Hmm, wonder how he's going to explain that spilled coffee...
Bob and Alice are eating together, either at a restaurant or at someone's house, or they're sitting in the same boardroom for a business conference or some other type of important meeting. Alice is in a playful mood, or she's of a mind to seduce Bob. At the same time, she doesn't want her intentions to be too obvious to the other persons present, and verbally expressing herself directly to Bob is out of the question and/or would be inappropriate for the occasion.
So, Bob and Alice are sitting directly apart from each other at the table. It gives Alice the perfect opportunity.
Underneath the table, away from the eyes of others, she slips off one or both of her shoes and, using her feet, caresses Bob's legs. If she's feeling really adventurous, she'll go higher. Above the table, she can look nonchalant or indifferent so as to not arouse suspicion, or she can have a coy little smile as she enjoys watching Bob's reaction to her hidden antics, whether he's embarrassed or enjoying the attention she's giving him.
In fiction, this trope is usually invoked by a woman toward a man in order to express physical attraction that cannot otherwise be expressed for one reason or another; but the reverse (man to woman) is also possible. The Ho Yay
and Les Yay
versions of this trope are not unheard of, either.
In these cases, the recipient's reaction/response may vary. He/She may be flustered or embarrassed, or may actually like the attention and even reciprocate. Alternately, he/she may pull away to show a lack of interest or, in extreme cases, make a move to stand up—if the instigator doesn't get kicked for their trouble.
Often it's a very specific type of Fetish
. When done in fictional settings, it's done for Author Appeal
. If the perpetrator is a woman, it's sometimes done to emphasize that She's Got Legs
Can also be done for comedic purposes, if the perpetrator ends up "serving
" the wrong person underneath the table. In such a case, when the mistake is discovered, expect hilarity to ensue
Compare Naughty Under the Table
Not related to Does Not Like Shoes
, Fertile Feet
, or Foot Popping
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Anime and Manga
- Janey Slater did this to John Osterman, the day after they made love and before he became Dr. Manhattan, in Watchmen.
- In the autobiographical story "Footsy" (sic) from Weirdo #20, Robert Crumb, as a teenager, plays this game with several girls in class. Aside from the fetish aspect, this was a way for the shy, awkward young Crumb to have some form of intimacy with girls he'd never dare ask out.
- During the scene in The Virgin Suicides when the neighbour comes over for dinner, three of the girls are trying to play footsie with him under the table.
- National Lampoon's National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 parodied this. The by-the-book cop invites his Cowboy Cop partner to have dinner with his family. The wife starts playing footsie with the guest... and then the daughter gets in on it... and then the dog.
- Late Bloomers features the Les Yay version.
- Done during a restaurant scene in the 1978 movie Once In Paris.
- The War of the Roses (no, not THAT one) has this between Danny DeVito's character and a female guest during a dinner at the Roses' house.
- In Bad Company, Chris Rock plays a man impersonating his recently-deceased FBI-affiliated twin brother. As part of an assignment, he meets up with his brother's girlfriend (played by Garcelle Beauvais), who believes he's his brother, and they have dinner together at a hotel, where she attempts to seduce him this way.
- Used in Ridicule to distract the protagonist and prevent him from thinking up a good joke.
- In Weekend at Bernie's, Bernie's lover does this to him while her boyfriend...a crime boss...sits beside them.
- Parodied in the Italian movie Fracchia contro Dracula where the female vampire attempts to seduce the titular character using this.... despite being at the opposite side of an extremely long dinner table. And she succeeded!
- Kip and LaFawnduh in Napoleon Dynamite.
- In Casino Royale (1967), SMERSH attempts to destroy Sir James Bond's Celibate Hero image through almost certain temptation - at M's castle at a funeral dinner, two female agents flanking him drape their legs over his.
- Lolita (1997). Dolores lets her foot brush against Humbert's while sitting between him and her mother on a swinging garden bench.
- The 1925 version and the 1934 version of The Merry Widow have little in common with each other or the source opera by Franz Lehar. But they both have Footsie Under The Table gags.
- The 1925 film, which already had an explicit foot fetish scene in which a perv stares at a bunch of ladies' feet, has another scene where two different men are sitting on opposite sides of the female lead, trying to romance her. Each of them start playing footsie with her. She promptly draws her feet up, causing them to play footsie with each other.
- In the 1934 film, it isn't shown onscreen, but apparently Capt. Danilo is playing it with Sonia in the nightclub.
: Now you're acting like a gentleman...[Beat
]...Please give me back my shoe.
- In Pretty Little Liars, Emily's mother sees Emily playing footsie with Maya under the table.
- Within the Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey, the Heralds are shown to have a non-verbal code language devised to allow discreet conversations while apparently playing footsie with each other.
- In the Tim Dorsey novel Triggerfish Twist, Serge's date skips footsie and very conspicuously plants her foot in his lap, in the middle of a ritzy restaurant, while on a double date. When rebuffed, the date huffs up and retreats to the bathroom to do coke.
- In the erotic Edwardian novel The Temptations of Cremorne, a spirited session of this between the heroine and a well-known rake at his club is the precursor to randy romp in one of the upstairs bedrooms.
Live Action TV
- Debbie Gibson, in her "Shock Your Mama" video, is clearly seducing her boyfriend while playing footsie with him under the table.
- In Faust II (line 6342), Mephistopheles tells a brunette that she may do this trope now again (after he—supposedly—healed her foot).
- This is one of your options while on a restaurant date in The Sims 2.