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Yawn and Reach

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"The old yawning trick. Watch his arm."

This is when a guy puts his arm around a woman's shoulders while pretending to yawn, in an attempt to look smooth and nonchalant. This trope only applies when this is a romantic gesture, rather than a comforting thing. If they're boyfriend and girlfriend, this is widespread—in TV and in Real Life. If not, hilarity is likely to ensue.


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    Comic Books 
  • Pulled off successfully in American Born Chinese. Hilarity still ensues, though, as the boy realizes that by draping his arm over his love interest, he had rubbed some of the (very visible) soap bubbles on his hand onto her shoulder, and spends a good deal of time agonizing over whether she noticed or not.
  • Mac Gargan/Venom tries to pull this on Daken in Dark Avengers, but chickens out at the absolute last second. Daken responds by reaching between Mac's legs... and taking a handful of popcorn from the bag Mac is holding in his lap.
  • In the Immortal Iron Fist comic book, the Boisterous Bruiser character Fat Cobra attempts to do this to the martial artist Tiger's Beautiful Daughter as they're sitting next to each other at dinner. For his troubles, she stabs him in the hand with one of her hairpins.

    Fan Works 
  • In Til Death Do Us Part, Misty notices Professor Oak doing this to Delia (sans yawning) while sitting on a park bench eating ice cream. It's the first time she notices the two aren't as platonic as they initially seemed.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Cheaper by the Dozen 2, Steve Martin and Eugene Levy's feuding characters follow one of Levy's sons and one of Martin's daughters into a movie theater, and when the son goes for, as Martin calls it, "The Move," Martin demonstrates it on Levy (who doesn't know about it), much to the bemusement of the In-Universe movie audience.
  • Grease: In the drive-in movie scene, Danny does this with Sandy, and then he fakes a sneeze to jolt her closer to him. But then he tries to touch more than just her shoulders, which causes her to jump out of the car and run away.
  • Lampshaded in Hellboy (2004):
    [As they watch Hellboy's crush, Liz, and John sitting on a bench]
    Kid on rooftop: Look at him! He's yawning! He's bored!
    Hellboy: Yeah, yeah, the ol' "stretch-and-yawn" trick. Watch and learn, kid.
  • In The Lonely Guy, Larry tells the story of how he tried this on a girl and apparently everything went better than expected. Up to the point where he spent the majority of the movie with his hand on her breast. Until the lights came up and he realised his hand was actually on her purse...
  • Doug from A Night at the Roxbury does this. The girl moves his hand from her shoulder, to her breast.

  • This manoeuvre is part of Yavain's "how to mooch up girls" crash course to Scout in anachronauts.
  • In The Hob's Bargain by Patricia Briggs, Caefawn the hob sits next to Aren and rests his tail on her other side. She moves it, only for him to slowly work it over back to her other side again.
  • Subverted in Kushiel's Legacy. Phedre reaches for a knife on a nightstand, to assassinate Waldemar Selig. Her movement wakes him, and so she plays it off as this trope, instead.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold calls it the "I'm-just-resting-my-arm-on-the-back-of-this-chair technique". It's her young-lothario character, Ivan, that does it, in the Vorkosigan Saga novel Cetaganda.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in 30 Rock when Jenna employs this method to seduce a billionaire — with her leg.
  • In The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Big Pete attempts this on his drive-in date with Ellen, but it takes him over an hour to work up the nerve, and by the time his hand actually reaches her shoulder, she's sensed what he's up to and squirms away.
  • Marcia's boyfriend doing this to her on The Brady Bunch.
  • Richie attempted this on Happy Days, but he needed to use a certain arm, and so he actually asked the girl to switch places before attempting it.
    • When Joanie had a date in one episode. Fonzie taught her a countermove to such an action: elbowing your date in the gut.
  • Used and lampshaded in Herman's Head when Herman is dating a Former Child Star who had the trope used on her character as a teenager. At the end of the episode, she uses the technique herself on Herman.
  • iCarly: Freddie uses one of these to try and bust a move on Carly in iDon't Want to Fight. Freddie fails, not just because he's Just Friends, but because he's interrupted by a toilet flushing (Spencer saying goodbye to a goldfish he killed). He also arguably started off too far away for a really effective move.
  • Howard Moon does this in The Mighty Boosh to Precious Lilywhite, who is a woman made out of a coconut and some sticks. Yes, really, and it's quite charming, too.
  • Zack tried a version of this while on a movie date in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, his excuse being that it was "chilly".
  • Seinfeld
    • One variation that served the same basic purpose: stopping-short. While a man's driving a car with a woman in the passenger seat, he brakes suddenly and puts his arm out in front of her, supposedly to make sure she doesn't slam into the dashboard, but actually so her breasts will slam into his arm instead.
    • Also happened to George. It failed
  • Tom demonstrates this technique to B'Elanna in a holographic movie theater in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Repression".
  • In That '70s Show, Donna does this to Eric.
  • In the Ugly Betty episode "Something Wicked This Way Comes", Gio has to pretend to be Betty's boyfriend. When he puts his arm around her, his acting becomes a little too convincing for Henry.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • A very early Doonesbury has Michael pulling this on JJ, successfully. He also tries to put his hand on her leg but manages to get a handful of ice from her soda instead.
  • Garfield with Jon and Liz. It fails.
  • Knute teaches Gunther about the proper Yawn And Reach technique in a Luann arc.

    Video Games 


    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Jonesy in 6teen explains this to Wyatt when giving him his dating training.
    • Darth Mall also attempted this on Nikki, only to fail spectacularly.
  • In a Family Guy episode, when Peter wants to be a redneck, he does this...with Meg.
  • Futurama:
    • At one point used by Fry toward Leela with zero success.
      Leela: Take it off or I'll break it off.
    • Kif does this to Amy with success.
  • Happy Tree Friends:
    • Used when Nutty imagines dating a gumball machine and does this when he is in movies with the said gumball machine.
    • The Mole does this to Lumpy on their literal blind date. At this point, a bird pulls on Lumpy's exposed brain, making Lumpy's hand slap The Mole in the face.
  • Parodied in Kaeloo, when Mr. Cat pulls this manuever on Quack-Quack on a couch in order to punch him in the face.
  • Dale Gribble tells his son Joseph to do this on a girl he likes (Connie) when she is tutoring him in King of the Hill. "Don't forget to yawn-and-stretch!"
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Chat Noir chooses a bad time to attempt this trope: when Ladybug is already steaming mad for unrelated reasons. Normally she's patient with his unwanted advances, but here it was the final straw and she bolts upright to rant about her problems. Fortunately, the other cinemagoers aren't too annoyed.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer tries to teach Grampa this technique, complete with an explanatory song.
    • Also used with Principal Skinner and Patty, though she catches on and tells him off when he does it.
    • And in the episode where Homer and Marge tell the story of how they met as children, except it's deconstructed as it causes Marge to worry that she's boring Homer.
    • Also in the Treehouse of Horror episode "Starship Poopers" with Kang attempting to crossbreed with Marge.
      Kodos: Initiate fertilization procedure.
      Kang: (Yawn and reach)
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man's first season finale, Flash Thompson attempts this on Mary Jane Watson, with predictable results.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) has a boyfriend/girlfriend example in the episode "The People's Choice", where Casey does it to April while hanging out at his grandmother's farm.
  • A really cute version in Xiaolin Showdown: In one of his dreams, Raimundo and Kimiko are watching a compilation of Raimundo's best moments of the series and in the shadows you can see him stretching out his arm...only to have it fail because he ends up putting his arm around Hannibal (who is manipulating his dreams). He doesn't react well.

     Real Life 
  • Dave Barry once described doing this on a date as a youth. The joke comes as he says that his arm went numb because he had to keep it a molecule away from her actual body.

Alternative Title(s): Yawn Reach Around