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Need a Hand, or a Handjob?

We were going to call this one "Solicitation Mistaken For Help", but this is snappier.

Basically, when a given character needs help (a place to stay, whatever), is approached by a prostitute who speaks with perhaps too much metaphor, and thinks her solicitation is an offer for assistance.

Usually Played for Laughs, but if the gal in question is a Hooker with a Heart of Gold, our hero may have just found a useful ally.

See also Platonic Prostitution and Accidental Innuendo. A subtrope of Comically Missing the Point.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In I Am Sam, Sam, a mentally handicapped single father, mistakes a streetwalker's mockery for a promise to help him raise his daughter. He is then arrested for soliciting her services.
  • Reversed in the movie The House Bunny. The policeman asks the Bunny to "blow" and... well... she doesn't quite understand that he's trying to check her alcohol content.
  • Crocodile Dundee does this. Then he knocks out the pimp when he insults the lady's honor.
    Simone: You looking for a good time?
    Mick: Always looking for a good time! Name's Mick Dundee.
  • In Into the Night, one coworker tells another that in Las Vegas there's a certain hooker who will do anything you ask for a certain price. The coworker, who knows what he's talking about but isn't really interested, responds "Will she buy me a pony?" in Sarcasm Mode.
  • Played with in The Birdcage. Politician Gene Hackman needs to leave a building without the press recognizing him, so he's dressed in drag. He runs past his chauffeur and whispers "Meet me around the corner in ten minutes!" and leaves. The chauffeur shakes his head and says "Never in a million years, lady."

    Jokes 
  • There's old joke where a clergyman encounters a prostitute, she says "I'll do anything you can describe in 3 words for $50". He thinks about it for a while, and then says "Paint my house."
    • In one of his books, critic Joe Queenan's response to a (hypothetical) request of this nature was "do my taxes."
    • Chris Rock used a variant set-up, which was 'For $300 I'll do anything you want', to which he responds 'Bitch, paint my house'.
  • An engineering student approaches his friends at lunch one day riding up on a beautiful new bicycle. "Wow," says one of his friends, "where'd you get that bike?" The engineering student says, "Strangest thing. On my way back from class this morning, a gorgeous woman rode up on a bike, got off it, took off all her clothes and threw them on the ground, and told me, 'Take whatever you want!'" His friend nods sagely. "Good choice. Her clothes probably wouldn't have fit."
  • As an airplane is about to crash, a female passenger jumps up frantically and announces, "If I''m going to die, I want to die feeling like a woman." She removes all her clothing and asks, "Is there someone on this plane who is man enough to make me feel like a woman?" A man stands up, removes his shirt and says, "Here, iron this!".
  • On a passenger flight, the pilot comes over the public address system as usual and to greet the passengers. He tells them at what altitude they’ll be flying, the expected arrival time, and a bit about the weather, and advises them to relax and have a good flight.. Then, forgetting to turn off the microphone, he says to his co-pilot, "What would relax me right now is a cup of coffee and a blowjob." All the passengers hear it. As a stewardess immediately begins to run toward the cockpit to tell the pilot of his slip-up, one of the passengers stops her and says "Don’t forget the coffee!"
  • A guy gets sent on a business trip. His boss knows the guy likes fish and he says that they don't make scrod ANYWHERE as good as they make it in Boston - "Don't leave until you have tried the scrod!" They guy flies to Boston and as he gets into a cab he remembers what his boss said. He asks the cabbie "Hey, buddy - where do you suppose I could get scrod around here?" the cabbie thought for a second and said "You know, I've been driving this cab for three years now and I must have heard that question a thousand times, but that's the first time anyone's asked it in the pluperfect subjunctive."
  • A woman knew her husband was getting old when she asked him "Would you like some super sex?" and he replied "I think I'll have the soup."
  • A man went into a job interview and his eye winked through the whole process. The interviewer said "Look, you are well qualified, but I'm afraid that facial tic will throw off clients." The man replied - "Funny you mention that, because all I have to do is take aspirin and the winking goes away - watch" and the man began dumping out his pockets looking for aspirin. In most of his pockets, however, were condoms. Finally, once a pile of condom packages of every sort piled up on the desk the man found two aspirin, took them, and the wink totally stopped. "Well, that worked," the interviewer admitted, but why do you have all the condoms? We don't want our clients to think you're a womanizer!" "It's quite simple sir," the guy said, "have you ever walked into a drugstore, winking like crazy, and asked for aspirin?"

    Literature 
  • Discworld: Used to happen to men who approach the Guild of Seamstresses to have their socks darned. Eventually the Guild hired some non-euphemistic seamstresses to care of that kind of request.
    • In Guards! Guards!, a naive Carrot ends up living in a house of "seamstresses" due to this sort of misunderstanding. He mentions that his first night there one of the girls asked if he wanted anything, but they had no apples, so he said no.
    • Variant: In Feet of Clay, one character mentions that she was good at sewing, so she tried to join the Guild of Seamstresses.
    • Similarly, in Night Watch, there is an actual seamstress who is often confused for the other type.
    • In Reaper Man, Windle Poons, a newly resurrected zombie, is asked by a "seamstress" if he's looking for a good time. He's somewhat addled by the fact that he can see and hear clearly for the first time in decades, and accepts her offer without thinking about it. She runs away when she gets a good look at him, though.
    • In Interesting Times, Rincewind is approached by several beautiful, scantily-clad women who explicitly say that all of their men have died out and they need his help repopulating their island. However, due to years of living alone on a desert island, Rincewind's mind has deteriorated somewhat and he thinks they're offering to make him some mashed potatoes.
  • This happens in Don Quixote.

    Live-Action TV 
  • ReGenesis: Bob Melnikov, while in New York, goes in a back street to rehearse a speech he's about to give. A prostitute approaches him, and he doesn't understand for what reason. Fortunately for him, she's a Hooker with a Heart of Gold, and she does help him get over his stage fright.
  • My Name Is Earl in the antique silverware episode. Randy was told to wait around the station and ask people if they had "the package"; a gay guy misinterprets this.
  • The inverse happens on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, when during her evaluation Catherine complains to Grissom that because of her hours, she hasn't had sex in at least half a year. "How can I help?" Gil asks, and has to clarify that he doesn't mean THAT kind of help when Catherine raises her eyebrow at him.
  • A possible slight variation — in New Tricks, a prostitute approaches Brian and asks him if "you've got the time," in a fashion that leaves little doubt as to what she really means. Brian, however, assumes she's literally asking what the time is, and proceeds to tell her, resulting in a frustrating back and forth for the both of them until he storms off in exasperation and she gripes to one of her friends, "Why can't they just say if they're gay?!"
  • My Wife and Kids had a variation when the family goes to Las Vegas. Junior calls an escort service because he thought that it was a babysitter.
  • Frasier stops to give a woman standing in the rain a ride home, and he doesn't realise she's a hooker until just before he's stopped by the cops. Turns out it's just a paranoid prediction of what might happen, since his good deeds have been backfiring a lot recently, but he rejects it and gives the woman a lift anyway.
    • In another episode, two characters talk about hiring a babysitter. One urges the other to carefully read the ads, because an ad's stating "has toys and willing to spank" doesn't means it's for a babysitter.
  • Inverted in the first episode of Northern Exposure, where Joel mistakenly believes Maggie to be a prostitute based on her offers of help. She does not react well to this, of course.
    Maggie: I'm not a hooker, you jerk. I'm your landlord.
  • A hilarious subversion of this happens to Mateo in Benidorm. Mateo has to dress up in drag for a double date, and has to wait outside a bar for a few minuites. An undercover cop shows up, asking if s/he has a place to go. A lot of non-entendres later ("I have to get out of these pants" (They were itchy)), and he is promptly arrested.
  • Three's Company: Mr. Furley is arrested for solicitation when he pays a girl three dollars for information to help him find Cindy.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Get Medieval: Asher, lost in medieval Avignon, has a girl come to him and offer him "a warm bed to spend the night in". Being a clueless nerd, he considers it an invitation to sleep at her place. The trope is subverted at a later stage, as when they meet again in different circumstances, she does offer her help.
  • In RPG World, this is how Diane ends up joining the party.
  • This page of Rob and Elliot is a magnificent subversion. a Bathroom Stall Graffiti says to call a specific number "for a good time", The guy actually calls, and turns out the one who put it up was a burly man, Gilligan Cut to them hang gliding and the man telling him he's the first to call.

    Web Original 
  • Played with in Episode 3 of Manwhores when a woman pulls up to Kevin, newly starting out his career:
    Kevin: "You... uh, looking for a jump?"
    Woman: "Depends on what kind you mean."
    Kevin: "The, uh, sexual kind of course—unless, uh your car's actually broken. My car's right over there"
    Woman: "What I need, I can't get from jumper cables."
    Kevin: "Well I happen to not have any."
    Woman: "Get in."

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Subverted in the episode "The Cartridge Family". When Marge takes Bart, Lisa and Maggie to a motel because Homer is acting Trigger Happy, Bart is asked by a prostitute "are you looking for a good time?" He is (as always), but not in the manner she means, and Marge pulls him away before any Hilarity can Ensue.
  • The pilot episode of The Venture Bros. has a prostitute asking Hank and Dean if they're looking for some action. Being rather sheltered boy adventurers, they reply that they're always looking for action! And adventure!


Mistaken For ProstituteThe Oldest ProfessionPlatonic Prostitution
Naughty Under the TableSex TropesNerds Are Virgins
Necktie LeashComedy TropesNeon Sign Hideout
Eastern EuropeThis Index Is A JokeNepotism
Get MedievalImageSource/WebcomicsGhastly's Ghastly Comic
Near-Rape ExperienceAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Nerds Are Virgins

alternative title(s): Solicitation Mistaken For Help
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