Apparently, the heart (being the organ responsible for powering the circulation of blood around the body) is an extremely romantic thing. Hence, "hearts" are equated with positive emotions, such as love, kindness, and compassion. According to this logic, someone that lacks ability to sufficiently feel such emotions is "heartless," and someone that has recently experienced a romantic tragedy is "heart-broken."
When a Heart Symbol is used for this, it's traditionally pronounced "love," as in "I love New York" for "I ♥ NY," although recent convention has been to actually pronounce the symbol as "heart" — for example, the film I ♥ Huckabees. This in turn has led to the Internet meme of typing "I less-than-three X," in reference to the mathematical meaning of "<3".
In Animation and Graphic Novels, a cloud of hearts drawn floating near a character's head sometimes indicates a character falling in love and/or lust. Eyes popping out in the shape of hearts, oversized heartbeats, and the like are all some of The Oldest Ones in the Book.
The reason for this goes back to ancient days when people could do little more than guess at why people had so many different weird bits inside them, let alone which ones did what. Different cultures decided on different organs as being the seat of emotions and/or intelligence; Some went with the intestines (such as the Hebrews of the Old Testament), some went with the kidneys, some went with the liver, etc. The Ancient Greeks were among the ones who went with the heart, and such was the strength of their influence on Western civilization that many of our idioms and figures of speech still reflect the notion of the Heart being the cognitive organ, even though we've known it to be untrue for centuries.
It's possibly a Discredited Trope, as subversions, deconstructions and parodies seem more common than playing it straight these days.
- The commercial slogan for UPS: "WE ♥ LOGISTICS."
- Every other line during the steamy portions of Hentai manga will end with one (or more) of these.
- Ah! My Goddess played with it. Hild blows a ♠ kiss at Keiichi. Belldandy counters it with a ♥ kiss, sending the two symbols ricocheting all over the room until they're caught by their mutual owners. Good thing she did, since ♠ kisses are apparently destructive.
- Grell gets these when flirting over Sebastian in Black Butler. There's also episode 15 when Aleister does it while thinking of Ciel Disguised in Drag.
- In Durarara!!, the smoke from Celty's neck periodically formed a heart◊ while Shinra defended her and their recently upgraded relationship from his father's criticisms.
- In Daltanious when Judela winks at Earl, she's surrounded by hearts as her eyes close and turn Earl all red and blushing.
- Heart symbols emanating from Kitsuburami's Wingding Eyes in episode 5 of FLCL. This may be due to what she is looking at◊ (reflected in Canti's screen). Despite what it looks like, it's a giant hand in a trench coat. Really.
- Hachiko in NANA has them floating out of her whenever she gets a new love interest (she goes through a lot).
- Lucia from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch uses them as an attack after she finishes a song in the anime.
- In Naruto, when Rock Lee meets Sakura for the first time, he blows a physical heart symbol at her. She even manages to dodge it and it splats sadly on the pillar behind her.
- In Persona 4: The Animation when Naoto tells the group she was scared, Kanji gets these floating around him.
- Naturally, in a show starring a self-proclaimed warrior of love and justice, Sailor Moon has a lot of them.
- In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Itoshiki is once given a chocolate heart as present, but it's not very well-made and looks ugly, so the perfectionist Chiri gives him an anatomically correct chocolate heart instead, freaking everybody out.
- Copiously used in a completely unstraight way by Subaru when she reunites with Teana◊ in StrikerS Sound Stage X.
- In Tamagotchi, Himespetchi gets heart-shaped eyes whenever she is thinking about her crush, Mametchi - which happens a lot, by the way. Usually it's conveniently timed with her saying her distinctive catchphrase "Gigakyun!", an exclamation of her love.
- Empowered: When Clorofoamaster uses clorofoaming Emp as something like love, with Heart Symbols at the edges of his speech bubbles in Volume 3: Page 64.
- MAD: Multiple:
- The early parody "Starchie" got facetious with them:
"Don't be silly, Bottleneck!... Just because you see those hearts floating around her head it doesn't mean she's got a crush on me!... In cartoon language, those hearts could mean platonic friendship!"
- Another parodied the "I ♥ NY" bumper sticker with a sticker responding: "So did I until someone ♣'d me and stole my ♦s".
- The early parody "Starchie" got facetious with them:
- For a while, the Stepford Cuckoos from X-Men were unable to feel emotions because their hearts were made of diamond. That's not a metaphor, it was literally the case.
- Anchor Foal: The cover image of this "romantic cringe comedy" has a Heart Symbol-shaped balloon.
- In the Gunslinger Girl fanfic Bullets For My Love, the other handlers rib Jose over the H+heart+J graffiti on the wall of the Killing House, put there by his infatuated cyborg Henrietta.
- In Naruto fanart, the kanji symbol on Gaara's forehead (which means "love") is often replaced by a ♥.
- Psychedelic Epiphany Series: Psychedelic: In multiple chapters:
- From "Before Oblivious Now Grasping Objectives", Hearts and Hooves Day, as a Mythology Gag to the original show's "Hearts and Hooves Day" episode, a Fictional Holiday of effectively Valentine's Day.
- As it's a Romance story, the implication is this is the meaning of Hearts in the chapter called "Hearts Analyze Nebulous Destinies Pondering Attitudes Nextwave".
- In Badly Drawn Roy, the heart-pounding-out-of-the-chest variation occurs when Roy first sees Ruth, along with Wingding Eyes. She found it to be very sweet.
- BoBoiBoy: The Movie:
- In his admiration for the Tengkotak gang, hearts float around Adu Du as he looks upon their signal on his radar, as it indicates that they are coming to Earth and he can meet his idols.
- Adu Du sees Kiki Ta for the first time in a heart-adorned Crush Filter, followed by an Imagine Spot where hearts come off both of them as they run across a beach. He then falls on the floor with hearts in his eyes.
- Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: After Captain Underpants (while disguised as Mr. Krupp) flirts with Edith the Lunch Lady, she's left flustered as hearts pop up around her.
Edith: Ooh! (fans herself) Flirt Alert!
- In Interstella 5555, Daft Punk have a brief Creator Cameo, losing to the main characters in a music contest. One of the two members has LEDs on his helmet forming a broken heart symbol.
- In Turning Red, when Mei turns into a giant red panda in the bathroom, at Abby's request, using her lust for Robaire and mermen, little heart shaped poof clouds show up right after the main poof cloud dissipates.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit: While watching Eddie and his girlfriend, Dolores, make up, Roger not only has heart pupils, he also forms a heart-shape with his ears.
- Wreck-It Ralph:
- Hearts appear around Felix and Calhoun when they kiss, courtesy of long vines of Laffy Taffy.
- They also bloom in thin air around the couple when they share The Big Damn Kiss of victory at the end.
- I ♥ Huckabees. The director insists it's pronounced, "I Heart Huckabees."
- In Inspector Gadget (1999), Gadget's hat incorporates a scrolling marquee that normally displays such things as Miranda Rights. Heart symbols go sliding across it during an intimate moment.
- In The Mask, the living-cartoon title character has his heart-symbol pounding out of his chest when watching Cameron Diaz's character sing at a nightclub.
- A verbal example from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World where the characters literally say "heart" instead of "love" while discussing the band The Clash at Demonhead (who's lead singer is Scott's ex girlfriend).
Knives: "I heart them so much."
Scott: Yeah, I hearted them too..."
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Anyone who has physical possession of Davy Jones' heart can command him, but the sea goddess Calypso is able to wrest control when Davy Jones admits that his heart has always belonged to her.
- As illustrated by Paul Kidby, Twoflower's Agatean Tourist gear in the first two novels includes a hat proclaiming "I ♥ A-M".
- In Mrs Bradshaw's Guide to the Ankh-Morpork and Sto Plains Hygienic Railway, a sticker available from the town of Big Cabbage proclaims "I <cabbage symbol> Big Cabbage". (Stealth Pun: the inner part of a cabbage is called the heart.)
- The main plot point in The Wizard's Hairy Heart, a short tale and Book Within a Book in the Harry Potter universe: A twisted wizard seeks to remove all emotion from himself in order to become stronger, and so uses dark magic to physically extract his heart and store it in a container. It works better than he ever intended.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Apparently, a heart that was two sizes too small was responsible for The Grinch's lack of fondness for Christmas. The trope is played straight in the most literal sense possible.
- The Vita Nuova poem "Amore e 'l cor gentil" is all about how love and an open heart can only exist together, as judged by the wise man, legislated by Nature, and executed by Lord Love. For a heart to exist, Love must at least be hibernating within it so that it is ready to act when the heart encounters beauty.
- Altered Carbon. In "Force of Evil", Kovacs is being tortured in Virtual-Reality Interrogation, but thanks to his Envoy training is able to take control of the system. In order to stop his heart in the real world so the Torture Technicians will be forced to revive him to full consciousness, he tears out his heart and offers it to a hallucination of his deceased lover Quellcrist Falconer, saying his heart has always belonged to her.
- On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon says the commonly used heart shape is actually modeled on the buttocks, prompting Penny to remark quizzically that she spent junior high drawing butts on her notebooks.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Multiple:
- This exchange in "Helpless", when Angel tells Buffy how he fell in Love at First Sight with her.
Angel: It was a bright afternoon out in front of your school. You walked down the steps... and... and I loved you.
Angel: 'Cause I could see your heart. You held it before you for everyone to see. And I worried that it would be bruised or torn. And more than anything in my life I wanted to keep it safe... to warm it with my own.
Buffy: That's beautiful. [hugs Angel] Or taken literally, incredibly gross.
Angel: [grimacing] I was just thinking that, too.
- In a scene laden with Homoerotic Subtext, Faith entices Buffy out of a chemistry test for some vampire slaying by breathing on the window, then drawing a love heart with a stake through it.
- In a Valentine's Day Episode, Xander gives Cordelia a heart-shaped locket. Not to be outdone, Angelus gives fellow vampire Drusilla an actual heart that he found 'in a quaint little shopgirl".
- This exchange in "Helpless", when Angel tells Buffy how he fell in Love at First Sight with her.
- Cobra Kai: In season 3 episode 3, Sam visits Miguel in the hospital, and gives him a get-well card. While Sam acts like she's only interested in trying to be friends with Miguel, her choice of card is shown to be a smiling octopus holding a heart in its tentacles saying, "You Octopi My Thoughts," leading to Miguel remembering their first date at Golf N' Stuff in season 1, on which Sam won a stuffed octopus.
- Hannibal. Hannibal creates an anatomically-correct origami heart out of a human corpse and leaves it for Will to find.
Will: He left us... his broken heart.
- Happy Endings: Penny Hartz meets a guy named Douglas Hitler. She's initially weirded out, but he's such a great guy that she starts seeing him anyway. She starts imagining what might happen if they got married, and wonders if she could get used to the name "Penny Hitler." Her friend Alex suggests she could hyphenate her name. Penny responds, "Penny Hartz-Hitler. Yeah, that's a keeper."
- Legion: In "Chapter 22", Charles Xavier sketches a heart-shaped tomato as a small gift for Gabrielle to illustrate his romantic feelings for her.
- On the lam in his bathrobe, Hurley buys an "I ♥ Shih-Tzus" shirt in the Lost episode "The Lie". The cashier is puzzled. "I like shih-tzus," Hurley explains. "It looks like you heart them," the cashier answers.
- Mimpi Metropolitan: When Alan finally decides to make a love confession to Pipin, he decorates the confession spot with flowers formed into a heart shape. Pipin doesn't get the hint (or possibly doesn't even realize the flowers are making a shape), has the spot swept, and the confession fails before it even starts. Alan tries again later, this time with candles formed into a heart shape. It doesn't work any better.
- Phoenix. In the first episode, Sergeant Peter Faithful is mocked by his fellow detectives for the heart-shaped balloons his wife sent to him. Inspector Brennan, who is in the midst of a divorce, pops one of the balloons in a fit of anger and has to apologise the next day.
- In Power Rangers Ninja Storm, the Big Bad's TV show in one episode (whoever watches gets brainwashed) was a sitcom called "I Love Lothor," with a heart for the logo... as in the actual, not-very-romantic-looking organ.
- In the Pushing Daisies episode "Corpsicle", a boy who was waiting on a heart transplant (because he initially had no heart) was rather mean. A played straight example.
- Lampshaded on Red Dwarf with the song Tongue-Tied.
When I saw you for the first time (first time)
My knees began to quiver (quiver)
And I got a funny feeling (feeling)
In my kidneys and my liver (digestive system baby)
My hands they started shaking (shaking)
My heart began a-thumping (boom boom boom)
My breakfast left my body (huey huey huey)
- Inversion: when Moby was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 2002, he was embroiled in a feud with Eminem. He appeared in a sketch and wore a T-shirt that read "I heart eminem" given to him by a fan.
- In the Supernatural episode "Hunteri Heroici", taking the trope into the realm of Bloody Hilarious Body Horror, a Reality Warper is causing Cartoon Physics to take hold in the real world. The first sign of this is a man who goes to meet his mistressnote and finds his valentine-shaped heart beating so aggressively that it explodes out of his chest, killing him.
- WandaVision: Before he died in Avengers: Infinity War, Vision bought property in Westview that he intended for himself and Wanda to live in. On the property deed, he drew a heart over the lot where the house would be built, with a simple message: "To grow old in - V.". It is seeing this that prompts Wanda to break down and in an outburst of grief, transform Westview into one giant sitcom reality.
- Averted (or possibly subverted) on The Wire with the gangster "No-Heart" Anthony: he got his nickname not from a reputation for cruelty, but because he once tried to escape arrest by shooting himself in the chest.
- Countless Boy Band songs like "I'll Never Break Your Heart," "Quit Playing Games With My Heart" and "Deep In My Heart."
- Parodied and deconstructed in Tom Lehrer's "The Masochism Tango", on the album An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. "My heart is in my hand... yeeech!" (hence acknowledging that the heart is a rather sticky and ugly thing, hence isn't the best symbol for romantic love).
- Most Silly Love Songs mention the heart in their lyrics.
- "U Stink But I ♥ U", an Anti-Love Song by Mucky Pup which was originally credited to Billy And The Boingers, from Billy And The Boingers: Bootleg.
- The song "Hey Soul Sister" by Train, where the singer is in love with a woman.
I'm so obsessed, my heart is bound to beat right out my untrimmed chest
- "I ❤ Metal Buildings" in the 2018 soundtrack album of True Stories.
- Older translations of The Bible use not only the heart, but the kidneys as a metaphor for centers of human thought and emotion. If you're not used to it, it can feel mildly sacrilegious to read passages where the original word for "affection" (NIV) is "bowels" (KJV).
- A Christian comedian Mark Lowry once commented on this, resulting in "Oh, baby, you MOOOVE me! You move my bowels!" He then proceeds to sing exerpts from several songs, replacing "heart" with "bowels."
- This occurs in many actual old hymns as well, resulting in Have a Gay Old Time. A particularly glaring offender remarks of God, "To me, to all, Thy bowels move."
- In a Doonesbury strip, Mr. Butts, the spokescigarette for the tobacco lobby, has little hearts appear around him as he deceitfully claims he loves children. A fellow lobbyist calls this "the heart thingy."
- The Far Side:
- A Godzilla-related comic has "I 8 NY".
- Another Far Side comic features a surgeon in love. But, being a surgeon, instead of a heart symbol it is represented by an anatomically correct heart.
- Played with in one strip: Jason makes heart-shaped placemats for his parents' Valentines Day dinner, but (being the person he is) makes them anatomically correct.
"The left ventricles are a little off..."
- Lampshaded in another strip as a Medium Awareness gag: Jason has written a mushy Valentine's card for his mom (so she'll buy him a bigger hard drive), but accidentally given it to Eileen. He's telling himself there's a chance she hasn't seen it or didn't believe it was for her, when he runs into her.
Jason: ...There's a chance that those things above her head are just moths.
- Another strip discusses the trope, with Jason wondering why hearts are the universal symbol of love and not brains, since the heart is just a pump and the brain is actually responsible for someone falling in love. His mom snarks that if Jason's dad had tried to woo her with a brain-shaped box of candy, then Jason probably wouldn't exist.
- Played with in one strip: Jason makes heart-shaped placemats for his parents' Valentines Day dinner, but (being the person he is) makes them anatomically correct.
- The title character of Liō once applied a defibrillator to one of these after being turned down for a date.
- In Sherman's Lagoon, when Hawthorne hermit crab arranged a meeting between Sherman's shark human enemy, Captain Quigly and another woman. Sherman thinks it's working because he can see the "cartoony love hearts". Hawthorne corrects him by telling him that they're flies.
- Used as a visual gag in Zits. Jeremy's parents have a bumper sticker reading "We ♥ Our Son," while a dour Jeremy has a sticker on his bag reading "I [Stomach] My Parents."
- Parodied by Colt Cabana. He has a T-shirt that has a Star of David in between the words "I" and "Colt." CM Punk has even been photographed wearing it.
- For Madison Eagles' match with Daizee Haze at CHIKARA Chaos in the Sea of Lost Souls, she wore a belt that on the back read "I ♥ Me."
- Shawn Michaels usually has one on his gear with a crack down the middle, because he's the heartbreak kid.
- Danny Demanto typically has these adorning his tights. It goes with his heartless perfection moonsault you see.
- Daizee Haze, sometimes has these patterned into her gear, because she's a hippie. Oh, and because if you don't show her love she'll heart punch you.
- 2015 LLF rookie of the year Baby Love has a mask two heart symbol shaped lenses.
- In "Follow Your Heart" from Urinetown, the entire song has to do about following your heart more or less metaphorically, but one of Bobby's verses walks the line between romance and squick.
Bobby: Someday I'll meet someone
Whose heart joines with mine
Aortas and arteries all intertwined
They'll beat so much strongerThan they could apart
Eight chambers of muscle to hustle
The love in our heart
- The duet "My Heart" in P.D.Q. Bach's Oedipus Tex uses a series of increasingly awful animal metaphors for the heart.
- In Cave Story, near the end of the game, one of the Mimigas mentions the great hero Arthur and all of them suddenly have hearts above their heads. The hearts can also be grabbed for HP recovery.
- Cute Knight Kingdom: After hunting with Helena in the eastern town, the protagonist may remark on some Sweetie Graffiti, that uses this trope:
Oh, look, someone carved a heart and some names into a tree...
- Averted in Disco Elysium, where the in-universe symbol of love is lungs.
- Disgaea uses them for the max level that Dark Assembly members can like you... and just to show how wicked the Netherworld is.
Great for chopping heads off♥— "Headhunter" axe description
- Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden: In multiple ways:
- The Doctor's quests, who is in love with Irene, have a Heart Symbol for them.
- The dialogue after delivering 100 Heart organs:
Organa: The Heart makes a cute fruit. If I gave it as a Valentine's present...that person would be shocked! Hehehe.
- Fresh Minty Adventure: A happy creature emits Heart Symbols.
- Going Under: When Jacqueline eats a Peach and gets the ability to charm the first enemy that hits her, she emits Emoticons with Wingding Eyes of Heart Symbols.
- Hades: Aphrodite is the goddess of love. Fittingly, her boons and corresponding status effect "Charm" are marked with a pink heart.
- Island Saver: Bankimals that grow particularly fond of you will emanate little pink hearts as they run up to you.
- Kingdom Hearts: the "Heartless" are composed of the darker and more instinctual emotions, and the "Nobodies" are almost Straw Vulcan-type beings with only logic and no feelings. A played-straight example, since the heart is still equated with the "warm and fuzzy" emotions.
- Kingdom of Loathing offers (real-world, not in-game) bumper stickers with "I ♣ Seals" on them, because of the Seal Clubber class.
- When characters in The Sims fall in love, they emit hearts to indicate this.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The game uses this on occasion as a source of visual humor due to hearts being the series' long-standing recovery items:
- If Link talks to the fangirls outside the clawshot game in Castle Town after winning at least once, they will squeal in excitement and produce a cluster of cartoon hearts, which will fall to the ground as health pickups.
- The reunion of the yeti couple after a quick bout of possession results in a huge mass of hearts shooting out of their loving embrace, the largest being a health-boosting Heart Container.
- Luxaren Allure: A Heart Symbol connected to love, occurs with The True Love Chocolate, stored in a heart-shaped box and:
Said to be made by the goddess of Love, this delicacy restores all HP and MP to the party, out of battle.
- In Nuts & Milk, Yogurt and Milk would hold a heart symbol between them at the end of every level. In the Bonus Stages, the heart would get bigger and a heart-shaped field of flowers would appear.
- The animation for the infatuation status and the Attract move in the Pokémon games is a small floating pink heart.
- The love-symbolizing Pokemon Luvdisc is basically a living Heart Symbol with a face.
- Rhythm Heaven:
- Love Lab is about scientists studying love, and their beakers create hearts when shaken.
- During the three newspaper pose in Ringside, the Reporter has five hearts above her head, implying that she has a crush on the Wrestler. However, it's only on screen for one second, and it's masked by camera flashes, making it a Freeze-Frame Bonus.
- River City Girls: The Love Letter Accessory has a Heart Symbol on it.
- Typing "love" into Scribblenauts makes a realistic human heart appear. Said heart does nothing.
- Shantae: Risky's Revenge: Mermaids can do a kiss as an attack, but instead of the projectile being just a variant on their bubble shot, travelling horizontally towards Shantae, it instead creates a cloud of Heart Symbols above the mermaid, to discourage jumping over them, Stationary Enemy they are.
- Sunset Overdrive: The second option for Moto Pants says Natural Born Lover with three Heart Symbols below it.
- Third Wheel Player: Heart Symbols are used to gradate the affection meter of this Dating Sim.
- Averted in Touhou Project, where Hecatia's "Welcome ♥ Hell" T-shirt is supposed to read "Welcome to Hell".
- Transistor: The Charm-inflicting Switch()'s icon is pink, with a big pink Heart Symbol in the center with smaller ones around it.
- I Love You, Colonel Sanders!: The Heart Symbols on the Start Screen's display of the title, in a Dating Simulator Affectionate Parody, that has the word "Love" in the title.
- Subverted in Katawa Shoujo; the game logo has a bandaged heart, but while it is a Dating Sim with five disabled love interests, it also represents the protagonist's heart condition.
- Murder by Numbers (2020): When Tully flirts with Honor after the screwdriver's discovered in Case 1, red Heart Symbols come out of his mouth:
Tully: I'll lend you a tool any time you like.
- Kurzgesagt: In "How Evolution Works", using heart symbols floating away from animals' heads to represent love / sex, and new smaller animals appearing. For example:
- Parodied in this episode of Teen Girl Squad, a Show Within a Show of Homestar Runner. When So and So gets some floating heart symbols from feeling a crush, one of the hearts gets hit by an arrow and screams.
"Whattaya mean I'm less than B?"
- From Vamlumtimes Day!
- In There she is!!, Doki the rabbit's floating hearts, generated by her love for Nabi, are apparently quite physical and can bury people under them, mainly Nabi.
- The Cyantian Chronicles: Seen in Campus Safari when Cilke first met Chrome. They were immediately dubbed "Floaty Love Hearts" by a fan of the comic.
- Played with and lampshaded in Digger: the hyena tribe view the liver, not the heart, as the most important organ and the source of a person's feelings.
Ed: If Mousie is ever starving, Mousie will know. Prey's liver is what hunter craves first. Kill prey, eat liver, get strong. Full of feelings. Life. Heart just muscle.
Digger: But you'd die without your heart!
Ed: Not be getting far without liver, either.
- El Goonish Shive: In the 2003-04-23 comic, used in the last panel with Say It with Hearts, with those hearts accompanying someone saying:
God, I love that woman...
- Friendly Hostility: Played with in this comic, where a character not only notices the heart but pops it, too. Nice metaphor.
- Homestuck: Hearts are used to represent flushed romance — that is, conventional human romance based on physical attraction and positive feelings. Trolls experience three additional forms of romantic attraction, which are represented using the other three suits of cards — spades for pitch romance (physical attraction and negative feelings, or "romantic hate"), diamonds for pale romance (non-sexual soulmates and emotional support), and clubs for ashen romance (a three-person affair where one individual mediates between two feuding others). The eye symbol variant appears from time to time — Vriska gets ♥'s in all 8 of her pupils after watching Nicolas Cage in Con Air, while Karkat gets ♠'s in his eyes after falling in hate with John. The emoticon versions are used more often: <3 for flushed, <3< for pitch, <> for pale, c8< for ashen.
- Myth Adventures: The Phil Foglio comic adaptation of the books features signs saying "I ♥ NY"; "I ♣ Seals"; "I ♠ Cats" and "I ♦ ..." and the end of that sign is covered. Years later, Foglio was asked how the last sign ended, and replied "It was cleverly blocked for a reason."
- The Order of the Stick: Multiple:
- A single red heart for Elan and Haley's first kiss, in "Your Ship Has Come In".
- When Kazumi and Daigo share their wedding kiss in strip #501, they each get a Heart Symbol. Like everything else from Azure City, the hearts are blue.
- Normal pink hearts accompany Belkar's seduction of a female bard in #611.
- Bay got one in this strip of Sailor Sun. Slightly tweaked at first just because she noticed it, it was played with even more when she was able to physically grab it. Then, when Bay tried to shoo that embodied visual metaphor for her own crush out a window, it turned out to have feelings of its own.
- Sandra and Woo: Multiple:
- Strange School: Multiple:
- A Valentine's Day card made by Jimmy to Cindy in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius included a holographic realistic heart.
- In the Valentine's Day episode of All Grown Up!, Phil complains that hearts aren't even really shaped like that.
- In an episode of The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, Chu-Chu the dog has hearts coming out of his eyes for a magician's poodle assistant Fifi.
- Beavis And Butthead radiate hearts in the presence of Cool Guy Todd.
- Played annoyingly straight in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, "heart" refers to warm and fuzzy feelings and is also a (rather lame or rather awesome) superpower.
- Played with in a Cow and Chicken episode, where the hearts that pop around the characters' heads are anatomically correct.
- Used as a visual gag in The Critic. On an especially lonely Valentines Day, Jay notices a newspaper with the headline "New York to New York: I ♥ You!" with a smaller blurb underneath reading "Mayor Has ♥ Attack."
- Danny Phantom:
- Used constantly on The Fairly OddParents! whenever one character is swooning over another.
- Used in Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Jez is actually swooning over Lucius for once.
- Deconstructed in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack episode "Love Bugs". Flapjack meets a girl selling seashells and discovers that little hearts pop out of his head whenever he thinks of her. Peppermint Larry starts harvesting them and selling them to his customers as "sweethearts". Then it turns out that the hearts are actually heart-shaped parasites called "bloodgnats", which Flapjack got from the seashell the girl gave him.
- Molly of Denali: A familial example in "Art From the Heart." Randall has drawn a heart for Uncle Jack and Aunt Merna, but can't think of what to put inside it.
- The Simpsons:
- Parodied on season 11 episode "Saddlesore Galactica": Moe meets a beautiful woman at a horse racing track, mutters "You're BEAUTIFUL," and his heart starts beating out of his chest like in the older, wackier Golden Age of Animation cartoons (particularly the Looney Tunes and MGM cartoons directed by Tex Avery). When he notices this, he immediately says "Excuse me, this is a serious heart condition, I gotta go!" Also counts as something of a PG-rated Something Else Also Rises.
- A Valentine's Day Episode also Deconstructed this by having the school cafeteria serve beef hearts for lunch on Valentine's Day. Needless to say, this did not make things more romantic.
- Spongebob Squarepants:
- In "F.U.N.", when Spongebob is chasing Plankton, who had just run off with a Krabby Patty, Spongebob chases after Plankton who is using a propeller to fly away. Spongebob takes a policeman's baton and spins it around, flying into the air. The cop's reaction is to swoon over Spongebob, complete with heart bubbles.
- Lampshaded when Spongebob gives Squidward a shirt with "I ♥ U" woven into it, Squids reads it as "I Heart You."
- At the end of the Transformers episode "The Girl Who Loved Powerglide", in a bit of Interspecies Romance Powerglide reveals an LED heart, showing he does indeed have compassion. This made it into a toy of him... twenty odd years after the episode aired.
- Valentine's Day typically plays this trope straight—thankfully, for those who might be a little more cynical when it comes to love/romance/Valentine's Day (or at least just sticklers for scientific/anatomy-accuracy), there are chocolatiers out there that make and sell anatomically-correct chocolate hearts (e.g. here).
- ThinkGeek.com offers heart themed items of geeky romance, including a pair of T-shirts with a bar of Zelda-esque hearts that light up when their wearers are near, and an anatomically correct gummy heart. It also features items with the "less than three" (<3) netspeak variant.
- The ancient Egyptians took this trope one step further: they believed the heart was not only the center of the soul, and thus the "seat of emotions and will", but also the center of the nervous system.
- The heart has long been thought of as the seat of the emotions, while the brain was regarded as little more than "head stuffing". This thinking goes back to the ancient Egyptians, who preserved the heart of the dead but threw out the brain. It wasn't until the 6th century BCE that the idea of the brain as seat of intelligence was even forwarded, and Aristotle believed that the brain served to cool the blood (humans being superior to animals because, since our blood-coolers were larger, we were less hot-bloodedly irrational). Head wounds bleed profusely, so that being a good way to kill people was no contradiction.
- The heart being the seat of the emotions is cultural. Some cultures use the kidneys, some the liver, and, yes, some use the bowels. The only reason we went with the heart is because the Ancient Greeks did. See also the Biblical examples in Literature above.
- The heart does influence the nervous system more than the brain in formative years, it can take as long as seven years for a truly rational (and calorie hogging) brain to develop while the heart takes much less time to get there. Testable proof that the brain was the main thought center caused many people to disregard the heart's influence on behavior for centuries, showing fields in science often regress a little before truly moving forward as we now know all emotions have measurable effects on the heart's electrical field. More than a blood pump that produces a lot of electricity, the heart is also a hormonal gland that produces its own neurotransmitters, dopamine, epinephrin, norepinephrin, the catechlomines.
- Since heart transplants became viable, some recipients have reported changes in their personalities, tastes and desires that seem to mirror the donor's lifestyle. Comparing reported changes to the lives and preferences of the heart donors reveals no correlation.
- Starting with the ancient Greeks, the liver was claimed to control human passion. Later, medieval Europeans developed the idea that "humor," — blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile — controlled health and temperament, and that a lack of yellow bile (anger, courage, spirit) would make the liver pale as a side effect. This is the origin of the insult "Lily Livered" since a pale or white liver was a weak one thus without emotion or courage. Humors are the justification behind blood-letting, as well.
- The heart being responsible for delivery of oxygen to the body's active tissues, disorders that impair its efficiency can have an indirect, but genuine effect on a person's moods, making them feel more tired and sluggish. Not a state of mind normally associated with intense romantic desire.
- A possible explanation for this may be the increase in heartbeat when in the presence of someone you have a crush on, or maybe the fact that, for a good part of history, the heart was known as the "main life organ". ❤
- The idea that the heart is the seat of emotions is often attributed to the Greek philosopher Empedocles, though he may not have been the first to suggest it.
- Note that not all cultures equated love with the heart. The people of Elizabethan England, for instance, believed that the passions were seated in the liver, and the residents of Ancient Israel thought the bowels held such emotions (hence the term, a "gut feeling").
- Parodied with Gallagher's "I ♣ My Wife."
- And real-life bumper sticker "I ♠ My Pets."
- And T-shirts saying "I ♣ Seals".
- And "I (Godzilla) Tokyo."
- And (back when he was alive) Apple fanboys and fangirls would carry signs with "I (Apple symbol) Steve Jobs" to Mac World keynote addresses.
- There's a particularly offensive shirt online that says "I [Plane] NY".
- The writer of Wondermark created one that says "I [Squiggle/Knot] Unparsable Symbols".
- Popular fandom T-shirt "I ♥ ♥ DW"
- Or another fandom t-shirt which is also "I ♥ ♥ DW"
- The seed of the extinct silphium is believed by some to be the origin of the symbol, namely due to its contraceptive properties.
- The Discworld Emporium offers a Fun T-Shirt which declares "[Eyeball] [realistic heart] Igorth".
- It remains to clear up why the heart ♥ does not look especially heart-shaped. As always, watchers of the German Mouse know it all. <tl;dr> version: The "heart" is a leaf. Long version.
- The company Locum attempted to incorporate the heart symbol into their logo, replacing the O in their name with the heart, and it caused a few laughs because it made their company name sound like they love...something else.
- Anthropologist Desmond Morris, in his book Manwatching, speculated that the mystery of the heart symbol looking nothing like an actual heart, and its association with romance, has to do with a part of the body a long way away from the heart. He demonstrated that the human buttocks mimic the heart symbol, and pointed out that humans are hardwired to look for a nicely formed bottom as an indicator that a potential mate is both desirable and healthy. This behavior, Morris pointed out, is also prevalent in higher primates such as apes and monkeys.
- A mural on a block wall near the Watts Towers, in South Central Los Angeles, declares love for Watts with an anatomically correct heart.