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Show Some Leg
The calf is mightier than the thumb.
O heaven, I seem to have ripped my dress, revealing a ripe pair of swelling
bosoms! Will someone help me put them back in? Kremmen:
Seventeen guards were killed in the rush...
— Kremmen of the Star Corps
character provides a distraction
by flirting with and/or showing some skin to an opposing guard, Spear Carrier
and/or Red Shirt
characters. Of course if you have large breasts it's a lot easier. And some characters are distractions all by themselves
This trope does not mean
characters whose outfit only covers their top half; that's Stripperiffic
, She's Got Legs
or possibly Who Wears Short Shorts?
This trope is probably the only reason a female warrior would even consider
a Chainmail Bikini
. Might be more directly applied via a Kiss of Distraction
See also: Fanservice
, Bath Kick
, Distracted by the Sexy
, Action Dress Rip
. Compare Fake-Out Make-Out
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Ms Tree sometimes performs "The Nailer", in an acknowledged Shout-Out to Modesty Blaise.
- In an issue of Superman/Batman, Power Girl (Most Common Superpower incarnate) is told to distract a thirteen-year-old boy. She asks how on earth she is supposed to do that before saying "Oh", with a slight glance downward.
- Transmetropolitan: Channon, Spider Jerusalem's female bodyguard, flashes her boobs to hail a cab. This being the City, home of every weird fetish imaginable, it takes Yelena joining in, and both stepping into the street, to get him to stop.
- In The Ultimates #6, Wasp flies in front of the Hulk's face and distracts him with a "Mardi Gras special".
- In the Sin City story "A Dame to Kill For", a disguised Gail flirts with a guard before popping him in the jaw and setting a bomb at a crimelord's estate.
- In Camelot 3000, King Arthur has Sir Tristan, who'd been reincarnated as female, pull this stunt on some enemy guards. As Arthur knew Tristan hated being stuck in a woman's body, this was as much a loyalty-test for Tristan as a means of neutralizing the guards.
- There is a point in Marvel Star Wars in which Dani dances◊ to distract an Imperial patrol. It works so well that they don't even notice that Leia's just off to their other side, out in the open trying to keep something from flying away.
- When the villain Gypsy moth joined the Thunderbolts under the name Skein, she used this as a tactic. Considering that her power is command over textiles and other solid objects, it came naturally.
- Parodied in a Sergio Aragonés cartoon (in MAD #120). A pretty girl tries to hitch a ride by pulling up her skirt. A car stops, the driver gets out, takes a picture, then gets back into his car and drives away.
- In Forward's "Charity" episode, this is used quite deliberately. River is heavily — and sexually — distracted by Jayne because an Academy escapee is using her psychic powers to keep her focused on him so River doesn't recognize her.
- Streets Of Rage Saga: During the second story, Origins, Blaze invokes this to lure two guards away from their post, by stripping naked, coming into their line of sight, and begging them to come give her a good screwing. It helps that she's not at all shy about baring it all to begin with.
- In AA Pessimal's The Graduation Class, Discworld'' Assassin Emmanuelle-Marie Lapoignard les Deux-Epées uses this gambit to get past guards after performing her first working contract. Posing as a Seamstress, she deliberately wears a very low-cut dress, having placed a large false mole on one breast. This way the guards remember her breasts and have only a hazy memory of her face.
Films — Animation
- Jasmine in Disney's Aladdin when she flirts with Jafar to try to give Aladdin enough time to get to the lamp. Which works a bit too well; it distracts Aladdin too.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas plays with this trope. To distract Oogie Boogie, Sally (a living doll who can detach and reattach her limbs) shows him one curvy leg around a distant corner, while the rest of her works to free Santa Claus. Mr. Boogie is not pleased to discover that her leg is detached.
- In The Incredibles, Elastigirl unintentionally has this happen to her. Her leg gets caught on the other side of a sealed door, causing a guard to stop and stare at it. When he decides to poke it, she kicks his face in response, knocking him out. This also frees her, as his weapon reactively fires as he hits the ground, hitting the controls to the door.
- Parodied in The Emperors New Groove, in which the very old villainess Yzma prepares to lift up her dress, causing Pacha and Kuzco to scream in terror. Cue Yzma revealing a knife strapped to her calf, and Kuzco and Pacha sighing in relief.
- Used to distract the enemy in Mulan by having Mulan and three of her fellow soldiers dress up in female clothing. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- In Shrek 3, one of the ugly stepsisters does this to one of the soldiers to provide a distraction for the rest of the cast to locate Shrek. Considering that she's ugly, and knocks him out afterwards, it is also a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- In Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, Plucky Duck briefly and inexplicably transforms his leg into a beautiful woman's leg in order to stop a passing car.
Films — Live-Action
- In possibly the most famous example, a hitchhiking Claudette Colbert picks up a ride by flashing her legs in Frank Capra's It Happened One Night. This one has been parodied so many times that many people now don't realize this is where the gag actually came from.
- Parodied very soon after in Laurel and Hardy's Way Out West when Stanley shows some leg to stop a passing stagecoach!
- Invoked much later by Julia Roberts's character in Mystic Pizza. She's not successful. Her date decides to give it a try, prompting a woman to pull over when he drops his pants.
- Both played straight and subverted in Jackie Chan's Operation Condor. Early in the movie, Jackie distracts the thug with the gun by pulling the towel off a recently-showered Elsa, then kicks the guard unconscious. Later, when Jackie, Elsa, and Ada are in a similar situation, this time with Ada fresh out of the shower, Elsa de-towels Ada... and Jackie is just as distracted as the thug.
- Played straight — to quite a few people's dismay — in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, when Uhura does a fan dance to distract some guards. Nichelle Nichols didn't look bad for 57, but was hardly the usual sexy distraction. Given that the men she was dancing for were living on a Crapsack World for years without the company of a woman, they probably liked her just fine.
- In Slums of Beverly Hills, Marissa Tomei's character gets a ride from a trucker by standing in the middle of the road and opening her bathrobe. The headlights shining through the robe suggested nothing underneath.
- James Bond
- For Your Eyes Only. When James Bond is infiltrating The Dragon's residence in Spain, one of the owner's own harem girls provides the distraction he needs by choosing that moment to smooch with one of the guards.
- In Octopussy, James Bond is captured and held at gunpoint in the back of a moving truck. Driving by is a pretty girl (his ally) who reveals her thighs, distracting the guards so Bond can escape.
- In The Living Daylights, knowing that a guard is coming he turns to a girl, tears her bathrobe off as she screams, and then has her face the door, distracting the guard for a few seconds when he enters.
- In Golden Eye, Famke Janssen's character distracts both a fat admiral and James Bond with her sex appeal whilst actively trying (and succeeding, in the former) to break their ribs with her thighs.
- In On Her Majestys Secret Service, Tracy Draco is held prisoner by Blofeld and coldly refuses his advances. But when she recognises her father's voice on the radio from the approaching "Red Cross" helicopters, she starts flirting with Blofeld, who gets annoyed when one of his men tries to draw his attention to them.
- Appears, complete with actual showing-of-leg, in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, with something of a twist since the one showing leg was John Leguizamo in drag.
- Felicity Shagwell enables herself and Austin Powers to escape in The Spy Who Shagged Me by baring her chest to the guard, causing him to stumble forward and into a lava pit.
"What do you think of these, my man?"
- Was going to occur in Galaxy Quest, but the scene was left on the cutting room floor, which accounts for a sudden increase in exposure on the part of Sigourney Weaver, who ends up leaving some of her covering material on the "cutting room" floor too.
- The film Druids has an example of this where a woman distracts a guard in order to sneak into a castle or some other stupid thing. Then she dispatches him.
- 10 Things I Hate About You. Julia Stiles' character Kat flashes her boobs at the sports teacher to grant Patrick (Heath Ledger) an unnoticed escape from detention. She was actually suggesting this strategy at the time, too.
"I dazzled him with my 'wits
- A problem with this tactic is raised in the 1971 film adaptation of Alistair MacLean's When Eight Bells Toll. The Damsel in Distress is told to distract a guard so the hero can sneak up and clobber him.
Sue: What do I do?
Calvert: Just appear and lust will do the rest.
Sue: What if he doesn't fancy me?
Calvert: Well that's all we need — a guard that's queer!
- In The Cannonball Run II, the mafia get The Sheik to stop his car so they can kidnap him by the simple expedient of having a showgirl open her blouse as he drives past.
- In the far superior The Gumball Rally, Mike Bannon is behind at the very end of the race, so he invokes "Emergency Plan Alpha" to distract Franco Bertollini into pulling over and letting him pass and therefore win the race. "Emergency Plan Alpha" is this extremely well built blonde (played by Linda Vaughn) standing by the side of the road in short and tight clothing.
- In Black Robe, Annuka actually has sex with the guard to distract him (and clobbering him in the face with a piece of wood).
- Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) in Get Smart gets into the party at the Kristik's house by showing some leg to the guard at the door. And then showing some leg to Kristik (and his guests) to keep him distracted while Max searches the house.
- In The Mummy, Evelyn kisses Imhotep so that his spell will stop working and the plane Rick O'Connell is in can land.
- In the City Hunter film with Jackie Chan, the group of protagonists sends one of the Buxom Is Better girls to distract a male mook, only for said mook to punch her in the gut and chase instead one of the male characters.
- In Duel to the Death, a female ninja whips off her clothes in the middle of a fight with a Shaolin monk, who averts his gaze and is then defeated.
- Hilariously subverted in The Naked Gun 33 1/3rd. Tanya, who wants to get the guard away from the envelopes with all the academy awards in them, tries showing some leg... and some cleavage... and spinning the straps of her dress around like helicopter blades... to no avail. Finally she tries to play with bubble wrap seductively. The guard strolls over as if hypnotized... shoves her away and proceeds to happily play with the bubble wrap.
- In To Catch a Thief, the protagonist, John Robie is escaping from the police in a speedboat, driven by a pretty girl. When a police plane appears looking for him, he hides in a chamber, and instructs her to wave to the plane "as if you're a pretty girl out for a ride". She pulls up her skirt to show her knees and waves. Robie says: "Not that pretty. We want to get rid of him."
- Parodied in Euro Trip: at some point, the girl of the group tries to get a ride in the highway flashing the drivers, but since it is in Europe (where they have lesbians selling orange juice in TV commercials) nobody stops (even when she's completely topless and jumping up and down repeatedly)... until someone makes the Butt Monkey of the group show some ass.
- In Hellbound: Hellraiser II, this is what Kristy does to her depraved uncle Frank when she sees him in hell. He catches her, holding a knife to her and tries to rape her. She ends up kissing him, causing him to stop restraining her. It apparently distracted him enough for her to be able to figure out how to destroy him (throwing his blanket into the fire, causing him to burn).
- In the second National Treasure movie, Abagail and Gates have to search the US President's antique Resolute desk. Abagail gets them into the Oval Office via a White House staff member she's dating, then pretends to lose an earring which they both crawl about on the floor trying to find, while Gates secretly checks out the desk. The staff member 'finds' the earring, and when Abagail sees Gates still needs more time, she begins to snog him passionately to show her 'gratitude', much to the bemusement of her ex-boyfriend Gates.
- The title vigilante Action Girl in Coffy does this quite a bit in order to get close to her targets or put them off guard. To be fair, Pam Grier is very easy on the eyes.
- Accidentally invoked in Mrs. Doubtfire by the cross-dressing Robin Williams, who is just leaning over to fix his stocking when the bus to his apartment pulls up, which leads to the elderly driver flirting with "her" several times.
- Escape to Athena (1979). The POW's put on a variety act for their German guards, the climax of which is a strip show by an interned female USO performer. While the Germans are busy leering over her performance, the Greek Resistance sneak up and take them all prisoner.
- In Ninja in the Dragon's Den, it's established that Chinese sorcery requires pure thoughts, or it backfires. While facing a sorcerer, the Chinese hero throws him some pornography, which interrupts his spell. A little later, the Chinese hero disrobes the Japanese hero's wife. Her breasts shoot yellow energy rays at the sorcerer, causing him to go apoplectic.
- There's a somewhat humorous variation in the 2004 film adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days. Monique flirts with Fogg by showing some leg, but since it's the Victorian era all this really amounts to is showing off her ankle.
- A standard tactic of the Angels in Angels Revenge.
- Tormented2009 (the 2009 English film, not the 1960 film). Tasha attempts to stop Mullet from killing her by flirting with him after she tries to run and falls into an open grave, leading to her saying something like this:
Tasha: Look, look, I'm sorry! I'm really sorry! We were just joking around! I always liked you, it was the others who didn't like you! Actually, I kind of... kind of... fancied you! I wanted to go out with you but i was too scared, too scared to ask, and thats the truth, ok? I wanted to go out with you... and... maybe... and maybe its not too late!
(Mullet appears behind her and decapitates her with a shovel)
- Also subverted in Munich when the Israelis track down a female assassin who killed one of their own. The woman tries slipping off her blouse to expose her breasts, but is shot at that precise moment.
- Raw Deal has a scene where a Mafia mook is sitting in his car, gaping at the sight of a female jogger Gainaxing towards him. She leans down with a big smile, sticks a gun in his face and suggests he go tell the drug house he's guarding that he needs to take a leak. With the sentry taken care of, detectives come out of the woodwork and pull a crash-bang-gotcha on the occupants.
- In Dracula: Dead and Loving It, vampire Lucy attempts to use her sexy on Harker, to seduce him into vampirism.
Harker: But Lucy, I'm British!
Lucy: (exposing her cleavage) So are these!
- In Diva, Alba, a young lady, is shoplifting lp records in a store, sneaking them into a hidden compartment in a portfolio case. When a clerk asks to examine the case, he only finds several nude photos of her, and hands it back with embarrassed apologies.
- In Yesterday Was A Lie, Hoyle persuades a male physics student to spill secrets to her by sitting in front of him in a miniskirt and crossing her legs.
- Part of the 3-person group's scam strategy in the movie Kingpin. Roy would set up a bowling match bet with potential suckers, Ishmael would do the actual bowling, and Claudia would distract Ishmael's opponents with revealing outfits and seductive actions. Humorously, this worked every time, even against a group of old women.
- The Whole Nine Yards: Amanda Peet distracts assassins by walking out of her room naked.
- A rare gender-reversed example was played for laughs in Mickey Blue Eyes: The title character tries to distract his fiancée by acting in a sexy and suggestive manner in order to prevent her from noticing a painting that is hanging right next to her. He ends up looking absolutely ridiculous, and (probably) not particularly sexy to any segment of the audience — however, the distraction works.
- The Replacements: The cheerleaders deliberately use this trope to cause a penalty call against the Dallas team for a false start, while the replacement Sentinels are still learning to work together. It is also distracting to the fans and the refs.
- In Fierce Creatures, Willa Weston uses this on Vince McCain and Rollo Lee... successfully.
- In the first Charlie's Angels film, Drew Barrymore's character wears a patriotic (red, white and blue) styled auto racing firesuit/jumpsuit that showcases her bountiful cleavage. She, in the process, proceeds to distract a chauffeur by flirting with him while Lucy Liu's character plants a camera into the trunk his car.
- In the SyFy film Red Faction: Origins, Mason tries to do this when he and Tess are locked up. He has Tess take her top off and face the door so he can take out the guard. Unfortunately for him, a woman comes in and catches on before he can jump her. Luckily, Tess manages to knock her out while she's busy struggling with Mason.
- In Rat Race, a woman flashes her breasts at Duane and Blaine, causing them to drive into a ditch.
- The Long Kiss Goodnight. Geena Davis' character is dressed in a bathrobe while Samuel L. Jackson's is wincing over a penetrating injury.
Uh, oh. You're seeping. Here, look at this. (she opens her bathrobe; as he looks, she rips off the bloody bandage. Mitch screams) Mitch:
Oh, shit! Ah, that hurt like shit! Samantha:
I know. That's why I distracted you first. Same principle as deflowering virgins. Mitch:
Huh? What? Virgin—? What? Samantha:
Read it in this Harold Robbins book. Guy bites her on the ear. Distracts from the pain. Ever try that? Mitch:
No, no, I sock 'em in the jaw and yell, "Pop goes the weasel."
- In Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale uses this technique to sneak through an airport crawling with law enforcement and FBI agents who were waiting specifically for him. He waltzes through the airport with 8 hot stewardesses, and everyone looks at them, completely forgetting that the person they are hunting is walking with them.
- In G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Lady Jaye dresses in a skimpy jogging outfit to distract the White House Chief of Staff long enough for the other Joes to drag him into a car.
- In The Lone Ranger, Red does this to distract the Captain at Promontory Point. What makes this example unusual is that the leg she flashes is a prosthetic one made of ivory. The ploy works brilliantly.
- La Résistance uses this technique to sneak past a checkpoint in the opening scene of The Longest Day. Two German guards are starting to jab their bayonets into a straw cart, when they notice a hot French girl in a cleavage-revealing blouse cycling up. They quickly wave the cart through and check her papers instead; the girl rides off and winks at the cart driver as she passes him, who gives the thumbs up to the men hidden in the straw.
- We're the Millers: Why else have Jennifer Aniston play a stripper?
- Hilariously subverted in Rush. Marlene's car breaks down and after Niki Lauda fails to catch passerby's attention, Marlene tries, saying they wouldn't get help any other way. It seems to work, but it's then subverted when it turns out the two people that stopped are Ferrari fans and recognize Niki Lauda on sight.
- In Ladron que Roba a Ladron, while the team is preparing for a heist, one of the head con guys tells the tomboy mechanic that they'll need a distraction, and looks pointedly at her. "How am I the distraction?" she asks. In response, he unzips the top of her jumpsuit, revealing impressive cleavage.
Rafaela: Why should I have to wear a dress?
Alejandro: Because none of us would fit in it.
- In one old joke, a gorgeous woman in a low-cut, slinky dress sidles up to the craps table as a shooter. She leans forward and pushes a large stack of chips toward the betting line and says, "I always feel a little luckier without this dress." She lets it drop, grabs the dice, and throws. The woman screams out, "I won, I won!" while jumping up and down, then hastily scoops up the chips and her dress. After she leaves, the croupier says, "Hey, what did she roll"
- John C. Wright
- In The Orphans of Chaos, when Vanity wants to distract Glum, she makes her appeal while carefully posed to give him a view down her shirt. Later, both she and Amelia arrange their clothing to distract him again.
- And in Fugitives of Chaos, the girls stage a burlesque show to lure Colin, who's stuck in the form of a hawk, back to humanity.
- In The Dresden Files novel Fool Moon, when Harry needs a distraction to get past a police stakeout, Tara West takes her coat off and goes dancing in the rain. Since the coat was the only thing she had on, even Harry is a bit distracted. It helps that West is a wolf-were (wolf assuming human form) and therefore an Innocent Fanservice Girl.
- Subverted in the first Vampire Hunter D novel. Doris tries to distract D during their initial fight by dropping her robe, revealing that she is naked. It doesn't work.
- A very effective strategy in Xanth for a female fighter opposing a male one is to flash her panties, because panties worn by a woman have the magical effect of "freaking out" men. In one humorous example, a woman tried to distract a vampire this way, forgetting that vampires are more interested in necks.
- In Unseen Academicals, Juliet promises a kiss to the bus driver if he'll make the bus go faster. It works less well when it's coupled with a threat from Trev that he'll use a lead pipe. Negotiations on how much kissing versus how much hitting with lead pipe the driver will get ensue.
- In Courtney Milan's Proof by Seduction, Jenny is arguing with Gareth, who is brusquely interrupting her and dismissing her concerns. Frustrated, she puts her foot up on a chair, lifts her skirts up past her knees (this is the Victorian era) and slowly peels off a stocking. Gareth completely forgets his argument in order to watch this mild striptease.
- In Parrish Plessis, Parrish tries turning up the sex appeal to get past some security guards. It ends up working a little too well.
- A Piece of Resistance, a novel by Clive Egleton set in a Soviet-occupied Britain. A couple working for La Résistance kill a counter-intelligence agent and throw his body off the train. Realising the ticket collector might have seen the three of them in the carriage together the couple pretend to be on the verge of stripping off for sex when the ticket collector does his rounds and 'surprises' them. Later a wanted notice in the newspaper shows an excellent identikit image of the woman, but a poor one of the man.
- In one of The Vampire Files, Faustine interrupts a squabble between Jack and some Mafia bruisers in the alley behind his nightclub, and tilts the odds in Jack's favor by dropping her robe in the thugs' view, leaving herself stark naked. Subverted in that, while she succeeds in distracting them, she's very nearly shot in the ensuing crossfire.
- In Gilded Latten Bones, intruders break into Tinnie's and Garrett's love-nest, and she flashes her breasts at one to distract him while Garrett's punching out the other.
- Subverted in the Mechwarrior: Dark Age novel Service for the Dead. In preparing to fight in a Trial of Grievance against a rival, Anastasia Kerensky opts to wear tights and what amounts to a backless, halter-style bikini top, the latter of which she removes mid-combat. Her opponent is unfazed... until she strangles him to death with it.
- The Action Girl in Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters uses this to detect men who've been possessed by the Alien Invaders. Those Not Distracted by the Sexy are assumed to be "hag-ridden", though as the President points out at one stage, it could also mean they're "harem guards" — it is unclear whether Heinlein meant they were eunuchs or gay.
- The Last Dragon Chronicles: Lucy tries this on Tam, but Zanna calls her out on it: "Why are you wearing a skirt?"
- Avalanche Express by Colin Forbes. The Spymaster requests that the female member of his team, who is helping him courier information sent by a Soviet defector, cross her legs while on the flight to Britian, so that if anyone catches him looking at her "the sight of your legs will provide sufficient explanation." She snarks that another explanation is that he's misusing his authority for immoral purposes.
- This was Ginger's main purpose on Gilligan's Island. She even had her own theme music for whenever she did it.
- Doctor Who
- "The Doctor Dances": Rose references this trope and resigns herself to doing it. However, Jack points out that the person they're going to distract is a) a friend of his and b) gay. He then volunteers to do the distracting himself, and adds, "Don't wait up."
- In "The Doctor's Daughter", Jenny seduces a guard to get his weapon. She just flirts with him and snogs him, not taking anything off — the tight T-shirt rendering it somewhat not required... Subverted in the same episode, where Donna suggests using her "womanly wiles" later on. The Doctor says to save them for an emergency, clearly deeming the situation as not one. Mind you, some consider Ms. Tate a Christmas Cake.
- According to Rory, Amy passed her driving exam with the help of a short skirt.
- The Dukes of Hazzard: One of Daisy's specialties. This backfired on her once, in Season 4's "Cletus Falls in Love," where Deputy Cletus, instead of getting wise to Daisy's charms, falls madly in love with her. Anywhere else, Cletus would be arrested for stalking and/or fired for unprofessional behavior, but for the Dukes, his puppy-dog-smothering of Daisy is just an annoyance... until Cletus helps them against the bad guys in the end.
- Averted in Firefly when the crew is being held captive and needs a distraction to enact an escape attempt. Jayne is the scruffy mercenary. Zoe is the hot Action Girl. Wash is Zoe's husband.
Jayne: We need a diversion
. I say Zoe gets naked. Wash:
could get naked. All:
- Even funnier when you learn that Adam Baldwin, who plays Jayne, used to do softcore porn.
- Sydney Bristow did this a lot in Alias, before either knocking her victim out herself or having someone else do it.
- Stargate SG-1
- The female members of the SGC does this to pheromone-controlled Airmen to escape from their cells and regain control of the base in the episode "Hathor".
- In the episode "1969", O'Neill has Carter try to get someone to pull over; she doesn't show any leg, but O'Neill does insist that she go out and do it alone. This is subverted, however, in that it doesn't work. Teal'c decides that "This method is ineffective" and gets a ride by walking out into the middle of the road in front of a van.
- Stargate Atlantis
- Then in the episode "Trio", when Carter, McKay, and Dr. Keller are trapped in an abandoned mine, McKay tries unsuccessfully to convince Carter that the pubescent boys outside will be more willing to get help for them if she flashes her breasts.
- Subverted another time, when McKay needs Weir to "distract" Billy Lee so that he can access his computer. She asks "how?" Then after a Description Cut (sorta), we see Lee saying, "I gotta say, I have never met a woman this into World of Warcraft."
- Parodied on Lizzie McGuire. To rescue Gordo from a gathering of "Dwarf Lord" players (a D&D parody), Miranda flirts with the student guarding the door so Lizzie can ambush him and steal his costume.
- Miss Brahms did this a few times on Are You Being Served?
- A typical activity of the female agents in Mission: Impossible. Especially the season 1 two-parter "Old Man Out" which not only featured two female IMF agents acting as rivals to distract a guard, but then getting into one of the longest catfights ever shown on TV to keep him distracted.
- On a Thanksgiving episode of Friends, the girls cheat at football by flashing the guys. Subverted when the guys cover their eyes when the girls do it.
- Burn Notice
- In an episode, Michael's narration both references this trope and gives a more plausible alternative:
Michael: Most people think that distracting a group of guys is best done by a beautiful woman. The problem with beautiful women is that people want them to stick around, which can cause a lot of problems. Obnoxious guys, they just want to get rid of.
- Though Burn Notice plays it straight most of the time. If Fiona's not making bombs, she's chatting up Mooks. To be fair, the main purpose of both Fiona and Sam on missions is to be the distraction.
- Jess in The Real Hustle. The opening credits call her the "Sexy Swindler" for a reason.
- Stacie pulls this trick several times in Hustle, notably in a scene where she distracts several middle-aged security guards by posing as a flirtatious art student in a short pleated tartan skirt.
- On Leverage both Parker and Sophie often play this role with Sophie being more emotionally seductive while Parker simply relies on her looks. Tara however takes this to a whole new level with a much more direct approach to get inside a hotel room by pretending to be Naked People Trapped Outside.
- Star Trek: Enterprise. In "Babel One", Shran uses his second-in-command Talas, a Blue-Skinned Space Babe in Pink Lingerie, to distract the MACO guard outside his quarters ("Andorian women are permitted one final conquest before their wedding. I've never had relations with a member of your species. I was hoping you'd indulge me.") The guard doesn't fall for it and knocks out Shran when he tries using the diversion to jump him, whereupon Talas knocks out the guard instead.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- "Unification". Riker runs into difficulties with an Obstructive Bureaucrat called Dokachin, so he asks Counsellor Troi for help. This seems natural enough, as Troi is an empath who's done this sort of thing before. The moment Dokachin sees Troi, however, he instantly deduces Riker's real plan.
Dokachin: He probably figures that we don't get to see a lot of handsome women out this way. And someone like you might get a little more cooperation from me. (Troi starts to deny it) He's probably right.
- Happens in reverse in one episode ("Angel One") where they come upon a planet where the women are the rulers and men are the servants. Riker dresses in a very thin and mostly mostly bare-chested tunic to get on the good side of the matriarch of the society.
- The Sarah Connor Chronicles
- In the episode "Automatic for the People", Cameron dons a low-cut top to attract the attention of power plant's security guards during a pool game, so she can scan their security cards. It proves quite effective at being distracting, too...
- When Cameron is talking to John in the episode "Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today". In order to psychologically probe him, she deliberately strips down to shorts and a tight white shirt with a clearly-visible red bra underneath it and lays down onto the bed next to him. The subsequent exchange is tense and distracting for multiple, fairly obvious reasons.
- The Equalizer. Robert McCall and Mickey Kostmeyer get past a posh hotel's commissionaire by sending in a strippergram, then slipping inside while the shocked employee is trying to make her put her clothes back on and leave.
- Aneka, of Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, is... remarkably willing to do this for any reason and, unlike most examples, she follows through. Much to the dismay of her boyfriend ("You gave it up for the time of day? We were standing under a clock!")
- This is a whole ability in Sentai, which refered to something like "Cute techniques" where female characters beauty is weaponized. Often, just a sexy wink from the Pink member is too much for the Mooks to handle and they fall straight over.
- This was actually used as bait rather than a distraction in an episode of the Sentai series Fiveman. Since the monster of the day tunnels through the ground to capture victims and especially likes leggy females, Five Yellow dons a short skirt and prances around getting it to follow her right into the trap they set for it.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Cordelia did this a couple of times to help Xander out. In "Innocence", when she accompanies him to the military base so he can get the rocket launcher, and in "Killed by Death," when she distracts a hospital security guard while Xander looks for some files.
- Averted in the Angel episode "Waiting in the Wings".
You want I should distract him? Make with the nice-nice while you slip by? Angel:
Don't be stupid. I'm that
guy, and the most beautiful woman I've ever seen
is making eyes at me? It's either a bachelor party or a scam.
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids has a couple such moments.
- One is in the episode "Honey, It's Doomsday" where an asteroid is headed for Earth. A Drill Sergeant Nasty retired general is prepared to blow it up, but Wayne has discovered that there were people living on it. In an attempt to stop the general's plans... well, here's the dialog that leads up to the scene:
I have to appeal to him on a higher level. Amy:
That would mean the red dress. (beat) Diane:
The red dress. Got it.
- The result is Diane performing "Hey Big Spender" in said dress... with full orchestral accompaniment somehow.
- The other example is in "From Honey, with Love": One of the gadgets Wayne produces for the Canadian secret agent he's working with is a hat that, when donned and activated, hypnotizes onlookers into seeing the wearer as an attractive blonde in a bikini, allowing anyone to distract their opponents this way.
The Mail, strangely, did not report this.
- Toni Braxton's "He Wasn't Man Enough" includes a small animation at the beginning in which she is a superheroine. In it, she bedazzles a band of male enemies by, ahem, unzipping her very tight jumpsuit midchest, giving her the time to finish them off with her voice attack.
Myths & Religion
- When a justifiably annoyed Menelaus found his erring wife in the flaming ruins of Troy, Helen merely uncovered her breasts and he promptly forgot he'd ever been angry with her.
- Norse Mythology: Loki once shapeshifted into a horse in order to distract a stallion. Bore him a few children, too.
- Omnipresent in wrestling; nearly every female manager or valet has, at one time or another and generally on a regular basis, used her... *ahem* assets to distract her client's opponent, the Easily Distracted Referee, or both.
- The most famous instance of this was probably when Miss Elizabeth did it at the very first SummerSlam. It probably surprised everyone too, since as the (Real Life and later Kayfabe)) wife and manager of Randy Savage, she was known for her impeccably ladylike behavior while wearing blouses, long skirts, and Opera Gloves. But when Savage and Hulk Hogan (known at that time as the "Mega Powers") needed to pick up a victory over Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant in a tag match, Elizabeth had no problem with ripping off her skirt to expose her legs and bright red panties and distract the enemy long enough for her husband and the Hulkster to get the win. Elizabeth was a Face when she did this, and that she remained a Face afterward.
- Actually, Elizabeth whipping her skirt off was a compromise. The original plan was for Elizabeth to take her whole dress off, leaving her in just her bra and panties, but Savage balked at that idea.
- This was all Stacy Keibler did during her time in wrestling, usually by slowwwly ducking herself between the middle and top ring ropes when entering or exiting. Given that her legs are forty two inches long, who can complain?
- Weaponized in GURPS with the "Sexy Feints" perk.
- In The Moon Is Blue, Patty puts her leg up at one moment to test how lecherous David really is. He doesn't take the bait, though he later compliments her legs.
- Distraction Damsel from Supermegatopia, whose only superpower was causing timely wardrobe malfunctions (usually her own) or otherwise distracting bad guys (and good guys, and Innocent Bystanders...) with her "assets".
- Parodied in this strip of Brat-Halla, where we see the Norse goddess Hel (who is a rotting corpse from the waist down) do this. Not a pretty picture. Of course, the intent in this case was to subdue Balder's Raging Stiffie...
- Gina once distracted someone holding her at gunpoint in Applegeeks by flashing her breasts. The gunwoman was stunned into submission.
- Subverted in Girl Genius, where Princess Zulenna attempts this (confidently saying "it always works"), only to find the one guard that isn't impressed. An annoyed Zulenna clubs him. Very hard.
- One of the established military tactics on Erfworld is the "Flash"◊.
- It does always work in this strip of Shortpacked!.
- Molly, of all people, attempts this while hitchhiking in this strip of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, but the fact that she's covered with fur proves a hindrance.
- Seraphim pulls it on Asmodeus in this page of MegaTokyo.
- The Order of the Stick
- The comic subverts this often enough, it became a running gag. See strip #19 and #387.
- Also attempted by Sabine on Roy in strip #355, but he's not stupid enough to get lured by a succubus.
- Parodied in this comic◊.
- Sluggy Freelance
- In Ctrl+Alt+Del, Lilah uses this to make Ethan stop being obsessed with EverQuest II. She calls it a "level eighty female-only persuasion spell". (Which seriously overestimates the time and training it takes to pull it off.)
- In Impure Blood Elnor's means during the escape.
- During the Crossover Wars, a flirty sexy witch from an adult comic was used to distract Deception so he could be blasted and taken out of the battle.
- How Death "cheats" a man trying to get out of being hauled away by playing Chess with Death, in this strip from Exiern.
- Amusingly inverted in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures when a guest at the inn says she can have any guy she wants and attempts to prove it by flashing Abel. Abel is instead "distracted by the large amounts of crazy they're attached to," so it doesn't quite work.
- Questionable Content: Raven does this to Sven in episode 519.
- Discussed in Spinnerette. Spinnerette wants to add a Cleavage Window to her costume to distract villains, but Sahira points out the idiocy of making a bulletproof costume and then putting a hole in it right over your heart.
- In Minion Comics, Dingus calls a prostitute to distract the guards while the base is on lock-down.
- In No Need for Bushido, Lord Masuhiro was captured by a largely female clan of ninjas. These ninjas deliberately dress in a way to use this to their advantage. Sure enough, every time Masuhiro attempts to escape, something happens to distract him, he gets hit with a knockout drug, and gets put back into his cell again.
- The Whiteboard: Pirta uses her looks to boost sales,◊ one time◊ managing to get a customer to spend $367.84◊ on paintball merchandise.
- In The Phoenix Requiem, Petria drapes herself on a soldier who's reluctant to say why the quarantine on Esk was lifted.
- Orneryboy: Dirtygirl is losing a video game session, but finds a way to distract Orneryboy and turn the tables on him.
- In lonelygirl15, this is something of a speciality of Sarah's. Lampshaded in "Shop of Horrors!!!", when Jonas explains how Sarah is going to "distract the store owner with, uh, a long conversation", and the camera immediately pans to Sarah's breasts. Sarah responds, "What? I'm just doing my job!"
- Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG: Mr. Welch is not allowed to take advantage of this by sending strippers to the guardroom.
- Agent Lux of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum has... interesting methods of getting the attention of a crowd. But very effective ones.
- From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, one of Cheesecake's few actual super-powers, if you can call it that, was being so pretty she was literally stunning to look at, if she wanted to be.
- In Bite Me!, Lauren breaks out of General McRuby's jail cell by tempting his teenage son Roger with her cleavage.
- Tori and Sonia, from The Saints, use magic to create this effect on a pair of police officers.
- Fairly common in Golden Age cartoons. Bugs Bunny and various other Warner Brother's characters would do this, while crossdressing.
- Hatta Mari does this to lure avowed woman-hater Daffy Duck to her lair in "Plane Daffy." It works a little too well as Daffy who has flown about a half a mile away returns to look at her leg up close and whistles at it.
- A gorgeous red headed duck called 'The Body' also does this to Daffy in "The Sooper Snooper." While sitting down she hikes up her red dress to expose her long curvaceous crossed legs. Next she turned out the lights and started kissing Daffy like crazy. At first it might seem that she was trying to distract the detective that Daffy was portraying from finding her guilty of murder. But all The Body wanted to do was seduce Daffy who she fell in love with instantly.
- On The Simpsons, Marge once distracted Chief Wiggum by flashing her (temporarily surgically enhanced) breasts. Which Krusty referred to as "Mugumbos". Which happened to be the control word for Stampy the Elephant.
- In a Whole Episode Flashback of DuckTales, a young Scrooge McDuck is shown having trouble hitchhiking after arriving in America, until he lifts his kilt, drawing a young lady's coach over.
- In a fourth season-episode of Kim Possible, Shego does this to distract Martin Smarty while Dr. Drakken carries out his plan of creating a legion of robotic soldiers. This episode also proves that she's a Gold Digger, as she considers marrying Martin Smarty just to get in on his wealth, only changing her mind when she realized he had a kid.
- Futurama: Attempted/parodied in the movie Into the Wild Green Yonder. When Bender is breaking the Feministas out of prison, they don't know how to get past the armed guards. Leela says that the one thing men can't resist is hookers, and tells two of her fellow Feministas, "You know what to do." They proceed to put Bender in a skimpy outfit, a wig, and lots of makeup. He goes out where the guards can see him and says; "Hello, boys!". The guards just start shooting at him.
- In the South Park episode "Asspen", the Jerkass skier is distracted, allowing Stan to win the race, when a girl flashes her breasts at him. However, it later reveals that her breasts are two hideously mutated heads, a Shout-Out to the film Total Recall (1990).
- In the Mummy episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, The mommy needs to go to Courage's house, and lifts the bandages on his leg, to show an actual female leg with high heel included.
- The Terrytoons' Mighty Mouse'' short "Wolf!, Wolf!" has a male example with one of the wolves dressing up as Litte Bo Peep showing off his leg, and the wolves laugh in retaliation.
- The entire point of Catwoman's "dance" in DC Showcase: Catwoman.
- The Joker, of all people, pulls this off while acting like a hitchhiker to stop Lex Luthor's car (driven by Harley Quinn) to pick him up in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest".
- Done in the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "If it Smells Like an Ed", where the Eds use a picture of Nazz in a bikini to distract Kevin while measuring his shoe size.
- The Penguins of Madagascar: During "Needle Point", Skipper attempts to use this against the other penguins by performing a sultry dance.
- Francine Smith of American Dad! is a practiced expert at this. In one episode, to help Stan get backstage to meet the lead singer of My Morning Jacket, she pulls this against several security staff, including flashing her breasts and making out with another woman.
- She attempts it (and fails) in another episode, trying to get something out of some CIA agents. Lowering the straps of her dress doesn't work, giving him her panties (taken off right in front of him) doesn't work, but the second she mentions her brownies his partner charges over in a Humongous Mecha and takes them. "He makes it hard to negotiate," the first scientist remarks.
- Pinky and the Brain: Parodied in "Brain Storm", as the Brain attempts to hitch a lift while wearing a Verkimer Suit by hitching the metal on its leg in a parody of Claudia Colbert in It Happened One Night. Unsurprisingly, it fails.
- Who Killed Who?: While escaping, the killer sees a pair of attractive, feminine legs behind a curtain. He lets out a Wolf Whistle and pulls up the curtain, only to find out that it was the (male!) detective, who promptly bops him on the head with a mallet.
- Raven does this for Beast Boy in "Teen Titans Go!" episode "Legs".
- Mata Hari, a spy during World War I, is rumored to have attempted stripping when she was in front of the firing squad for her execution, apparently on the belief that no one could shoot a body like hers. It didn't work, but it's not like she had a better option at that point.
- According to naval folklore, Royal Navy chiefs when rousting sailors to work would say that. If the leg was female (i.e. a Sweet Polly Oliver) she was left be.
- The pirate Mary Reade once won a duel by ripping open her shirt just as her opponent had lost his balance, and giving her the chance to kill him in a single strike.
- A "dumb crook" anecdote involved shoplifters using a scantily clad accomplice for this purpose. What made them dumb crooks was that the store personnel couldn't describe the actual thieves at all... but were able to give a very detailed description of the girl who'd helped them.
- Though in another such tale, the trick works because the female criminal in question has amazing breasts.
- NFL legend Lawrence Taylor was notorious for hiring several prostitutes and sending them to visiting teams' hotels on the night before a big game.