You, Sir, have offended me!
"A glove slap in a little old face will
Get you satisfaction.
Glove slap ba-a-beee
Glove slap, baby, glove slap!
Glove slap, I don't take crap!"
In a society where people, by and large, agree not to engage in random acts of violence with each other, a story can be restricted by the fact that, well, everybody's kind of agreed not to engage in random acts of violence with each other. The Glove Slap is an end-run around this. The process of slapping someone with a white, preferably lacy glove is in itself so polite and dignified that it somehow seems socially acceptable that the natural outcome of the slap is a Duel to the Death
Well, that's the theory anyway. A long time ago, the trope might have been used like this. But these days it's only the stuff of laughter and parody
. Chiefly, no doubt, because the chances that the duel will actually be fought are low. (People who wield guns have tended to be much
less chivalrous in the post-Victorian era.)
Most of the time this trope is used in such a way that accents the absurdity of the formality. Characters who otherwise have no problem with overt acts of hostility will treat the glove as being somehow significant while still recognizing that the Glove Slap means that everything is now no holds barred.
Historical, or appropriate futuristic
or fantasy, settings can still play this in earnest, particularly among the elite
. The idea seems to be that the blow is brazen enough to be an unignorable insult, but light enough not to be seen as a sucker-punch.
Often accompanied by such lines as "Sir, you have insulted my honor!" or "I demand satisfaction!"
Compare with Throwing Down the Gauntlet
, this trope's Real Life
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Anime and Manga
- Mahou Sensei Negima!, Tsukuyomi challenges Setsuna to a match of swords by removing her Victorian-style glove and tossing it almost playfully at Setsuna. Setsuna merely snatches it out of the air. Later Ayaka uses this on Kuu Fei.
- In Pumpkin Scissors, Alice challenges a corrupt Lord to a duel by throwing her glove at him across a crowded ballroom.
- In Urusei Yatsura, when the election for class president result in a tie-vote for Ataru and Mendo, Mendo decides to settle it with a dueling method passed down through the Mendo Clan for generations...using cannons to blast an apple off of the duelists heads. Wanting to make an official challenge, Mendo prepares to throw a white glove at Ataru, who flees. Mendo proceeds to chase Ataru all over school grounds, ultimately hit Lum, who fries him.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni. Beatrice crashes Erika and Battler's wedding to challenge Erika to a duel like this. Erika's refusal would forever mark her a coward in the eyes of the entire magical community.
- In David Eddings' Malloreon, one of the protagonists, Sir Mandorallen (a knight, as his title implies), challenges a man who insulted his friend to a duel by throwing down his gauntlet. Well, throwing? He misses the floor and hits the guy straight in the face. With a steel gauntlet. Ouch.
- This is how Erast Fandorin is often manipulated into duels. "Manipulated" because he never accepts challenges otherwise, as he always wins them.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel His Last Command, an aristocratic officer declares Ludd had insulted him and engages in this. Ludd punched him and declares the duel over.
- In 1632, when Chip (an American from the year 2000) feels a downtimer (1632 German) Alex Mckay has stolen "his" girlfriend, he slugs Alex. Alex (a VERY experienced military man who had his teeth fixed by a modern dentist without any anesthetic) then takes this as an obvious request for a duel. Upon seeing Alex is serious (he draws a sword and offers Chip the use of another of his swords), Chip runs in terror. Chip gets no sympathy from his friends, as they point out he was Bullying a Dragon.
- In The Dragon Knight by Gordon R. Dickson, the main character experiences the glove slap firsthand. Then mentions that it was an armored gauntlet, and it really, really hurt.
- Played straight in Squire as a challenge to a jousting match, and treated as a grievous insult, so that Kel feels sufficiently provoked to take the guy up on it when she'd said she wasn't going to compete unless she had to.
- Used in Scaramouche.
Live Action TV
- Cyrano de Bergerac: Invoked by Christian and Cyrano, but neither of them plays it straight:
- At Act I scene III, Christian wishes to throw his glove at De Valvert, but then he has a Crowning Moment of Funny:
Christian (who is watching and listening, starts on hearing this name): The Viscount! Ah! I will throw full in his face my. . .
—-> (He puts his hand in his pocket, and finds there the hand of a pickpocket who is about to rob him)
- At Act I scene IV, Cyrano talks about it to provoke De Valvert… and also because Cyrano is so poor he doesn’t have gloves.
Cyrano: I wear no gloves? And what of that?
I had one,. . .remnant of an old worn pair,
And, knowing not what else to do with it,
I threw it in the face of. . .some young fool.
- A solution to a puzzle in The Curse of Monkey Island, where you have to prove to a dapper pirate that you're a gentleman.
- And he'll only accept that you are one if you can take him in a duel. And he won't duel you until you serve him with the proper insult (and apparently just calling him a doody-head isn't insulting enough).
- In the Mario Party games, there is a white glove item that, when used, triggers a duel with any of the other players on the board.
- Truth in Television, sort of: Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia admitted he would've liked to have done this to pundit Chris Matthews on the latter's show. No, really! (Conan O'Brien had a field day with that one.)
- Another possible origin of this is seen in the 1777 Code Duello. If one person insulted another but then apologized, then fighting a duel was dishonourable. But if one gentleman struck another, then no verbal apology would be sufficient, and a duel would be necessary. Therefore, striking a person with your glove was a way to demand the other person duel you.
- These gloves are made so that doing this will be adding injury to insult.