Real-life data is tricky to pin down, but studies suggest the average adult in the Western world will have somewhere between four and seven sexual partners in their lifetime.
In some media, though, this would be a pathetic showing for six months of dating.
Closely related to Hollywood Homely, and a subtrope of Informed Ability. This trope is a reference to those Sitcom characters who are constantly referred to as being totally inept with their preferred sex and never scoring, when we've seen them with more beautiful people on their arm than most people have ever met, and are sometimes quite attractive themselves.
This can actually be somewhat justified. A big thing to remember is that the solitary nature of only a few dozen episodes a year means we are only seeing a small fraction of the lives the characters lead. Two or three dates over the course of a season can still indicate a lot of empty weekends. Also bear in mind how many times the characters actually "score", as it's entirely possible they got their reputation from getting all these dates but perpetually screwing them up.
The flip side of the Cool Loser and Attractiveness Isolation. Often results from Negative Continuity. Contrast Urban Legend Love Life. Can be used quizzically in combination with A Date with Rosie Palms, Casanova Wannabe, Everybody Has Lots of Sex, Failure Is the Only Option, Moment Killer, No Social Skills, Derailing Love Interests and This Loser Is You.
- Aldnoah.Zero: A minor Running Gag where Captain Magbaredge will criticize her XO Mizusaki's plans and actions - sometimes in the middle of a battle - with the Catchphrase "Do you know why you can never get a date?" Punctuality, Brutal Honesty and an unwillingness to take risks are among the flaws addressed.
- Spider-Man: Peter Parker. He was married to one of the most beautiful women in the Marvel Universe (before Executive Meddling kicked in). And before MJ, he had Betty Brant and Liz Allan fight over him and dated Gwen Stacy and the Black Cat. Even his least overtly attractive love interest, Debra Whitman, looked like a Hot Librarian. This despite him being being described as a poor nebbish nerd. His friend the Human Torch even called him on it, as did the Chameleon while impersonating him ("Does Parker know anyone who isn't a stunningly beautiful woman?").
- With Peter, a lot of is due to his time as being the dork everyone picked on in high school and things didn't change until he became Spider-Man (which included becoming physically fit to boot). Beyond that, his superheroics do play a lot in his relationship troubles (especially with the large Rogues Gallery he has.)
- Batman Returns: Selina Kyle, at least in the beginning. As CinemaSins snarks, "Uh, this universe where Michelle Pfeffier can't get a date? I'd like to live there, please."
- Clerks and Clerks II: Dante. The same Cool Loser having to choose between two different, noticeably attractive women in the first movie and then a second pair of attractive women in the sequel. Notice Lampshade Hanging by both Randal and Kevin Smith himself in the credits.
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Steve Carell's lead has numerous awkward dates with very attractive women, but ultimately it's an aversion. The friends who view Andy as this all have love lives at least as screwed up as his, arguably more so, and he comes off as by far the most mature and level-headed in his attitude to sex; instead of Wangsting about never getting laid, he's made his peace with bachelorhood and got on with his life.
- The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden. The man's friends, co-workers, and magical spirit servants mock his lackluster love life. His love life actually isn't all that great - the books, 11 so far, each take place about a year or so apart, so he's had two girlfriends in about 11 years - but it's not all that horrible. Over the course of the series he has been in two committed relationships so far (one was The Mole, but it wasn't her fault and they're still friends) with very attractive women, plus one paper-thin Will They or Won't They?, one at least somewhat attractive lover in his backstory, and probably dozens of women who have thrown themselves at him only for him to turn them down.note His love life isn't that great only because Harry has a Dark and Troubled Past and a tendency to place Honor Before Reason (also appealing qualities), not because he's really all that ugly or socially inept. In the books he's tall, dark, mysterious, probably relatively good-looking when he bothers to clean himself up, and has a sharp wit. In the TV series he was played by this guy. In the comic◊ he's straight-up handsome, if a bit scruffy. There's no way he couldn't get a date if he actually wanted to. Though, it's less that he's mocked for being unable to get a date so much as being unwilling to. He makes it clear how hard what happened to Susan (his first girlfriend in the series) hit him and spent a lot of time worrying about the potential danger for any hypothetical relationships after that. He also insists on wanting a romantic relationship, not just a sexual one.
"You've got a date?"
- In Dead Beat Harry describes his desperate and life threateningly dangerous day to his brother who has only this to say:
- Amen: Thelma's constant whining about her lack of a social life and Christmas Cake status is undermined by the fact that she actually dates a decent amount of men, several of whom want to marry her, all before finally snagging the handsome Reverend that she's been pining after since the show's first episode.
- Michael Bluth from Arrested Development gets mocked by his brother Gob because, as of the start of the series, he's only had sex with four women (including his now-deceased wife), whereas Gob is The Casanova by comparison. The irony is that Gob isn't even aware that his girlfriend Marta has fallen for Michael for being more of a Nice Guy than Gob.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Leonard, though a lot of this comes from his experience before he became friends with the pretty Girl Next Door who gave him a lot more confidence. It was said the only girl of real significance in his life (not counting minor flings) before Penny came around was Joyce Kim, later revealed to have been a North Korean spy pushing him for government secrets. The few times he is seen in a social situation he is shown to be shy and awkward, but starting in the second season he briefly dated Leslie Winkle and Stephanie Barrett, dated Penny for the majority of the third season and had a long term relationship with Priya Koothrapali that crossed the fourth and fifth seasons. In between those girls, though, it's clear that he doesn't have that great of a social life.
- Rajesh gets laid more than once despite an inability to even talk to women, though his family being wealthy has been the reason for at least one of those relationships. He also gains the ability to talk to women when he's been drinking, which means he scores at parties fairly often.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Xander Harris, who spent most of the series in a long-term committed relationships with either Cordelia (early on) or Anya (Season 4 to the end). Also, he has a one night stand with Faith and Willow wanted him. In the first couple of seasons it's a running joke that he does get dates - but they're all with demons disguised as women.
- Chuck: Everyone in Chuck Bartowski's life regularly acts like him getting a date of any kind, let alone one with a good-looking woman, is a minor miracle. This continues approximately through the end of the second season, despite the fact that in that space of time he dates two beautiful women and has a third one in love with him. For the most part the third season drops the facade, though.
- Criminal Minds: Spencer Reid. When the Maeve Donovan arc began in Season 8, the show's characters—most notably Derek Morgan—seem to make a big deal that he's managed to win a girl's heart, as if it's some kind of a shock for Reid to have a girlfriend. The writers didn't help much either, since "Reid gets a girlfriend" was a selling point for Season 8, believing the audience would be surprised at this development too. This despite the fact that Reid, on screen, has been on more dates than Morgan, has had two on-screen kisses and had been the subject of an early seasons Running Gag that Reid often mistakes the flirting of women to mean something else.
- Frasier: Frasier Crane, who despite having a seemingly endless supply of beautiful and sophisticated women going out with him, is often said to be unable to get a date. Frasier's problem is generally that he usually has trouble holding onto a girlfriend, usually due to some contrived circumstance he happens to fall into in her presence.
- Chandler is constantly knocked by himself and others for being terrible with women. While he does have commitment issues that prevent his relationships lasting long, he has no trouble getting women. Later in the show, once he's in a stable relationship with Monica, the show claims he's always been terrible with women, unable to even talk to them, despite the early seasons showing he successfully uses humour to smooth-talk and charm women without any problem at all and the later seasons having him and Monica being the only two in a functional (rather than dysfunctional) relationship.
- Ross, despite his numerous girlfriends and dates during the show's run and him being kind of an Adorkable Chick Magnet (evidenced by "The One with the Girl from Poughkeepsie" and "The One With The Cooking Class"), is regularly referred to be as hopeless with women for some reason. There's even an episode named "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt", and Joey once said to him that he (and Chandler) "repels women all the time". To be fair, James Bond would probably look like a dateless loser compared to Joey.
- Glee: Rachel Berry. It sort of makes sense at first since she's established as very obnoxious and the two guys she is romantically involved with in the first half of the season are in a Love Triangle over a more popular girl. But by the second half she's in the center of her own Betty and Veronica and throughout the entire series she's had a huge Stalker with a Crush in the form of a nerd who even at one point blackmails her for her panties.
- The Golden Girls: Dorothy Zbornak seems to be going out on dates every other week, and has dated doctors, teachers, business owners, even an Admiral (also admittedly a few losers, but even then that's hardly 'dateless'). To listen to the other girls, however, you'd think she had never had a single date. The other women make fun of her for it, though, ironically, she's the only one at the end of the show who isn't single.
- Hogan's Heroes: Commandant Klink. The irony of it is that the women he has the most success with are actually enemy agents seeking to use him in some plot. Otherwise they would run a mile.
- How I Met Your Mother: Ted Mosby's love life is generally unsatisfactory to him, not because he can't get dates but because he's Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. He is often teased by his friends for falling too quickly for women and trying to turn each new date into a potential wife. Still he has several hot women per season (minus season 2 when he's in a committed relationship with Robin). And apparently the characters in this show all think it's mind-boggling for someone to go more than a few months without getting laid.
- iCarly: Freddie averts this, in both ways. He is never considered to be completely inept, but neither is he constantly dating insanely hot girls. One date was a Femme Fatale who was using him to break up their webshow, a second was with a twin he only asked out to prove that it was a trick being played by the original twin, he went to a dance with a wizard that ended poorly, and finally a date with a girl he wasn't interested in due to being forced into a triple date. The only time he's been with a girl he really likes, it's Carly, but he had been recently hit by a truck and was stuck in bed and then hobbling around on crutches. He also ended their brief relationship because he was worried Carly only liked him because he saved her from the truck.
- Malcolm in the Middle: Despite being "losers" who are supposedly not well liked by anyone, Malcolm and Reese manage to have new short term girlfriends every other episode or so during later seasons.
- Married... with Children: Bud actually touches himself every single night out of his loneliness, always whines about being dateless, rejects girls at a higher standard than him, and still he scores repeatedly. Fail.
- NCIS: Timothy McGee, while being a geek, manages to get quite a few dates, and still is told that he needs to get out more
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Billy had more love interests than any other male character, but he was still presented as a socially clueless loner. Lampshaded by Jason as he watches Billy with Marge:
Jason: And we're giving him tips on how to meet girls?
- The New Adventures of Old Christine: Christine is perpetually lonely and treated like a loser, except that she's dated the likes of Tim Dekay, Eric Mccormack and freakin' BLAIR UNDERWOOD.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Miles has continuously been referred to be beyond all hope when it came to make a positive impression on the other sex (or people in general), yet in the season 5 finale he scores with one of Josh's very attractive friends and he breaks it off with her at the end and then is seen going on a date with four Pop Stars at once.
- Scrubs: Downplayed. JD's problem isn't really that he that he can't get a date, but more of him not being able to have a lasting relationship (he's even worse than Elliot in this regard) like everyone else because he keeps screwing them up and ends up having to go back to "dating his laptop".
- Seinfeld: George Costanza is a slow-witted, self-centered, ugly failure who repulses women and can't get them to go out with him... except for, oh, the forty or fifty gorgeous women he dated over the course of the show. He even got a model whom he suspected was bulimic. He winds up getting engaged to the attractive daughter of a rich, Upper East Side, WASPy, old money couple- Susan Ross. Even if they were evenly-matched looks-wise, it's completely far-fetched status, class and money-wise.
- Taxi: Alex Reiger was Flanderized into this at the beginning of the final season. The writers got back on the ball pretty quickly and Alex went back to being his normal self.
- 30 Rock: Liz Lemon. She's dated Jon Hamm, for goodness' sake. The show does make it out to seem more like she doesn't have a problem finding men to date, but rather that everyone she does date turns out to be completely insane in the end so she's forced to end all her relationships.
- Two and a Half Men: Alan is often depicted as a pathetic loser yet he's dated a number of attractive women and was even married to a couple of them. It is made clear that his inability to hold a relationship stem from his insecurities, neediness and tendency to gravitate toward emotionally damaged women.
- Wings: Brian Hackett dated many beautiful women over the course of the show's run. For most of the show, he was The Casanova, but for some reason, the last couple of seasons seemed to have a lot of jokes about how he was having trouble scoring dates.
- Wizards of Waverly Place: Lampshaded when Hollywood Nerd Justin asks his brother "Why does everyone think I don't date; remember the centaur, the werewolf and the Goth Girl?" The "goth girl" was in fact his established girlfriend for a several-episode arc.
- Garfield: Jon, the ultimate incompetent loser who continues to be the Butt-Monkey of jokes about sucking at relationships, despite having had a steady girlfriend since 2006. Even before that, there seemed to be more jokes that featured him actually being on a date — which inevitably went badly — as ones that showcased his inability to get a date. Clearly the man had at least enough game to get through one conversation with a woman and ask her out, and do so on a pretty regular basis.
- Questionable Content: Marten, a supposedly awkward music nerd who has had at least three attractive girlfriends. Something of a subversion in that he only acts this way because he's often oblivious of people's attraction to him.
- Sluggy Freelance: Torg is, in Bun-Bun's words, a "nerd boy" who's supposed to be relatively unlucky with the ladies. Except, y'know, for Valerie, Angela, Oasis, Alt-Zoe, and (eventually) Prime-Zoe all falling for him. Justified since at least two (possibly three) of those women were just using Torg as a stand-in for previous Love Interests who had died, and another is only in love with him because she's been Brainwashed to do so.
- Something*Positive: Davan Macintire. Despite numerous characters, himself included, referring to him as ugly and a loser, a fair number of women have expressed interest him and he's had sex with more than a few of them. On the flip side, most of his relationships, potential and otherwise, tend to end badly. Near the beginning of the strip one ex is able to describe herself as "the one who didn't cheat on him" (she suddenly left town instead). To be fair, now she would have to share that title with Branwen.
- Manly Guys Doing Manly Things pokes fun at this trope when Jonesy meets Marv, pointing out that a lot of women would probably be interested in him if he wasn't so down on himself.
- Steve Smith from American Dad!. Despite constantly being described as a perpetually awkward virgin loser, Steve has had multiple hookups and opportunities to lose his virginity to very attractive girls, much more than most 14 year old boys in real life could ever hope to. For the record, according to the American Dad wiki, he has had 17 different love interests. His equally awkward best friend Snot qualifies as well.
- The Critic: Jay Sherman, a balding, short, fat, apparently annoying and once divorced movie critic would probably do a lot worse in the real world. Although he still does manage to date a psycho fan and his near-mummified makeup artist, Jay doesn't seem to have problems scoring with beautiful women. The two we see him dating had a catch; one was just buttering him up for a good review of her film, the other genuinely liked him, but it turns out she has a thing for pathetic men. Naturally, this aspect of Jay's character is gradually phased out after he starts a relationship with Alice.
- Family Guy:
- Meg Griffin is very unpopular in the later seasons of the show, yet manages to hook up with/date at least: Doug (Prick Up Your Ears), the nudist neighbor she liked, Mayor Adam West, Kevin Swanson, Michael, a medical student, Anthony (Go, Stewie, Go) as well as being pursued by Neil Goldman and losing her virginity on live national television to Jimmy Fallon during the opening of Saturday Night Live. And when a cute, popular lesbian thinks she has a chance with Meg, she's so excited she immediately strips. In-universe other characters react to Meg as if she were the elephant man with leprosy, but she looks pretty much exactly like a slightly shorter, brown-haired version of Lois, who in-universe is pretty much uniformly considered to be hot.
- Chris has had a few attractive girlfriends, despite his less than flattering traits. He reasons if his dad could get his mom, there must be hope for him yet.
- Fry's been with: Amy Wong, Chief of Police Colleen, former girlfriend Michelle, bureaucrat Morgan Proctor, his own grandmother and, of course, Leela, who he's now in a relationship with. But everyone still acts like he's the poster boy for loserdom.
- Averted with Zoidberg. Over the course of the show, only one woman ever showed attraction to him, and that was only because she didn't have a sense of smell, and so didn't notice his repulsive scent.
- Kim Possible: Ron Stoppable is considered pretty low on the food chain of the high school and does have some odd traits. Yet he seems insanely popular among girls - notably Yori and Kim (the latter of whom he later does date), along with Zita, and a crush by another cheerleader. Not to mention a handful of episodes where he gets involved with Bonnie.