seen, and hers take a sort of Foot Popping pose (actually, more like her bare foot caressing Vaughn's bare legs) accompanied by suggestive dialogue.
  • The first lesbian kiss in a Brazilian soap Amor e Revolução (translation: Love and Revolution)– had this.
  • Tracker: After Daggon/Cole rescued Tina - a homeless teenager who ran away from her mum - from a pair of alien fugitives, he later reunites her with her father. Tina is shown briefly doing a foot pop as she and her Dad hug each other.
  • In the Doctor Who episode Time Heist, the Doctor is so pleased with himself for exhausting Clara right before her dinner with Danny Pink ("Robbin a whole bank. Beat that for a date!") that he does this in the last shot.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise. T'Pol does this while sharing a Shower Of Love with Trip Tucker.

    Music 
  • The cover of the old Carmen Cavallaro record, For Latin Lovers, shows this trope.
  • The cover of the 2007 compilation album, The Departure Lounge: Love also shows this trope.
  • In the video for Eddie Money's early-1980s song "Shakin'", the Latina beauty driving the blue "lowrider" strikes a Foot Popping pose as she kisses the hood of her car after winning a street race.
  • The music video for Josh Turner's "Your Man" plays this trope straight as his lover lifts her foot while kissing in an elevator.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: The VJ Day Kiss features a nurse Foot Popping with the sailor kissing her. It's funnier when you realize that the two are strangers, and the latter was kissing everybody.
  • Fergie did a Foot Popping kiss with her husband Josh Duhamel in Las Vegas on 12/31/2009 that got written up in a number of celebrity blogs.
  • This giant statue at St Pancras International Train Station, London called The Meeting Place.


Fist PumpStock PosesFreudian Couch
First KissKissing TropesForceful Kiss
Fog of DoomOlder than TelevisionGarden Hose Squirt Surprise
Footsie Under the TableThese Tropes Are Made For WalkingFootprints Of Muck
Even Evil Has StandardsImageSource/Comic BooksFlorence Nightingale Effect

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