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Single Woman Seeks Good Man

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The reason why Helga fell in love with Arnold.

Eddie Valiant: Seriously, what do you see in that guy?
Jessica Rabbit: He makes me laugh.

All Girls Want Bad Boys? Nice Guys Finish Last? Hardly. What do women want, really? According to this trope, a good, honest, loving, faithful, caring man. Bonus if he's good with kids.

The heroine, like the hero, tends to be much more mature and likable than in All Girls Want Bad Boys; frequently, they've been burned by a previous lover, and generally, they've matured. But it is not necessary. Any heroine who finds the hero attractive exactly for his more admirable qualities falls under Single Woman Seeks Good Man. This can range from liking his sense of humor, to appreciating his poetry skills, all the way to his Heroic Sacrifice. Rescue Romance is often a form of this. The Nice Guy, the Sheltered Aristocrat, the Knight in Shining Armor, the Nice Jewish Boy, the male Shrinking Violet, The Dutiful Son, the Keet, or the male Pollyanna wins the heroine's heart. Immature and hormonal souls may wonder What Does She See in Him?, but the heroine is much more likely to end up happy this way.

However, it creates a problem insofar as the heroine has to neither fight her common sense nor reform the hero for a Happy Ending. As a consequence, the writer needs some other method of generating conflict. This can range from a Star-Crossed Lovers plot to Twice Shy or fall into the background/coexist with an alternate source of conflict. See the Analysis page for details.

Frequently the victorious childhood friend or a Second Love. Compare to Understanding Boyfriend. Though seemingly rare, some people out there will be glad to know that, yes, this can be Truth in Television.

Note that this isn't Always Female as Single Man Seeks Good Woman can certainly be in play. Nor is this always heterosexual for that matter.

Of course, Tropes Are Tools. It has been overused and exaggerated in the Harem Genre, where the protagonist somehow attracts girls he has little to no interaction with merely because of simple decency, implying that people can win affection and do anything they want to a bunch of girls just by behaving like a normal nice person.

As this trope frequently deals with critical plot details, be warned: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS. Some are unmarked, too, so don't say we didn't warn you. Compare Samaritan Relationship Starter.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Bearskin", the youngest daughter agrees to marry the frightful-looking hero because only a good man would have paid off a total stranger's debts.
  • "Beauty and the Beast" has this trope written all over it. The heroine is terrified at first by the Beast's monstrous appearance, but he is kind and caring from the start. This causes her to eventually fall in love with him, as she realizes that True Beauty Is on the Inside.
  • In The Brothers Grimm's The Golden Bird, the prince who brings back the golden bird for his father also brings back a princess; when his brothers try to kill him and threaten her, she does not stop grieving until the prince returns alive. Similarly in Andrew Lang's The Bird Grip and Alexander Afanasyev's Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf. In some versions, the other brothers try to force the princess to marry one of them. She keeps them away by clawing at the eyes of whoever comes near her but quickly recognizes the youngest brother when no one else does and welcomes him back.
  • In Andrew Lang's The Golden Mermaid, the mermaid refuses to leave the body of the murdered youngest son, who actually carried out The Quest, even when his older brothers threaten her.
  • In Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's "King Goldenlocks", the youngest princess turns down princess, nobles, merchants and artisans because she wants to get married to the nice gardener who makes pretty bouquets for her every day.
  • "The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs": After the wedding, the princess falls in love with her husband, who she has just met, because he is nice and "agreeable".

    Films — Animation 
  • The Book of Life:
    • Maria wants to be listened to and loved for more than just her looks, as she demonstrates when she gets annoyed with Joaquin for not understanding this. It's only when Joaquin shows his true self that she agrees to seriously think about his proposal. Ultimately, Maria falls in love with Manolo, the humble, sweet musician who promises to never stop loving her. In fact, the first indications she gets her Love Epiphany is when he publicly refuses to kill the bull.
    • Heavily implied with La Muerte. In the opening, she sadly tells Xibalba he's not the man she fell in love with years ago. Plus, she only gets back with Xibalba when he admits his mistake in his past actions and apologizes.
  • Brave: The only suitor that Merida seems to like is Young MacGuffin. He's The Dutiful Son, and Gentle Giant and Endearingly Dorky, with how he's loyal to his father but otherwise won't show violence or Drama Queen antics. What's more, he's the only one to express that if Merida doesn't want an Arranged Marriage, then it's not fair to her and says it should be her choice. It also helps that he's the one that she did pick in pre-production as seen in the art book and deleted scenes.
  • A Bug's Life: While Atta was at first dismissive towards Flik she wasn't as brutal as the rest, and it was somewhat justified given their colony's current predicament and that his inventions did cause problems. After he and the Circus Bugs saved her sister from death, Atta started to develop an instant liking towards Flik, even showing her own dorkiness when with him. It was only after she and the colony found out about his lies did she exile him. She changes her attitude again when Flik and the other ants drive the grasshoppers out.
  • Despicable Me 2: One would think Lucy Wilde would fall under All Girls Want Bad Boys since she admired Gru for his work in villainy, but it's this because she was even more impressed with his good parenting and began to actively date and later marry him because he made a full Heel–Face Turn and saved her from dying in a volcano.
  • Disney might as well be the Trope Namer. Basically, to wit:
    • This is a staple of Disney Princess movies. The princes might be rather bland (especially the early ones), but one cannot deny that they are good people who love the heroines. Even in the case of Beast, Naveen, Flynn Rider and (to a lesser extent) Kristoff who all start off as jerks, the respective princesses don't fall for them until they undergo Character Development and become better people.
    • Lady and the Tramp: Lady falls for Tramp after he saves her life and starts being kind and helpful towards her. She's less than pleased to learn of his history with "dames" but forgives him when he heroically saves the baby from a rat.
    • The Rescuers: The reason Bianca fell in love with Bernard? Because of his loyalty, resourcefullness, determination, kindness and - deep down - courage. None of which is immediately visible until the sequel.
    • Princess Jasmine in Aladdin isn't interested in the rich, pompous suitors who just want to marry her to become sultan. Instead, she falls in love with the poor but kindhearted Aladdin after he rescues her from an angry vendor. They bond over feeling trapped by their circumstances and Aladdin is the first to ever treat her like a person rather than an object to use for politics. When Aladdin puts on a rich prince act to try and impress her, she rejects him but when he starts to be himself, she realizes he's the boy she fell in love with in the marketplace. Even when it's discovered he's not a prince, she confesses her love for him.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney): Esmeralda doesn't start to fall in love with Phoebus until after he saves a family from murder, even though it could mean his own execution. On a more specific note, Esmeralda's decision to marry Phoebus at the end of the film is likely the result of the way both Quasimodo and Frollo treated her throughout the movie, according to Madonna-Whore Complex. Frollo constantly viewed Esmeralda as an evil seductress, causing him to want her as his own and threaten to kill her if she refused while Quasimodo instead viewed her as a pure, angelic being, seeing her as only kind and caring. However, both potrayals are considered insulting to women and Phoebus, seeing her feisty but good-natured was the only male character that saw Esmeralda as a normal woman and therefore, becomes her husband.
    • Megara in Hercules falls for the title character for his kindness and sincerity after having dated a whole string of jerks.
    • Beret Girl in An Extremely Goofy Movie greatly prefers the meek Gentle Giant, PJ, to his forward and slightly obnoxious friend, Bobby, with any potential disadvantages to his physical appearance being glossed over despite his beliefs they wouldn't be. Their relationship ends up being based mostly on conversations with some cuddling.
    • From Dinosaur, Neera likes Aladar because of his compassionate ways to the weaker herd members.
    • An odd case in Disney's Wreck-It Ralph where Nice Guy Felix is instantly smitten with Lad-ette Action Girl Sgt. Calhoun. It takes a bit for Calhoun to warm up to him, but they end up Happily Married.
    • Frozen: Anna falls for Prince Hans because she believes him to be a Nice Guy who doesn't want to shut her out. Later, realizing he isn't as good a person as she thought, she finds love with Kristoff, who turns out to be a more caring person than she realized.
    • Strange Magic: Marianne dumped Roland when she caught him cheating on her...on their wedding day. Marianne starts falling for the Bog King after he shows his more sweeter side.
    • In Toy Story, Buzz and Jessie share a quite literal Toy Ship built on this. In the ending of 2, Buzz awkwardly tries to compliment Jessie at the end of the second film, so she aggressively glomps him and declares "You are the sweetest space toy I've ever met!" In 3 when the toys are about to be incinerated, Buzz takes her hand and gives her that look.
    • Treasure Planet: Captain Amelia falls for the Endearingly Dorky but courageous scientist Dr. Doppler.
    • WALL•E: EVE eventually falls in love with the title character because of his sweet nature and complete devotion to her.
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation: Ericka Van Helsing was raised by her great-grandfather to kill Dracula, believing all monsters were evil and need to be destroyed. After her failed attempts to kill Dracula, she unwitting starts to warm up to him seeing him play with his family. During their date, where she tried to poison him with garlic, he opens up about losing his wife and raising his daughter on his own since she was a baby, causing her to begin realizing he's not the evil she was raised to think he was. By the end of the film, she reciprocates his feelings for her.
  • Astrid from the How to Train Your Dragon franchise falls for Hiccup. Hiccup is an All-Loving Hero, and Astrid explicitly stated in "Thawfest Games" that one of the things she admired most about him was modesty in defeat.
  • The Peanuts Movie: The Little Red-Haired Girl turns out to be this by agreeing to be Charlie Brown's summer pen pal. When he asks her why, assuming that it's a gesture of pity for him being a "wishy-washy failure", she tells him that it's because he's kind, funny, brave, and honest, based on all the good deeds he'd done throughout the school year. She ends up reinforcing Linus' explanation from minutes before: Charlie Brown is a good person and people genuinely like him.
  • Marina from The Pebble and the Penguin has two suitors, the dorky but sweet-hearted Hubie and the muscular but arrogant Drake. She falls for Hubie instead.
  • Fiona from Shrek, though she was at first dismissive of Shrek for being an ogre and not the handsome prince charming she expected, she later warms up to him after eavesdropping on his conversation with Donkey and hearing him legitimately hurt about how the world treats him just because he is an ogre. They later fall in love.
  • In Turning Red, this is Implied. Jin was the man for whom Ming first openly defied her mother, but instead of being some objectionable bad boy, he is a sweet, patient, and demure man, who supports his wife and still defers to his mother-in-law's authority.

  • Daya's "Hide Away" has the song pondering where the good boys are.
  • "I'm Right Here" by Samantha Mumba has a similar premise, where a woman is searching for her Mr. Right and wants all the good men who are out there to let all the single women know where they are. Unusually for this type of song though, she's quite optimistic about finding one.
  • The premise of the Joan Baez song "If I Knew" which is a hippy love anthem from a girl to boy who will not hunt innocent wild animals or destroy rare flowers; not for money and not for love. And she loves him even if he is 'called a craven.'
  • Perhaps surprisingly, several of Taylor Swift's songs have her character fall for regular, upstanding guys. The love interests in "Our Song", "Mary's Song" "You Belong With Me" "Mine", "Stay Stay Stay", "Call It What You Want", "New Year's Day", "Lover" and more show every sign of treating our narrator well.
  • Kelly Clarkson's "Piece by Piece" has a girl falling for a guy who restored her faith in men again after her father abandoned her.
    "But piece by piece he collected me
    Up off the ground where you abandoned things, yeah
    Piece by piece he filled the holes
    That you burned in me at six years old
    And you know,
    He never walks away
    He never asks for money,
    He takes care of me
    He loves me
    Piece by piece he restored my faith
    That a man can be kind and a father could... stay."''
  • The first lyrics of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" holds to this trope:
    "You think I'm pretty without any make-up on
    You think I'm funny when I tell the punch line wrong
    I know you get me, so I let my walls come down, down."
  • Gender Inverted in "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" by Soft Cell: After the end of a stormy affair, singer Marc Almond expresses his desire for.
    "A nice little house wife
    Who'll give me a steady life
    And won't keep going off the rails."
  • Deniece Williams' hit song "Let's Hear It For the Boy" is about a girl who couldn't care less that boyfriend isn't a smooth-talker, or rich, and doesn't dress super nicely, because his loving nature makes her so happy that she wouldn't have him any other way.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In the Nart Sagas, the daughters of the water goddess don the skins of doves and fly to the Narts' homeland in search of good husbands.

  • Rosalind from As You Like It has an adorable romance with Orlando, a sweet poet who's been horribly mistreated by his older brother. She takes a liking to him, and teaches him to stand up for himself and about how love works in the real world, and falls in love with him in the process. They are happily married in the end.
  • Kate Monster from Avenue Q goes for nice, college-educated Princeton.
  • Carmen Diaz from Fame falls in love with the shy, Endearingly Dorky, music-loving Schlomo Metzenbaum.
  • In A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Phoebe D'Ysquith falls for her distant cousin Monty for the kindness he has shown her compared to the rest of the family, especially after her brother's sudden death. Actually a subversion as Monty is responsible for the death of her brother and many other D'Ysquiths in his quest to obtain the earldom. However, the ending leaves it up for interpretation on how much Phoebe has figured out about Monty's scheme.
  • Sarah Brown from Guys and Dolls sings of this in the duet "I'll Know". She ends up falling for gambler Sky Masterson, though he gets Character Development and quits gambling for an honest Happily Married life with Sarah.
    For I've imagined every bit of him
    To the strong moral fiber to the wisdom in his head
    To the home-y aroma of his pipe.
  • In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Ginny reminds Harry of something that happened following the events in the Chamber of Secrets — after she came out of the hospital wing, everyone ignored her and shut her out, but he walked across the Gryffindor common room and played a game of Exploding Snap with her. This act of kindness caused her to truly fall in love with him.
  • The George Gershwin musicals Lady Be Good and Strike Up the Band feature the song "The Man I Love", which is a song about this and Women Prefer Strong Men, but borrowing elements from the Torch Song form.
  • Audrey (the human) from Little Shop of Horrors at first comes off as a case of All Girls Want Bad Boys, since she's dating a "semi-sadist" that rides a motorbike and wears a leather jacket who constantly beats her, but it quickly becomes plain that she's pining away for her sweet, nerdy coworker Seymour, who actually treats her with respect and kindness. The only reason she stays with the semi-sadist is that she's too scared of what he'd do if she tried to leave, which, given the way he acts, is probably not an unfounded fear. ("If this is the way he acts when he likes me, imagine what he'd do if he got mad!") Unfortunately, the relationship has left Audrey's self-esteem in tatters, so she doesn't think she deserves Seymour, nor does she realize he loves her back. (If she had realized it earlier, much of the plot might not have happened.)
  • In Les Misérables, Cosette is charmed and instantly falls for Marius after he sings a sweet song, proclaiming his love for her. Eponine also seems to love Marius because of how nice he is since she lives with her cruel parents and their fellow con men.
  • In Mamma Mia!, Sophie wants to find out who her father is, and finds out it could potentially be one of three men her mother casually dated around the same time. All three men are kind, friendly, and supportive, which seems to have been what drew Sophie's mom Donna to them. (The sequel film confirms this; she's charmed by Harry's earnest attempts to flirt with her and get to know her, Sam's kindness towards a frightened horse, and Bill's attempts at cheering her up when she's sad and willingness to help out a stranger.) While Sam turns out to have been engaged and lied to Donna about it when they were dating, prompting her to dump him when she found out, he's genuinely remorseful about this and makes it very clear he'd take it back if he could. It's also shown that, had they known Sophie existed before she was an adult, all three of the men would've been delighted to know her and would've wanted to help raise her. Partially because of their good natures, Sophie eventually decides she doesn't care who her biological father is, as she'd be happy to call any of them her dad, and all three agree to "take a third" of the position.
  • In The Music Man, Marian the Librarian sings about this in "My White Knight". Of course, she ends up falling in love with the slick conman Harold Hill.
    All I want is a plain man
    All I want is a modest man
    A quiet man, a gentle man
    A straightforward and honest man
    To sit with me in a cottage somewhere in the state of Iowa.
  • Gertrude in Seussical says she fell for Horton upon noticing his "kind and powerful heart".
  • Amalia in She Loves Me falls for her pen pal "Dear Friend" for how well-read and cultured he is, despite not knowing what he looks like.
    • Ilona becomes this after getting burned by one too many men, and she eventually gets together with an Endearingly Dorky man she met at the library.
  • In Something Rotten!, Portia falls for the sensitive aspiring poet Nigel.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss: Somewhat ironic because, since Millie is a demon from Hell, but it is implied that this is one of the aspects that she likes about her husband, Moxxie, since in the first episode, she tells him that he has a good heart, he just has a fluffy head, before affectionately squeezing his cheek.
  • RWBY:
    • The basis for Pyrrha's interest in Jaune. Jaune's a dork, weak, and went to the Johnny Bravo school of flirting, but he's a genuinely sweet, friendly guy (when he's not trying too hard to hit on girls) with serious leadership potential. Also, it turns out Pyrrha suffers from a serious case of Attractiveness Isolation. One of the reasons she likes Jaune so much is because he is the only person who just treats her as a regular person to be befriended, rather than a hero or a role-model to be idolized.
    • Turns out Pyrrha's not the only one. In volume 7, Jaune is embarrassed when his first official mission as a Huntsman is escorting some kids to preschool. A bunch of teenage girls swoon over him, and one of the moms flirts with him shamelessly.
  • Ruby Rose seems to believe in this trope in RWBY Chibi. In the "LoveDaddy" short, Yang and Ruby edit their father's social dating profile to help him find a date. Ruby edits his profile to make him seem dependable and responsible with a wholesome sense of humor. This is in direct opposition to Yang's edits.

    Web Comics 
  • Shala Val'Sharen of Drowtales has an obvious crush on Sarnel Tions Sarghress, who in the morally grey society that the story is set, is one of the few people able to be called "good". Sarnel is also The Stoic and Shala is The Tease, so much annoyance is had on Sarnel's part.
  • A major reason for Elliot's Chick Magnet status in El Goonish Shive is the fact that he is a nice, honest, reliable guy. Ashley goes so far as to say to his face, "One of the reasons I like you so much is how good a person you are."
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Jean has said that the reason she fell for Bob is that he is a "genuinely nice guy,'' although she does frequently complain that he's not very bright. We eventually learn that her previous boyfriend was a handsome bad boy she eventually dumped for being a Jerkass.
  • MegaTokyo has a lot of this going around.
    • Kimiko first met Piro when the former had lost her rail card, and Piro gave her his new card on impulse. She sought him out for dinner the same night, and their relationship took off from there.
    • Likewise, Miho fell for Piro because he never put her on a pedestal due to her ill girl status, and genuinely cared for her rather than just loving her shadow like most of the men in her life. When she broke up with him so he wouldn't have to see her die, neither party handled it well.
    • It took a while, but Erika finally found a happy relationship with Largo via this trope — despite her frequently insisting that she doesn't need help with her problems, Largo refused to stop trying to help her out — and when she stopped resisting, they finally got together.
  • The Order of the Stick plays this straight and does otherwise:
    • Haley Starshine's love for Elan fits the trope, very much so. She describes him as "the best man [she's] ever met", and him being so good makes her want to be a better person.
    • It's then inverted here:
    Sabine: Sure, women like me swoon for a hero, but that's only because deep down, we think we can change them. But me, I'm done with that now. I want a nice, safe, reliable mass-murderer that I can depend on.
  • Throughout the earlier arcs of Rusty and Co., we get periodic references to Dame Madeline Goodlaw's crush on Derek the Cleric. When he finally appears, he proves to be patient, reasonable, courageous and taking his oath of non-violence seriously.
  • Larisa's crush on Cloud and her relationship with Landon in Sandra and Woo. Her affections for the latter came about because he was the only one kind enough to actually help her (as opposed to every other boy — except Cloud — who just lusts after her but is unwilling to help her), rather than simply because he helped her get a good grade — i.e. he treated her like an actual PERSON rather than just a hot babe.
  • Schlock Mercenary: The earliest and most stable relationship in the comic is between Doctor Edward Bunnigus and Reverend Theo Fobius. Bunni is a former exotic dancer who was genetically engineered to be as smart and beautiful as humanly possible, while Theo is a "theological mercenary" who got his current job because he was the only applicant. But he's a good man, and Bunni loves him dearly.
    Bunni: Time apart will be good for us, Besides, this way I won't be tempting you with my ample bosom, and you won't be tempting me with your wry wit.
    Theo: My wit? You sleep with me for the great jokes?
    Bunni: I didn't marry your haircut or your sunglasses, Sweetie.
    Theo: What about my earring? It's sexy, and loaded with retro-awesome, right?
  • In Sinfest, Fuchsia's attraction to Criminy is due to his kind-hearted nature. That and his eyes.
  • Sticky Dilly Buns somewhat lampshades this in the form of Amber's hopes for a relationship. Her problem is, she's an ex-porn star who's out of practice at dealing with people outside the porn business. ("Like, is it appropriate to compare his penis size to others' on the first date?") Her friend Chanelle tries to help by scanning on-line personal ads, but then extra complications arise; see strip #10, Feb 8, 2013 (marginally NSFW).

    Web Original 
  • A bizarre example appears in Serina: Male Godmother Nightsharks evolve into two distinct types, distinguished by how they attract mates: Those that do so violently, and those that do so gently. Naturally, females tend to gravitate towards the latter.

    Web Videos 
  • In the first videos of her Web Series Insopportabilmente Donna, French-Italian YouTuber Tess Masazza is often shown at the desperate research of the right man (or, as the Italian idiomatic expression says, of her own “Prince Charming”). More recently, she seems to be in a more or less stable relationship with a guy called Nicola.
  • Nana from Cream Heroes is drawn to DD after he took an interest in helping her care for her two kittens. She frequently rubs against him and sits with him. DD, the humble cat he is, doesn't seem to mind.


Video Example(s):


ADJL - Get Used to Him, Tummy

Spud learns that Stacey wasn't brainwashed.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan

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