It is often pointed out in fiction that in bars, attractive women do not normally talk to men who are less than absolute studs or less than very well-off. They certainly never flirt with or outright hit on such men... so when they do, something must be up. This is when a beautiful woman approaches a less-good-looking man in a bar because she is coldly trying to lead the poor guy to his doom or take advantage of him in a non-sexual manner with her tricky feminine wiles.
The poor schlub will likely be Chained to a Bed, humiliated in some other fashion, short a kidney, or dead once the lady in question has what she wants from him. Least bad case scenario seems to be she wants to use his presence to make someone else jealous (ignoring the possibility of it escalating to something much worse).
A Casanova Wannabe is never Genre Savvy enough to suspect this might be happening, and thus makes a very good mark for this particular con. Then again, A Man Is Always Eager and All Men Are Perverts, so it does not usually take much for most of them to be Distracted by the Sexy.
This does not apply to the Kavorka Man, who somehow gets all kinds of action from hot women despite being objectively homely— but even he should be cautious of exceptions. Of course this does not necessarily mean that good-looking men are absolutely safe from manipulation, it is just more likely for the positive attention that they get to be genuine. If the woman turns out to be genuinely attracted to the schlub, well, there's No Accounting for Taste. They might even wind up as Ugly Guy, Hot Wife. On the other hand, if she is interested in matrimony, it is also possible she is a Gold Digger; infrequently, it's not this trope when it's Single Woman Seeks Good Man and the gentleman's character won over someone who looks like she's way out of his league.
See also Honey Trap, Kiss of Distraction. A specifically sexual subtrope of Too Good to Be True. Contrast I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me, a romantic inversion. Also compare and contrast The Murder After.
- Happens to Lt. Havoc in Fullmetal Alchemist with his new girlfriend, Lust. Subverted, since it doesn't work. The man's a flirt, but he puts his job before pleasure.
- Rena's father in Higurashi: When They Cry gets it hard. The drop-dead sexy chick he met in a fishy bar and with whom he fell madly in love happens to be a specialist in badger games and only seeks to squeeze all the money she can out of him (which is a lot).
- Played with in Sin City: Goldie hits on Marv, but she's the one who ends up dead. She wasn't killed by Marv, though; she'd seen something someone didn't want her to see, leading her to hit on "the biggest, meanest lug around" for protection. Unfortunately, Marv got drunk and was passed out when what she was running from caught up with her. Cue Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Subverted when Marv reveals he was not fooled. He knows he was being used, but does not care. He feels that Goldie showed him genuine kindness anyway, something he does not often experience.
Marv: I couldn't even buy a woman, the way I look.
- Subverted when Marv reveals he was not fooled. He knows he was being used, but does not care. He feels that Goldie showed him genuine kindness anyway, something he does not often experience.
- Inverted somewhat in The Goon. Sexy bar singer Mirna tries repeatedly to talk to Goon, only for him to rebuff her with increasing rudeness. Eventually, he snaps and tells her he doesn't know what she's selling, but he's not buying. He explains to Frankie that there's only one reason a girl like her pretends to be interested in a guy like him—he learned that the hard way. He realizes the truth too late when Mirna leaves town.
- Evil Empire Implied. In issue 5, when a Serial Killer named Ace Partner goes to a bar to search for a new victim, he is shocked to see a group of 5 women with a man tied to a table. The woman is bragging that the man wishes that he was spending another night at that brothel instead of the bachelorette party, implying the women were having a bachelorette party and hired a male stripper they planned to murder.
- Done by Sakura in Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja, who uses a sexy transformation to cozy up to a loser Iwa ninja in a bar, drug his drinks while pouring them for him, then kidnap him when he passes out while she's "walking him home" so she can interrogate him about Naruto and Kakashi, who are being held prisoner.
- Parodied in The Tyrant and the Hero. Black Alice tries to seduce information out of a pair of guards. The result can only be described as an Epic Fail. Not only do the guards maintain their professionalism, but Black Alice is embarrassed at the mere thought of the seduction techniques she's learned about and runs away.
- Mystique and a prison guard from X2: X-Men United. Sure, she drugged and injected him with iron, so that Magneto could rip it from his blood and escape, but he got to make out with Rebecca Romijn. Lucky bastard. This trope is basically lampshaded when Magneto tells the guard that he should never trust a beautiful woman — especially one who's interested in him.
- This happens several times in James Bond movies.
- In The Living Daylights, a humorous scene involves Bond enlisting the aid of a husky Slav woman, Rosika Miklos, who works on the Trans-Siberian pipeline he's using to smuggle a defector across the border from Czechoslovakia to Austria. Her role is to distract the on-duty technician, which she accomplishes by unzipping her jumpsuit and shoving the man's face into her generous bosom. Once Bond is safely away, Rosika throws the technician back and slaps him soundly across the face, snapping, "What kind of girl do you think I am?!"
- In GoldenEye with Xenia Onatopp, the woman whose M.O. is to sex you to death with her thighs. Except in her case seducing her targets is not purely out of ulterior motives, since she's also a sexual sadist.
- A genderswapped version appears in the 2009 movie Duplicity—hottie Clive Owen chats up a frumpy woman as a ploy to get her to take him back to her office in order to access the company's computer network. His female colleague is not happy about this tactic, despite the fact that she pulled the same stunt in their first meeting, in order to steal some files Owen was carrying.
- In Sneakers, the group of shady security experts arrange a matchup through an online dating site between their leader's ex Liz (played by Mary McDonnell) and a geeky employee of Big Bad Cosmo, in order to obtain the employee's keycard and voice recognition codes for use in breaking into Cosmo's office. The second Cosmo hears of this he incredulously says "A computer matched him with her?" and locks down the building, knowing it's a setup.
- Enchanted: Narissa on Nathaniel. Nathaniel begins to realize he's a dupe when he sees a soap opera variant.
- This trope shows up in several Mystery Science Theater 3000 films.
- Space Mutiny: Lea in a Squick moment. The riffing, naturally, lampshades the hell out of this: "You know, the last eight times this happened, the woman just wanted to get away!"
- This is roughly half the plot of High School Big Shot; the popular Betty seduces bookish anti-hero Marv to get him to write an essay for her; the plan backfires and costs Marv his chance at a scholarship. This pushes him over the Despair Event Horizon, driving him to plan to steal a million dollars of Mob money kept at the warehouse he works part-time at. All to get Betty's attention. It doesn't end well.
- Seen in Angels Revenge. Especially egregious as they're dressed in bikinis on a ridiculously cold, foggy day on a deserted beach.
- And again, in Operation Double 007: the Bodyguard Babes of the Big Bad expand this trope into a scheme to steal some Applied Phlebotinum from a military convoy in the middle of the deserts. The can-can dancer outfits and skunk costumes play a vital role... somehow.
- And even more, with Watney Smith and the Queen in Outlaw of Gor.
- This happened more than once with The Three Stooges, typically to Curly.
- Directly lampshaded by a girl in She's the Man, who tells a guy, "Girls with asses like mine don't talk to boys with faces like yours." Also inverted in that she gets dumped not only by her boyfriend, but by her boyfriend's sister.
- Done by the mermaids in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to some unfortunate sailors. Not only do they kill them, they eat them.
- Notably, though, the sailors were (at least in part) trying to do the same to the mermaids, and they needed to capture one for reasons of their own.
- Done in the horror film Trick 'r Treat by a pack of female werewolves.
- In the second installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise, this is how a police detective is lured to the place of his torture.
- Den of Thieves: After a brutal argument with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Big Nick goes to a strip club. One of the dancers picks him up and takes him back to her place. It is only the next morning when Merriman walks into the apartment that Nick realises that the woman is Merriman's girlfriend and he has been taken for a ride (in multiple senses).
- Justified in The Firm
- Mitch McDeere turns down a woman who hits on him as he's Happily Married, but later comforts another woman who's crying and distraught. They have sex and pictures are taken that are later used for blackmail. Apparently having failed in the direct approach, The Mafia (who collects blackmail material on all the lawyers in the eponymous firm) just tried a more subtle method.
- Later McDeere's wife tries this trope on one of the other lawyers as part of The Plan to escape their situation. As he's a lot less attractive than Tom Cruise he demands to know what she's up to, but she convinces him that she's actually seeking revenge on her husband for the above-mentioned infidelity.
- Funeral in Berlin. British spy Harry Palmer is picked up by a beautiful young woman - who is later revealed to be an Israeli agent - in a West Berlin bar and invited back to her flat. He goes along with it but is not convinced for a moment that her motives are genuine, telling his German contact that "she picked me up last night, and - with my irresistible charm - I want to know why, and who she's working for." Despite his suspicions, she still manages to distract him long enough for her associates to search his hotel room.
- In High School U.S.A., Archie and Chuckie realise that the two beautiful girls who urge them to take Archie's dad's car out for a ride were sent by Beau Middleton after the bimbos have caused them to wreck The Precious, Precious Car.
- Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein: Wilbur (Costello) is chuffed to find himself in an apparent Love Triangle with two gorgeous women at once. Everyone else is mystified, considering that Wilbur is The Ditz and works at a dead-end shipping job. Of course, it turns out they both have sinister ulterior motives: Joan is an insurance investigator, and Sandra wants to steal his brain for the Frankenstein monster.
- The Best-Case Survival Handbook (a parody, of course, of the Worst-Case Survival Handbook series) has an entry on (paraphrased, since I don't have it on me) "What to do if you are approached by a fantastically beautiful woman who invites you back to her hotel room for a night of athletic, no-strings-attached sex". It goes something like "Run. The only person this happens to is James Bond and she always puts a scorpion under the pillow or something."
- The second book of the Sten series invokes this when the beautiful younger sister of a major political player comes on to Sten. He recalls a training manual which stated:
"When approached on a sexual level, covert operators should remember that they have not necessarily been found attractive beyond the moon and the stars but rather that the person making the approach is allied with the opposition and attempting to subvert, to maneuver into a life-threatening situation, or to provide the opposition with blackmail material. In any event, until a life-threatening situation occurs, it is recommended that operatives pretend to be seducible. Interesting intelligence has been produced in such situations."
- This isn't quite a straight example, however, as Sten is noted to be attractive enough that women often do approach him just for sex or romance.
- Furthermore, it turns out to be a subversion. Her brother told her to seduce Sten, but she's not interested in helping her jerkass brother and is genuinely interested in Sten.
- A short story by Spider Robinson involved a painfully-awkward and very unattractive computer geek being approached by a memetic sex goddess. She puts a crown on his head, then takes him back to his apartment for all sorts of sex, saying, along the way, "Hurry, my lord, I'm positively dripping", while other bar patrons stare at him. After lots of awesome sex, he ends up figuring out that the crown is a recording device for a futuristic version of amateur porn. When you can experience the other person's point of view, a porn star is just too analytical to get the voyeuristic juices flowing.
- In the Books&Braun series by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, this happens to Mr.Books and starts the whole plot by getting him into the situation from which Ms. Braun rescues him.
- In Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, the wife of a captured sea officer is blackmailed into seducing spy/surgeon Stephen Maturin for intel. Except it doesn't work, because Maturin's Genre Savvy enough to know he's too ugly for her to be legitimately interested in him.
- In the Backstrom novel He Who Kills the Dragon, a shady big-time art dealer who relies on Bäckström for "little services", (ie, corrupt favours) arranges him a high-class escort for the night as a "thank-you". Bäckström, vain, egotistical and with an exaggerated belief in his own pulling power, believes the beautiful woman who picks him up in the hotel bar and takes him home is genuinely attracted to him and finds him irresistible. It doesn't occur to him for one second that she's been paid for and it's a Honey Trap to drag him deeper into corruption.
- In The Cuckoo's Calling, Cormoran Strike ("not handsome...[with the] high, bulging forehead, broad nose and thick brows of a young Beethoven who had taken to boxing") recalls the day that he met his beautiful and volatile ex-girlfriend Charlotte Campbell:
Thus had she publicly dumped her Old Harrovian boyfriend for Cormoran Strike. It had been the most glorious moment of Strikes nineteen years: he had publicly carried off Helen of Troy right under Menelauss nose, and in his shock and delight he had not questioned the miracle, but simply accepted it.Only later had he realized that what had seemed like chance, or fate, had been entirely engineered by her. She had admitted it to him months later: that she had, to punish Ross for some transgression, deliberately entered the wrong room, and waited for a man, any man, to approach her; that he, Strike, had been a mere instrument to torture Ross; that she had slept with him in the early hours of the following morning in a spirit of vengefulness and rage that he had mistaken for passion.
- Catherine Weaver and the power plant manager in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Goodbye to All That".
- Invoked and lampshaded in Angel: Cordelia suggests flirting with a guard to let her and Angel get past. Angel shoots down the plan, saying that the guard would be instantly suspicious if a woman as beautiful as Cordelia hit on him.
- Farscape inverts the trope. In "Fetal Attraction", handsome John Critchton hits on a much older Sebacean nurse with access to Aeryn. However, she's suspicious and only relents when he throws in a cure for a disease running rampant on the station as well. That being said, he played the horndog well enough that, when he's captured, he's able to bluff a species that is mildly psychic that the reason he took Aeryn is because she was prettier than the nurse and he was planning to have sex and babies with her... which was technically the truth, but not the whole truth.
- The nurse is also the only Sebacean for light-years, so Critchton plays the Fantastic Racism card as to why he's not hitting on someone else: "I don't do aliens." Critchton is actually human, but she doesn't know that, as the species are outwardly similar.
- No result as serious as death, but when Veronica flirts with Phil in Better Off Ted, you know that she has ulterior motives. Turns out that the "autograph" she wanted was on a waiver promising not to sue the company.
- Played with on The Shield. The Strike Team is tasked with investigating a series of robberies at a strip club — the girls proposition men for alley sex, but one of the girls has an accomplice who attacks the johns. Vic tries it, picks "incorrectly", and gets a blow job. Shane tries it and gets a tire iron to the head.
- Sydney Bristow in Alias did this to bad guys in nightclubs all the time.
- The title character from Castle got seduced by an actress who wants a part in his movie. When he confronts her with the possibility, she breaks down in tears and asks "How could you? Do you know how hard it is for a woman in Hollywood?", leaving him feeling bad. Of course, she was just after a part. He ended up not rescinding his recommendation because she was a good enough actress to fool him into thinking he'd really hurt her with the accusation.
- Lampshaded in The Drew Carey Show episode "The High Road to China". Drew awakens and finds himself stranded in China, on the Great Wall, with no money and without his passport. He thinks back to what he can remember "How could this have happened? I was at the airport, I was waiting to go to Winnepeg on a conference, a beautiful woman asked to buy me a drink... oh, what am I? Crazy? Why would a woman ever buy me a drink?!".
- Provenza and Flynn really should have figured this out a lot sooner in The Closer episode "Layover". Two stewardesses start dating them as a cover for their drug smuggling activities.
- Used numerous times in Hustle.
- White Collar has a gender-flipped version, where Neal Caffrey seduces a woman in a bar to find secret information on his boss. (Of course, she's not quite as unattractive as male examples usually are.) Similar tactics to this are a normal part of Neal's arsenal.
- Sarah Walker in Chuck once seduced a geek who had developed a secret weapon. Of course, she also attempted this with Chuck, although not in a bar but in the Buy More, so the CIA could get their hands on the Intersect.
- Fiona from Burn Notice does this many times, but it's also subverted on a few occasions. For example, in one case she approaches a professional safe cracker with multiple arrests for drunk driving and tries to get him liquored up so he'll be arrested again and his team will be forced to call off the job they're pulling. Due to the fact that Fiona is way, way out of his league, comes out of nowhere and then starts proposing toasts to them with expensive champagne, he figures her for a High-Class Call Girl and leaves.
- Another time it works too well. Fiona tries to drug the guy with chloral hydrate in a martini, but he's more interested in her than the martini. So she switches to a different approach.
- In Leverage, Parker does this to a mark in "The Fifteen Minutes Job" in order to sell the con (no one would look twice at him if he hadn't gotten some minor media attention). She didn't even stab him!
- Sophie also does this somewhat frequently, though in her case it is usually somewhat justified in that her marks are often rather wealthy such that someone with her looks would logically be interested in them due to their success. It also doesn't hurt that as a sophisticated grifter she comes across as having class which also helps sell things.
- This came up in CSI as early as the pilot. A woman was seducing men from out of town, then knocking them out with a sedative applied to her nipple. She then robbed them blind.
- George Costanza on Seinfeld typically subverts this trope (for a "short, stocky, bald man", he manages to date some real lookers, if only briefly), but the episode where a gorgeous businesswoman seduces him on the subway ends up with him stripped, handcuffed to the bed, and robbed. Of course, since he lied about being a successful businessman, the woman is pretty pissed to discover he's actually unemployed and only carrying a few bucks on him.
- In the first episode of Fresh Meat, Howard warns Kingsley about this when he pulls a beautiful blonde girl on their first night at the pub ("This does not happen! It's a trap! When you wake up missing a kidney, don't say I didn't warn you.") Turns out she's not an organ thief...she's an evangelical Christian, who talks Kingsley into setting up a standing order.
- Lampshaded in Between the Lines. Mo is infiltrating an Animal Wrongs Group, and tells them she's going to seduce a security guard working at the animal testing center they plan to attack. The security guard is actually Naylor, also working undercover. When someone asks why she didn't pick someone younger and better looking, Mo replies that men are like dog shit. "The older they are, the easier to handle." Naylor, however, is embarrassed as Mo is both his colleague and a lesbian. Eventually, Mo has to tell him to start pawing her as the others are watching and "I'm supposed to be seducing you, not taking you by force."
- A pretty lawyer does this to get dirt on a witness in Boston Legal. Given that he's overweight and nerdy, he immediately suspects that she's an escort girl, but she convinces him she just wants some casual conversation with someone who doesn't think he's The Casanova.
- Played with on an episode of Friends, with Special Guest Julia Roberts. Roberts plays a girl that Chandler knew in middle school. They go on a date and she seduces him in the bathroom. It's just a ruse to get him back for pantsing her when they were kids, however. She steals his clothes and leaves him in the bathroom, wearing just her underwear.
- Played with at the start of Season 4 of Person of Interest. A beautiful blonde waits for a good-looking journalist to start chatting her up, only for him to ramble on about how an Artificial Intelligence has secretly taken over the world. She listens patiently to this Conspiracy Theory until everyone else has left the bar, tells the journalist he's absolutely right, then kills him.
- A flashback in The George Lopez Show shows that Angie (a beautiful cheerleader) and a friend of hers asked George (a plain-looking rockstar wannabe) and Ernie (an overweight even-more-pathetic rockstar wannabe) out to the Sadie Hawkins dance, solely because the entire cheerleading squad invited "losers" to the dance in order to lead them on for spite. However, Angie ends up falling for George after he lies about painting a mural of her, meaning they both manipulated each other and lampshade how their relationship was built on lies.
- The Inca Mummy Girl episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has Ampata try this on Johnathan, so she can suck the life force from him. To his credit, he picks up on clues that something is wrong, and because she's meant to be with Xander when he shows up Johnathan rejects her.
- In The Blacklist, FBI agent Aram Mojtabai has an inkling about his girlfriend Kate.
Aram [to Samar]: No, uh [chuckles] Shes beautiful and smart. Shes an 11. I mean, Im a 6, 4 on most days. Dont get me wrong. I am going to enjoy it, but something is up. Maybe Im her rebound guy, or shes got three months to live or
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Lonelyville", a writer is approached in a bar by two beautiful women who say that they have always had a fantasy about a threesome with a stranger. The next morning he wakes up in a The Murder After situation: with one of the women dead and him being blackmailed.
- Star Trek: Voyager. In "Faces", B'Elanna Torres and Ensign Durst are kidnapped by Sula, a Mad Scientist trying to cure the Body Horror disease inflicting his species. B'Elanna tries to tempt Sula into freeing her by talking of the "legendary" voracious sexual appetites of Klingon women. Sulan doesn't fall for it as he knows full well he's The Grotesque but is very tempted to do so. In fact, it backfires as instead of freeing B'Elanna he tries to make himself more attractive to her by cutting off Durst's face and wearing it.
- The Traveling Wilburys song "Last Night" outlines a story from the perspective of the schlub, who gets a knife pulled on him and robbed at the end of the date in question.
- Parodied in the Mark of the Assassin DLC for Dragon Age II. Tallis repeatedly uses this trope in order to get a key. Despite her claims that she's quite good at this, she keeps failing because the target a) doesn't have the key or b) isn't interested in her. She eventually gets so frustrated that she makes Hawke have a try. Hawke can seduce the target as expected, drug his wine, or just punch the guy out and take the key off him.
- Certain perks in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas allow a player of either gender to do this by bypassing skill checks or bribery options to seduce NPCs into giving you information or otherwise helping you out. Or, rather hilariously, convince a man he is NOT a zombie. It Makes Sense in Context.
- In The 7th Guest, Martine Burden commits adultery with the married elderly man Edward Knox to secure him as an ally against Stauf Manor's other guests. Both end up dead for their trouble, just like all the others.
- Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Granted, it's Larry who hits on Fawn. But it's her who decides she wants to marry him within just a few minutes. Poor Larry ends up tied to the heart-shaped bed in the honeymoon suite with the red decoration ribbon, and Fawn gets away with all his money except for ten dollars. Good thing he's at the casino already so he can rebuild his wealth.
- The Critic:
- Jay falls in love with a beautiful actress who swears to everyone that she genuinely loves Jay and isn't trying to butter him up for a good review. When he screens her film and discovers that her acting is God-awful, he decides to be honest and give an impartial critique of how terrible the movie is. Unsurprisingly, she immediately turns on him, giving away that indeed she was just using him to get good press (and actually was a great actress when it came to tricking Jay). Of course, being a schlub of the highest (lowest?) order, Jay still tries to pursue the relationship even after finding out it was a sham.
- Played pretty straight in another episode where Jay is seduced by the woman working the projector. She has the sexy eyes that lure him to the booth for some loving, but she turns out to be nuts: kidnapping him so he can personally review every movie for her (she was sick of being embarrassed in front of friends by her inability to distinguish the quality of films).
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Rarity has shown a few instances of this, and fandom extrapolated it into her standard M.O. when she needs something that a male can give.
- In The Simpsons episode "Dumbbell Indemnity", an attractive woman at a club invites Moe to join her for a drink. Noticing that she mentions Bacardi rum in every sentence, he asks her whether she works for Bacardi. "No. I'm in love with you," she says, then affixes a "Drink Rum" sticker to his forehead and walks off.
- In The Venture Bros., Dr. Venture is picked up in a bar by his archenemy's girlfriend. The plan is to inject him with a serum that will turn him into a butterfly but out of remorse, she administers an antidote before he completes his metamorphosis. Doc's Genre Blindness not only prevents him from catching on that this femme fatale is the reason he's a caterpillar when she later tells him point-blank what she did — on the day of her wedding to his enemy no less — he still insists that they're destined for each other.
- In many strip clubs in the United States, exotic dancers earn all their money from tips and from commissions on drinks ordered for them by their customers. Therefore, it's standard practice for them to flirt with their customers whilst "in character" in order to encourage them to spend more money. TV Tropes is not the place to debate the ethics of this practice; however, there are some (often loosely-enforced) laws on touching which attempt to protect both workers from clients and clients from workers.
- Defense contractors and other firms handling sensitive or classified data don't beat around the bush at all. They will put up conspicuous workplace posters that say, in effect, "If she's a 10 and you're a 2, be careful."
- Gender-inverted during the Cold War with "Romeo spies" used by East Germany to get secrets from female secretaries working for the West German government.