Even in a world of bondage, no one likes being hit in the face.
"Not the face!"
— Every character on this page
A character does not want to be struck or injured in a certain manner. They could have a low pain tolerance in general, or they may be able to take punishment, but not that
specific punishment. In these cases, it isn't uncommon to hear a character desperately shout this Stock Phrase
at their attacker.
Usually the character gets hit in the face anyway. Often subverted when it turns out that the character's pleas were just Briar Patching
Can involve, but doesn't demand, A Handful for an Eye
. Compare Ow, My Body Part!
, Oh God, with the Verbing!
. Not to be confused with actually going inside the face
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Anime & Manga
- In the Love Hina manga, Keitarō tries to spank Sarah, who promptly exclaims, "Nooo, not the buttocks!" Turns out she has a panda-shaped birthmark on one of her buttocks.
- Brook from One Piece does not want you to mess with his Funny Afro. To be fair with him, it will never grow back if cut, and he needs it for Laboon to recognize him.
- Conrad in Rune Soldier Louie: "Not the face! Please, anywhere but the face!"
- Grell from Black Butler yells this when Sebastian is about to hit. He of course gets hit several times in the face.
- Naruto: When Sasuke is hunting down escapees from Orochimaru's lab, amongst the screams one person can be heard shouting, "Please, please, not the face!" It rather undermines the drama of the situation.
- M.O.D.O.K. screams this when Squirrel Girl's sidekick Tippy-Toe jumps on him. Given that he's about 90% face, it's surprising he doesn't do this more often.
- Moon Knight gets this a lot. He rarely listens.
- A corrupt cop repeatedly begged the (Ultimate) Punisher not to shoot him in the face. He knew he was going to die, but wanted to be shot in the heart or strangled so at least his mother could identify him. Frank's Response?
Punisher: Face it is, then.
- Although he never openly said anything of this nature, Tim Drake occasionally worried about this when out superheroing — mainly because a teenage boy having visible bruises invited uncomfortable questions.
- Arkham Asylum: Living Hell has a vicious outbreak of all of the inmates from their cells, and the guards are getting their asses kicked until head guard Aaron Cash arrives, giving the following scene:
Junkyard Dog: Aw, man! Not you! Wait... just not the face!
Cash: You giving me orders, Dog?! CRACK
- The Trope Codifier likely comes from Arthur from The Tick comic series. He shouted "Not in the face!" as a potential battle cry. The cartoon turned it into more of a Running Gag.
- In Wanted, Doll-Master asks Mr. Rictus that he leaves his face intact while killing him. He already knows that he's gonna die — he just wants to make sure his family finds a relatively peaceful body. Mr. Rictus then spectacularely kicks the dog and reveals that he already killed them.
Films — Animation
- A subversion in Felix the Cat: The Movie: one of the Mizards tells Felix (whom they thought, because he's a cat, he plans to eat them) not to eat his tail first. Because he lost many tails, which takes a long time for a new one to grow.
- "Hey, not in the face, pal!" Said during a fight in The Brave Little Toaster... by Radio, the only character who does not have any sort of face at all.
- On Treasure Planet, the robot B.E.N. shouts it when captured by pirates.
Films — Live-Action
- And at the end of the movie...
Hallenbeck: (to the ingrate Senator whose life he helped save) Head or gut?
Sen. Baynard: Huh? (gets punched in the face and the gut)
- Through his career, legendary British heel Mick Mc Manus HATED anyone messing with his ears (apparently they were extra sensitive). The inevitable result was many matches where his ears became the sole focus of his opponents, much to the delight of the fans.
- When Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake returned to wrestling in the early '90s, many of his matches had a stipulation that he couldn't be hit in the face. Justified in that he had (legitimately) destroyed his face in a parasailing accident and had to have screws inserted, and too much trauma would've destroyed his face again.
- Chris Nowinsky wore a plastic face mask claiming his reconstructive surgery (or something) was too expensive to be hit in the face. Naturally, Scot Steiner hit him in the face on every opportunity he had, which made Chris get a metal face mask which he used as a weapon. (Too bad the Dudleys were on its receiving end instead of Scot)
- Sensational Sherri placed a stipulation in the match between Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel at Summer Slam 1992 that neither was supposed to hit the other in the face.
- "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, who plays a slightly toned down Gorgeous George gimmick, started doing this in a team elimination match in Survivor Series (2010) after getting slapped in the face. He leaves the ring to make sure it didn't leave a mark and even starts crying. Then Rey Mysterio Jr broke his nose. Cody Rhodes did not react well.
- Tales Of Symphonia: This is one of Zelos' "ouch" phrases.
- Super Punch-Out!!: Narcis Prince is, as his name suggests, overly protective of his beautiful face. Punching him there pushes his Berserk Button — while also making him easier to knock out.
- Vega of the various Street Fighter games. He goes so far as to wear a metal mask to protect his face from damage. In Vega's case, though, it has nothing to do with the pain of being hit: he just doesn't want his face damaged since he's a hopeless narcissist.
- Variant: In the ending cinematic of Final Fantasy VI, Mog is literally hanging by a hair after being saved from a Bottomless Pit, but he still cries: "Not the hair!"
- Jedi Outcast had a line "Please! Noble Jedis! Not in the faces!"
- In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Amazing Spidey will occasionally shout "Not the face!" when the player doesn't dodge enemy attacks.
- Inverted with Face Mcshooty in Border Lands 2. Not only does he want to be shot in the face, but becomes irritated with the player if shot anywhere else.
- Red vs. Blue
- The reds have Tex captured, and they unload her ammo (the game engine didn't allow people to be unarmed). Grif taunts Tex finding out that she's a girl.
Tex: Hey, punk. I don't need a weapon to kill you.
Grif: Yeah, right. What're you gonna do, punch me?
(Tex silently motions towards Grif)
Grif: (hastily stepping back) AAAARGH! Not the face!
- Before this occurs, Simmons gets hit in the back of his head, stating "Oh geez, the back of my head!" When Church goes back in time, Simmons wakes up only to get hit in the face, this time saying, "Oh geez, the front of my face!"
- When Joachim Murat (one of Napoleon Bonaparte's generals, as well as his brother-in-law) was executed by firing squad for sedition against the Kingdom of Naples, he specifically said "Aim for the heart, but avoid the face". Although Murat was considered something of a vain dandy, this was more an example of him being flippant in the face of death to cap off a long life of general badassery.
- At the battle of Pharsalus, Julius Caesar directed his pikemen to aim at the faces of Pompey's cavalrymen, guessing (correctly) that they would fear disfigurement more than death.