If he loves you so
It's in his kiss!
That's where it is, oh yeah!"
Alice and Bob are friends, and maybe one of them has a crush on the other. They decide to do a test to find out whether they should start a relationship. What does the test consist of? Their First Kiss, of course!
However, the fact that they aren't sure about it to begin with says something. When neither party (or only one) feels that crucial something, they say it's because there are No Sparks between them. This bad kiss could be the impetus for one of them to seek another mate, or to give up on a crush he or she has outgrown.
This trope appears in many romantic comedies in which there are two or more love interests. It's especially common when someone is having doubts about an upcoming wedding.
In test kisses, the experimental nature of the kiss is emphasized. However, both parties don't always know it's an experiment. Often, what one party is testing is his or her own feelings, and sometimes their own sexual orientation. Without this experimental focus, or perhaps some stakes attached, it's just any old getting-to-know-you kiss.
Sometimes a character will suggest a test kiss because they're sure that the other loves them, but they're denying/suppressing it for some reason. In these cases, the kiss is meant to be a wake-up call, proving to the oblivious/taken/heroically withholding character that they can no longer ignore their feelings.
Related tropes: No Sparks, Will They or Won't They?, Relationship Upgrade, Unresolved Sexual Tension. Not to be confused with Practice Kiss, where characters kiss to test something other than their own romantic sparks.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion:
- In episode 15, Asuka and Shinji kiss, but due to their personal traumas it goes awfully wrong. Asuka wanted to kiss Shinji but she did not want to look interested, in case he rejected her, so she told she wanted to kiss him because she was bored. Shinji wanted to kiss her but he did not believe she was interested in him, so he initially resisted. They went forward with the kiss but Asuka held Shinji's nose the whole time to pretend it was not a big deal in case that he turned her down. And precisely because she was pretending it was not a big deal, Shinji did not dare to do anything, and he remained motionless and unresponsive. And precisely because he remained motionless, Asuka thought that he was turning her down, so she ran off. Cue Shinji's self-esteem getting another blow and Asuka taking another step towards her mental breakdown.
- This was brought up again during the infamous Mind Rape scene. When Shinji came up in her head, she exclaimed "What are you doing there?! You won't do anything! You won't help me! You won't even hold me!" And it's shown that after their first kiss, she ran to the bathroom to gargle so she could hide her pain from him about his lack of warmth.
- A Crown of Stars: Long before the beginning of the story Asuka wanted to kiss Shinji to find out what kissing was like, but their attempt went awry due to their psychoses and insecurities. It is brought up in the first chapter, and several times Shinji, Asuka and other characters talk about the kiss, arguing what went wrong and how things could have gone differently.
- Advice and Trust: This story's point of divergence from canon is Asuka and Shinji's Test Kiss. Asuka talks Shinji into kissing, and during the kiss he realizes it is a hint of her feelings and kisses her back. What in canon ended up being the Awkward Kiss to end all Awkward Kisses becomes... pretty much the exact opposite trope.
- The Child of Love: Asuka kissed Shinji for first time claiming she was bored and wanted to practice (in reality she wanted to kiss him but she did not dare to say it plaintively out of fear of being rejected, so she pretended she was bored). When she said she was bored Shinji thought she wanted to practice kissing again, and he was shocked when she said she wanted to have sex.
- Mentioned in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide. When Shinji and Asuka kiss for real, Shinji remembers their test kiss, and how it went... awry.
- The One I Love Is...: In chapter 4 while they are going on a date, Shinji and Asuka have a test kiss. Asuka wanted to kiss him but she was frightened of being rejected so she taunted him, and Shinji reacted to her goading by grabbing her and kissing her forcefully. Then they had a fight before making up.
- In You Call That a Costume?, after a Becoming the Costume incident in which they became a werewolf and vampire bat that became mates, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy wonder if there's actually something between them. To find out, they do this...repeatedly, before eventually deciding to become a couple.
- A Growing Fire In My Heart: In the last chapter, Spike has been massively aged up due to the effects of a rage and age potion being forced on him and the cure not fully healing him, so he is now about five years younger than Ember. Spike thanks Ember for helping save his life, and asks what he can do to thank her. Ember, having slowly developed feelings for Spike since meeting him, asks him to kiss her, saying she needs to know if it feels right. Spike complies, and Ember can tell from it that she does in fact love Spike. The two then agree to become a couple.
- In 27 Dresses, Katherine Heigl's character kisses her boss, who she has crushed on for years, and finds she doesn't feel anything for him.
- Every kiss in The Princess Diaries is a kind of test kiss. Mia has a theory that a good kiss causes one's foot to pop, and when she kisses the Wrong Guy First, it is kept from popping by used gum or a fishing net.
- In The Princess Diaries 2, Mia kisses her fiancé to see if they have chemistry, and they don't.
- Spider-Man 2:
- Mary Jane asks her fiancé to kiss her upside-down, reenacting her awesome upside-down kiss in the rain with Spiderman from the first film. He feels it; she doesn't.
- The trope is invoked again a little later in the movie, when Mary Jane asks Peter to kiss her, knowing that it would prove he does, in fact, love her, though he just denied it. This is a special case, because she is testing his identity as well as his love for her. They're interrupted by Ock throwing a car through the window of the diner they're meeting in, then swooping in and taking Mary Jane hostage.
- In Bring It On: In It To Win It, one of the male cheerleaders comes out as straight (apparently, he liked the fact that girls would change in front of him). Nobody believes him, so one of the girls grabs him and kisses him, which cues this line:
Chelsea: Okay, he is not gay!
- Janis and Damian's Almost Kiss in Mean Girls. Intentionally comical since Damian is gay and Janis is rumoured to be a lesbian.
- In the P.S. I Love You film, Holly and her friend Daniel kiss before quickly pulling away, laughing and claiming it was like kissing a sibling.
- Also, Holly's friend Denise often randomly asks guys a few questions and kisses them to see if they were meant to be. Hilariously inverted when her future husband did this to her and that's how they met.
- In Hatari! Dallas (Elsa Martinelli) is a bit more direct about it. She walks up to Shawn (John Wayne) and asks him how he likes to kiss. She lays one on him, and he seems to like it, until they're interrupted by Pockets (Red Button).
- A rather extreme one in Batman & Robin as Robin lets Ivy kiss him to find out if they're really in love or if Batman's telling the truth about her pheromones and Kiss of Death. Good thing he was wearing fake rubber lips.
- Done unintentionally in Back to the Future. Marty knows the person crushing on him is his future mom. She doesn't. When she finally gets a kiss she backs off immediately with a sense of shock, comparing it to kissing her sibling. To Marty's utter horror and relief.
- In A Brother's Price Lylia does this to Jerin, and declares she considers him "dreamy" after the kiss.
- Jacob forces Bella into this in Eclipse, book 3 in the Twilight series. It's a rare example because it's a good kiss, but not a happy ending for Jacob. She figures out that she does love him, but she loves Edward more, and she's not going to leave him for Jacob.
- In Dinoverse, Bertram and Canadayce's First Kiss doesn't entice Bertram at all, although he'd been nursing a crush on her before - he speculates that it's like kissing a sister, which dismays her. She later tries again, and again it does nothing for him. It's worth noting that at the time, he was an Ankylosaur and she was a Leptoceratops, and both kisses were awkward beak-claspings. Upon returning to their proper time and bodies, she tries a third time and produces the desired effect.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenarys is considering an Arranged Marriage with political advantages. She asks the suitor to kiss her. She doesn't feel anything, and tells him as much. He is not particularly upset by this, and persuades her to go ahead with the marriage anyway because it's the best way to stop her city getting torn apart.
- An interesting variant appears in a The Dresden Files short story. Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy are hit with a spell that makes them fall in love with each other. Given the complications the spell can bring, they decide to break the spell for everyone it's affected, including them. When they do so, they kiss. When it starts feeling weird, they know the spell's broken.
- In Smallville, Abyss, Chloe and Clark's First Kiss seems like this on Chloe's part, although Clark seems content on standing there and looking shocked.
- In The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Leslie decide to skip all that pointless date business and proceed directly to the goodnight kiss—no sparks fly.
- Leonard and Penny do a version of this after Sheldon gives both of them far too too much advice about Schroedinger's Cat (i.e., their relationship currently has equal potential to be "alive" or "dead"), and Penny declares that "the cat's alive."
- This happened at least twice on Boy Meets World.
- Topanga and Corey had broken up. She was dating another guy, and when he kissed her she felt nothing and realized Corey was her soulmate.
- Shawn and Topanga kissed for a film project and Corey was extremely jealous. Angela (Shawn's girlfriend) tried to convince him it didn't mean anything, but ended up having to throw him down on the bed and lay one on him to show him that it's different with someone other than your one true love.
- In the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cordelia and Wesley finally kiss after half a season's worth of Unresolved Sexual Tension. The kiss is incredibly awkward, they pull apart, say some polite goodbyes, and never consider the idea again.
- In a rare example of a Test Kiss being an actual test, Crichton and Aeryn from Farscape once kissed in a test for genetic compatibility. Positive!
- This is done via the use of a chemical placed on each person's tongue. If the kiss is sweet, the pair are genetically compatible. This also occurs after Crichton is almost forced into marriage with a Sebacean princess because their test kiss came back positive.
- Played with on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Amy worries that she might not be a good kisser after a guy doesn't call her after their date. Her baby daddy Ricky offers to kiss her to calm her fears, and practice her technique if need be. When the two of them kiss, it quickly becomes clear that it's not practicing, but the resolving of UST.(Though they initially tell their friends that they're just friends and it really was just practice)
- It also happened during season four with Ricky and Adrian. She had a great kiss with her new guy, but she felt she needed to kiss Ricky to be sure she's really over him. He reluctantly obliges and neither of them feel anything. She was ecstatic, but her new boyfriend was not pleased, and thought she disrespected herself and him by having to kiss someone to make sure it's over.
- Monica from Friends did this with Pete (the millionaire) to see whether there was a spark, just before they finally got together after a long time of Will They or Won't They?.
- Glee plays with this. After kissing each other while drunk during a game of Spin the Bottle, they both feel sparks, causing Blaine to doubt he's really gay, and Rachel to fall head over heels. When Kurt says that there's Incompatible Orientation, Rachel kisses him again to prove Kurt wrong. Due to the absence of alcohol, Blaine feels nothing, and reaffirms that he's gay, and Rachel has something to write a song about, so all is well.
- Zack and Jessie did this on Saved by the Bell. They found out they didn't like each other, but Kelly and Slater walked in and got the wrong idea.
- A variant on Sex and the City- Miranda was Mistaken for Gay by someone in her law firm who tried to fix her up with another woman that she ended up taking to a formal function put on by her firm (being more accepted as a lesbian in a relationship than she would straight but single). She eventually admits the truth, and in an awkward elevator ride down with the lesbian she kisses her, then concludes "Nope... definitely straight."
- In the third season of That '70s Show, Jackie and Hyde do this, and state that they felt nothing - though it looks like Hyde is not entirely sincere. They still get together in the fifth season.
- The West Wing: C.J. and Danny, who have had UST buzzing between them for quite some time, do this so CJ can convince herself that one kiss will "get it out of [her] system" and things can then go back to normal. Since she winds up married to the guy, obviously, her plan doesn't work so well; in fact, they're so hot for each other they keep randomly grabbing and kissing each other pretty much throughout the show.
- In ER, Carter and Lewis make one. They remain good friends after it.
- Dok Go Jin in the Korean Drama Best Love, to see if he is really attracted to Gu Ae Jeong.
- On the last episode of That's So Raven, Eddie and Raven share a test kiss. The results were ambiguous...
- Little House on the Prairie: John Junior tells Mary he loves her; she doesn't know what she feels, so he proposes this trope. It was a first for both of them.
- In Misfile, Emily (girl) kisses a sleeping Ash (boy turned into a girl due the titular misfile) and subverts the trope by lamenting that the kiss didn't help clear things up at all.
- In Shortpacked!!: Ethan is just starting to realize that he's gay. Robin insists on a test kiss, which has inconclusive results. Then Mike kisses him, and Ethan looks down at himself...
Ethan: Well, lookie there, we have a winner.
Robin: [to Mike] You can't do that! You're straight!
Mike: I'm whatever you don't want me to be, baby.
- In Sunstone at the end of their first weekend together Lisa, confused between what she was feeling, initiated this to see if there was something more to her and Ally's relationship than just the dominance and submission. Turns out there was.
- Penny and Aggie: In order to tell whether or not she's a lesbian, Sara kisses Marshall. She got her answer: definitely gay. Marshall (who is in a relationship with Karen, who is rivals with Sara's best friend, Penny) is initially furious, but gets distracted by Sara's distress.
- In Always Human, young Sunati and Rae kiss each other to find out if Rae wants to kiss anyone and to help Sunati not worry about ruining her first kiss.
- Taylor tries one with Brian in Worm, but it only serves to muddle things more than ever since he was unaware of her feelings beforehand.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara and Aang are trapped in a cave and separated from the rest of their party. The following dialogue occurs.
- Peggy Hill from King of the Hill lost her virginity to a friend who wanted to see if he was gay or not. They concluded that he was gay. Very, very gay.
- Stan of American Dad! tries to become gay in order to speak at a Log Cabin Republican convention. After kissing his gay neighbor Terry, he is shocked to find that he doesn't feel anything and learns that being gay is not a choice.
- In the first episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter recounts how he and Mary-Jane did this when they were twelve. Their immediate reaction was to gag, spit, and decide to stay just friends.
- In Recess, to test a theory that if a boy and a girl kiss they fall in love with each other, it comes down to TJ and Spinelli. After they kiss there is a short pause before they both react with disgust.