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Lover's Ledge

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So you're a Lothario, perhaps even The Casanova, and you've just bedded your latest conquest after going back to her place. But what's that sound? Oh no, her (or in very rare cases, his) spouse or father is home! You're a Lover, Not a Fighter, so deciding discretion is the better part of valor you grab your clothes (or not) and hightail it...out the window, where you're trapped thirty floors up on the convenient but narrow ledge, often in your Goofy Print Underwear, until it's safe for you to come back in. Better hope it's not raining.

It's becoming something of a Discredited Trope in modern urban settings as art deco buildings are replaced by glass towers with no ledges and windows that don't open (though it still works with older buildings). The less physically daring version, but more likely to get caught, would be Closet Shuffle.

Compare The Precarious Ledge and Balcony Escape.


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    Comic Books 
  • There is a XXXenophile cover with a woman lying in bed wearing strategically-placed bits of a Tokyo model as her boyfriend puts on a Godzilla suit. A later trade paperback cover (and eventually a poster) added a guy in a Mothra suit on the ledge— with two tiny naked girls...
  • Red Ears: This trope is played with a bunch of times in comics involving a cheating spouse that don't use the Closet Shuffle instead. One of the balsier examples has the lover crash into the apartment below where an Abhorrent Admirer is ready and waiting.

  • The Woman in Red is a Whole Episode Flashback showing why Gene Wilder is on a ledge in a woman's bathrobe as a crowd gathers below. They think he's a jumper.
  • Subverted in Lascars: where the man on the ledge is the actual boyfriend, trying to escape his enraged girlfriend after a misunderstanding (even has him in his underwear).
  • Twisted in a very cruel way in The Ledge. The choice of place for Gavin's upcoming death is no accident.
  • A rare female example that is actually completely innocent: In What's Up Doc? Barbra Streisand's character Judy has to go out on the window ledge to hide from Eunice, and ends up dangling in nothing but a towel.
  • Subverted in Top Gun: Maverick. The titular character ends up with his Old Flame, Penny, at her place. After she reassures him that her daughter, Amelia, is at a sleepover with friends, the latter unexpectedly comes home, prompting Penny to shove Maverick out a second-story window because she "wants to set an example" for her daughter not to bring a guy home on the first date. Maverick awkwardly climbs down the side of the house and recovers his jacket — only to come face-to-face with Amelia, standing on the other side of a window watching him. She tells him not to break her mother's heart before he leaves.

  • Three men were waiting at the Pearly Gates to Heaven, but were told that there was only one spot left. That spot would go to whoever had the most worthy death.

    The first man says, "I suspected my wife was cheating, but I didn't have any proof. So I decided to catch her by surprise, by coming home early from work. She was wearing a towel, but her hair wasn't wet, so I knew she wasn't taking a shower. I searched all over for the guy, and finally found him clinging pathetically to my windowsill. I pounded on his fingers until he let go, but he landed in the bushes and survived, so I threw my refrigerator out the window to finish him off. After all the excitement, I fell dead from a heart attack."

    "Interesting," replied St. Peter. "Next?" The second man said, "I was minding my own business, riding one of those stationary exercise bikes on top of my apartment building, when the screws came loose, and I fell off the edge of the roof. I grabbed for dear life onto the first open windowsill I saw, but then some idiot started pounding on my fingers. It must have been my lucky day, because I landed in the bushes, alive and unharmed, but then that same idiot threw his refrigerator out the window and crushed me to death with it!"

    "That, too, is horrible," said St. Peter. "And you?" The third man replied, "OK, picture this, I'm naked inside a refrigerator..."

  • Lope de Vega in Harry Turtledove's Ruled Britannia is introduced in a scene like this. It's a second-story window in Elizabethan Spanish-dominated England, so he can just make the jump; the real inconvenience comes from the fact that English attire constitutes way too many separate articles for a last-minute escape.
  • There's a scene in Swordspoint in which one character escapes from a tryst with a married woman by climbing down a drainpipe. (The fact that he was carrying on an affair with her husband too probably added to his incentive to get out of there fast.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Night Court episode has Harry doing this, then being joined by Dan after the latter is caught in a similar predicament.
  • An episode of Soap gives us the female variant: Eunice is having an affair with a congressman, and his wife returns from a trip to the beauty salon so Eunice has to hide in a curtained windowseat. Then the congressman's wife decides to open the window to get some air. She opens the curtains to reveal that the window is already open - Eunice has retreated to the ledge. (No goofy underwear, but it is raining pretty heavily.) She eventually escapes the ledge by climbing into another man's room; said man thinks she's the escort he ordered.
  • Happens to Sam in Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe after he is caught in bed with the wife of an admiral.
  • Happens in the first episode of Korean Drama Shut Up Flower Boy Band when Byung Hee escapes through the window and the girl's father (his school principal) chases him.
  • Aramis is left clinging to a window ledge in the "Friends and Enemies" episode of The Musketeers after Adele's other lover, the Cardinal Richelieu, arrives home early.

    New Media 
  • Refreshing Stories: In "Wife accidentally sent the message she was going to send her lover to me," Nana has her lover Ryu hanging by the hands from the edge of the window when Hiroshi came back. While Hiroshi fell for her tears and she almost got away scot-free, Ryu's cries for help ended up blowing her cover.
  • Zero Punctuation review of... er, Call of Duty.
  • Apparently there's a Russian forum where people issue "challenges"/dramatic situations and then various groups of forum members go stage (and/or Photoshop) photos of that situation. One such challenge involved this trope. Here, more pictures of half-naked Russian guys hanging off window ledges while being aimed at by another, gun-toting Russian guy than you probably ever needed to see.

    Visual Novels 
  • Being A DIK: If the MC stays the night at Josy's home in Episode 2, the two start to have sex when her parents return home earlier than expected and she pushes him out of the window completely naked along with his stuff.
  • A modern version appears in Melody. The title character has to sneak the protagonist out of her bedroom window so Arnold won’t know that he slept over.