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Bandage Wince

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Ah! Why couldn't one of my servants be an aspirin bottle?

"A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds."

Maybe a soldier has fought his way through an entire enemy platoon and endured bullet wounds without complaint. Maybe Prince Charming has hacked through tangled thorns to free sleeping beauty all day without a complaint. Maybe an Adventure Archaeologist has made his way through a Booby trap and snake and spider-infested Pharaoh's tomb in a relaxed way, while constantly making wisecracks. It doesn't matter, because when the action is over and his wounds must be treated, he will wince the instant a bandage or cotton swab soaked in antiseptic touches his skin.

Could be seen as Truth in Television, since the body becomes more sensitive to pain once the adrenaline rush (that would often accompany a Hollywood-style action situation) dries up. Shallow wounds also tend to hurt more than deep ones, because skin has more pain sensors than the tissue below it and injuries near the skin are best dealt with by jerking away (to avoid further damage) while with deeper wounds it might make things worse (since there's most likely something stuck in the flesh).

Usually happens during an After-Action Patch-Up. Often a Minor Injury Overreaction. A Sister Trope to Afraid of Needles.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Rurouni Kenshin has Sanosuke beaten up, (and he gets beaten up pretty often,) but one episode has him wincing in pain when his wounds and being washed and cleansed.
  • Rather disturbingly averted in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, where a mind-controlled Bakura insists that he's fine by poking at the bloodstained bandage on his arm to show that it doesn't hurt. Once his mind is fully released, however...
  • Durarara!! subverts this with Heiwajima Shizuo. While he already was established at having such superhuman physical capabilities that almost nothing could actually endanger his life, the end to episode 22 makes it seem as though he actually has been seriously injured, by way of multiple gunshots. However, we find that in episode 23, he has walked all the way to Shinra's apartment unaided with little difficulty; he then claims that at first, he hadn't even noticed he'd been shot until he saw the blood, merely thinking he slipped and fell in the rain. The specific trope's subversion comes into play as Shinra is removing the bullets from his wounds and bandaging them up: he shows no indication of being affected by it at all, and in fact berates Shinra while he's operating on him, demanding that he hurry it up so he can go and get his revenge. That's just how he is...

    Comic Books 
  • In one issue of Daredevil the titular hero does this when Karen Page tries to dab him with an iodine-soaked cotton ball:
    Karen: Don't be such a baby, it's just iodine!
    Daredevil: Try it with hyper-senses.

    Fan Works 
  • In Chapter 5 of I've Got Your Back when Pearl is tending to a gash on Marina's chest, the latter cries out in agony when Pearl disinfects the wound with rubbing alcohol, which fills Pearl with guilt for putting her through any more pain than what she's already going through.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Subverted in The Fifth Element: Ruby Rhod is nothing approaching macho, but definitely winces when his wound is treated, and shrieks "What's the matter with you?! That hurts!"
  • El Gringo has the Man wincing as Anna bandages his arm, after suffering a gunshot from a shootout.
  • Subverted in Hellboy II: The Golden Army when Liz treats the title character for a scratch on his cheek. He winces before she starts dabbing at it with cotton, at which point she tells him she hasn't started yet.
  • Marion gets frustrated trying to treat Indy's wounds in Raiders of the Lost Ark thanks to this. This is after the poor guy got the crap beat out of him by a Giant Mook, shot in the shoulder, beat up again by a different mook including being punched in said shoulder repeatedly, dragged behind a truck, and then had Marion inadvertently hit him in the chin with a mirror. Eventually Marion demands, "Well, dammit, Indy, where doesn't it hurt?!" which lead to them kissing...and Indy passing out from exhaustion.
  • Averted when Dalton goes to the ER to get his wounds treated in Road House (1989). After all, "pain don't hurt".
  • Kyle Reese in The Terminator winces when Sarah binds up his gunshot wound.
  • Police Academy 3: Back in Training. Commandant Mauser is blindfolded with tape for a taste test. He orders his brainless underling to tear it off quickly to avert this trope, and ends up losing his eyebrows in the process.
  • The 13th Warrior. Ahmad is brought water by a Viking woman who proceeds to inspect a wound on his brow while he drinks, and on hearing his yelp, tells him he's sounding like a woman, so he quips, "Do that again, and you'll make it."
  • In Julia X, Julia screams more when Jessica is applying disinfectant to the burn caused by her branding than she did when The Stranger was branding her.

  • Subverted in InCryptid. Dominic winces before anybody touches his injury because it's worse than he thought. When the injury is actually touched, there's no wincing because of natural painkiller/anasthetic.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, a lot of characters tend to wince when herbs are applied - even if moments ago they claimed they're fine and don't need any.
  • Isaac Asimov's Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter: Lucky winces as Bigman, his sidekick, applies cold water to a ''bruise'í after his adventures in a zero-gravity duel.
  • During The Color of Distance Unkatonen and Anito are unmoved to see a tinka hurt by a predator and badly injured after. When their human companion insists on rescuing the tinka, bringing it along, and stitching its wounds they're horrified and think she's torturing it. Tendu medicine is very different.
  • In the Temeraire series; the tendency of the titular dragon to yelp, flinch, and whine when doctors remove musket rounds that he hardly noticed going in due to his size borders on a Running Gag.
  • While not seen, it's heavily implied it happens in Death Masks to Harry Dresden in an After Action Patch Up, courtesy of a nurse who's rightfully annoyed with him at the time:
    I hear that they make disinfectants that don't hurt these days. But Charity used iodine.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Family Matters: Eddie comes to Aunt Rachel's restaurant bruised and bloodied after being beaten on by a gang. Though unfazed by his wounds, he replies, "That stuff stings!"
  • The X-Files: Mulder and Scully get a scene like this in season 8's episode "Essence" .After trying to take on a Super Soldier and escaping with their lives, Mulder and Doggett relay the story to Scully while she tends to a gash above Mulder's eye. Mulder winces at the antiseptic and bats her hands away as she tries to clean the wound. Mulder teases her and tells her it's a good thing she gave up a career in medicine, since she has "manos de piedra" (hands of stone). Not impressed, Scully swipes at his nose with a peroxide-soaked cotton ball. It's a refreshingly adorable scene for a season filled with drama. The scene is made slightly awkward by the face that Doggett is sitting in the background being ignored while Mulder and Scully are...being Mulder and Scully.
  • Subverted in Rome. In Testudo et Lepus, Marc Antony is being tended to after battle. He continues carrying on a conversation and grows irritated with how long the stitches are taking.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • In a reversal, Claire Temple does one of these when Matt is treating her injuries after she is kidnapped by the Russians.
    • Matt himself does it a few times, like when a wound he sustained during his hallway fight reopens the next day while he's tailing James Wesley.
  • Hec Ramsey: In "The Century Turns", pharmacist Nora bandages Hec up after he's been shot. When Hec winces as she cleans the wound, Nora gives a look of disgust and then mutters that the police go out risking their lives but the idea of carrying some bandages and hydrogen peroxide is alien to them. Hec thinks this is a good idea, and asks her to assemble so kits for the constables to carry.
  • Death in Paradise: In "A Stormy Occurrence", DI Poole tries to step out into a hurricane and gets hit in the head by a piece of debris. He winces when Camille cleans the cut on his head, and gets no sympathy from her.

    Video Games 
  • Early in his game, Willy Beamish cuts his finger and needs to put iodine on it before using a bandage (neglecting the iodine eventually results in a game over); he cries even harder than he did when he initially got cut.
    "Owww! I'm in agony! Man, does this stuff hurt!"
  • Zig-Zagged with healing items in Radiant Historia. The description for healing balm states that it "Slightly stings when applied". Bandages "[don't] sting when applied". A first-aid kit "Stings like crazy when applied".

    Web Video 
  • In The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Mr Rochester winces with pain when Jane starts removing pieces of glass from his wound and also when she cleans it with antiseptic. He was bleeding quite severely, but insisted that it's merely nothing. He blames the injury on having a nightmare and injuring himself with a broken vase, but there was more hustle.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Gargoyles episode "The Journey", Goliath does this when Elisa bandages his wing. And this is the guy who didn't flinch when he grasped a sword with his bare hands and cut himself.
  • Happens in the South Park episode "The Jeffersons" when Kyle applies alcohol to Blanket's hurt knee.
  • Happens to Batman in the Superman: The Animated Series crossover episode World's Finest as he's having his wounds dressed by Lois Lane. As Lois just found out that he's actually Bruce Wayne, whom she was kinda dating at the time, she is making sure he winces. Watch!
    Lois: "Let me get some Iodine for that cut. Burning, stinging, Iodine!"

    Real Life 
  • Can be averted in real life, but because of The Coconut Effect people associate the effectiveness of disinfectants and other methods of wound cleaning with the pain they cause. Formulations that are painless do not sell well even if they are equally effective, as people donít get the sensation which makes them feel like itís working.