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Wasted Beauty

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"Such beauty is wasted on the soul of a killer."
Hanzo on Widowmaker, Overwatch

People are naturally drawn to beauty, but when it comes to attracting friends or love interests, other factors — such as personality, attitude, etc. — might play an equally, if not more, important role than one's physical appearance alone.

This trope is about people who are acknowledged by other characters as being physically attractive but have quirks or problems that end up repelling most of the people who might otherwise be interested in them. Maybe they're a Jerkass (or even evil), maybe they're shallow and dumb, or maybe they just don't fit their society's ideal standards of a man/woman. Regardless of the reason, however (and whether or not the others' repulsion is justified), their flaws/quirks pretty much nullify whatever charms their good looks could have.

For a character to qualify for this trope, two things must apply:

  1. They are considered to be attractive in-universe.
  2. They say and/or do things that visibly repulse many, if not all, of their former admirers.

It is not enough for an attractive character to have negative traits but these qualities must actively harm their potential popularity among other people. Due to Double Standard, beautiful female characters may repulse men simply for being more proactive or ambitious (or, conversely, more sloppy/lazy) than the common image of an "ideal woman", whereas men with those same issues might still attract admirers until they commit a truly reprehensible act to make others lose interest.

This trope may overlap with Beauty Is Bad, Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon, Handsome Lech, Unkempt Beauty, Proud Beauty, etc. if the character's pride, perversion, sloppiness, and/or other wickedness shatter other people's initial admiration for their good looks.

Compare Attractiveness Isolation, in which a good-looking person (usually a woman) fails to attract any suitors because they are considered "out of their league" by their admirers, rather than due to any flaw of character. Contrast Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!, where a character's beauty lets them get away with more than what would be tolerated from less attractive people.

See also Cool Loser, which is about characters who are far less popular than they would be despite having numerous attractive qualities, often due to meta reasons (i.e. the character must be charming to attract audience sympathy, but is treated as unpopular to make them the narrative underdog of the setting).

Not to be confused with Blemished Beauty, where an otherwise good-looking character has a physical defect that doesn't actually detract their attractiveness.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Karma from Assassination Classroom is considered attractive by his female classmates. However, they point out that his scary personality holds him back from being a total ladykiller.
  • Exploited in Ayakashi Triangle. When the male protagonist is transformed into a beautiful girl, he makes no effort to act more feminine, and his brash personality is a turn-off for other guys who would otherwise be attracted to his female appearance. This is all good for Matsuri, who still considers himself male, and would not have appreciated the romantic/sexual attention from other guys.
  • The one-shot manga, "Beast Girlfriend" and its sequel, "Wolf Boyfriend", has Riku. Being a model's son, he is very aware of his attractiveness and is highly critical of other people's physical appearances. Girls who are initially charmed by his good looks would storm away in disgust when he inevitably makes Innocently Insensitive remarks about their lack of beauty.
  • Chihaya from Chihayafuru is actually nicknamed "Beauty in Vain" due to her lack of awareness of her own physical appearance and her Hot-Blooded, "unladylike" passion for karuta, and most guys who would otherwise find her attractive are too weirded out by her hobbies to try to go after her.
  • Played for Laughs with Victor the vampire in Dragon Goes House-Hunting. He is a shoddy real estate agent who tries to sell defective (and frankly unlivable) houses to Letty and Nell while Dearia is away and occasionally transforms into a Tall, Dark, and Handsome Long-Haired Pretty Boy to make his pitch more "convincing". Nell at first approves of his humanoid form (his true form is that of a human-sized, bipedal bat), but as his more and more questionable character starts to show, added to the fact that he tends to exploit his Vampires Are Sex Gods form to pitch particularly bad houses, only makes it more infuriating when he does switch to his more attractive appearance.
    Nell: [angrily] Using your hotness to close a deal is cheating!
  • Gakuen Babysitters: Zigzagged with Kosuke Mamizuka. He is a popular actor with hordes of fangirls fawning over his good looks, but most people don't know what an unreliable wimp he usually is off-camera. When he was in high school and play kendo, most of the girls in his club are turned off by his weakness, calling him "cute but weak". That being said, his wife and kids love him for who he is and admire his determination to improve himself for others.
  • Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-San, the pilot that would eventually be reworked into Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, has Yumeko. A lot of guys at her school think she's actually pretty cute, but her obsession with romance and her obnoxious tendency to drag the people around her to play out her romantic fantasies makes them rather wary of her.
    Boy: Nozaki from Class B...? She's cute when she keeps her mouth shut... but when she talks, well... It's such a waste.
  • Goth has Yoru Morino, a Raven Hair, Ivory Skin who, despite her beauty, is nevertheless avoided by her classmates due to her being a Creepy Loner Girl with a questionable scar on her wrist. The only people who actually approach her are the Nightmare Fetishist Itsuki Kamiyama and other criminals trying to kill her. Meanwhile, the other guys, while acknowledging her good looks, don't seem concerned when she goes missing in one chapter—with one of them even joking that she's been kidnapped.
  • In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, this applies to both Shirogane and Fujiwara. Both are recognized as attractive characters in-universe, and even Fujiwara herself realized that Shirogane hits all her preferences in a man, but knowing that he's an anxious guy who had to be constantly trained by her to do basic actions led her to see him as more of a son figure. Likewise, Ishigami thinks he could have fallen for Fujiwara if he didn't know about her selfish and extremely ditzy sides.
  • KonoSuba:
    • The three female members of Kazuma Satou's party fall victim to this to varying degrees.
      • Kazuma has stated many times that his companion Aqua is beautiful, but any attraction he had for her dried up once he realized that she's an incompetent headache of a girl.
      • Similarly, he freely acknowledges that Darkness is an absolute bombshell with beautiful blonde hair and brilliant blue eyes, but her masochistic tendencies are a complete turn-off (especially because she is not at all subtle about it). On the occasions where she gallantly stands her ground to protect people, Kazuma notes that if she acted like that more often, he'd probably have fallen head-over-heels for her and regrets how her beauty is wasted on such a twisted personality.
      • While he teased her as being a loli or jailbait at first, Kazuma admits that Megumin actually is quite pretty. However, her obsession with casting Explosion magic and Chuunibyou tendencies makes her a handful. In addition, she has a terrible temper and in many of the earlier chapters she's mentioned as having picked fights with people for imagined slights (for example, attacking some male adventurers who leered at passing-by female adventurers but completely ignored her). Towards the end of the series, he notes to himself that she'd actually make a good wife when he notices that she does her best to live on a small budget while sending most money she earns home to her family.
    • In one of their earliest interactions, fellow adventurer Dust expresses jealousy towards Kazuma for having a party of beautiful girls but changes his mind when he tries to switch parties with Kazuma for a day and almost gets himself killed by their ridiculous antics. In contrast, Kazuma earns the respect of Dust's party members Taylor, Rin and Keith by clever use of his various skills.
    • Cecily is a genuinely beautiful woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. Unfortunately, she's also part of the Axis Cult (the religion that worships Aqua) and just as big a handful as their other members. A key tenet of the Axis Cult is to live life as they want, and what Cecily really loves is cute young girls like Megumin, leading to her hugging and cuddling the younger girl much to the latter's dismay.
  • Real Mo Tamani Wa Uso Wo Tsuku: Downplayed example with Nanami. While pretty, she is also extremely introverted to the point she'd flinch away from male classmates other than Kaoru. In addition, Kaoru mentions that her hair is pretty, but also kind of wasted because she doesn't take proper care of it. She eventually grows comfortable enough to interact with other people, and begins asking her mother for advice on hair care.
  • Recorder and Randsell: Played for laughs with Atsushi, who looks like a handsome young man, but is actually an elementary school kid who often acts even younger than his chronological age. Many times, older girls who take interest in the handsome guy get weirded out and run away when Atsushi starts behaving childishly.
  • Fiona Frost, a.k.a. Agent Nightfall from Spy X Family is noted to be very beautiful that even Yor notices her good looks. However, despite her beauty and competence, she's not very popular in her circle, and her fellow spies think of her as being too ruthless, arrogant, and emotionless. Even Franky, typically a womanizer, gets quite enough of her after dealing with her antics for one night, and when Fiona mentions that she might need his services again in the future, he promptly rejects it.
    Franky: You really are awful, you know that? Does anyone like you?
  • Sugar Sugar Rune: When Chocola is called to introduce herself to her new classmates after arriving to the human world for the first time, the boys quickly take notice of her beauty. However, when she opens her mouth, they are shocked and turned off by her abrasiveness — which, in turn, shocks Chocola because the guys in her homeworld find those very qualities appealing.
  • In The World God Only Knows, Nora's capture partner Ryou Asama is this. It's acknowledged in-universe that he is very pretty, but he's also so stupid that he's absolutely useless in his job of romancing girls to try and push the escape spirits out of their hearts.

    Comic Books 
  • Reggie Mantle from Archie Comics is quite the handsome young man, and a capable athlete to boot. Sadly, he's also a narcissistic Upper-Class Twit and incorrigible jerkass. Though the band keeps him as bass guitarist, few others can stomach Reggie enough to interact with him.
  • Spider-Man: Flash Thompson has a Heel Realization in college when he notices that "Puny Parker" has dated several attractive women and has a pretty devoted circle of friends, while his own high-school girlfriend Liz Allen actively distances herself from him. While he was the big man back in high school, his Jerk Jock tendencies came back to bite him while Peter Parker's quiet, bookish personality made him seem much more mature. It didn't help that somehow "Puny" Parker grew some very impressive muscles.

  • The original story of Cinderella describes the title character's stepsisters and stepmother as "beautiful of face, but vile and black of heart." While some interpretations of the tale make them "ugly stepsisters" instead, the majority of adaptations have the stepsisters as genuinely attractive women with absolutely horrible personalities, explaining why they can't find men to marry them. Some versions (such as the 1997 TV musical) take it a step further and dress the stepsisters in Impossibly Tacky Clothes as well, covering up their natural beauty with garish fashions.
  • Durarara!!: Izaya and Shizuo are considered fairly good-looking, but according to Shinra, girls wouldn't approach them during high school because Shizuo's strength and temper were terrifying and Izaya was too shady. However, Izaya manages to manipulate some girls into becoming his devoted 'followers' (which included Mikage, though she broke away after an incident and dropped out). Deconstructed with Shizuo, since his tendency to scare people off left him with very low self-esteem and a belief that he could never be loved.
  • Gone Girl: Discussed when Amy has had a lot of relationships, but none have worked out. In her diary, Amy says that she can see all her friends wondering what's wrong with her since she's beautiful, intelligent, and rich. It turns out that Amy is an extreme Control Freak and a sociopath who drives everyone away from her.
  • Pride and Prejudice:
    • At the Meryton Assembly, the town's residents consider Mr. Darcy the best-looking man in the room, but are soon disgusted by his arrogant, standoffish behavior. Elizabeth in particular is angry that he publicly said she wasn't pretty enough for him to dance with.
    • Mr. Wickham manages to charm everyone in Meryton with his good looks and charisma until he runs off with Lydia, almost ruining her reputation until he's persuaded to marry her. Mrs. Bennet is the only one who forgives him for this.
  • Sharp Objects: Camille is considered extremely beautiful, and no one can understand why she hasn't married or had children. It's because she is covered in words that she cut into herself as part of ritualistic self-harm since she was a young teenager, which everyone considers repulsive when they see it. (The one exception is John, with whom Camille wouldn't have any sort of sexual or long-lasting relationship because he is grieving deeply and only seventeen.)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Prince Joffrey Baratheon is widely considered good-looking due to his curly blond hair, deep green eyes, and tall stature. Sansa Stark fell head over heels in love with him because he was handsome and charming, like a storybook prince. But once he executed her father and ordered his knights to beat her, any positive feelings she had for him completely evaporated.
      • A platonic example also occurs with Joffrey's mother Cersei, praised by nearly everyone as the World's Most Beautiful Woman. Sansa admired her for being beautiful and graceful until Cersei went along with the execution and started verbally abusing her.
    • Arianne Martell was strongly attracted to Gerold "Darkstar" Dayne, who had a reputation for being one of the most beautiful and dangerous men in Dorne. She even briefly considered marrying him. After he tried to kill Myrcella Baratheon, a little girl who was betrothed to Arianne's brother and living with their family, Arianne felt nothing but revulsion toward him.
    • Robert Baratheon was remembered as being extremely attractive by everyone old enough to know him in his youth, particularly due to his Heroic Build. Cersei couldn't help finding he was very handsome when they got married even though she was in love with someone else. However, Cersei instantly started hating Robert after he called out his dead fiancée's name the first time they slept together.
  • Whateley Universe: Belphoebe is created with the body of a beautiful drow and a copy of the mind of Belphegor, a repellent slob. When Jadis first meets her in No Beast So Fierce, she describes her as gorgeous but having a ton of off-putting things about her, from her clothes to the way she carries herself. (Belphoebe later moves away from this as she develops her own identity.)
    She was weird — she was, as I said, utterly, despicably lovely, but she was wearing an Izod polo shirt and some chinos, neither of which really fit her. She had a beautiful contralto voice with a polished British Public School accent, but there was something about her voice that made my ears itch. She had tons of grace and she almost glowed with physical vigor, but she moved like a schlump. She had all the raw material for a real heart-stopper, but she used it the wrong way. It was like seeing a vintage 1920s Rolls Royce Silver Ghost being used to haul dead fish.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Friends: Rachel's sister Amy is very attractive, but also extremely rude, obnoxious, and annoying. Everyone finds her insufferable, including Joey, who's always hitting on hot girls.
  • The Holby City character Rachel Reid was considered attractive by characters, and she was a downplayed example of Ms. Fanservice, being in a khaki T-shirt and jeans, but the fact she was an Addled Addict put many guys off her. She discussed this trope in-universe.
  • On That '70s Show, Jackie is frequently repulsing guys with her Rich Bitch attitude. Even when she was dating Hyde, he admits that when she starts going off, he just envisions her in a coconut bikini while relaxing music plays in the background.

  • A frequent character trait of Eminem's Slim Shady character, whose cute appearance means screaming girls (and gay men) fawn over him at his shows, but he's also a Stupid Evil Ax-Crazy Serial Killer who is quite disturbed. As a result, he's continually rejected by women or gets beaten up when he hits on them, and can usually only get sex by paying, using force or finding a woman as desperate as he is.
  • G.R.L's "Ugly Heart" is an upbeat song about leaving a guy whose incredible looks did not make up for his ugly heart.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry: Dante is widely considered to be attractive due to his immense and stylish power, heroic nature, chiseled body, and handsome features (even after aging a bit). However, he is a lazy, slovenly, arrogant layabout with a terrible sense of responsibility and poor sense of money. Combined with caring much more about demon-slaying than relationships, these traits are often considered an Instant Turn-Off for many women who are otherwise attracted to him, with Lady in particular even calling him "undateable" after he continually needs her to bail him out financially.
  • While Manuela from Fire Emblem: Three Houses doesn't seem to have much of a problem getting first dates, the men she sees usually don't come back for a second after witnessing her alcoholism and messy living conditions.
  • Harvest Town has Lee Yau, the local Hospital Hottie who is very proud of his intelligence and good looks. However, his arrogance and otherwise unpleasant personality (which May criticizes him about) makes him quite unpopular — especially when compared to Duke, who is equally good-looking but is much more friendly and approachable.
  • Overwatch: Widowmaker, aka Amélie Lacroix, was once a renowned French ballerina, revered the world over for her grace and beauty. However, after Talon kidnapped and brainwashed her to be a cold, remorseless assassin (with unsettling blue skin at that), Widowmaker became an absolute nightmare that thrives on death, with her beauty only serving to help get close to her prey. In-game, ex-Yakuza Hanzo Shimada even directly states this, as shown in the page quote.
  • Persona 5: Discussed. Akechi is very attractive and has tons of fans in love with his charming, 'Detective Prince' persona, though his real self is violent and deeply disturbed. Ryuji remarks that if his fans were to see Akechi for who he really is, they'd be terrified.

    Western Animation 
  • Captain Zapp Brannigan from Futurama seems at first glance to be the dashing, heroic type, complete with handsome face and fine physique (that is until you find out he wears a girdle). Those who know him, however, are painfully aware of Brannigan's Know-Nothing Know-It-All pomposity, his Glory Hound arrogance, his jerkass demeanor, and that he has attained command by being Kicked Upstairs.
  • Inside Job (2021): "Sex Machina" sees the handsome Brett and hideous Glenn switching bodies for a week so that they can see which of them has a better dating life. While Glenn is initially more successful at attracting women using Brett's body, his advantage soon evaporates because those same women are repulsed by his condescending, sexist attitudes.
  • Johnny Bravo: Johnny is a good-looking Hunk who can't get girls because of his stupidity and boorish personality.
  • Total Drama:
    • Heather is acknowledged as hot many times, but her "unattractive personality" as José puts it always costs her any goodwill she has from the rest of the cast.
    • Justin is widely known as the most attractive male character in the series; women, men, and even animals desire him and he knows it. However, constant exposure to him eventually desensitizes others to his beauty, at which point they notice that he exploits them for favors and is quite airheaded.
    • Alejandro rivals Justin in the looks department, with the added bonus of being The Ace while Justin is a Brainless Beauty. He also proves to be even nastier than Heather to the point where she's considered a hero for being his last opponent during the finale of World Tour. Unlike them, Alejandro's attractiveness doesn't suffer from being exposed as a Manipulative Bastard; the girls he charmed clearly wouldn't date him afterward, but have a hard time getting him out of their mind.