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Sexy Flaw

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"Even the stutter, certainly genuine but still a bit laid on, had been turned to advantage. It was the master trick, that stutter; for it contrived to make her banalities sound somehow original, and secondly, despite her tallness, her assurance, it served to inspire in male listeners a protective feeling. To illustrate: Berman had to be pounded on the back because she said, 'Who can tell me w-w-where is the j-j-john?'; then, completing the cycle, he offered an arm to guide her himself."

In romantic relationships, flaws and imperfections often make a person more attractive and serve as an additional "turn on". It could be a Speech Impediment, a limp, a dyslexia that results in a lot of spelling mistakes, a curse that causes the person to speak with a Verbal Tic, the fact that the person is a walking dead creature rather than a living human — basically, whatever that is generally considered an imperfection. The reasons for such a reaction are many and varied: it could be the protective feeling inspired by the handicap, the admiration of a person's courage and tenacity in dealing with it, or just the fact that this flaw makes them unique. On the part of the person who has the imperfection, it's a frequent reason for Keeping the Handicap.

Super-Trope to Sexy Spectacles, subtrope of Attraction to Outliers and Charm Point. Also compare Speech-Impeded Love Interest, Crazy in the Head, Crazy in the Bed, Cute Mute, Cute Clumsy Girl, Has a Type, Freakiness Shame, and Uncanny Valley.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Buso Renkin: After Kazuki and Tokiko have a Relationship Upgrade in the final chapters, the epilogue chapter revolves around Kazuki wanting to touch Tokiko's facial scar because he thinks it's pretty.
  • Hajime no Ippo: Aoki has a preference for women with ugly faces (partly due to the trauma of his first girlfriend dumping him). His girlfriend Tomiko, while not exaggeratedly ugly, has a big nose and large lips and considered less attractive than most other females in the series, though she's also noted to have a nice body to compensate.
  • In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War's 147th chapter, a nurse comforts the destructively-insecure Shirogane by telling him that flaws make people approachable. The cultural concept of "gap moe" is referenced.
    "You know, I actually think it's pretty hot when guys show a little weakness. It's all about the gap. The gap! It hits me right in the heart when a man who's usually so put together accidentally lets his weak side slip!"
  • Wonder Egg Priority: Ai's friend, Koito, tells her that her heterochromia is pretty, despite her having been ostracized throughout high school for it. This helps Ai open up to her after her initially cold introduction.

    Comic Books 
  • The Walking Dead: Taken to a nightmarish extreme by Lydia, Carl's first lover, who is so attracted by his missing eye she puts her tongue in the empty socket.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Worst Witch fanfiction Attention, Miss Cackle and Miss Hardbroom are dating and Hardbroom finds Cackle's stretch marks attractive.
  • Inter Nos: Natsuki's stutter is one of the things Shizuru finds adorable about her lover, in-part because it contributed to her Elective Mute tendencies that made her so mysterious in the first place.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the film version of Beastly, Kyle falls for Lindy when he sees her singing along to music on her headphones and then panicking when she realises she's out in public. Her poor social skills are what first endeared her to him.
  • In Chocolate, this is explicitly one of the reasons that a yakuza fell in love with a Thai mob enforcer: the yakuza has a fascination with "imperfections" and in this case he found the enforcer's scar on her face to be alluring.

  • In Baccano!, Claire is in love with Chane Laforet, and believes that her inability to talk is kinda hot.
  • In Breakfast at Tiffany's, Mag Wildwood deliberately exaggerates her stutter because it makes her more appealing.
  • The Conqueror from a Dying Kingdom: Carol adores her lover's scar. He earned it in battle while protecting her. It's a sign of his devotion to her and she loves touching it.
  • In The Coronation, the Russian narrator falls in love with the French governess Mlle. Emilie Declique, and finds her grammatically incorrect Russian especially charming.
  • Bond in Dr. No sees Honey Ryder's broken nose as this, and secretly hopes that she won't get surgery to fix it as she plans to.
  • In Numero Zero, the protagonist loves the Cloudcuckoolander mannerisms of his lover Maia Fresia that led his acquaintance to suggest she could be autistic. In main character's own words, "I was finding her autism, if that's what it was, more and more delightful".
  • The Lost Metal: One noblewoman has a Childish Tooth Gap that's seen as cute in-universe, though Steris suspects it's primarily because the rest of her is also seen as cute:
    Curious, how minor flaws became cute when their bearer also happened to be conventionally attractive.
  • In West of Eden, Kerrick likes his lover Armun's cleft lip and cleft palate because it makes her similar to the Yilanè, a race of intelligent reptiles that raised him as a kid.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Willow is a babbling dork who verbally digs herself into a hole in the early seasons, and has no sense of fashion. Oz however notices her because of this and that's why he falls for her.
    Willow: You're supposed to stop me from doing that!
    Oz: I like it when you do that.
    • Giles is frequently made fun of for his British Stuffiness and overreliance on tweed clothes, but it's precisely those things that attract Jenny Calendar to him.
  • Castle: During Castle and Beckett's first love scene after they confess their feelings to each other, Castle is shown kissing the scar on Beckett's chest from where she was near-fatally shot in the season 3 finale (it happens to be in her cleavage).
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Artemis mentions that she's slept with a lot of paraplegic guys because she "likes the power."
  • Scrubs:
    • Elliot initially tries to hide all her neurosis from her boyfriend Paul, but then unleashes a monologue detailing all her phobias, paranoia and baggage after getting sick of hiding. She expects him to be shocked, but he admits that he is "very turned on".
    • Julie is introduced doing a Supermodel Strut, highlighting Mandy Moore's beauty, and JD noting that there's "something so accessible about her". She then proves to be not just a Cute Clumsy Girl but a walking disaster who trips over a dessert cart, manages to face plant herself simply leaning on the table and causes Disaster Dominoes that culminate in whacking Elliot in the face with a napkin holder. JD finds this even more attractive.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Let He Who is Without Sin...", the hot Bajoran dabo girl Leeta admits that she has the hots for Quark's brother Rom, much to the consternation of Leeta's ex Bashir and Quark.

  • Parmalee ft. Blanco Brown: Their song "Just the Way" is about a guy encouraging his girl not to worry about her flaws because those are some of the things that attract him to her. The chorus is in part:
    I love you just the way God made you
    Girl, He don't make mistakes
    What you call your imperfections
    I call beautiful, babe

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: Tina's main love interest Jimmy Jr. has a pronounced lisp (in part because of his braces). In "Ain't Miss Debatin'", Tina confesses she has a thing for boys with speech impediments in general.
  • Discussed on King of the Hill when Bobby starts growing roses competitively. When Hank notices a flaw on one of his roses, Bobby brings up the concept of wabi-sabi and explains that sometimes a flaw can improve something's attractiveness, comparing the flaw to Kathy Ireland's mole. Hank doesn't see it that way and clips off the flaw. After the rose is damaged during a contest, Hank tries to defend the damage this way. The judges don't see it that way either.