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Affectionate Gesture to the Head

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"Just pat me."
Annie Edison, Community

Adults will pat the head of a child to show them they've done well, tousle the child's hair affectionately to take the sting out of a teasing comment, or do one of the former in a playfully patronizing way.

Also can be done from one adult to another if one feels protective and affectionate toward the other, or just wants to annoy them.

The gesture is done to and from people of both sexes, and can be gentle or rough, though the rough version is most common among boys and their dads/older brothers (or substitute father-figures). If it's a full noogie, expect the dad to be playfully rough, and the boy to shut one eye while letting his head move with the gesture and maybe complain.

The gesture can also be performed genuinely or insincerely. Expect the gesture to be done awkwardly by a closet Child Hater.

This is mainly true of North America. In some Asian countries, this may be considered rude, due to spiritual connotations, though in Japan it may have romantic implications. Many people, even in North America, also dislike the patronizing implications.

Super-Trope to Headbutt of Love, in which both participants' heads are part of the gesture, and Sister Trope to Gotta Get Your Head Together, which is usually one clutching at one's own head and messing up the hair. The opposite of Dope Slap, which is normally an UNaffectionate headpat. Not to be confused with Head Pet, which is a different kind of pet on the head.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dog Days, this is a trademark of Princess Millhiore. Everyone she pets comments on how soft and gentle her hands are. Cinque also does it to her and a few other girls.
    • By the second season, it seems the favorite peacetime activity for all three rulers is getting petted by their respective Heroes.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • This is how Goku shows affection towards his sons and later his granddaughter in Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super, patting them on their heads.
    • Young Gohan is patted on the head quite frequently; even by Vegeta. One particular moment that stands out was during a flashback when Piccolo does this to a sleeping Gohan and promises that he won't let anything happen to him, cementing his Heel–Face Turn and Papa Wolf status towards Gohan.
  • GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class:
    • Kisaragi gets patted from Noda and Tomokane after telling the story of how she came to buy a "god's pencil", then again from them plus Miyabi and Namiko after she explains that it "worked" (though it's pretty clear that practice was really what worked).
    • In a chapter image, Namiko seems to be giving Tomokane and Kisaragi one of these as the younger four of the five seem to be engaged in a group hug.
  • In Elfen Lied when Kurama sends Nana to capture Lucy and bring her back to the lab this is all she asks for in return, because this was how he showed affection to her.
  • In Free! Rin Matsuoka, from season 2 onwards generally comforts, compliments and shows affection towards his younger teammates and friends (namely Nagisa, Nitori and Momo) this way.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist Ed often pats Al and Winry's heads to reassure them.
  • Grave in Gungrave often pats Mika's head. It's all he needs to do to show that he cares for his little protege.
  • Heaven's Lost Property:
    • Ikaros pats others a lot, usually to soothe someone who is upset. One time, she even randomly did it to a Yakuza boss. The man's bodyguards are shocked by this violation of personal space and move to attack her, but the boss stops them and enjoys it.
    • Astrea ends up patting Chaos' head.
  • In Volume 8 of Hellsing, following his final release and transformation into his original form of Dracula, Alucard pats Seras Victoria after she awkwardly points out that he seems to have grown a mustache. It's the first affectionate thing he ever does towards her.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
  • Hidamari Sketch:
    • Yuno is patted by her mother because she was worried about her father being at home alone.
    • Yuno gets one from Sae and Miyako at her explanation of Hiro's setting aside an onigiri.
    • Yuno gets one from Nori after telling her and Nazuna why she brought them to the bathhouse.
    • Nazuna gets one from her father after her mother thanks her friends for helping her, and tells her she has it good.
  • Hitomi-chan Is Shy with Strangers: When Hitomi gets "intoxicated" from an energy drink, she gives Yuu an affectionate pat on the head at one point, which is a far cry from how she usually interacts with him.
  • In K: Return of Kings, when Shiro is working hard on his research to find a solution to the issue of the second season, Neko tells him she believes in him, and he gives her a pat on the head (because she's a cat). Then, Kuroh, the "Black Dog" and Shiro's other teammate, tells Shiro the same thing and leans in for a split second as if he wants a head-pat, too.
  • K-On!:
    • Azusa is frequently patted against her will, even though it's what Yui used to calm her down when she blew up. But she does take it better when it's employed while they're reminding her that they haven't forgotten the club. (The others had been too involved in the play to practice for the concert.)
    • One time, when Nodoka jokingly asks the Hirasawa sisters if they didn't come out in the wrong order (Yui needs help with a math problem that Ui knows how to solve after glancing at it while setting tea she made down, Yui and Ui briefly interact as though they were the other way around; this gesture is part of it.
    • Nodoka pats Ui in the very next strip after being randomly hugged by her.
    • In K-On! High School, Azusa tries to reach kouhai Sumire's head, saying "Rub... head..." as she stretches for it. Sumire takes this as a request and confusedly rubs Azusa's head.
    Azusa: No, not me!
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Signum pats Fate on head in A's when they change from being Worthy Opponents to Friendly Rivals.
    • The movie adaptation of A's has this as part of the "Lindy adopting Fate" subplot by having scenes where both Lindy and a dream copy of Precia attempt to comfort Fate by caressing her cheek. She enjoys the former but outright recoils in fear of the latter (since the real Preica was incredibly abusive). The scene with Precia also takes place in the series, but Lindy merely holds her hand instead.
    • In something of a role-reversal, six-year-old Vivio gives her mother Nanoha a pat on the head to cheer her up during a flashback in StrikerS. And it's adorable.
    • Nanoha also pats Subaru on the head at the end of the first episode of StrikerS, causing her to start shedding Tears of Joy.
    • Subaru does this to Ixpellia in StrikerS Sound Stage X right before Ixpellia falls into a sleep that could last for thousands of years.
  • Usui often affectionately pats Misaki's head in Maid-Sama!.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid:
    • Kobayashi normally shows affection to Tohru, Kanna, and Ilulu by petting them on the head. It's pretty much the only way that she knows how to express affection since she has admitted to having trouble dealing with interpersonal relationships.
    • Taketo pats Ilulu's head after hearing why she's so adamant on finding the owner of an abandoned doll, and then again when she comes into work after having been out sick (she had actually gone into heat, but he didn't know that). The second time causes her to get a warm feeling in her chest, though she doesn't recognize the significance.
  • Musashi-kun to Murayama-san wa Tsukiatte Mita. has an entire three-chapter arc devoted to Murayama trying to get Musashi to pat her head.
  • Futaba from My Senpai Is Annoying is on the receiving end of head pats and hair ruffling from her larger coworker who she has feelings for. Her grandfather also has a tendency to pat her head and he takes issue with Takeda doing the same thing to her, mostly because he suspects Takeda is her boyfriend.
  • Naruto:
    • Itachi's brotherly gesture, the forehead poke, was affectionate by definition. Very dramatic, emotionally-eliciting gesture.
    • Sasuke continues the tradition by patting Sakura before he left for his journey of atonement at the end of the manga. Sakura later notes that she prefers it over kissing Sasuke.
    • Sasuke patted his own daughter, Sarada, at the end of Naruto Gaiden, despite being absent from her life for long periods of time. His wife Sakura had previously been shown to have shown Sarada the forehead poke when she was younger.
    • Kakashi has a habit of patting his students on the head.
  • In one chapter of No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!, Tomoko tries to get an affectionate headpat after seeing it in an anime. She does various things to prompt guys at school to give her one to no avail, going so far as to trying to engineer an accidental one by sitting under the railing of a stairway. About the only headpat she ends up getting is from a cat she stops to feed at a park bench. In Chapter 115, Tomoko gets a real headpat from a cute graduating upperclassman after she successfully pins a corsage on his uniform.
  • Episode 5 of Oh, Suddenly Egyptian God has Ra giving every single one of his children headpats after returning home from his journey.
  • Tsurezure of Ojojojo gave his girlfriend's sister a pat on the head after finding out that she's a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who's trying to break them up and take her sister's place as heiress (showing that he cares about her as Haru's sister despite all that).
  • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, Lusamine tousles her daughter Lillie's hair when they reunite. According to Lillie, she last saw her mother when she was a baby and is not thrilled with neither the gesture or her mother acting like she never left, and smoothes her hair down in a Funny Background Event.
  • In Saiyuki, this is one of Sanzo's few outwardly affectionate gestures towards Goku.
  • Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove it: In the main characters' ongoing quest to define love with the scientific method, testing the effects of this is the main experiment of Episode 2, with Yukimura petting Himuro's head. It sets off Himuro's Expressive Hair, prompting Yukimura to wonder what principle is allowing her hair to move independently. Due to Ibarada's suggesting that they need a control for the experiment, Yukimura pats hers and Kanade's heads and compare Yukimura's heart rates in each case.
  • In the Sengoku Basara anime when Shingen seems about to give a standard Megaton Punch to Yukimura but switches to patting and tousling his hair at the last second, telling him he's done well.
  • Taishi of Servant × Service occasionally pats younger women on their head out of unconscious habit, due to his sister.
  • Skip Beat! has Kyoko and Ren play the roles of the Heel siblings Setsuka and Cain, respectively. Cain tends to affectionately pat his little sister on the head or gently ruffle her hair, even using this as a form to communicate a compliment. Kyoko also receives one of the comforting variety from a director over someone having snapped at her, and she notes how different the two gestures felt.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu often pats younger characters on the head as a sort of fatherly gesture.
  • In Wasteful Days of High School Girls, Saku's grandmother gives her granddaughter headpets every night before going to bed.

    Comic Books 
  • The title character of Deadpool does this to his daughter on occasion. At one point, after not seeing one another for over a week, they share a warm embrace, and he rests his hand on her head has she speaks. Another instance, he is in his daughter's room and they play together for a while. But he eventually has to leave for "work." He gives Ellie a kiss on her forehead before he has to go.
  • During Flashpoint (DC Comics), Traci Thirteen goes searching for allies to help her stop a plan to kill all the belligerents in the war between the Amazons and Atlantis, and ends up freeing Circe, who was locked up by the Amazons. Circe refuses to help Traci because she figures the Amazons deserve to die for locking her up, but gives the girl a kiss on the forehead for her troubles.
  • Judge Dredd: In Dark Justice, a thousand of Mega-City One's wealthiest citizens decide to leave the Earth in a Starship Luxurious after the Day of Chaos turned much of the city into a ruin. When a reporter at the launch ceremony asks what the people who can't afford a seat are supposed to do, the spokesperson gives him a condescending pat on the head.
  • During the "Obsidian Age" arc of Justice League of America, Martian Manhunter applies his fingers to Green Lantern's head to try and find out why he's having visions of the League being slaughtered. Lantern jokes that in some of the alien cultures he's visited, this would make them married.
  • Justice Society of America:
    • The last issue of Geoff Johns' run features Ted Grant giving his son an affectionate noogie.
      "I'd be your sidekick any day of the week, you pain in the ass."
    • A few issues later, Hourman tousles Stargirl's hair while suggesting that the reason villains seem to be avoiding her lately is because she's so cute. His wife Liberty Bell finds this patronizing.
  • Dick Grayson's been affectionately mussing Tim Drake's hair ever since the Tim came to stay with him for his first bit of training as Robin, which was only the third time they met (including their brief meeting the evening Dick's parents died).
  • In Runaways, Nico uses an affectionate head touch to administer a spell that forces Klara to sleep after her powers get out of control. Molly, whose parents used to do the same thing to her, is not pleased by this. Later, Molly is seen cradling Klara's head in her lap and running her fingers through her hair.
  • Sabretooth has shown this on a few occasions. When it comes to amicable flings or genuine love interests, he has a tendency to gently cup their face during intimate moments.
  • During Superman: Brainiac, Supergirl has a breakdown after seeing a Brainiac android. Superman calms her down by hugging her and stroking her head.

    Comic Strips 
  • Lampshaded in one strip of Dilbert, the Pointy-Haired Boss is criticizing Dilbert's work (while not being overly specific as to what's wrong). As Dilbert becomes more frustrated, the boss asks Dilbert to "come here so I may pat your head in a condescending manner".
    Dogbert: So you took the pat on the head?
    Dilbert: I didn't want to leave empty handed.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: In chapter 8 Shinji rubbed the top of Asuka's head while she was resting on his lap.
  • In Twice Upon an Age, Mahanon occasionally tugs on the end of Victoria's braid in a big brother type of gesture.
  • Anglerfish: Jason massages Tim's head to help chase away a headache and get Tim to sleep.
  • Apex Predator (MHA): Aizawa tends to fluff the hair of his "problem children" to comfort them, most prominently Izuku and Hitoshi.
  • In the unofficial novel Batman: Angel of Death, Selina likes to ruffle Damian's hair, both because she finds him cute and because she knows he does NOT like it. During the climax, when Selina is sobbing after being talked down from killing the Big Bad Sinister Minister, Damian comforts her by stroking her hair, establishing he has grown to care for her.
  • As their tag-team duel against Yuya and Zarc is at its end in Between My Brother and Me: Mors Omnibus, Yusho, who has been at odds with Yvonne due to her snarky remarks at his smart decision to hop for the Fusion Dimension without saying goodbye to Yuya — does this before he tells her, "I'm ready for what happens next". Unfortunately, what should've been a happy moment ends up with Yvonne shedding a Single Tear because it's a huge reminder that she has to kill him at the end of the duel.
  • Beyond the Borders: As said in the first chapter:
    The event had shaken Rachel to the point where her friends took her out to grab a bite to eat,
    "It really is weird," Kira said as she patted Rachel's brown-haired head like one would pat the head of a cat.
  • Ash's Duskull in Challenger shows affection by tapping people's foreheads and likes to have his mask tapped in return.
  • The Child of Love: After kissing and confessing during a festival Shinji and Asuka cuddled together. Shinji brushed away stray locks from her face as they snuggled up.
    She rests her head against Shinji's shoulder, and he gently brushes some hair away from his redheaded goddess' face.
  • Child of the Storm has Harry usually subjected to this by Wanda, his godmother and mother-substitute, who takes to carding her fingers through his perpetually messy hair.
  • Children of an Elder God: In chapter 4 while they are talking, Kaji ruffles Asuka's hair in a paternal, placating way.
    Kaji laughed and ruffled her hair.
  • In Field of Innocence, Lu Ten ruffles his little cousin Zuko's hair before leaving for the Earth Kingdom.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Fifth Path Jeralt attempts to do this to Byleth but both of them agree that it's weird and he should never do it again.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: After having a talk with her teen daughter about the War, Asuka tugs a lock of her hair.
    Asuka shrugged. "Sort of. But don't worry about it. You're a good kid, so you're worth the trouble." She tugged a lock of Ryuko's hair. "Even if you are a delinquent."
  • A Glass of Wine: Misato reaches over and ruffles Shinji's hair when she finds out he cannot figure out why Asuka sat down with him and hugged him.
  • Guys Being Dudes: Both members of the main couple regularly pet or run their fingers through each other's hair.
  • In the start of the third arc of Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, Dev-Em sits down beside Kara and strokes her head in a reassuring way as she's having a break-down.
    Dev crouched beside her and stroked her hair, gently.
  • HERZ: In chapter 2 Asuka wakes up after a terrible nightmare. As he reassures her, Shinji strokes her red bangs.
    "Shuuussh," he said soothingly, smoothly the damn auburn locks on her forehead as he propped her up on the pillows.
  • In the Back to the Future fanfic Ich Liebe Dich, Doc absentmindedly strokes Marty's hair while the teen is asleep.
  • The Kedabory Verse:
  • I'm Nobody: Roxas is at the receiving end of this all the time from Shepard, Ashley, and Axel, especially in the form of noogies. There's a time when he's subjected to three very rough noogies in a row because everyone was worried about him.
  • At the start of In Which Guzma Is Frustrated, Lusamine praises a younger Guzma and pats him on the head, which makes him blush.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon tousles his little sister's hair pretty much whenever he sees her.
  • Last Child of Krypton: After beating Sachiel Shinji got Rei out of Unit 01 and caressed her head as he asked what happened to her.
  • My Dream Is Yours: Touching foreheads is how dreams are transferred from one Dream-Transfer-itis victim to another. Olympia and Otis attempt to do it in order to get Otis's dream back in his head, and they are initially awkward at it.
  • Just like in the source novel, Hachiman in My Hero School Adventure Is All Wrong As Expected doles these out fairly regularly to Komachi, just with a bit of a twist. Komachi's automatic Adaptive Ability improves her body without warning her of what changes it makes. This was a constant source of anxiety and frustration for her until Hachiman got a good enough handle on his own Quirk to, through a simple pat on her head, identify the changes his sister had undergone and advise her how to make the most out of them. Patting her head then became a daily ritual for the two of them, one that they both have continued long after Komachi's ability largely stabilized itself.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku starts getting these from Yang once they start dating. She runs her fingers through his hair and scratches his scalp when they're close to each other, making him feel comfortable but also enlivening him at the same time.
  • Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!: Firestorm affectionately ruffles Izuku's hair before saying his goodbyes and taking off.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide gives several examples:
    • In Chapter 9, Asuka tries to reassure Keiko by rubbing her head.
      The redhead didn't feel like she was moving until she had placed her hand on the other girl's head, leaning over her, and stroked her hair in a gesture of unthinkable compassion just a few minutes ago.
    • In Chapter 15, Misato pats Shinji’s head before a synch test.
      Misato stepped over to her wards, patted Shinji on the head and smiled at Asuka.
  • One Girl with Ten Brothers: Linka finds out that Luke is bisexual and is in a romantic relationship with one of his male classmates named Sam because she accidentally overheard a phone call between the two of them about it. After Luke gives her more details about his relationship in private, Linka accepts it. Luke responds by scooping her up into a big hug and giving her a brotherly kiss on her forehead as thanks for her unconditional love.
  • The Second Try: Aki gets this a lot of her loving parents in this story and the sequel as seen here.
  • In Safe Anchorage, Asha ruffles both Jeyne and Theon's hair or pats their heads to indicate her protectiveness and care towards them. Theon also smooths or strokes Jeyne's hair when he wants to comfort her.
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H.: Principal Skinner often does this to his son Simon, to the point of it being a Character Tic.
  • In Thousand Shinji, Shinji stroked Asuka's hair to reassure her after an argument while they were swimming in a pool.
  • to forget is unforgivable: Gojo frequently rubs Izuku's hood, which is always up, to make him feel better. Because Izuku created this with his power instead of actually having it as an article of clothing, the animal ears on it flatten as if they're real whenever this happens.
  • In The Unfantastic Adventures of Bizarro No. 1, Bizarro ruffles his son's hair when Junior says he's glad to be able to rely on his father.
  • There is a Touhou Project doujinshi where a very drunk Sanae asks to be patted on the head and called a "good girl". This has become something of a meme in the Touhou fandom.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Aladdin, after Aladdin tricks Jafar into becoming a jinni, which results in him getting trapped in a lamp of his own, Genie playfully ruffles his hair as a way of congratulating him.
  • At the end of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Milo is saying goodbye to all his friends. When he comes to Mole, who offers a big hug, he hesitates before patting his head instead.
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • The Beast strokes Belle's hair and cheek when they're having romantic moments.
    • After getting stabbed by Gaston (who falls to his doom immediately afterwards), Belle comforts the Beast by gently stroking his face.
    • After the curse is broken, Belle sort of brushes Beast's hair so she can better see his face, before they kiss.
  • Big Hero 6: In a couple of moments, Wasabi tousles Hiro's hair in a brotherly fashion.
  • In Brother Bear, after they've become friends, it's not uncommon for Kenai to noogie his little brother, Koda.
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost: In Casper: A Spirited Beginning, Fatso strokes Casper on the head while lying about them being uncle and nephew. It happens again in Casper Meets Wendy, where Fatso strokes Casper on the head after his uncles and the witches save him and Wendy, and once more in Casper's Haunted Christmas when they, Stretch, Stinkie, Spooky, and Pearl are being banished to "The Dark".
  • In The Lion King (1994), after scolding Simba for going to the elephant graveyard and almost getting himself and Nala killed by hyenas, Mufasa gives his son a playful noogie to let him know he's forgiven.
    • In The Lion Guard Mufasa also does this to Scar according to Scar's backstory song after he finds out what Scar did to take care of the strange lion. It has a sign that Mufasa doesn't take Scar seriously.
  • By the second act of Oliver & Company, a sign that normally aloof Dodger is warming to Oliver is the street dog tousling the kitten's fur.
  • The Peanuts Movie: In a mid-credits scene, Lucy gives Charlie Brown a pat on the head after pulling her classic football prank on him, calling him "gullible".
  • In The Simpsons Movie, a kid in a commercial asks Tom Hanks to tousle his hair. Magic sparkles appear as he does.
  • In Disney's Tangled, Mother Gothel gives these to Rapunzel a lot — she pats Rapunzel "sweetly" on the head as a gesture of "affection" but also to remind her that she's dumb, helpless, naïve, ditzy, etc. Said gesture also lets the audience know it's actually her hair that Gothel cares about, and not Rapunzel herself, because she needs it to stay young. It is a sign that Rapunzel has grown up that she blocks the gesture and grabs Gothel's wrist once Rapunzel realizes who she is.
  • In Disney's Tarzan, the infant who will end up as Tarzan gets a genuine ruffle of his hair by his human father during the opening of the movie, for pointing out a great tree to build in.
  • In Toy Story 3, Bonnie's mother gently strokes her daughter's hair before she steps up to Andy to accept his toys.
  • In Turning Red, Ming affectionately tucks Mei's hair behind her ear and in the climax Mei does the same to Ming.
  • Up: Kevin affectionately taps Carl on the head with her beak.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet: Police commissioner Ledvina comforts detective Nick Carter when he was recovering from the attack by The Gardener's chamberlain. Tap on the Head and chloroform? He deserved the affectionate pat, plus Ledvina promised him fresh air and beer drinking, if he would feel up to it.
  • At the end of Attenberg, Marina gives Bella an odd affectionate gesture to the head just before Bella goes to have sex with Marina's dying father.
  • Bless Their Little Hearts: Charlie's affection for his children is demonstrated by how he tousles his son's hair after he gets home. The whole movie is about his shame at being unemployed and unable to provide for his children.
  • In Cries from the Heart, Karen and Terry both ruffle Michael's hair a number of times.
  • Plot-relevant in Definitely, Maybe, as recognizing the gesture is how Maya works out which of the women in the story is her mother.
  • In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood pats the head of a child in a Hmong household as a gesture of kindness; the family of the child is shocked by this due to their cultural differences.
  • In The Innocent (1994), Pamela strokes Gregory's hair and cheek when she visits him in the hospital.
  • In The Last Picture Show, Sonny often shows his affection towards Billy by taking his cap off and putting it back on.
  • Boromir pats Frodo in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring during their attempted trek over Caradhras. After picking up the Ring, he gives it back to Frodo only after an order from Aragorn. He ruffles Frodo's hair to lighten the mood, but the Fellowship stays wary.
  • The Name of the Rose:
    • Brother William strokes the hair of his novice Adso as he tosses in his bed from a nightmare. Adso grabs hold of his hand in his sleep, leaving William standing there holding a lamp in one hand that he can't put down, yet reluctant to pull his hand free. He leans awkwardly against the wall instead.
    • Earlier a friar strokes the back of Adso's head in a creepy manner while making some rather homoerotic comments.
  • The Quick and the Dead: Lady is curt in response to Katie's adoration, until just before her first gunfight when Katie assures her she will win; the Lady then strokes Katie's hair in thanks. Subverted when she does win.
    Katie: Lady, I think you're great!
    Lady: (pushing past her) Grow up.
  • La Reine Margot pets her brothers' hair when they are upset about her wedding night. And again Margot pets Charles when he is crying after the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.
  • The Terminator. Kyle Reece strokes the hair of a sleeping Sarah Connor, only to quickly snatch his hand away when the gesture wakes her up. This is after the flashback scene showing he kept a photograph of her as a treasured possession in the future.
  • There Will Be Blood: It's an open question how much Daniel Plainview cares about his adopted son H.W., and how much H.W. is a prop to help Daniel lure gullible rubes into selling the rights to drill oil on their land. The flashback where Daniel affectionately tousles his son's hair indicates that he does have feelings for the boy.
  • Thor: Odin caresses the head of an abandoned Jötunn infant in order for it to stop crying. Eventually, that infant grows up to be Loki.
  • WarGames. During the movie, Dr. McKittrick had been suspicious of and antagonistic toward David Lightman. At the end, after Lightman had prevented World War III, Dr. McKittrick tousled his hair in a friendly way.
  • Watchmen.
    • Dr Manhattan strokes the hair of his girlfriend Laurie (aka Silk Spectre). Desperate for affection from someone who's become increasingly distant, she leans in to his touch, only for Dr Manhattan to turn back to his work (which in fairness does involve saving the world from impending nuclear war).
    • In a flashback the Comedian is shown stroking Laurie's cheek until Sally Jupiter intervenes, outraged that he appears to be flirting with her daughter. Turns out Laurie is the Comedian's daughter as well.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Charles Xavier tenderly caresses Jean Grey's forehead to calm her down after she becomes agitated by an apocalyptic vision. It's also a visual cue that they have a surrogate father-daughter relationship.

  • Isaac Asimov:
  • Mrs. Martinez from Bat stands in the hallway and rumples kids' hair. Bat always gives her a wide berth because he doesn't like having his hair rumpled. So far, he's managed to evade her.
  • Baccano!:
    • General rule with Baccano!: left-handed headpats are affection. Right-handed headpats? Not so much.
    • After thinking that he is going to die, Czeslaw gets a pat on the head from Maiza instead of having his life force sucked from him as he'd expected. This, along with the love that Isaac and Miria had shown him, leads to his breaking free from his past woes.
    • Subverted at the end of the 2002 arc with Fermet's return. His ambush of Czes is bad enough just with the massive creeper overtones he practically oozes all over his "favorite toy". When he makes it clear how utterly helpless Czes is against him... puts his right hand on Czes' forehead... and pets him before walking off to let the mindbreak settle.
  • In Cheaper by the Dozen, there is a part when the children's Aunt Anne comes to visit and Billy pushes her over the edge to the point where she yanks his hair. They get on better terms with each other, though, to the point where Aunt Anne gives Billy one of these.
  • In Date A Live Shido tends to do these to the various spirits a lot, especially the more childlike ones. Kurumi offers Shido this choice in volume 7.
    Kurumi: If you don’t want me to cry, you can either give me one of Shidou-san’s eyeballs, or let me suck your blood, or pet my head.
  • David Copperfield:
    • When Miss Betsey Trotwood visits David's mother Clara Copperfield, who is very pregnant and very sad over her dead husband, she seems very determined, opinionated, stubborn and almost rude. However, at one moment she gently touched Clara's hair ("she had a fancy that she felt Miss Betsey touch her hair, and that with no ungentle hand"). When Clara had a boy instead of a girl that Miss Betsey had wanted to take care of, she left the little family abruptly. Later in the narrative, David is unsure if Miss Betsey will help him from the evils of child labour and poverty, but he remembers the story (told by his mother and their servant-girl Pegotty) and he keeps thinking particularly about this gesture of kindness, and hopes that Miss Betsey will be kind to him as well.
      My aunt walked into that story, and walked out of it, a dread and awful personage; but there was one little trait in her behaviour which I liked to dwell on, and which gave me some faint shadow of encouragement. I could not forget how my mother had thought that she felt her touch her pretty hair with no ungentle hand; and though it might have been altogether my mother’s fancy, and might have had no foundation whatever in fact, I made a little picture, out of it, of my terrible aunt relenting towards the girlish beauty that I recollected so well and loved so much, which softened the whole narrative.
    • Soon after Mr Murdstone meets little David and his young widowed mother, he pats him on his head, but David dislikes him very much, and dislikes the thought that he is interested in his mother.
  • In Dragon Bones Ward tries to snap Oreg out of one of his PTSD-induced flashbacks by touching his head, as every other part of his body is horribly injured (Oreg is so powerful a mage that he re-lives the past in a physical sense without being able to control it). He also says Oreg's name ... which makes him look stupid when his uncle sees it, as Oreg is invisible to most people.
  • Marco Inaros from The Expanse tends to pat the head of his almost-adult son to humiliate him in company of Marco's co-conspirators, also as a punishment, since punching him would mean to Marco that he actually takes his son seriously.
  • La Fuerza Series: Played straight, then inverted in The Inquisitor: No Rest for the Weary, the ninth book in the series. Lily cups Jane’s cheek, then Jane nuzzles Lily’s palm.
  • Used contemptuously in Galaxy of Fear. Young Tash takes offense to Second-Face Smoke, but this amuses the smoker, who puts a hand on her head and looms over her, then spins her towards the Bad-Guy Bar door and shoves her. He's a serial killer, so she's fortunate he was amused. Later his brain ends up in her skull.
  • In In Two Worlds, Anthony's speech therapist Cindy ruffles his hair in front of his mother. In fact, she doesn't like him at all, but he's The Speechless and can't tell his mother what their sessions are really like.
  • Katanagatari: After Togame loses her long hair, Shichika, who had a habit of wrapping himself in it, reassures her by patting her head.
  • This is essentially the signature gesture of the Kasahara/Dojo relationship in Library War. The first one occurred when Kasahara was in high school and Dojo was her "prince". The next time he gave her one, it strongly reminded her of her "prince" and kickstarted their Slap-Slap-Kiss relationship. Pretty much every important the two of them have is accompanied by one.
  • Magic Tree House: At the end of book #4, Pirates Past Noon, Morgan le Fay gently touches Annie and Jack's foreheads in farewell.
  • In the October Daye novel One Salt Sea, the scary, unaffectionate Luidaeg gives Quentin's hair an affectionate ruffle.
  • In On the Spectrum, Clara's dad ruffles Alastair's hair, even though he Hates Being Touched. Clara wonders why he keeps doing something Alastair doesn't like.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Sally pets and ruffles Percy's hair often, especially if they haven't seen each other in a while. It's particularly noticeable in the first book, when she's pretty much the only person who he allows physical affection from.
  • In The Raven Cycle, Noah likes to do this to Blue, because her spikey, very strange hair absolutely fascinates him. She thinks it's sweet.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, after sending him on a pointless task to get rid of him for a few minutes, Lyrah does this to Cueseg to mock him. He assumes that it's the Hamahran way of asking for sex.
    Lyrah: "Light, Cueseg! Are all Tuerasians as perverted as you?"
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Jon shows his affection to Arya by mussing up her hair. Arya later misses having him do this to her.
  • The X-Wing Series has Han Solo once vigorously muss up Wedge Antilles' hair as demonstration of the fact that he can get away with a lot as a General. For the record, they're friends.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Whether it's the one in Gaius Baltar's head or the genuine article, Caprica Six regularly caresses Baltar's hair and face. Even when Head Baltar appears to Six, she touches him more than he touches her. The cover of one of the DVDs even has her cupping his face with her hand.
  • Bones: Angela can be seen stroking Hodgins’ face and brushing dirt away after he and Brennan are rescued in “Aliens in the Spaceship”.
  • Subverted in The Boys (2019). At a public event, superhero Homelander brushes aside the hair of his partner and ex-girlfriend Queen Maeve, to the appreciation of the crowd, when he's actually whispering in her ear that he might get really upset if he found out she'd fallen for someone else.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Anya patting Dawn, but as it's a patronizing gesture it only annoys her. Whereas Buffy stroking Dawn's hair is used to show the squabbling siblings actually do have affection for each other.
    • A variation in "Helpless" where Giles cleans an injury on Buffy's forehead, shortly after his surrogate-parent relationship with her is lampshaded.
    • Another surrogate-parent relationship: Mayor Wilkins strokes Faith's hair when she's hospitalized in "Graduation Day".
  • Community, as is expected of such a troperiffic show, discussed this. Jeff and Annie's relationship is characterized by him being an older brother to her, except that the increasing sexual tension is making that awkward and they can't keep it up, meaning their relationship has to evolve. The discussion ends with "We can't keep doing this kiddo," with a gentle chuck of the chin. "Can't we?" [long pause], "No, it's gross."
  • Doctor Who:
    • The first technical Doctor/companion kiss on the whole show is when the Second Doctor kisses Zoe on the forehead in "The War Games".
    • The Third Doctor toys with Liz's hair when she's helping him round after an attempted assassination via Deadly Gas in "The Ambassadors of Death".
    • The Third Doctor gives Jo Grant a kiss (something he rarely gives a companion, let alone anyone else) on the forehead after finding her safe and sound in "Colony in Space". Both Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning seem to fumble awkwardly in the lead-up to it.
    • In "Pyramids of Mars", there is a fairly extended scene where Sarah Jane very thoroughly massages and cuddles the Doctor's head while he's coming round to consciousness. Judging by his expression, he enjoys it quite a lot.
    • In "Shada", Chris allows the Doctor to wire his brain up to a man left braindead by a particularly brutal Mind Rape. The Doctor hooks him up to the machine, realises that Chris is finding it excruciatingly painful, and kisses him on the forehead out of pity. Then he kisses the Mind Rape victim on his forehead, "for luck".
    • The Eleventh Doctor is very fond of kissing companions and loved ones on the forehead as a reassuring gesture.
    • "The Pandorica Opens": Amy, who had forgotten her fiancé Rory after he'd been retgoned several episodes before, finds herself stroking a returned Rory's cheek without understanding why.
    • "The Big Bang": The Doctor puts his newly-acquired fez on young Amelia when she asks for a drink, which has a very similar effect to the usual form of the trope. And he does get her a drink later.
      Amelia: I'm thirsty. Can I get a drink?
      The Doctor: Oh, it's all mouths today, isn't it! [puts his fez on her, covering most of her head]
    • Towards the end of her time on the series, stroking the Twelfth Doctor's cheek becomes Clara Oswald's default mode of expressing affection for him when a hug won't do. (In their final episode together, the Doctor was originally scripted to finally return the favour, but the scene was shot differently.) This replaced slapping the Doctor which Clara did (or threatened to do) a surprising number of times in their first season together.
    • In "The Doctor Falls", Bill Potts is subject to Unwilling Robotization and thinks that everyone will shun her from now on. The Doctor shows otherwise by brushing the Single Tear from her cheek.
  • Played with on the kids game show Double Dare. In one of the physical challenges A contestant would have a slime filed balloon put on her hat, and then sit down receiving a pat on the head from a giant hand. This would break the balloon leaving her Covered in Gunge.
  • Zoe cups and caresses Wash’s face while they talk after she frees him from Niska and gets him to the shuttle in Firefly
  • At the end of the first episode of Forever (2014), a flashback and Age Cut reveal that Abe was a baby that Henry and Abigail adopted at the end of World War II. This reveal is emphasized by Henry, who still looks 34, kissing Abe on the top of the head in a very fatherly manner.
  • Friday Night Lights once had Tim Riggins kiss Becky on the forehead as both an apology and a promise to come back for her.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In the very first episode, when Robert Baratheon arrives to Winterfell and gets introduced to the Stark children. He says something funny to each, save for the youngest, Rickon, instead ruffling his hair.
    • Subverted in "Winter Is Coming" when Daenerys isn't happy about her Arranged Marriage to some savage horselord, so Prince Viserys strokes his sister's face in reassurance... while telling her he'd let Khal Drogo's entire army (and their horses) fuck her if that's what it took to get his throne back. After their marriage Khal Drogo brushes a tear from the face of his terrified bride... then indulges his Marital Rape License.
    • Davos gives Shireen a kiss on the forehead for prompting his "Eureka!" Moment in "Breaker of Chains".
    • Volantenes believe it's good luck to rub a dwarf's head and aren't shy about doing it without permission. Tyrion is not amused.
  • The titular serial killer in Hannibal is creepily fond of stroking and caressing his victims' faces as he kills them.
  • There’s at least one Highlander episode, “Revenge is Sweet”, where Duncan strokes Tessa’s face while they talk.
  • Towards the end of the first season of Homeland, Tom Walker ties up an old woman and uses her home as a sniping post. After he's finished, he musses her hair before leaving.
  • "The Duchess and the Devil" from Horatio Hornblower has this trope all over the place.
    • The Duchess of Wharfedale is a lady who is cheeky, spirited, older yet still sexy as hell. She gently touches Horatio's face when she teases him about not having any razors to shave himself because he's in Spanish jail. That lady knows how to flirt.
    • The Duchess affectionately strokes Archie Kennedy's forehead when he lies in bed, slowly recovering from his suicide attempt by starvation. Lucky Duchess and lucky Archie.
    • Horatio caresses Archie's head and loose hair when he tries to take care of him and nurse him into health. He also hands him a cup of water and tries to make him drink. These are extremely intense hurt/comfort moments between Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
  • It's a Big Big World: In "Not Found Here," Burdette headpats Snook after he compliments her beauty.
  • In series one, episode one of Jeeves and Wooster, Bingo Little pats Oliver Glossup (the boy he's tutoring) during dinner, dismissing something the boy just said.
  • In an early arc of Kamen Rider Double, the heroes protect a politician whose daughter is convinced that Double is her father (who was assassinated the year before). Philip researches her father and, at the end of the arc, Double says goodbye to her by performing the very specific head-pat he would give her every day before going to work.
  • Lucifer: In "God Johnson", Lucifer and God (inhabiting a human body) are Strolling Through the Chaos of a riot in a mental hospital. God gets a feather from a torn pillow stuck in his hair, which Lucifer removes. Despite Lucifer's resentment of God being an ongoing theme, it's clear some part of Lucifer still loves his father and enjoys spending time with Him again.
  • The Mandalorian: In the first season finale IG-11, Cara Dune and Greef Carga all stroke The Child's big ears as a way of saying goodbye to him.
  • Merlin2008: Given the copious amount of Les Yay between the two, Morgause and Morgana can’t keep their hands off each other whenever they’re together and Morgause loves to play with Morgana’s cheeks and caress her face.
  • NCIS: The jury is still out as to whether Gibbs’ dope slaps to DiNozzo are kind gestures or an attempt to stop him being so... erm... so DiNozzo. DiNozzo claims he's sure they're affectionate. In one of Ziva's first episodes, she takes it as both a sign of affection and a badge of honour to receive one from Gibbs, so the reality is that it's a combination of both.
  • Player: Ha-ri treats A-ryeong like a little sister, and when teasing her he ruffles her hair.
  • JJ from Skins is forever having his hair ruffled; he's well aware that it's mostly patronizing.
    "Then I'd tell Freddie and Cook to stop fighting over Effy before they hate each other forever, and not make me take sides. And they'd listen to me for once and not fucking ruffle my hair!"
    • And then about two minutes later, Karen [Freddie's sister] does exactly that.
  • In Smallville:
  • Chloe tenderly pats Clark, who is unconscious, in "Fever".
  • Clark pats Chloe in "Onyx" when evil (well, eviler) Lex knocked her out cold.
  • Clark gently touches Chloe in "Abyss" along with a forehead kiss before wiping her memories of his secret.
  • Clark and Lois start patting each other's head after they drop the Vitriolic Best Buds facade and start acknowledging their Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • In Stargate SG-1, Jack sometimes gently ruffles or smooths Daniel's hair to show affection or to comfort himself if he's worried about Daniel. He also does it to annoy Daniel sometimes.
  • Alex does this to Supergirl in Season 1 episode, "Falling", by caressing her cheek to let her know that she forgives her for saying all the bad things to her under the influence of red kryptonite, even though there are some things she said were right about her.
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), the Mary Winchester in the wishverse strokes Dean's face and kisses him on the forehead.
  • In the Robin of Sherwood episode "The Greatest Enemy", Robin of Loxley gently ruffles Much's hair before sending him away.
  • Uchu Sentai Kyuranger: Stinger sometimes pats Kotaro on the head in comforting manner as big brother to younger brother. It's a gesture that Stinger's older brother used to do when Stinger was a child and it reminds him of the good times he had with his brother before it all went to hell.
  • The White Queen: After Queen Anne experiences an acute coughing fit in the middle of a party, she rests in bed while King Richard III caresses the top of her head to soothe her. Although their marriage is in trouble in Episode 10, spending time with his ill wife and performing this gesture demonstrate that there are still some remnants of his romantic affection for her, even if it's nowhere near as strong as it used to be.
  • The X-Files: Mulder and Scully would frequently touch each other's forehead, stroke each other's hair, hold each other's head, or cup each other's face. Unresolved Sexual Tension at its best.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Dana Brooke is fond of patting someone's hair, except it's more patronizing than affectionate — usually to interviewers after a promo. In some cases, she asks the main male interviewer for NXT (who is considerably taller) to squat down so she can reach.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, resident Team Mom Ciro is fond of petting his younger siblings on the head. He also does it at one point to fellow student Michal, during a moment when Michal is acting particularly childish, which confuses the younger boy.

  • Quite commonplace in professional team sports, and considered a bit less Ho Yay than a pat on the backside.

  • Death from the Takarazuka Revue productions of Elisabeth is fond of doing this to Sisi and Rudolf note , often with a look straight down the barrel of the camera. It's usually done in a possessive, gloating manner.
  • All the idols in Tsukiuta, to the audience (at least, pre-Covid). It was one of the benefits of scoring an aisle seat. These interactions can still be scene on the bluray discs of the first 25-or-so productions, and it will likely come back. The characters also do this to each other quite frequently, with Kakeru and Shun being particularly eager to get head-pats from Hajime.

    Video Games 
  • Changed: In sharp contrast to every other creature in the tower, defeating the Hyena Mom will cause it to considerably mellow out towards the player. In fact, she's so comfortable with you now that laying down with her and her family will cause her to pat your head affectionately as if you were one of her own.
  • Ensemble Stars!: This comes up on a number of occasions.
    • Tori often demands this as part of his Deliberately Cute Child persona.
    • In Quarrel Fes, Keito pats the head of the producer to thank her for her hard work. Souma immediately cries this is unfair, then catches himself and simply says that she should feel honoured to have her head pat by his beloved senior. Keito sees this and later when Souma does well Keito obligingly pats his head — except that at that point, they were due to be on stage in five minutes, so Kuro needs to step in and straight out Souma's ruffled hair. (Nevertheless, Souma seems quite pleased.)
  • Fate/Grand Order: Ushiwakamaru (a young Minamoto no Yoshitune), in one of her interlude conversations, asks her Master (the player) to pat her head. A later event, where she gets to meet her ancestor, Minamoto no Raikou, also has her receive pats to the head from her ancestor.
    • Another Servant, Wu Zetian, will also allow the Player to give her headpats upon reaching a certain bond level with her. Or feed her sweet candy.
  • In Final Fantasy X, Lulu often demonstrates fondness for her adopted little sister Yuna by stroking her hair.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Thea upsets Shanna by criticizing her recklessness. She tries to imitate their big sister Juno by patting her on the head — only Thea is an Aloof Big Sister, so Shanna goes from being upset to weirded out. (She does say she appreciates the effort in their next support conversation.)
  • In The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction whenever you pick up a civilian, you can choose to put them down with a gentle pat on the head instead of throwing them into the horizon like the Hulk usually does when he picks someone up.
  • In the The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel games, Sara likes doing this to Fie, who puts up with it but tells Sara how annoying she finds it. Laura's father also does this to her when they see each other again for the first time in months. Laura is more embarrassed that the gesture is seen by her classmates than by the gesture itself. Rean also has a tendency to do it to any girl he's close to (Alisa, Towa, and Elise are all on the receiving end, much to their collective frustration). Rean also does it to Altina in Cold Steel III. She's not amused the first time he does it, asking if he was thinking anything indecent when he did, but by the time of Cold Steel IV she's actually asking him to give her a headpat at the end of their link victory sequence.
  • Rusl gives a hair ruffle to his son Colin at the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
  • In Love Live! School Idol Festival, one of the things Nozomi will say on the home screen as your center is, "Once you clear your goals, I'll give you a pat on the head" ("Uchi wa yoshi-yoshi shiteageru yan").
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny, Dark Piece Rynith gives one to Levi the Slasher after the two properly introduced themselves. Turns out, The Berserker Blood Knight likes it.
    Levi: Nehehe~, feel free to pat me more~!
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team: During the game's dream world sections, the player can use the stylus to pat Luigi's head while he's asleep. He reacts with either confusion or a smile and a hum.
  • In Persona 5, this was Futaba's mother's go-to gesture to congratulate Futaba on a job well done and during her Confidant, she requests that Joker "pat pat" on her head to praise her for completing her promise list to her mother. Oblivious to Love as she is, Futaba is confused why the affectionate gesture feels so different when Joker did it compared to her mother.
  • Tomodachi Life: One of the things a player can do with the Mii is use the stylus to pat their head. While doing so, it first gets a relaxed expression, then a happy one; letting go of the stylus will make it jump up and gain a small chunk of XP.
    "It looks like he/she really liked that!"
  • Undertale:
    • Toriel gently pets the player on the head when they first enter her house and she shows them their new room.
    • Parodied during the "date" with Alphys. Undyne hugs a depressed Alphys and pats her on the head... then tosses her into a trash can like a basketball before shouting an encouraging speech at her.
    • In an Easter Egg in the True Lab, lying down in one of the beds causes a ghostly creature to appear beside it, and slowly reach out to Frisk...To reach down to tuck them in, and pat them on the head. It would be cute, if it weren't creepy as well.
  • Oda Nobunaga pats Genki Girl Xiao Qiao's head in the Sengoku ending of Warriors Orochi.

    Visual Novels 
  • Cinderella Phenomenon: Delora gently pushes Lucette's hair back from her face while comforting her in Fritz route.
  • Rin's flashback in the prologue of Fate/stay night features a scene where her father pats her on the head. She remarks that because it's the first time he's ever done so, he's using far too much strength and dragging her head around as he does it.
  • Harada Sanosuke in Hakuouki distributes these regularly to Chizuru and Ryuunosuke.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • Satoshi Hojo had a habit of doing this, especially to his sister Satoko, before he disappeared. So much that when Keiichi does it to her in Tatarigoroshi-hen, it actually triggers her and causes her to Stress Vomit. He does this a few times to Shion as well. In fact, after she stabs Keiichi, in Meakashi-hen, she actually yells out for Satoshi to do this to her in the visual novel.
    • Rika pats people when they're feeling down. While most people assume that she's comforting them, she's actually mocking them.
    • This used to be done to Miyo as a child by her dad. A noticeably sad example happens after he gets into a severe automobile accident. He's bandaged near completely and his arm has been amputated but he tries to comfort Miyo but can't. He dies moments later.
  • Hideyoshi in Ikemen Sengoku frequently pats the female main character's head in his route, in a big brotherly way at first and in a more affectionate way later on. The MC becomes so used this treatment that she instinctively pats his head in one scene while telling him to take care of himself and immediately becomes mortified about it.
  • Katawa Shoujo: Towards the end of Lilly's route just before she leaves for Scotland, Lilly is saying her goodbyes to both her best friend Hanako and boyfriend Hisao. Hisao is resigned, but Hanako is reluctant to say goodbye and literally holds onto her. Lilly eventually firmly but gently disengages Hanoko from her arm and gives her a quiet reassuring speech, during which she tells Hanako she loves her very much and gently pushes Hanoko's hair back from her face and kisses her on the forehead. The gesture almost moves Hanoko to tears and temporarily renders her all but speechless.
  • My Girlfriend Is the President: Jun often pats Yukino, and it always causes her worries to vanish instantly. Jun even complains that she's too simple-minded. He also does it to Ell in her route, and it works so well that, whenever Jun looks concerned, she starts doing it to him as well. It also works that way, though obviously more because of the cuteness than anything else.
  • In Collar × Malice, the protagonist Ichika receives many variations from the love interests. Shiraishi tends to pat her hair. Yanagi taps her head lightly. Sasazuka gently pokes her forehead.

  • Champions of Far'aus: Hyperion pats Will on the head after the latter reports that their ice dragon egg is safe in the new tool shed. Hyperion notes he forgot how “funny your head sounds” as he proceeds to tap Will’s head curiously.
  • Charby the Vampirate:
    • Bert ruffles Blaine's hair after giving him a near lecture about entering the woods on his own when he learns Blaine did so thinking he heard a child in danger from a werewolf.
    • Charby gives Victor a friendly, if unwanted, noogie when the two reconcile after Victor tells Charby to stay away from him and that their friendship is over when Blaine makes it clear he won't tolerate his hunters befriending "monsters".
  • The Devil's Panties: A security guard condescendingly pats Jennie on the head in this comic.
  • In Drowtales, Nei'kalsa Tions Sarghress keeps her hand placed on the head of her younger brother Sar'nel as the two are made to watch Ariel beat Mir'kiin to death.
  • In Guardian, as in Final Fantasy X, Lulu often pets Yuna's hair out of affection. Wakka also tousles Chappu's hair in a more big brotherly variant.
  • How to be a Werewolf: Connie pats her daughter Aubrey's head and twists her fingers through her hair while berating and threatening her in a dark imitation of a motherly gesture.
  • In Namesake, Fred is seen patting someone's head several times. Different than other times this trope is played, the gesture has nothing condescending at all; he genuinely means to encourage someone, offer comfort or show acclaim.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The story at some point returns to a time at which an eight-year-old Lalli was the only child in a group otherwise made of elderly adults, and one of the elders is seen greeting Lalli with a pat on the head.
  • Til Debt Do Us Part: One of the signs Yejun is developing real feelings for Subin is that he is voluntarily affectionate with her. In Chapter 46 he rubs her hair, and she notices that it's only the second time he's given her genuine physical affection.
  • Tripping Over You has Milo, who is constantly caressing or fiddling with his boyfriend Liam's hair.
  • Unsounded: Mathis keeps his hand on his son Matty's head after checking a bruise on his forehead, while implying he may yet go kill everyone involved in harming his son.

    Western Animation 
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Krei does one to Hiro while apathetically trying to warm up to him while he dates Aunt Cass in "Aunt Cass Goes Out". Happens again but with genuine fondness in "Muira-Horror!".
  • Casper's Scare School: Mantha and Stretch stroke Casper on the head in "Vote for Casper" and "What Possessed You?" respectively.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh Five will occasionally tousle Numbuh Four's hair, showing the nature of their friendship.
  • A standard gesture of affection among Gargoyles, the equivalent of kissing.
  • Gravity Falls: Grunkle Stan will occasionally give some "affectionate noogie-ing" to his great nephew and niece Dipper and Mabel.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: Hal does a "tousle the hair" to Amaya — an alien without hair — when showing her a kindness over a family loss.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has the titular Grinch patting Cindy Lou Who on the head before he gives her a drink and sends her back to bed.
  • Kaeloo: One episode had Mr. Cat pat Stumpy on the head in a big-brotherly way.
  • In the Marvel's Spider-Man episode "An Ock and a Hard Place", the new, relaxed version of Otto Octavius says that all the students will have a chance to work on the Neo-Cortex project regardless of their ability. As he says that, he ruffles Peter's hair. Peter is not happy about the implication.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Griffon the Brush Off", Pinkie Pie gives one to Fluttershy right before Gilda's party, and actually manages the very rare feat of annoying her.
      Pinkie Pie: Don't worry your pretty little head about mean old Gilda. Your auntie Pinkie Pie's got it all taken care of!
      Fluttershy: I'm a year older than you.
    • In "May the Best Pet Win", Rainbow Dash gives a condescending pat on the head to Twilight Sparkle, when she asks if "coolness", "awesomeness" and "radicalness" aren't all the same thing.
    Rainbow Dash: You would think so. And that is why you would never qualify to be my pet.
    • In "Sisterhooves Social", Rarity's father gives Sweetie Belle a tousle as he praises her cooking. She clearly appreciates it.
    • In "Family Appreciation Day", Apple Bloom is patted by her Uncle Apple Strudel and Granny Smith.
    • In "The Mysterious Mare Do Well", Rainbow Dash gives Scootaloo a tousle/noogie when she thinks that Scootaloo's there to apologize.
    • Twilight gets a few of these in "A Canterlot Wedding".
    • Fluttershy gets one of these from Pinkie Pie again in Maud Pie when Pinkie tells her that the rocks used to make the rock candy are a secret.
    • Fluttershy again gets these from her younger brother, Zephyr Breeze, in "Flutter Brutter".
  • Phineas and Ferb: Done by Candace to Ferb in the final song sequence of "Summer Belongs To You". And considering it's pretty much the only time so far that she's shown physical affection to her little stepbrother, it's nothing short of adorable.
  • In a certain comic based on The Powerpuff Girls, Buttercup gets annoyed with the Mayor's constant patting her on the head, to the point where she punches his lights out after repeatedly telling him to stop.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Face on the Fritz", Dr. Rafferty rubs Sean's head after he figures out a code.
  • In the 2018 reboot of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, two characters do this.
    • Shadow Weaver touches the face of someone when she is trying to manipulate them, or has just manipulated them. She has a habit of tucking in a strand of Adora's loose hair. In Season 2, she touches Catra's face when trying to get on Catra's good side. In a flashback, she touches Micah's face after a spell transforms her from Light Spinner into Shadow Weaver. In Season 4, she tucks a rose behind Glimmer's ear and touches her face while telling her that she will be a greater monarch than either of her parents.
    • In "Destiny, Part 2", Horde Prime touches Hordak's face in a manner that appears affectionate, but the touch quickly turns into forceful facial groping as he invades Hordak's mind. After mind-wiping Hordak, Horde Prime touches Glimmer's face in a manner that feels predatory.
  • The Simpsons:
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Second Contact", Ensign Mariner ruffles Ensign Boimler's hair just after she introduces herself to Ensign Tendi.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Waxer pats and rubs Numa's head to comfort her on several occasions.
  • Star Wars Rebels: At the beginning of "Trials of the Darksaber", Sabine pets Chopper when he calls her to the meeting and he purrs like a cat in response.
  • Steven Universe: Garnet pats Steven fairly often, enough so that it is seen in the opening. While all the Gems are very affectionate towards Steven, it's especially noticeable due to Garnet's normally stoic demeanor.
  • Teen Titans: "Call All Titans": Jericho reaches down and pats an exhausted Beast Boy on the head after he climbs all the way to the top of the mountain to give Jericho a communicator.
  • Tom and Jerry: "Professor Tom" has Tom teaching mousing to a kitten. When the kitten does a good job, he gets a pat on the head.
  • Total Drama:
    • Duncan doesn't care much for the introduction session in "Not So Happy Campers - Part 1" and distracts himself by restraining a deer around the neck and giving it a noogie.
    • In response to Chris's list of Wild West movie clichés in "3:10 to Crazytown", Beth excitedly asks about the pretty dames. Chris shouts back at her that it's none of her beeswax, then laughs and strokes her over the head as he answers that they're usually at the saloon.
    • Chris teasingly gives Heather a noogie in "Celebrity Manhunt's TDA Reunion Show" when he calls her, Alejandro, and the other contestants dupes.
    • Chris initially likes Sierra's compliments in "Broadway, Baby!", but wants no more of it when she brings up embarrassing details from early in his career. To get her to shut up, he smiles gently and pats her on the head, then turns the final pat into a shove away from him.
  • Transformers: Rescue Bots: Cody is frequently the recipient of headpats and hair tousles by every human adult on the show.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: As the smallest monk, Omi is occasionally on the receiving end from other characters. Most notably, Chase Young gently pats or strokes Omi's head whenever he is trying to convince Omi to join the side of evil, much to Omi's confusion each time. Omi is much more receptive to Chase petting his head after Chase turns Omi into one of his cats. In the alternate timeline, the good version of Chase also has the habit of patting Omi's head, although the gesture feels much more unambiguously affectionate and genuine coming from him.

  • The word "cafuné" is Brazillian Portuguese for lovingly patting, stroking, and/or playing with another person's hair.
  • Pets, especially cats. Cats also have scent glands on their heads, which is why they headbutt other cats as well as people to mark them. This, combined with the trope, most probably influenced the image of cats as cuddly and affectionate.


Video Example(s):


Ra Headpats

The Egyptian god Ra gives headpats to the other gods waiting for him, after he arrives home from his long journey.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / AffectionateGestureToTheHead

Media sources: