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Distracted by the Luxury

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She won't see her family again, but just look at this ring!

"You asshole! What were you doing with my sister in THAT HOT TUB? [...] Oh, a diamond! So you do love me! [...] I don't even know what I was mad at you about! Do you want a blowjob?"
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The stereotype of women really liking expensive luxuries, to the point where supposedly they can forget any problems, or do any favors, as long as they get some pretty things to admire. Can be true for some, but not all.

The most common luxury is jewelry, followed by fur coats, fancy dresses (don't need to be pimped out), and then other various things. Whatever the luxury, this trope is using it as a way to try to distract or please the lady, or to try to get her to give you something in return.

In some horror stories, the luxury will be cursed somehow, and may even overlap with Death by Materialism.

Often subverted where a rich guy tries to buy his wife/girlfriend these to distract her from a problem, but it clearly doesn't work. Another variation is a situation where he buys her something luxurious just to be nice, and she assumes he's trying to buy his way out of trouble.

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A Gold Digger will actively seek out this trope.

The closest male equivalent is likely Distracted by the Sexy (should be noted one of the uses for this trope is getting the woman to grant sexual favors). Compare Retail Therapy and Ms. Red Ink. Usually not connected to Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Parodies of the DeBeers ad campaign have it turn out to be this.
  • Many commercials for jewelry stores play to this stereotype — your wife loves jewelry, and you have to buy it in order for her to love you.
    "A man proclaims love for his woman loudly, bravely and in one of the most romantic spots in the world. This generally irks her, and so he gives her a diamond and she's okay with him again. Because passionate heartfelt sentiment doesn't hold a candle to cold, hard ice."
  • A commercial for Radio Shack opens with a female customer crying. The male clerk hands her a cell phone case covered in rhinestones, and she immediately stops. "... Diamonds?"

    Anime & Manga 
  • When Marie Antoinette is about to leave home in The Rose of Versailles, her mother gives her a ring as a memento (just in the anime). Marie's expression for a moment certainly fits this trope. Heck, being told she has to give up the ring causes her to almost run away.
  • There's a side story in Fullmetal Alchemist in which Ed presents his mechanic Winry with a gift of some earrings. It distracts her from raging at him about having broken his automail again.
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    Comedy 
  • Ron White has a line basically subverting this trope: "Diamonds — that'll shut her up. For about two minutes."

    Comic Books 
  • Played for Drama in The Boys. The G-Men were all taken in as children by the rich Professor Godolkin, who gave them everything they ever wanted at the cost of serving as Sex Slaves for him, turning them into hedonistic Psychopathic Manchildren with Undying Loyalty willing to do anything to protect their way of life.
  • When Golden Eyes, the heroine of the World War I serial "Golden Eyes" and Her Hero "Bill", is captured by the nefarious German officer Hugo Von Schwatzenburg he tries to invoke this by plying her with looted French gowns, jewelry, and champagne. He's convinced that the finery will make her fall madly in love with him and make her forget she's an unregistered prisoner of war completely at his mercy.
    "Captain Hugo had unearthed a bit of his loot that he had dreamed of getting back to Germany if the war was kind. The big chest gave up its treasure of silk and lace, the dainty cob webs that had clothed a French girl in the long-ago peace times, her jewels. her fans and pretty trinkets, the little high-stilted slippers of this age, the gossamer stockings that matched, all eagerly offered to bribe this golden-girl Mars had dropped into the monotony of trench and man life."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the rich man wish in the first Bedazzled (1967), Stanley buys Margaret a mink coat to make her like him. She enjoys how it feels but then takes it off to run around with other guys.
  • In a rare male version, in Bugsy Bugsy Siegel surprises a pantless man with his girlfriend, and socks him. The man turns out to be her brother and she was mending a hole in his pocket. Bugsy offers him a new Cadillac with whitewalls as an apology. He accepts, and the girlfriend disgustedly says to her brother "Don't sell yourself so cheap".
  • In Cover Girl, Noel tempts Rusty with his huge Broadway theater and lets her try out dancing on the stage alone.
  • Lili in Legend (1985) can be distracted from mortal peril by a huge, glittery, diamond-studded necklace.
  • In Marie Antoinette (2006), the young queen distracts herself from her unhappy marriage with mountains of pastry. And shoes.
  • Almost works in Moulin Rouge!. Satine doesn't love the Duke, but when he gives her a magnificent diamond necklace, it obviously takes her breath away.
  • In Singin' in the Rain's "Broadway Melody" sequence, Cyd Charisse's character regularly flirts with the hapless lead male, only to be swayed back to her thug boyfriend by some shiny piece of jewelry he dangles in front of her.
  • Cher Horowitz in Clueless has a fight with one of her friends and is having a self-pitying internal monologue, but when passing a shoe display interrupts herself. "Ooh! I wonder if they have them in my size?" She then goes on a bout of Retail Therapy. This ends up as a subversion, though, as when she's done shopping she's still sad.

    Literature 
  • In From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Claudia is so distracted by the opportunity to bathe in Mrs. Frankweiler's luxurious sunken black marble tub that she almost forgets why they came there (giving her brother Jamie an opportunity to spill the beans).
  • I Capture the Castle. Whenever Rose Mortmain has second thoughts about her upcoming marriage, she cheers herself up by going into her luxurious private bath and counting her peach-colored towels.
  • Gender Inverted with Bertie of Jeeves and Wooster. When his Aunt Agatha is about to force him to marry a prissy girl he doesn't love, there's only one thing that can cheer him up... a scarlet cummerbund.
  • There's no courting involved, but in Galaxy of Fear: The Doomsday Ship the Arrandas spend a while on a nice cruise ship. Zak accuses his sister of this because she tries out the pool. She arranges for him to get a look at the ship's computer, and he promptly becomes distracted himself.
  • The Golden Demon: Since this book has an Aesop of All That Glitters, this trope features prominently and screws over anyone involved with it.
    • The Morally Bankrupt Banker Tadatsugu Tomiyama shows up at a new year celebration flashing an expensive ring, instantly drawing everyone's attention and disrupting the game.
    • Miya Shigisawa returns the affection of her fiancé Kan'ichi Hazama, but her secret wish to marry a wealthy man leads to her implicitly agreeing to marry Tomiyama instead, ending her relationship with Kan'ichi in disaster.
    • Mitsue Akagashi didn't like her Arranged Marriage to pay off her family's debt until she fell prey to her husband's wealth and becomes a greedy, ruthless Loan Shark, even gaining a Red Baron reputation in the process.
  • Madame Bovary uses this trope as a way to deal with depression... and lose your shirt over it.
  • In Scaramouche, Climene falls for the Marquis' money.
  • Cunegonde's situation in Paris in Voltaire's Candide is built on this trope.
  • In The Last Hero, the Bard is initially unwilling to accompany Cohen the Barbarian and the Silver Horde in order to write a saga about their exploits (understandably so, as they've actually kidnapped him). However, he changes his tune once Cohen promises him a bag full of large rubies. For the next few moments, he can't even think without the word "rubies" intruding.
  • When Harry Dresden and his compatriots enter the realm of Hades, god of wealth, in Skin Game, he goes from "Oh my God, I can't believe Nicodemus murdered his own daughter" to "Oh my God, that's an insane amount of jewels and riches" in about five seconds flat.
  • In The Silver Chair, this happens to Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum after the Green Lady sends them to the castle of the Gentle Giants, tempting them with tales of what they should expect to find there. After a long and hard journey, the idea of soft beds and good food is so welcome that they think of little else, largely forgetting the reason they were traveling in the first place, until Jill gets a dream-vision from Aslan to remind her of their mission. After realizing what's happened, the Puddleglum speculates (correctly, as it turns out) that the Lady was trying, for some reason, to distract them from their mission.
  • The Little House sees the trope Played Straight, Exaggerated, and Justified when the flirtatious Mélite visits the Marquis Trémicour's sumptuously appointed private residence, wagering that she won't fall prey to the property's charms or to his romantic advances:
    • Played Straight: Trémicour's luxurious furnishings and immaculate good taste win out over Mélite's hesitancy to respond to his romantic advances.
    • Justified: Author Jean-François de Bastide wrote the work by drawing equally from the genres of architectural treatise and erotic literature, with the implicit goal of instructing readers on the finer points of design and decor as they followed the narrative of Mélite's seduction. When Mélite gasps with delight at the sight of the manicured gardens or swoons at the beauty of a salon filled with the work of world-class artisans, readers are led to conflate the pleasure of romance with the appreciation of the finer things in life.
    • Exaggerated: Mélite, herself no stranger to flirtation, willingly visits the petite maison with determination to resist Trémicour's heavy handed advances. The combined impression of the top-dollar artistry and Trémicour's taste overpower Mélite's chaste nature, so that by the end of the house tour she has fallen head over heels for the notoriously amorous Marquis — having been convinced by his exquisite taste in interior design (afforded by his privileged social status, education, and most of all his extravagant wealth) that he truly possesses the enlightened soul of an artist and that his passions for her must be genuine.
  • The Wheel of Time: Sevanna, leader of the Shaido-Aiel. When arriving in the Wetlands, she takes a liking to expensive jewelry that her clan has plundered and begins wearing large amounts as well as generally adapting an extravagant lifestyle. She concentrates so much on amassing riches and mistreatening her slaves that she doesn't notice the Wise Women plotting against her. Also, when Perrin and the Seanchan army attack the Shaido, her jewelry makes her stand out so much that she is easily found out and taken prisoner.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The New Statesman: twisted MEP Alan B'Stard has been seemingly assassinated along with the entire Fourth Reich. His wife and a member of his staff are congratulating each other when he arrives and says if things are going the way they seem to he wants to watch. Both turn on him, poised for attack, when he lifts up two large jewels he rescued from Hitler's hoard. They stop and look ecstatic, he coughs and... makes gestures suggesting what he wants in exchange for them.
  • Subverted in Lost in Space: an alien has kidnapped Judy. She cries a river over this. In an attempt to quiet her tears, he fabricates a huge diamond for her. Judy looks it over for maybe two seconds before throwing it away and resuming crying.
  • Double Subversion on The Big Bang Theory, where Sheldon and Amy have a fight, and Sheldon gives Amy jewelry. Amy is chewing Sheldon out for such a shallow gesture, until she sees it's a tiara.
  • 2 Broke Girls has Max when she and Caroline sneak into Caroline's old home.
  • Played straight in The Sopranos where it is one of the main traits of Carmela Soprano. For her husband and mob boss Tony, the standard way out of a marital problem is to bury it under gifts or loads of money.
  • Played with in Frasier, Niles frequently bribes his wife Maris when they fight, and it works. (At one point they're in a terrible argument and he ends it by buying her a Mercedes.) However, it is not a one-way relationship, as both Niles (and Frasier) are male versions of this, often distracted from whatever new drama has come into their lives by their brother's new tie or suit. At one point, Frasier thinks he has a secret admirer sending him gifts and is utterly flattered by the expensive, classy clothing and jewelry he's received, only to find the gifts were from Maris, intended for Niles in an effort to win him back. It's made clear that in the past, the gifts would have worked, but that he can no longer ignore the problems in the relationship. It's pointedly averted when Niles almost gives in to Maris' money when he is forced to move to a horrible apartment complex after she closes all his credit cards and bank account, which were co-owned. He actually picks up the phone to call her and beg for her to take him back, but his father and brother point out that in spite of it all, he's won his freedom from a horrible marriage. After a moment of thought he puts the phone down and says, "Well, it's worth that."
  • In an episode of Charmed, Prue gleefully dons Ms. Hellfire's expensive outfits and marvels at her jewelry while she and Piper investigate.
  • Angel. Former Alpha Bitch turned demon fighter Cordelia has always been a bit shallow where this trope is concerned, despite the Hidden Depths revealed over the course of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off. One specific example is in "You're Welcome" when she starts getting stuck into Angel for accepting the job of running the Los Angeles branch of Occult Law Firm Wolfram & Hart.
    Cordelia: They seduced you with all their fancy facilities, manpower. They threw a whole bunch of money at you, plied you with all these expensive toys and penthouses with spectacular views, and— (looks out his window, admiring the view) ...really spectacular. What was I saying?
  • Played for Laughs in the final episode of Kamen Rider Fourze: Shun is about to propose to Miu, but she gets distracted by a guy with a huge red ring on his finger and the moment is lost.
  • Played completely straight in the Twoanda Half Men episode "Anteaters: They're Just Crazy Lookin'". Charlie was sleeping with Chloe, until she got distracted by the gorgeous handyman Fernando (played by Enrique Iglesias). Charlie confronted her (with Fernando looking on) and said "He is young and great looking, but I can buy you a big diamond". Fernando shrugged and agreed that he could not afford a big diamond, and the scene cuts to Charlie's apartment with Chloe asking when Charlie will be coming back to bed with her. Charlie's only comment is "I won".

    Myths & Religion 
  • The myth of Persephone's abduction from Classical Mythology. After Hades kidnapped her to be his wife, he tried to woo her with the vast riches of the Underworld. Since Hades' domain was everything in the Earth, meaning all mineral wealth, the riches were vast indeed. It didn't work. That said, it seems like she grew to love Hades in time, to the point of turning Minthe into a mint plant and stomping on her when she tried to seduce Hades.
  • Atalanta had sworn that she would only marry the man who could defeat her in a footrace (losers would be decapitated). So one smart guy prays to Aphrodite for help. He receives several golden apples, which he threw ahead of him, distracting Atalanta so he could catch up and later win.

    Theatre 
  • "Glitter and Be Gay" from Candide (the musical adaptation by Leonard Bernstein et. al.) pretty much exemplifies this trope. See Kristen Chenoweth's showstopping Lincoln Center performance here.

    Video Games 
  • GTA Radio, which includes the scene that is quoted, but shortened due to the Unfortunate Implications it would cause by using the proper line which can be heard HERE.
    • Although Urban Dictionary notes that line as being used to mean distracting ladies with extravagant things.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, pretty much any dwarf (regardless of gender) can ignore the beatings of "criminals" over not making a bed out of coal, giant badgers killing said dwarf's family and friends, and seeing disgusting vermin, as long as the dining room is nice enough.
  • In Yes, Prime Minister, the correct answer to one puzzle is for Hacker to offer his daughter Lucy a fur coat. It's a very non-obvious answer since her only appearance in canon is as an animal-rights activist, but the game explains it as a Xanatos Gambit: If Lucy rejects it, Hacker will get praised for offering her a valuable gift, and Lucy for staying true to her principles. If she accepts it, it'll prove her principles aren't as strong as all that.

    Visual Novels 
  • Double Homework:
    • Invoked by Dennis. Money, according to him, is one of three “cheat codes” that men can use to succeed in the dating world. It doesn’t work with him, however.
    • Subverted with Tamara. She does go on a few dates with Dennis, but she’s just trying to make the protagonist jealous.
    • Discussed with Lauren in her epilogue. The protagonist wants to propose to her, but obsesses about which ring to buy. He’s afraid that it won’t be nice enough, but Tamara tells him that because he’s the one giving it to her, it won’t matter if he proposes with an onion ring.
  • In Ikemen Revolution, Jonah tries to invoke this trope in his plan to woo the female main character to the Red Army's side by lavishing her with expensive gifts but the MC subverts it by being decidedly unimpressed by his blatant attempts to buy her feelings and pointing out that gifts like a wardrobe of over five hundred dresses wouldn't even fit in her room.

    Web Comics 
  • The Brawl in the Family strip Weakness has Mega Man charming Splash Woman into throwing the fight by firing the Jewel Satellite at her.
  • Megan Kearney's Beauty And The Beast: Pretty averted, differently from some versions of the fairy tale. When Beauty goes to live with the Beast, she has back everything she lost when her family became poor: books, beautiful dresses and instruments to play, but not for a moment she forgets she is a prisoner. Like the Beast, himself, by the way.
    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy has a fake ad where the shadow of the lady shows her going down on the guy. Has the fake slogan "Diamonds. She'll Pretty Much Have To."
  • In the Teen Titans episode "Date With Destiny", Kitten is shown dating Fang—a guy with a human body and a spider head on top. Apparently looks don't matter in their relationship, or lack thereof, considering how Fang regularly steals jewelry and gives them to her as gifts.
    • Averted in the episode "Sisters." Starfire does go into "shiny pretty yay!" mode when Blackfire gives her a valuable necklace and wears it for most of the episode, but once she realizes that it was stolen and Blackfire only gave it to her to frame her for all her other crimes, she immediately gets rid of it and goes to settle things with her sister.
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan," a female abominable snow monster loves jewelry, which is apparently why she has accumulated a massive horde of treasure.
  • Ronda from Hey Arnold! was obviously pleased whenever her father bought her things, or when she got a fancy pearl necklace.
  • Gender inverted parody on Drawn Together. Captain Hero is quickly able to get over losing the love of his life when he realizes he's won fifty dollars!
  • The Fairly OddParents has an episode where Timmy discovers that this works on his mother and fairy-godmother, so he wishes up the perfect boyfriend for his evil babysitter. Since said wish resulted in a human, this also counts as Distracted by the Sexy.
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "Time is Money", Jimmy learned his father once had the chance to become wealthy by investing in a fast-food franchise. Jimmy, Sheen, and Carl then went back in time to prevent Hugh from missing the chance. When Jimmy returned to present time, he saw that his parents became rich bitches. Jimmy's father insulted Carl and Sheen, who stopped minding about it when he gave them a gold bar.
    • In The Movie, Jimmy attempted to bribe his mother to let him go to the amusement park on a school night using a diamond ring and a pearl necklace he'd concocted in his lab. It didn't work.
  • A Goofy story where he was The Gambling Addict had Mrs. Goof scolding him after he came back home late at night. The scolding ended when she found out he actually won.
  • The Kids from Room 402: When Nancy learns that her school project partner Jordan is Secretly Wealthy, she's so impressed by Jordan's mansion and valuable objects she barely does anything regarding the project, which gives her an excuse to visit Jordan several more times.
  • Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes: In "Shell Games", the team are attacked by a rogue Iron Man suit. When they head over to Stark Industries to investigate, Sue starts to chew out Tony Stark - only to be distracted by a diamond-studded chandelier.
    Sue: Are those real diamonds?

Alternative Title(s): Chill Her Out With Ice

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