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Sensitive Guy and Manly Man

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John: They take every chance to lampshade Matt's queerness or lack of traditional masculinity. He's prissily-exasperated in a very period coded-gay way. He's the pansy foil to Basil St. John's mysterious yet alluring swashbuckler.
Josh: I like when Basil shows up in Puerto Rico and is wearing a Zorro mask for no reason.
The Toast, "We Watched Brenda Starr (1989)"

What makes Odd Couples odd is that they put together people with conflicting personalities in hopes that hilarity will ensue. A common variant is to have two male characters that are at the opposite ends of masculinity.

One guy will be your everyday Manly Man. He's rough, aggressive, and strong (or at least that's how he sees himself). He loves sports, cars, power tools, and general physical activity. The other guy, in contrast, will be much "softer". He loves poetry, literature, art, and is generally more In Touch with His Feminine Side.

Occasionally these personality traits extend to their looks. The Manly Man will be tall and well-muscled. The "Sensitive Guy", "Tomgirl", or "Girly Boy" will be slender. Anime usually gives him a Bishōnen look while Western production might go for a nerdier one. If the characters are both meant to be attractive, the manly guy will often be a Hunk, and the sensitive one will often be a Pretty Boy.

They may have an Odd Friendship or will be Those Two Guys in an ensemble cast. More frequently they are rivals or even enemies, especially in schoolyard settings. This is because the Manly Man may see the Sensitive Guy as a "wuss" for not displaying stereotypical masculine behavior. Similarly, the Sensitive Guy may resent the Manly Man for perpetuating those stereotypes in the first place. This is very apparent if the two are caught in a Love Triangle as the female will theoretically choose which of them she sees fulfilling the role of "man" best, and they are probably in a male version of a Betty and Veronica dynamic, although who plays each role is relative. Often also used as a way to indicate that works relying on Mars and Venus Gender Contrast still have room for more than one stereotype per gender.

These two tend to get into a lot of Ho Yay or Foe Romance Subtext which drives a certain group of fans wild. If they're an actual romantic couple, they'll get Uke and Seme comparisons too. Related to Red Oni, Blue Oni with the Manly Man almost always Red and the Sensitive Guy almost always Blue. Also related to Power Trio with the Manly Man usually the id and the Sensitive Guy usually the superego.

In order to qualify, a character must have a large percentage of these traits and/or have their effeminate-ness be remarked on in-universe.

Tomboy and Girly Girl would be their Distaff Counterpart, especially if there's only Two Girls to a Team.

Expect the Action Hero to be a Manly Man and the Action Survivor to be a Sensitive Guy in an Action Duo. May overlap with Bully and Wimp Pairing. Compare Sibling Yin-Yang and Red Oni, Blue Oni. When the Manly Man happens to be a woman it is a case of Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy. Contrast Emotional Bruiser where they combine. Compare with Noble Male, Roguish Male, where the Noble Male is still considered to be "manly" in a chivalrous fashion, and Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple for explicitly romantic duos.

Important Note: While this is usually a straightforward trope, examples can still get subjective in regards to whether or not one of the guys is sensitive enough, the other is manly enough, or whether they're different enough. Keep a few points in mind when editing.

  1. The two guys do not have to be polar opposites of each other to fit this trope.
  2. The manly man does not have to be macho and eschew everything feminine (Real Men Wear Pink)
  3. The sensitive guy does not have to be a total weakling, and does not have to have no masculine traits (Agent Peacock)
  4. Using #2 or #3 to justify deleting an example invokes the very same negative stereotypes mentioned above.
  5. When you post an example, be sure to explain how one is a sensitive guy and how the other is a manly man, not necessarily which type of sensitive guy and/or which type of manly man each guy is.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • The superheroes Hawk and Dove (the originals) would qualify.
  • The Authority: Apollo and Midnighter, Apollo being the sweet-natured, long-haired beauty and Midnighter being the gruff, leather-clad Anti-Hero. They're both extremely badass, though, and come across as equally Straight Gay.
  • Watchmen: Nite Owl and Rorschach.
    • Also implied in the backstory with the meek, amicable Captain Metropolis and the brutal, violent Hooded Justice.
  • Archie Comics:
    • Dilton and Moose.
    • Even Archie and Reggie.
  • British Kid's comics usually work on the "schoolyard rivals" model. Dennis the Menace bullies Walter the Softy, Bully Beef is regularly outsmarted by Chips, Smudge refuses to be clean like Percival Prim, Tough Nut picks on Softy Centre, etc. Which character the reader is supposed to root for varies from story to story, but it's often the tough kid, further perpetuating the stereotype.
  • Batman (manly) and Robin (sensitive), except when the Robin is Jason Todd.
  • Hawkman is this to himself. "Carter Hall is a man of culture who enjoys fine wine, yet Hawkman is a barbarian who you can only be happy is on your side" as described by the Atom once.
  • Power Ring and Deathstorm in Forever Evil (2013). Power Ring is a huge coward that hides behind his Ring of Power while Deathstorm is a stoic that calms Power Ring when he gets scared.
  • Asterix and Obelix, although their roles aren't what you'd think by looking at them. Asterix is smaller and physically weaker but has a hard-headed, mature, and quite a sneaky personality. He is a good swordsman, enjoys one-upping the Romans but doesn't mess with them outside of an actual need to, and is more flirtatious and in-control around women than Obelix. Obelix is larger and stronger but is mostly written to show off his cute, innocent traits, with even his love of punching Romans coming from a place of genuine, childlike appreciation for how much fun it is rather than any sadism. He also has a sweet little dog that he's dedicated to and tends to cry and fall in love easily.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): San and Rodan, whom have a little bit of a rivalry with each-other. San is childlike, highly curious, and has a lot of tender moments with his sister (Sensitive Guy). Rodan is aggressive, strong (or at least that's how he likes to see himself), confrontational, and eager for a fight (Manly Man).
  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf: Tapper is the Oirish Sensitive Smurf bartender who likes talking to his customers and speaking to them about The Bible, dressing in a striped vest and tie, while Duncan McSmurf (the Captain Ersatz of Gutsy from The Smurfs films) is the Brave Scot Manly Smurf who wears a kilt, whose hobbies involve physical sports and knocking Smurfs on their tails, especially if they happen to call him Gutsy. Both Tapper and Duncan happen to be friends with each other, with Duncan serving as the superego in the Power Trio of himself, Hefty (ego), and Tuffy (id).
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Like in canon, Italy is the Sensitive Guy to Germany's Manly Man. To say Japan was jealous would be a massive understatement.
  • In the Bleach Fanfic series Heirverse, Gin appears to be the sensitive to Aizen in a very relative sense. He is more emotional, somewhat prone to Tender Tears, quicker to succumb to Cuteness Proximity, and more openly insecure and affectionate. However it's downplayed in Subtext where the reader can see that Aizen really Not So Above It All. Occasionally Invoked by Gin. Then CF happens.
  • In The Story of Apollo, Daphne and Luca: An Italian Tragedy we have a romantic version with shy and soft-spoken Luca and boisterous and outspoken Alberto.
  • Pokémon Crossing:
    • Zig-zagged with two of the male leads. Kidd (sensitive) is a prissy coordinator who often fusses with his appearance while Tank is a reckless and outgoing Pokémon researcher (manly). However, Kidd is also very sarcastic and initially aloof to the whole idea of a journey, while Tank is a cheerful optimist whose also talented in art.
    • Wolfgang (Apollo's boyfriend) is a polite wine-loving journalist while Rooney (Frank's ex) is an aggressive Pokémon League challenger.
  • Seth in the Pokécity:
    • Downplayed with Seth Anderson and Tim Tim Wilson. While neither of them is particularly masculine, Tim Tim (Manly) is more aggressive than Seth and has very spiky hair. Seth (Sensitive) keeps his hair long (which covers his ears), rarely gets aggressive even when he's angry, loves chocolate, and prefers his coffee quite sweetened.
    • Flosshead and Vinny. Vinny (Sensitive) is mostly a follower and an Extreme Doormat, while Flosshead (Manly) is a malicious Jerkass who raises hell for a cheap laugh.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Big Bad of Beauty and the Beast is Gaston, a conceited, disgustingly muscular hunter. His Straight Man? LeFou, a tiny man who is easily intimidated.
  • The Book of Life:
    • Manolo is the All-Loving Hero, aspiring musician Sensitive Guy to rough-and-tumble soldier Joaquin's Manly Man. They're best friends since childhood, but also rivals for the same girl, and the contrast shows itself in how they try to impress her.
    • The Candlemaker is the fun-loving, humble Sensitive Guy to Xibalba's rascally, gambling Manly Man.
  • A Bug's Life has two rare variants of this trope, one of which comes from the evil side, and the other with three characters having this dynamic with each other:
  • Coco: Héctor and Ernesto, in life. Héctor was the sensitive song writer who intended to give up on his dream of being famous to go back to his family, while Ernesto was the macho singer who was alright with murdering his best friend to achieve fame and fortune. This also comes through in the way both he and Ernesto sing and play music; Ernesto plays and sings in a loud, bombastic way, while Héctor's playing and singing is much more soft and tender. It's also visible in their physiques, as (both alive and skeletal,) Ernesto is noticeably burlier.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
    • Phoebus, the manly Noble Top Enforcer, and Quasimodo the Gentle Giant.
    • The two male gargoyles Victor and Hugo also qualify. Victor is the more emotional and sensitive of the two while Hugo is the more reckless and aloof of them. Ironically it is manly man Hugo who enters into a same-gendered romance with Esmeralda's male pet goat, Djali.
  • Grandpa Longneck and Cera's father from The Land Before Time. The former is friendly, soft-spoken, and nurturing, while the latter is tough, aggressive, and short-tempered. They become foils in the third film where they clash over parenting methods and how to handle a crisis.
  • Lilo & Stitch:
    • The two aliens Jumba and Pleakley. Jumba is manly due to his love for science, dressing in more manly clothes, and having a more impulsive approach to finishing missions while Pleakley is an emotional, nonviolent Wholesome Crossdresser who has a lot of campy interests and tries to find a more reasonable and nonviolent approach to completing tasks.
    • In the later films and series, Gantu and Reuben (Experiment 625). Gantu is the more hot-headed and reckless of the two as evidenced by his actions and voice while Reuben, despite being a Deadpan Snarker is much nicer and more interested in making sandwiches than capturing experiments.
  • The Lion King: Timon (Manly Man) and Pumbaa (Sensitive Guy). Timon is a meerkat who is sarcastic, reckless, self-centered, and dislikes cross-dressing as shown in the first film. Pumbaa, on the other hand, is a cheerful, emotional, and kind warthog who does seem absent-minded at first but is shown to be very cautious and he crosses dresses a lot in his and Timon's own series.
  • Luca: Luca is a mild-mannered and cautious Shrinking Violet who gets easily scared (although he becomes braver and more confident during the movie's climax), while his best friend Alberto is reckless, outspoken and is never afraid of taking risks.
  • One Stormy Night has Gabu, a rough-looking but sweet wolf and his best friend Mei, who is a cute little goat who wears a pink handkerchief.
  • Tarzan: As unbelievable as it sounds, the titular king of the jungle is the sensitive guy to Clayton's manly man. The former is smooth, slender, and noticeably prettier than the hairy, hulking, rugged hunter.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph is the Manly Man to Felix's Sensitive Guy. Ralph's the big guy who punches stuff and is the villain of his game, wheraa Felix is a conciliatory Nice Guy who only has the ability to fix things.
  • The major supporting cops in Zootopia are the leader of the precinct, Chief Bogo, a no-nonsense, curt, intimidating, bossy, muscular, deep-voiced cape buffalo, and the front desk officer, Benjamin Clawhauser, a flamboyant, emotional, sweet, accommodating, rotund, high-voiced cheetah. Their dynamic helps to defy the movie's central stereotypes about savage predators (vs sensitive guy Clawhauser) and meek prey (vs Manly Bogo).


    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock: Gobo and Wembley. While Gobo is an explorer who follows in the footsteps of his brave yet clumsy uncle Travelling Matt and is sometimes stubborn and too eager to do things on his own, Wembley is a youthful, insecure Extreme Doormat (before he learns to stand up for himself) who always finds it difficult to make a choice, because he refuses to hurt anyone's feelings. The two are usually seen as best friends and roommates, much like Mokey and Red.
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show: Baloney and Mr. Potato Head have this dynamic; Baloney has little problem expressing his softer emotions and is into things like aromatherapy, while PH tends to only express manlier emotions like anger and annoyance, and is ashamed to be found dancing.
  • In That Puppet Game Show, the soft-spoken music geek Eddie Watts is best friends with the brash, outdoorsy Jake Hamilton-Jones.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The elegant and aristocratic Fulgrim and the burly, short-tempered Ferrus Manus from Warhammer 40,000 had one of the closest relationships in a family of 18 brothers. Until, literally, all hell breaks loose and civil war breaks out with the Horus Heresy, and Fulgrim gleefully kills Ferrus. Fulgrim still doesn't take it well, in the end.

  • Especially prominent in the 20th-anniversary production of Elisabeth, with Mark Seibert as Death in contrast to his Franz Josephs and Rudolfs, with the latter being extremely prominent - Seibert!Death is an aggressive, traditionally masculine being note  with a muscular build, and Crown Prince Rudolf is slim, nervous, and hypersensitive.
  • In Mozart's The Magic Flute, Tamino and Papageno tend to come across this way, though how much depends on the production. Ironically, Tamino, the Manly Man (even though he faints at the sight of a big snake), is a light tenor role, while Papageno, the Sensitive Guy, is a baritone.
  • The Odd Couple has Felix, Neat Freak and Nervous Wreck, and Oscar, a man's man.
  • Altar Boyz. Mark,the effeminate gay countertenor, and Luke, the strong, buff bass of the group, seem to get along very well.

    Visual Novels 
  • Kaito Momota and Shuichi Saihara from Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, with Kaito being loud, passionate, and aggressive. His first significant interaction with Shuichi being punching his cheek for disrespecting Kaede's promise. Shuichi, on the other hand, is notably timider, slips into depressive episodes frequently, and tends to need constant reassurance from others. (He gradually grows out of this.)
  • Keiichi and Satoshi from Higurashi: When They Cry are presented in this fashion despite never interacting (except for in an anime OVA that ended up being All Just a Dream). They're foils to each other and Keiichi is very similar to Satoshi. Satoshi has a soft color palette of blond hair and, almost pink, red eyes while Keiichi has darker brown hair and blue eyes. Keiichi is somewhat perverted and Hot-Blooded while Satoshi is more mild-mannered. Satoshi is voiced by a woman despite being older than Keiichi and has a softer voice than him as well.
  • In Melody, this seems to have been the dynamic of the protagonist's and Tim's friendship (the protagonist being the sensitive guy, and Tim the manly man).
  • Monster Prom has many variations of it:
    • Among the player characters, Oz/Yellow is a meek and shy Pretty Boy and a Humanoid Abomination, while Brian/Green is a deadpan guy with attitude and a Hunk zombie.
    • Among the Love Interest characters, Liam, Damien and Scott have a varied dynamic: Liam is an artist with slim looks and a Deadpan Snarker being a sensitive guy to the other two manly men. However, among the other two, Scott is a Kindhearted Simpleton Lovable Jock, while Damien is a Bad Boy who likes to cause destruction and mayhem, so among the two, the former is a sensitive guy to the latter's manly man.

    Web Animation 

  • Dear Children:
    • Devin and Joshua are a pretty straightforward example. Devin is loud, aggressive, and doesn't seem to do well with emotions. Josh is timid, nurturing, and soft-spoken.
    • Also, Devin and Gabe, to a lesser extent.
  • El Goonish Shive would seem to have this at first, with Elliot and best friend Tedd. Elliot is taller, does martial arts, and has Bully Hunter tendencies. Tedd is shorter, inventive, and has an androgynous appearance. However, before Characterization Marches On, Tedd was the letch and Elliot has always been very sensitive and treats everyone (except bullies) with respect.
  • Gil and Tarvek of Girl Genius. Tarvek is the Sensitive Guy compared to Gil's Manly Man. He's calmer, more thoughtful, fashion-oriented, and less prone to fits of violence.
  • Guy and Jay in Good Guy Comic. Guy is an introvert and Jay likes to roughhouse.
  • Hark! A Vagrant gives us Chopin and Liszt, Kate Beaton-style.
  • Hodges Pond gives us two examples:
    • Orville (Sensitive) and Roy (Manly): Orville is a quiet, well-mannered squirrel who dreams of flying while Roy is a mischievous prankster raccoon.
    • Matt (Sensitive) and Ricky (Manly): Matt is a hopeless romantic who constantly picks flowers while Ricky is basically an Expy of Roy from the original Orville comic.
  • John and Dave of Homestuck. John is a Pollyanna who staunchly believes in the power of friendship. Dave is a Stoic Deadpan Snarker badass.
    • The trope is reflected even more strongly with their respective biological fathers Jake and Dirk. Dirk is a stoic, aggressive asshole and probably the most traditionally masculine character in the comic; while Jake is shy and unassertive, likes wearing short shorts, and cries easily.
  • Elan and Roy in The Order of the Stick. In an inversion of the usual stereotype, "manly" Roy is the brains and leader of the group, and "sensitive" Elan is a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Weak Hero:
    • Ben is stocky, muscular, and as strong emotionally as he is physically, whereas his best friend Alex is a slender Bishōnen with a lot of self-doubt and angst rolling around his head.
    • Though they both started out as nerds, Rowan grew up to be a boisterous, loud-mouthed bruiser while his buddy Eugene remains a staunch Non-Action Guy and an emotional anchor for the group.
    • There exists a rivalry between Cheongang members Giju and Doyun, due to them being the same age. Doyun is muscular, has a shaven head, and is generally brutish and prideful, whereas Giju is a slender and effiminate man with long hair and make-up.
  • Welcome to Hell: Sock is an androgynous boy who wears a skirt over slacks and has a perpetually upbeat personality. Jonathan has a darker color palette and is a sullen, taller boy who is usually apathetic and asocial.
  • What's Normal Anyway? has the sensitive and somewhat girly Mel and his dudebro best friend Beef.
  • Jack (Sensitive) and Zill (Manly) from Zoophobia. Jack is quiet, shy, and interested in outer space while Zill is the outgoing popular guy. They're also best friends.

    Web Original 
  • In Brig Scarlet Flamingo, Joseph has a dreamy, poetic disposition, composes and sings songs, owns a drake toy as a keepsake from his Parental Substitute, and is in Courtly Love with a lady he might never see again. Frank is way more down-to-earth, a Hot-Blooded, rash, fearless man of action who prefers to invoke Attack! Attack! Attack! first and think later and who disapproves of sentimentality. Unlike in many examples of the trope, though, it's Joseph who is burly and muscular and Frank who is lithe and slender. The differences in their personalities are among the things that lead to them fighting all the time, but underneath it they are the best of friends.
  • The Call of Warr: Prince and Glintz-Terry have this dynamic, with Prince being the aggressive, impulsive, and pragmatic second-in-command, and Glintz-Terry being emotional, romantic, and a guy who tries to be nice to everyone.
  • Cream Heroes: An even split among the male cats. Humble DD, distant Coco and polite Toto are the Sensitive Guys. Boisterous Momo, mischievous Lulu and aggressive Dodo are the Manly Men.
  • Epic Rap Battles of History has several matchups like this. This trope appears to be the entire point of "Genghis Khan vs the Easter Bunny." Guess who spends his second verse trying to calm down his opponent, before telling him to leave.
  • Gaming Garbage hosts Rich "Lowtax" Kayana, a bossy Large-Ham Announcer, and Dave "Shmorky" Kelly, a Keet In Touch with His Feminine Side.
  • The short-lived Fan Fiction archive Fanlib failed after leading a particularly offensive and ill-advised marketing campaign starring "Pink Guy" and "Blue Guy." After apparently mistaking its primarily queer female audience for heterosexual teenage boys, "Pink Guy" and "Blue Guy" appeared in an ad promoting Fanlib as manly and powerful/attractive and non-Fanlib as feminine and weak/unattractive.
  • Monster High:
    • Jeckel and Hyde routine is done like this, with Jackson being a typical soft-spoken nerd with a dislike of loud music, and Holt being a loud-mouthed disc jockey with flaming red hair.
    • As of season 3, Clawd and Deuce.
  • The Nostalgia Critic and The Other Guy (Doug and Rob Walker) seem to go for this trope, with Critic being quite girly and The Other Guy much more in control. Or it could be that Doug is the younger brother who is very often either being moe or a total limelight-loving flirt while Rob stays in the background.
  • A twofer in Demo Reel with Donnie DuPre and Carl Copenhagan, and Tacoma Narrows and Quinn. Donnie was a Cuddle Bug queerball who had no complaints with wearing eyeliner and lipstick, while Carl used to work with The Stasi and thought everything could be solved by shooting at it. Tacoma was a Nice Guy whose voice gets mistaken for his mother's sister, plus he was delighted to hear that he didn't look bad in a dress, while Quinn was a purely Irish Good Is Not Nice Blood Knight.
  • Ian and Anthony of Smosh. Ian (sensitive) is slightly more emotional, gets insulted more easily, and has even cried on camera for real. Anthony (manly) is the more vitriolic friend, makes fun of Ian more than Ian makes fun of him, and has never really shown a sensitive side, although his girlfriend claims he DOES have one.
  • Matt and Pat in Two Best Friends Play. Matt likes games like Kirby's Epic Yarn, while Pat likes games like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Then again, Pat turns out to be a brony. Inverted AND Played for Laughs when they both flip their respective personalities, with Pat being the Wuss and Matt being the tough guy when they play Slender and its sequel.
  • Unus Annus's two co-hosts fell under this trope in the majority of their videos. Mark Fischbach, a bold, muscular, and loud man who was never afraid to experience pain contrasted quite heavily with Ethan Nestor, a slender, soft-spoken, and often dorky man who was frequently the target of Mark's mockery.

    Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): Manly Man And Sensitive Guy