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Modesty Towel

"Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo."
Fletch, Fletch

In film and television, characters that have just bathed or showered will often be wrapped in towels to preserve their modesty. Men will wear the towel wrapped around the waist, usually reaching to the knees, while women will wear it from under the arms to the hipsnote , covering themselves up even if there is no-one else around.

A woman will also often wrap a towel around her hair, and effeminate males are sometimes shown to wear towels in the feminine style for comic effect or to establish their effeminacy. Female characters can wear their modesty towels in the masculine way (or a mock-up of that way, which has one towel around the breasts and another wrapped at the waist, baring the midriff), but this is more rare and usually used for extra Fanservice or to establish that the character is acting like "one of the guys").

This is often Truth in Television: those who are accustomed to doing so while others are around will often cover themselves out of habit, even if they are alone — if you've just stepped out of a hot shower, the rest of the bathroom's going to seem a bit chilly, and the towel mitigates the coldness by soaking up extra dampness from the body and hair.

Related to the Modesty Bedsheet, but this trope actually occurs in Real Life.

In televised anime, towels are often used to censor scenes like bathing, in which the characters really should be naked. When a towel appears in the localization that wasn't there in the original, it's a form of Digital Bikini.

The Theiss Titillation Theory is often involved as well, since it's immediately obvious that a towel worn like this is in constant danger of slipping loose and falling off, a possibility that can be made even more imminent if the wearer makes a sudden movement or reaches for something, causing the towel to almost fall.

If someone tries to reach for a towel that isn't there, it may overlap with Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen or Naked People Trapped Outside. Can also be used in conjunction with Sexy Coat Flashing. See Censor Suds for another common form of bathtime censorship.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • A Flash cartoon advertisement for a shower gel that could be seen on French websites has a mother and daughter doing a dance in modesty towels. With the last image, the towels fall.
  • Isaiah Mustafa of the The Man Your Man Could Smell Like Old Spice adverts is known for wearing one. It's all he wears in the personalized Youtube response videos, and even mentions that the only way to do community service is in a towel. Subverted in that whenever he changes the scene, he wears new clothes as the situation demands. But never a shirt.
  • Many spoofs of advertisements featuring towel-only clad models have appeared through the years. However, North Scott High School in Eldridge, Iowa, took this a step farther in the spring of 2002 when members of the school newspaper, The Lance, published a "centerfold" featuring students — including several 18-year-old male and female students — dressed minimally, including some girls wrapped only in towels. Related pictures (which also appeared in a "minimal clothing calendar") appeared on the April 25, 2002, issue's back page. The student editor told the Moline Daily Dispatch that his staff had gotten the idea from reading ads for such items as perfume and shaving cream in magazines that circulated at the school's library. The resulting newspaper gained noteriety in the community for several days as several conservative-minded community members expressed their concern about the morality of the feature and, despite the absence of outright nudity and a disclaimer that the students were dressed, the fact that child pornography had inadvertently been published. (All of the students pictured in the issue were seniors, but the worry was that some had yet to turn 18.)
  • A woman is painting a naked male model wearing only a towel over certain parts you can't show on TV, and she is even painting the towel on the portrait, but her biggest concern was the problem the model had, a discolored toenail. (This was, of course, an ad for a toenail fungus treatment.) If she wanted not to show that, why didn't she just have him wear a bathing suit or underpants?
  • In a commercial for Bad Company, Chris Rock ends up pulling the same gag as James Bond in The Man with the Golden Gun, below.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Love Hina manga, characters are normally naked when in the hot springs, while in the anime, they are often wrapped in towels. Evidently, even the Barbie-doll bodies of the manga are too risqué for anime.
  • Censor Steam aside, this was also quite common in Akamatsu's next work, the anime version of Mahou Sensei Negima!, also done by Xebec. In the manga, however...
  • The unusual usage of towels is lampshaded in Hayate the Combat Butler, where the narrator points out that the towels are added due to broadcast regulations and shouldn't be worn in baths because it's unhygienic and disliked by bath attendants.
  • Used on Meyrin Hawke in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, despite the fact that she's still wearing her underwear. A case of Invoked Trope: it's the old trick "can't open the door, I'm naked" women use when they hide someone pursued.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
  • Aeka and Sasami used these at times in versions of Tenchi Muyo! Even in the spring. This would be more of a character decision, though; it's hard to call it censorship when everyone else around them goes without.
  • In the Revolutionary Girl Utena manga, when Touga sees Dios's power for the first time and decides to get close to Utena to find out more about it, he joins Utena's household as a "shimobe" (personal servant). The first time Utena hears of this is the next day, when he waltzes out of her shower, clad only in a Modesty Towel.
  • Pacifica Casull from Scrapped Princess has an odd habit of bathing with a towel wrapped around her.
  • Present on every character during the Hot Springs Episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, though absent... everywhere else.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, when France goes around in the Christmas Special, he catches Spain in the shower. He pulls the curtain towards himself, but only manages to cover his crotch.
  • As an effeminate male, Kazuki did this in the Get Backers anime (as well as Hevn and Natsumi, when the camera cut back to them), but he didn't bother in the manga version. He has a very nice rear...
  • In Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu the extremely effeminate male Hideyoshi wears a towel this way, as seen in episode 6. He also suffers frequent Clothing Damage, but that's a different trope altogether.
  • Ranma ½
    • While the title character really couldn't care less, Akane will wrap her in a towel anyway. Even if there's nobody but girls in the room.
    • Akane herself dons the Modesty Towel quite a bit.
  • In the Gintama anime, Gintoki and Hijikata got into a fight at a sauna, which consisted mainly of a lot of grabbing each other while wearing ridiculously tiny towels. Needless to say, it is AWESOME!
  • One scene of Goku bathing in Dragon Ball Z is censored with the use of a digital towel. They even animate it falling off to the ground as Goku jumps in. That is to say, animated it POORLY. Depends on the dub, because in the Latin-American one it went uncensored.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Used in the Hot Springs Episode of the first season. Shingo is embarrassed about wearing one, and when Usagi teases him about it, he retaliates by stealing hers and leaving Usagi naked.
    • Used hilariously in one episode of Sailor Moon Stars. When Seiya is hanging out at Usagi's house while her parents are out (it's completely innocent, don't look at me like that...), Chibi-Chibi spills cake all over him, so he uses her shower to clean himself up while his clothes are being washed. Meanwhile, the other girls show up... just in time for him to come out of the shower in what appears to be the tiniest towel on the face of the earth, asking where his clothes are. Then Chibi-Chibi complains that he's using her towel and proceeds to do her best to get it away from him. Hilarity Ensues.
  • There's a short Super-Deformed Hot Springs Anime Special for Harukanaru Toki No Naka De 3 that features Modesty Towels; and apparently it's entirely possible to swim underwater freely while wrapped in these. Also, considering the nature of the Haruka franchise, had the special not been drawn in the Super-Deformed style, it probably would've been much more valuable in terms of Fanservice...
  • One gets applied in the Anime Adaption of Eiken, but Eiken being Eiken, this barely covers the girl's front as opposed to wrap around.
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn! has these for all the guys during the Hot Springs Epic Battle in the OAV. Much to the fangirls' disappointment.
  • In Summer Wars, Natsuki emerges from the bathroom to chase down one of her little cousins who had gone running from the bathroom without a stitch, when she runs into Kenji. She quickly darts back in to the bathroom, while Kenji averts his eyes and insists that he saw nothing.
  • Code Geass
    • Pictured above, Kallen does this when she's pulling double duty yet again, storming in on C.C. to complain about how their plan at the beginning of season 2 played out. Turned into a Crowning Moment of Funny when she realizes C.C. is in the middle of a meeting with a few gentlemen from the Chinese Federation. In an oddly-effeminate (if understandable) moment she screams and runs behind a screen, despite the men having gotten a good look already. Angrier than ever, she continues to complain to C.C. and almost has the towel fall off in the process.
    • Special edition DVD revealed that the Aomori incident implied Kallen and C.C. fleeing wearing only towels.
  • Roughly half of the episodes in Maicchingu Machiko Sensei show the main character in a modesty towel in one scene. In the vast majority of those scenes, the towel ends up being taken away one way or another.
  • Subverted in One Piece. See: Happiness Punch.
  • In an episode of Pokémon, after being pulled into the water by Corphish in the episode "Gone Corphishin'", May appears briefly in one while the protagonists' clothes dried.
  • Nino wears one while bathing (outdoors) in Arakawa Under the Bridge (much to Ko/Ric's disappointment). She didn't originally, but one time she was getting in just as a police car went by, and it was "a pain".
  • Yuri from Mawaru-Penguindrum dons one in episode 15, right before she fights Masako.
  • The Idolmaster: Miki accidentally enters the men's bath wearing just a towel. She then "accidentally" lets it start to slip off while talking to the Producer.
  • In the Dirty Pair movie Project EDEN, Yuri and Kei are forced to fight off against several alien-like creatures while in towels when their bubble baths get interrupted. They are then forced to retreat without getting their clothes and end up wearing the towels after modifying them in bikini form for the rest of the movie — which isn't any different than the skimpy clothing they already wear.
  • In the manga for Neon Genesis Evangelion Asuka plays a prank on Shinji — after threatening death if he perves on her in the shower, Asuka later steps out wearing a towel and asks if he wants to see what's underneath, only to reveal she's put her clothes back on.

    Comic Books 
  • One issue of Excalibur has Nightcrawler wearing a Modesty Towel when another character bursts into the bathroom and tries to kill him. Conveniently, the towel remains firmly in place throughout the ensuing struggle.
  • Donald Duck wears a Modesty Towel after taking a shower. Given that he doesn't wear pants, presumably it's done because it's funny.
  • One Smurf got stuck wearing a towel throughout most of The Smurfs comic book story "The Smurfs and the Howlibird", and when Papa Smurf has to do a bullfight with a Howlibird stripped of its feathers to wear it down, he takes that Smurf's towel to do it!
  • Issue 121 of Witchblade opens with Sara stepping out of the shower and answering the phone in a towel, holding the phone in one hand while stroking her hair with the other and using The Witchblade (a cosmic artifact of nigh limitless power) to hold up her towel.

    Comic Strips 
  • A strip in Pondus, during the period where Jokke lives together with Tammy-Sue, sees him sitting and watching TV, bemoaning that there is nothing interesting while Tammy-Sue pass behind him, wearing only a Towel, which gets stuck halfway through the scene dropping the Towel, without Jokke noticing.

    Fan Works 
  • The Wicked Lovely Nirial fanfiction Wishes has Niall wishing he had one of these.
  • In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Mikuru had one of these the first time she arrived at Nagato's apartment for training.
  • One of the Figuretoons at OAFEnet showed Wolverine wearing one of these towels on his way to the shower.
  • In the WWE story Fact or Faked, John Cena goes to the Divas dressing room to borrow a pair of socks. Gail Kim offers to lend him some, but as she has just finished showering, she is only wearing her Modesty Towel. While she's bent over her bag to get socks for him, John discovers Gail has a penis.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Shallow Grave, the female lead wears her towel in the male fashion when emerging from the bathroom, giving the audience titillation in the form of a topless scene.
  • In 5x2, the lead characters go to a hotel after finalising their divorce in order to have intercourse one last time. The woman takes a shower, emerges wrapped in a towel and keeps it on while getting into the bed. Her ex-husband asks her why she covers up like that and whether it is because they are no longer married. She responds that she does not know why.
  • Subverted in Hot Dog!: The Movie. The heroes stop at a hotel and ring for service, whereupon we see the woman who runs it reach for a towel as she steps out of a hot tub. She then walks in... towel wrapped around her hair. It's the only thing she has on.
  • Like in the above entry, Ally Sheedy does much the same thing after skinnydipping in Maid to Order. Hell, you can't afford to be too modest when your ass is the only reason to see the movie.
  • Used to keep a PG rating in Enchanted (and also because it's funny), when Robert accidentally walks in on Giselle stepping out of the shower. Two doves move a towel in front of her just as he opens the door.
  • The Blue Max:
    • Ursula Andress (Kaeti) wears a towel carefully looped around her neck, with the dangling ends only just managing to cover both breasts. Yet while she moves around a lot, nothing ever get exposed.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • Reed gets an Accidental Pervert moment as he accidentally walks in on Sue when she's about to get into the shower. She responds by clutching the towel to her and simultaneously turning invisible... you'd think one of the two would be enough, but maybe it was just reflex.
    • Subverted in the sequel, where Johnny comes out a shower room wrapped in a towel and is accosted by the female military officer he's had his eye on. Johnny insists she was waiting there on purpose to catch him in the nude. Seeing as how he's played by Chris Evans, who wouldn't?
  • James Bond:
    • Riffed in The Man with the Golden Gun when James Bond surprises Andrea Anders in the shower. She tells him to hand her a towel, so he does. Only it's a hand towel.
    • A Deleted Scene from Diamonds Are Forever has Plenty O'Toole, a minor character and almost one-night-stand of James Bond, returning to his apartment wearing nothing but a white towel after she had been thrown out of his hotel room and lands in a pool while wearing nothing but her underwear and high heels.
    • One scene in Thunderball has Bond encounter a Femme Fatale in the bath, and she asks him to hand her something to wear. Bond hands her a pair of high heels. She eventually uses a face towel.
  • Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker fight wearing this in a bath house during the second Rush Hour movie, replacing towels with bath robes. (They end up being thrown out naked anyway.)
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie, Trillian is about to emerge from a shower when she asks Arthur for a towel, adding to the already well-established "Most Versatile Object in the Universe" gag.
  • Subverted in the horror film Sorority Row. A girl does have a modesty towel but as a punishment for going into the seniors' bathroom, she is forced to remove it and walk across the house back to her bedroom in the buff.
  • Lampshaded and lampooned in The Three Stooges short film A-Plumbing We Will Go. Curly has to evict a bather from a shower he needs to repair. After some bantering with the bather, Curly loses his patience and pulls the shower curtain, to reveal that the occupant had been showering with a towel already wrapped around him.
  • In Youngblood, Rob Lowe's towel falls off to the delight of Cynthia Gibb.
  • In Whats Up Tiger Lily, Teri is in Phil's apartment, wearing only a towel:
    Teri: (seductively) Name three presidents.
    Phil: Roosevelt, McKinley... (opens towel) ...Lincoln?
  • From the 2004 Starsky & Hutch movie:
    • All the cops at the locker room use these, but Hutch and Starsky are the only ones using hand towels.
    • Prior to that, an attractive blonde cheerleader wrapped a modesty towel around herself after undressing in front of Starsky and Hutch as they questioned her on a dirty ex.
  • In Romancing the Stone, Joan Wilder emerges from the shower with a towel around her.
  • Subverted by Maxine Wasa in Savage Beach when she wraps a towel around her waist.
  • Fletch asks Mrs. Stanwyk when she answers the door wearing a towel: "Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo."
  • The Thai action film Chai Lai (Dangerous Flowers) features a lengthy fight scene that breaks out while the five heroines are getting a massage, forcing them to fight still wearing only their towels. Rather than rely upon any editing tricks, the actresses themselves are clearly wearing white bikinis.

    Literature 
  • Subverted in Prelude to Foundation. Hari is dressed from the waist down. Dors is also wearing a towel from the waist down. One causes a bit more awkwardness.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry puts one on while in the bath after realizing that Moaning Myrtle is spying on him.
  • Shows up a few times in The Dresden Files.
    • In Storm Front, he's just out of the shower when the date he'd forgotten about (because he took a few blows to the head) shows up. He covers himself with a towel, then a demon shows up and the towel falls off while he's fighting it. This is made more complicated when he realizes said date accidentally drank a love potion instead of an escape potion.
    • Harry gets into trouble because of someone else's modesty towel in Proven Guilty. He's letting Molly, his friend's 17-year-old daughter, get cleaned up in his hotel room while waiting for her mother, Charity, to pick her up. Molly steps out of the bathroom, wearing a towel which is perhaps less modest than it should be, just as Charity is asking Harry where Molly is. She decks Harry in the jaw, orders Molly to put her clothes on, and storms out.
    • In the short story "Day Off," he is again getting ready for a date when business interrupts in the form of two naked werewolves. This time he does have time to get some clothing on before everything goes pear-shaped.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game shows: Many game shows with models — especially if they're the beautiful, 20-something type — will sometimes feature them wrapped in towels if they are modeling spas, saunas and similar prizes.
    • During the height of the "classic-model" era of The Price Is Right, Bob Barker frequently made a joke that the "Barker's Beauty" who was modeling a spa or sauna was "completely naked", all which drew laughs from the audience; of course, the model was dressed in a towel, but she was laying inside in such a way that only her bare shoulders and up could be seen above the ledge. The joke went away after Dian Parkinson's departure from the show (after her ill-fated affair with Barker and subsequent sexual harassment lawsuits).
    • Wheel of Fortune: Vanna White was one of the few models who never (if not, rarely) was seen in a towel to model a spa, sauna, etc. However, that did not stop her from one time sitting, bare-shouldered, in a spa alongside a bare-chested Pat Sajak at the end of one episode.
  • Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, which has aired its "surprise" presentations of $1 million checks on live television (usually on Super Bowl Sunday), once caught a 21-year-old girl wrapped in nothing but a towel answering the door of a winner.
  • New Battlestar Galactica:
    • In one episode ("Home, Part II"), Number Six uses an interesting variant — a Modesty Chair which she straddles backward — when she talks with Baltar. Probably inspired by the famous Christine Keeler photo.
    • In The Documentary episode, Lee uses a Modesty Towel, although he is apparently unable to properly fasten it around his waist.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Penny plays the trope straight in the pilot, while using Leonard and Sheldon's shower. It never seems to occur to her later that Howard's constant hitting on her might have something to do with first meeting him in a towel.
  • In the Burn Notice episode "Better Halves", Michael and a Russian agent get into a fight in a sauna wearing nothing but white terrycloth towels. Defying several laws of physics, at the end of the fight, both towels are still firmly in place.
  • Chuck: Captain Awesome [Devon] — practically every episode he's in!
  • In Series Five of Doctor Who, the Doctor, under the (mistaken) impression that his roommate is being attacked, races out of the shower to rescue him, barely managing to wrap a towel around his waist beforehand. Considering that this is the Eleventh Doctor, it is rather impressive that he remembered to grab a towel at all.
  • Family Matters:
    • During the house party scenes of the first-season episode "The Party", Shawn Harrison makes an appearanc as "Boy in Towel," a classmate of Eddie's who is dressed only with a towel around his waist; the kid still has just a towel on when Carl comes home early and kicks everyone out. (Although he was nameless in this episode, the "Boy in Towel" had the same mannerisms and voice as Waldo Faldo, whom the character (fully dressed in future episodes) eventually became.)
    • In the seventh-season episode "The Naked and the Nerdy", during a bathroom scene Urkel humorously wears his towel high up on his chest, somewhat in the female manner. (Laura wears one too ... only after Urkel accidentally sees her in the buff.)
  • Friends:
    • Discussed by Chandler in one episode:
      Chandler: You know what's weird. Donald Duck never wore pants. But whenever he's getting out of the shower, he always put a towel around his waist. I mean, what is that about?
    • Chandler starts acting in a feminine manner after listening to the wrong subliminal tape, complete with towels around the head and chest.
    • In another episode, Rachel is victim of an interesting case of malfunctioning modesty towel.
      Chandler: That's a relatively open weave and I can still see your... nipular areas.
  • Grey's Anatomy: Dr. Sloan's first appearance. His very first appearance was actually hitting on Meredith in the hospital, although the scene with the towel is probably his most famous.
  • Hilariously subverted in an episode of Lucky Louie where a male character enters the kitchen wearing a towel the way a woman would, the "hem" barely concealing his package. Then, standing with his crotch a foot in front of Louie's face he casually bends backward revealing what the towel was meant to conceal.
  • The BBC's 2012 production of Shakespeare's Henry IV Part 2 decided that a short conversation between the Prince of Wales and his "friend" needed to be in a sauna. With wet towels.
  • Played humourously with on In Plain Sight, where the main character's boyfriend asks for a towel from inside his shower. She goes to look for them, she finds them all missing except a washcloth, explaining a towel filled suitcase earlier in the season which was thought to contain drugs. She leaves the washcloth hanging on the handle and joins him in the shower.
  • M*A*S*H had many.
    • In one of the first episodes, wounded are coming while one of the nurses is in the shower. She runs through the camp in only a towel and accidentally leaves the towel with Hawkeye, prompting a rare salute from him.
    • In an episode where a sniper is shooting at the camp, Radar (who was in the showers with Col. Blake) tries to make a run for it in his modesty towel. He loses it just before he gets back to the showers, but gets another while he's inside.
    • Margaret's father called the 4077th once, and she ran through the camp wearing only a towel to take the call.
    • The episode where Hawkeye and BJ got a portable bathtub had several.
      • When Hawkeye first tried out the tub, he had just wrapped his modesty towel around himself when Margaret came in.
        Margaret: I want it. I want it.
        Hawkeye: Women often have that reaction when they see me naked.
      • Later, two soldiers get in a fight while line waiting to use the tub (one accused the other of cutting). During this, Charles pointed out the fight and as people in line went to watch, he moved forward. The last person he mentions it to is the soldier using the tub, who runs out in a towel to check it out.
      • Near the end, Margaret finally gets to use the tub, until Klinger (who had been trying again for a Section 8 by wearing winter clothing during a heat wave) jumped in the tub with her. Margaret runs out of the tent wearing only her towel, humiliated.
  • Monday Night Football: An infamous pre-show skit aired November 15, 2004, as a takeoff of Nicolette Sheridan's Edie Britt character on Desperate Housewives. Sheridan, in-character as Edie and dressed only in a towel, enters the Philadelpia Eagles locker room and seduces wide receiver Terrell Owens. Owens remains focused until Edie takes it off ... takes it all off, after which Owens remarks that the Eagles "are gonna have to win this game without me" as an estatic Edie jumps into Owens' arms. Afterward, two women — perhaps reflecting the soon-to-come negative criticism over the incident (and it did come, despite the absence of outright nudity) — scoff at the skit before shouting to the camera, "Are you ready for some football?!"
  • Sisters: The first two seasons (summer 1991-1992) of this weekly serio-drama featured the four main female leads sitting in a steam sauna, towels wrapped around their chests and chatting about whatever.
  • In Smallville, "Escape", Chloe possessed by the Silver Banshee walks into Clark's shower and drops her towel in an attempt to seduce him. Trying very hard not to look, Clark hastily wraps her up again.
  • Chris Hansen has provided these on more than one occasion to "guests" on To Catch a Predator that stripped naked when entering the house.
  • Played straight in an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody when one of the title characters spent a good part of the episode wearing a towel that reached from his ankles to his ribs. Was it a towel or a carpet??
  • This is standard practice in Japan on documentary or magazine TV shows that show public baths or hot spring resorts. While no one actually wears towels in the water at these baths in real life, the presenters or celebrities are shown wearing towels in the typical male or female style. There's even often a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen saying "Towels have been used for the purposes of filming", as if to reassure the viewer that this isn't some weird prudish resort, and they do allow good old-fashioned nudity in real life.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Subverted on WWE No Mercy of 2006: William Regal was wearing a towel during a segment with Vito. While Regal was moving around, his penis was exposed.
  • In a 2002 episode of Raw, Chris Jericho and Christian come out of the shower wearing towels and find out their bags (and along with them, their clothes) have been stolen by the Dudley Boyz. Jericho and Christian spend much of the rest of the episode wandering backstage trying to find something to wear. Later, the Dudleys came out to the ring and began throwing Jericho and Christian's clothes into the crowd, prompting them to come out on the stage. Once the Dudleys finish throwing their clothes and their bags into the crowd, Spike Dudley comes out and relieves Jericho and Christian of their towels.
  • The WWE's Val Venis (Sean Morley), as part of his "porn star" gimmick, wore a modesty towel around his waist during his standard ring entrance during the late 1990s. (Yes, a pair of wrestling trunks was underneath).
  • At the WWF's 1987 "Slammy Awards," "Ravishing" Rick Rude, playing up his character as a sexy ladies'-man chippendale, did a strip-tease act when he came onstage to accept the "Jesse 'the Body'" award for best-looking male wrestler. At the height of his act, Rude began taking off his pants when "Mean" Gene Okerlund ran out and began wrapping a towel around an annoyed Rude's waist (Rude, of course, was wearing a thong). After his acceptance speech, he took one of the showgirls backstage and threw a towel on-stage, giving the impression that Rude was completely in the buff (off-stage).
  • A week after the Terrell Owens-Nicolette Sheridan Monday Night Football "towel skit" aired and gained negative criticism by conservative critics and women's groups, a parody skit aired on Monday Night Raw. Shelton Benjamin was initially in the Owens role, while — despite wearing a nose brace due to a legit injury suffered a week earlier — babelicious blonde diva Trish Stratus was the towel-clad Edie Britt (Sheridan's Desperate Housewives character), this time with Benjamin trying to prepare for a match and Trish doing her best to turn on her sexual charms. WWE owner Vince McMahon entered the locker room to express (mock) outrage, claiming the swift downfall of society would result by solely said actions being aired on TV. Benjamin walked off disgusted, and after he left McMahon immediately focused entirely on Trish... who took it all off. Cue the Monday Night Football theme as an orgasmic McMahon gleefully said, "Are you ready for some wrestlin'?"

    Video Games 
  • In Persona 3:
    • Both the boys and the girls are all wearing these during their visit to the hot springs in the Kyoto trip. They're worn around the waist and around the bust, respectively, as one would expect, but where the boys' character portraits are positioned (moreso in the portable version) makes it seem as if they aren't wearing them at all.
    • Also, during the July Full Moon operation, Yukari comes out of the shower, dressed only in a towel, to greet the Main Character (and presumably do more than that)—she's under the influence of the Shadow of the Lovers Arcana. She comes out of the Lovers Shadow's trance immediately upon seeing him and slaps him for seeing her in that state. The Playstation Portable version of the game also has this happen if you pick a female protagonist, with the person coming out of the shower being Akihiko instead.
    • Mitsuru also comes out of her private shower (the only one in the dorm, at that) and lounges around in a towel while musing about her friends and fashion. She only doffs it when she walks out of frame again... which is lucky, since she was being recorded by a surveillance camera and was none the wiser.
  • Persona 4 uses this for its hot spring scene as well.
  • Kira's entrance in Arcana Heart starts with her wearing one that she dramatically flings away at the same time that she puts on her swimsuit.
  • MapleStory has these as an equip. Oddly enough, it's one of the best items a pure can have/make, as it's one of the few relatively cheap pieces of overall armor that can be scrolled numerous times for a specific stat.
  • Haunting Ground: The opening cinematic has Fiona awake in the cellar of Castle Belli in nothing but a bedsheet to cover herself. However, the "modesty" part is questionable, considering it's semitransparent and, at exactly 2:49, you can see she isn't wearing anything underneath it.
  • One of the people you must possess in Geist is a woman taking a shower. After you scare her out of the shower, she wraps a towel around herself. After scaring her a bit more and possessing her, you have to go get dressed before she'll leave the locker room.
  • In The Sims 3, if a character has their clothes stolen while skinny dipping, they immediately cover up in one of these on emerging from the pool.
  • In Secret Agent Clank, Ratchet and the more humanoid enemies wear these in the showers (and lose them upon taking damage, leaving them with Censor Boxes).
  • Ar tonelico features Modesty Towel as a battle costume for Aurica. Somehow, it gives away most stats of all her clothes selection.
  • Elh wears one during the two Shower of Awkward scenes in Solatorobo. It's perhaps implied that Red tried to steal it the first time.
  • In Tales of Vesperia, Karol reluctantly wears one as his employee "uniform" (They ran out of proper ones) while working part time at a hot spring with the rest of the party. He gets to keep it as a costume once the job is done and is rather displeased by it. He'll also complain in a skit about having to wear it again if you equip it on him afterward.
  • The first Fear Effect game features a sequence in which Hana is interrupted in the shower by a zombie attack and forced to fight her way through the jungle wearing only a towel. Careful use of the combat roll command during this level reveals only impenetrable darkness underneath. At the level's conclusion, Hana is ambushed and held at gunpoint by a random mook and the player must quickly select the towel from the inventory, which causes Hana to take it off, distracting the mook long enough for Deke to arrive and perform a Neck Snap.

    Web Animation 
  • Subverted in Homestar Runner. While Coach Z is talking to Homestar about girls, an alien is shown in the background showering, while wearing a modesty towel... and then the towel falls down to reveal the alien's butt.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Done by Kate in the KateModern episode "Tariq Attack" and by Gavin in the episode "A Close Shave".

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender : In "The Winter Solstice Part 1" after the Earthbenders, capture the naked Iroh and off-screen wrap a towel around him so they wouldn't "experience" what Zuko did earlier. Later:
    Zuko: (after beating up the Earthbenders) Now would you please put on some clothes?!
  • Futurama:
    • A joke similar to Hot Dog!: The Movie was used with Zapp Branningan stepping out of the shower in the episode "War Is the H-Word".
      Richard Nixon: Damn it, Brannigan, I didn't live for thousands of years and travel millions of miles to look at another man's gizmo!
    • Subverted seconds before also: Pvt. Lee Lemon suggests that his her Captain puts on a towel after exiting the shower. He obliges by putting a towel on his head. Considering in the world of Futurama there's no nudity taboo, it leads you to think what's wrong with Zapp's anatomy. Or, more likely, the sight of him brought shameful memories to mind.
    • Well, considering that, in a later episode, when Amy is cooing at Kif that he's her "greenie weenie" and Brannigan covers his lap and says it's a medical condition before realizing that it wasn't directed at him... Yikes.
    • Leela herself wears her towel wrapped around her entire torso in the same scene, but nobody notices that she's a Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • Code Lyoko:
    • Yumi Ishiyama is seen in a Modesty Towel in at least two episodes, most notably the first. To be fair, the boys are seen wearing one even more often over the run of the series.
    • One particular scene (which became Fanservice fuel to nearly all the girls watching it) near the end of the episode "Bragging Rights" had Odd dancing around for "breaking the record of fastest shower", while wearing only a Modesty Towel. For some reason, many fangirls wanted that towel to fall off.
  • After soaking in his bathtub in a previous scene of Beast Wars, Megatron comes out with a towel wrapped around his waist. Considering that he is a robot and thus always naked just like everyone else, and considering that he has a rubber ducky in his bathtub, this is pretty much due to the Rule of Funny.
  • In the VeggieTales song about Larry's hairbrush, Larry is shown in a Modesty Towel (even though he doesn't wear anything other than the occasional period-appropriate headdress in the regular animated stories or on one occasion, in a corporate setting, a tie when his character was promoted) coming out of the shower, and everyone who walks into him still recoils in embarrassment. At the end, the Peach shows up and is also wrapped in a towel. The two are embarrassed by each other.
  • Phineas and Ferb's "Gaming the System" has Candace fighting off video game villains in one that stays put. Technically, she even went on her date wearing it under her dress. That must have been kind of uncomfortable to dance in. (Well, that or she went on the date with nothing underneath.)
  • Helia is seen in one during episode 21 of the third season of Winx Club. Perhaps it was a little Fanservice, since we hadn't seen him much in that season.
  • In episode 4 of Wakfu, almost the whole cast wears one, though not just to keep modesty but also to hide the "ugly princesses" disguises. Unfortunately, the only one to have the towel fall off is Ruel.
  • Krang in the '80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon wears one in his robotic body after Shredder contacts him on his communicator and "interrupts his shower" in one episode.
  • A lot of half-dressed and undressed funny animals use such towels. Rule of Funny.
    • Bugs Bunny, who is always naked except for his gloves, wears one in the short The Wabbit Who Came to Supper, during a scene in which he's coming out of the shower.
  • Played for Laughs on Adventure Time: a paranoid Jake wears one in the shower after finding out that Marceline sometimes sneaks into his house, then puts on a second one when he steps out. Note that he's a dog who always looks naked anyway, though technically he claims to wear spider-web pants too thin to see.
  • The Simpsons episode "Bart Gets Famous": When Homer comes out of the shower at the nuclear plant to answer the phone: "You'll have to speak up. I'm wearing a towel."
  • Played for Laughs with Jimmy Five during the first half of a Monica's Gang cartoon named "Quero Entrar" ("Let Me In").
  • Animaniacs, "Moon Over Minerva". Then again, this trope was applied to Ms. Mink every chance the writers got in the comics.
  • In one episode of Justice League, Green Lantern visits an old friend of his and is introduced to his pretty fiancée, who had stepped out from the showers with nothing but a towel.
  • Used by Judy Funnie in Doug when she's waiting for Doug to get out of the bathroom so she can take a shower.
  • Dr. Vic on the Toonsylvania episode "Love Potion Number Nein!" was wearing a towel the feminine way (covering from under the armpits to around the knees) and had another one wrapped around his hair when he came out of the bathroom to find Igor being chased by the ghost woman Natalie Nightshade.
  • Subverted on Drawn Together, when Princess Clara discovers Captain Hero sleeping with her cousin Bleh. She gives her a towel and instructs her to "...cover your shame!" Bleh takes the towel and wraps it around her head before skipping back to her room entirely naked.
  • Used on Archer, when Mallory hires a black Jewish man to fulfill minority hiring requirements, and Archer confronts him in the locker room. When they end up nearly fighting, both towels fall off.
    Archer: He's uncircumcised.
    Lana: Okay, glossing over how you know that...
    Archer: We touched penises.
    Lana: Glossing over!
  • Total Drama characters have been shown wearing them at times. Heather's audition video shows her wearing one, then walking off-screen and throwing it back behind her.
  • In Family Guy "Viewer Mail no 1", Peter wishes he had no bones and is turned to a shapeless blob. At one point he gets thrown out of the Teacups ride at Disneyland and through a window into a locker room, where Michael Eisner comes out and uses him as one of these, tucking his face into the inside as he walks out of the room.
  • One episode of Daria has the title character visit a special boarding school for gifted, and rather elitist, students. One of them bitterly mentions leaving his old school after the quarterback of the football team told everyone that he wore a towel when he showered in the locker room.


Landing in Someone's BathtubBathing TropesNight Swim Equals Death
Modesty BedsheetFanservice CostumesNaked Apron
Modesty BedsheetCensorship TropesScenery Censor
Freak OutImageSource/Anime & MangaNinja Maid
Modesty BedsheetNudity TropesMooning

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