"There's something about a man with a baby that's so sexy and s-o-o-o-o hard to resist.
The idea that babies (or small children) put women in a Romantic Mood. (Not their own babies, of course, but somebody else's). Particularly true for an Old Maid
, as it warns them that their biological clock is ticking. After all, it's a given that everyone thinks babies are cute. Complete strangers stop and tell you, "What a cute baby!"
A sister or brother with a niece or nephew that needs somebody to look after the child for an episode is a common way of invoking this trope. Expect the reactions of the various male Love Interests
to be parsed for evidence as to which would make a good father. The one who deals best with children is upgraded in attraction points.
men will realize this and go to extra efforts to gain the children's affection and approval. Cunning Genre Savvy
men might even try to engineer the situation by borrowing a niece, nephew, or cousin to trigger this response. Like all simple plans
, it rarely works as smoothly as he hoped.
Occasionally, a Genre Savvy
child will come along who realizes the extortion potential, and torments the men accordingly. Sometimes then the man who sees through the manipulation and stands up to the child ends up getting the relationship points (since he showed he can be a disciplinarian).
Truth in Television
Can also work with non-human children — see Animal Chick Magnet
Anime and Manga
- A rather weird example from Ranma ½ has a girl-Ranma that had been turned into a little kid suddenly being picked up and taken to an amusement park by Kuno, who, thinking that the toddler Ranma was the real Pigtailed Girl's baby sister, picked her up so he could look after her until her "older sister" (whom he is obsessively attracted to) arrived and thus have a reason to get close to her.
- Inverted in Tenchi Muyo!: Washu got seriously upgraded in the Harem pecking-order when Tenchi was asked to take care of his nephew for a while. While the kid manages to drive all the other girls to the point of exhaustion, Washu handles him like a virtuoso, and thus manages to impress on both the audience and Tenchi that she'd make a good mother for his child. Then she transforms into a grown woman and suggests it outright.
Film – Animated
- In Knights of the Dinner Table, Johnny Kizinski comments on how his infant son is a chick magnet. Of course, the effect is somewhat mitigated by him smoking like a chimney around the kid, which usually provokes rebukes from the women the child attracts.
Film – Live-Action
- Sid the Sloth tries to use this in Ice Age... and it actually DOES seem to be working, until Manny the Mammoth steps in. A cut-out scene shows Sid attempting to complete the 'score' after Manny's taken away their youthful charge, and predictably it ends badly.
- A whole musical montage in Three Men and a Baby is dedicated to this.
- Sonny Koufax tries this in Big Daddy to impress his ex-girlfriend.
- In the film About a Boy, the character played by Hugh Grant pretends to be a single father in order to pick up women. Unusual variation as he starts with a made-up toddler while trying to meet women at a support group for single parents. Then later in the film, pretends the pubescent boy he's befriended is his son (the woman in question at that point has a son the same age), convincing the kid to go along with it.
- In the film of Marley and Me, John is on a walk with his friend Sebastian. When Sebastian sees an attractive girl at an ice cream stand, he takes the stroller with baby Patrick away from John and walks toward her, with John good-naturedly protesting, "Come on, that's my son!"
- Full House: Jesse, in the quoted example, used Michelle this way... apparently, quite frequently.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
- When Will sees how popular a single father at school is, he lies that his cousin, Nicky, is his son. He then embellishes the story even further which causes people to start giving more and more stuff, culminating in a trip to Hawaii because of his "courage". Will feels bad, comes clean and gives everything to the other guy. When everyone leaves, the guy thanks him... and adds "Just Between You and Me, this isn't my kid. Aloha." OUCH.
- In another episode a potential future step-sister played by Raven Simone tried to reassure him, "When you take me to the parks, I can pick up more babes than a puppy."
- 7th Heaven: Matt and Simon take the twins to the promenade, thinking they'll attract family-oriented girls with good values. Unfortunately, the only girl who talks to them chastises them for having the babies out so late in the cold.
- Joey and Chandler intend to use Ben to pick up women in the Friends episode "The One With the Baby on the Bus," but the first woman Ben snares thinks Joey and Chandler are a gay couple. Later they get chatting to a couple of women... and, distracted, manage to leave the baby on the bus when they get off.
- Eric from Boy Meets World combined this with additional lies about being in law school and the Secret Service with reckless abandon.
- When Mark has to watch Nora unexpectedly in an episode of In Plain Sight, he takes her to a "steak house" and women at the bar start making eyes at them. Though she is his kid, it's still a blatant use of this trope.
- There once was a Disney Series, where the teenagers had to care for babies in school class. Our hapless protagonist remembered how one girl said that she liked it when guys treated babies as carefully as their football... so he took the Baby under his arm, like a football.
- In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Barney and Ted decide to become parents together. Then Barney mysteriously produces a baby (he was just babysitting his niece). It takes about ten seconds after walking outside for some two dozen women to swarm around them.
- P.J. does this with Charlie in an episode of Good Luck Charlie. He later discovers that his date likes Charlie more than she likes him.
- A Brother's Price Many women are impressed by Jerin's gentle yet firm manner of dealing with young children. Subverted in that it is women who intentionally invoke this to get their reluctant sister to agree to marry Jerrin. They engineer a situation where she accidentally watches him playing with her younger sisters. While she is impressed, she doesn't change her mind because of it.
- Dilbert tried this with fake babies. The first time he tossed two at a cashier that tried to avoid having her named revealed, and that was foiled. In another strip, a woman was attracted to him - but a fly was pestering him so much that he forgot he was trying to pick up girls and used one of the babies to smash it.
- This happened in the Johnny Bravo episode "Lil' Johnny", when Johnny tries to pick up babes with a baby he agreed to watch over. This included dressing the baby in his trademark shirt and hair.