[Ralph grabs them and breaks them over King Candy's head]
Candy: You hit a guy with glasses... That, heh...that's...well played.
A common Stock Phrase, and a Tempting Fate trope: whenever any fictional character tries to invoke this, the odds are pretty good that he's about to get hit. The usual reaction is the attacker will immediately pull the glasses off, and then sock his opponent, but other variations are not unheard of.
The origins of this trope probably has roots in two things from Western culture: first, there was a time when wearing glasses was considered to be a sign of enfeeblement, as the only people who would need glasses were old folks, people with truly severe sight disabilities, and people that read too many books. (It was assumed that the last group would not care too much about "manly" sports or training.) As a result, hitting a man with glasses was picking on somebody who was obviously weaker than the person doing the hitting. This has become a Discredited Trope, as the advancements in mass production of eyeglass lenses and correctly diagnosing milder vision correction needs have resulted in far more people wearing glasses than in decades past. On top of that, the fact that most people are far more likely to have to read than they did even at the start of the 20th century, the increase of screen time with televisions, computers, and even smart phones, has made the use of glasses more frequent among both the general population and in fiction.
The second root for this trope likely is that until about the 1980s or so lenses were mostly made of glass, so hitting someone while they had their glasses on could result in that "obviously weaker person" discussed above getting broken glass to the face (and specifically the eye) as a result, and thus was seen as a detestable thing to do. Anyone worried about that will be glad to hear that technology has marched on. Currently the lenses of virtually all glasses are made of one form of plastic or another, and due to the properties of the plastics used to make lenses, the lenses of modern glasses are nearly shatterproof. In fact, in order to get glass lenses made someone needs to specifically request them, (and be prepared to wait weeks or longer while the lenses are made) or have vision issues that make them unable to adequately use the plastic lenses.
For anyone with poor eyesight, Hold My Glasses is still a good idea prior to a fight, because while the lenses may not shatter, the frames that hold the lenses are not the most durable of objects, and no one wants to be stuck in a Blind Without 'Em situation. Then again, some characters you might not want to challenge when The Glasses Come Off.
- In Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin requests that Enishi removes his glasses before they fight. Enishi refuses and they fight. Eventually, Kenshin lands a hit to the face and breaks the glasses, scolding Enishi for not taking them off when he had the chance.
- In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Kenichi insists Odin take off his glasses before Kenichi finishes beating him up. Turns out the glasses were acting as a sort of Power Limiter; without them, Odin is nearsighted, and his martial artist's sixth-sense supercharges to make up for the deficiency, allowing him to "see" through all of Kenichi's attacks with ease.
- Subverted in the Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug. Kid Hero Gohan kicks an invading alien mook right in the visor of his uniform, and the mook is seen staggering around in horrific pain and clutching his face afterward... because Slug's mooks belong to a species who can't stand the warmth and sunlight of Earth. The abridged version, however plays the trope straight and actually shows the implications of this trope, as instead of being pained by the sight of sunlight, the mook screams "Oh God, all I can see is glass and blood!"
- Completely averted in Classi9: When Tchaikovsky restrains her and asks her to fight him, Ren's first reflex is to swing for his face. Demon!Liszt didn't mind attacking Tchaiko with his glasses on either. Wagner went even further and freed himself before smashing Tchaiko's glasses.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable has an example in the spirit of this trope (if not the letter) in the Highway Star arc. When Josuke finally catches up to the Stand's user Yuya Fungami, he's already in the hospital from a motorcycle accident he was in a few days prior. Fungami says "You wouldn't hit a guy who's already injured, would you?" Josuke's response? Heal Fungami to perfect health using Crazy Diamond, then beat the everloving crap out of him.
- Discussed in Joshiraku, where Gankyou cites this trope as being an advantage in a fight, since the opponent will be hesitant to hit the person wearing glasses, thus allowing the glasses wearer to get the first hit in.
- Early in the John Byrne comic reboot, Superman faces a gang which includes a violent, glasses-wearing, heavily armed female member spouting revolutionary phrases. She tries the double-powered "You wouldn't hit a lady with glasses, would you?" Superman gently removes her glasses and flicks his finger, knocking her cold. He then says, "A lady? No, but then I've never met a lady who carries dynamite under her coat."
- In a comic from The Superman Adventures, the Villain of the Week pulls out a pair of glasses and asks Superman this question. His response? "Wouldn't dream of it... Ms. Lane, on the other hand..."
- In Issue #37, Clark (Multi-Face in disguise) asks "You wouldn't shoot a guy with glasses, would you?"
- In one X-Men comic, some drunkards try to pick a fight with (civilian-dressed) Cyclops. He said the trope name, so one member of the mob removes the glasses for him. This doesn't end well.
- In the long Bash Street Kids story entitled "All for Fun and Fun for All", which appeared in The Beano back in the early 2000s and was mostly recently reprinted in the 2009 Bash Street Kids Annual, Spotty dons 'erberts glasses in an attempt to get Teacher not too push him into a river. In the spirit of this trope Teacher ignores this and pushes Spotty in the river. To be specific, Teacher responds with "Wrong, Spotty! People with glasses should ESPECIALLY be pushed in!" Smiffy, who is standing behind Teacher, overhears this and decides to push Teacher into the river to utilise his new-found knowledge.
- Parodied in PS238: "You wouldn't shoot a guy with mask-lenses on, would you?" Purely a heroic quip, though, since the Flea has actually been itching for a battle.
- An early Lucky Luke story has a bookmaker attempt to bribe a boxer into Throwing the Fight. The boxer's answer is "take your glasses off, I'll give you your answer".
- This is done in a 1982 comic strip with Snoopy as Joe Cool:
Linus: Hey, Joe Cool! One of the guys over at the gym is looking for you. He says if he catches you near his girl again, he's going to pound you!
Snoopy: [wearing six pairs of Cool Shades] He wouldn't hit somebody wearing glasses, would he?
- From a 1960s strip, during the period when Linus was wearing glasses:
Linus: [to Lucy, who is inspecting the refrigerator] If you're looking for an apple, I ate the last one.
Lucy: Boy, if you weren't wearing glasses, I'd slug you a good one!
Linus: [turning to Snoopy] Glasses are good for your eyes… They keep you from getting punched in them!
- This is done in a 1982 comic strip with Snoopy as Joe Cool:
- Garfield once tried to use this trope to avoid the usual Produce Pelting while giving one of his shows on the fence. The audience responded by only throwing tomatoes at his body and limbs, leaving his head the only part of his body not covered in splashed tomatoes.
- U.S. Acres:
- It invokes the trope in this strip. A worm wearing glasses used this to discourage Booker from beating him. Booker was initially proud to have shown that "chickens do have hearts" but later banged his head on a tree out of frustration once he remembered that "worms don't have eyes".
- A worm wondered whether a fish would eat a worm with glasses.
- In a B.C. strip from the 1960s, Fat Broad threatens to hit the bespectacled Clumsy Carp when the latter invokes this trope:
Clumsy: You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses, would you?
Fat Broad: No, I'd hit him with my fist! HAW, HAW, HAW!
(Clumsy promptly removes his own glasses and knocks Fat Broad for a loop with them)
- Funky Winkerbean:
- During the gag-a-day era of the pre-1990s, strip protagonist Les Moore was a recurring victim of bullies, usually Bull Bushka. The fact Les wore thick glasses didn't dissuade Bull in the least.
- During the teen pregnancy storyline (Lisa Moore becomes pregnant), Lisa — at the time wearing thick, horn-rimmed glasses — is implied to have been beaten by her boyfriend, Frankie Miller, a high school quarterback for a rival of Westview's, after he learned he had gotten her pregnant.
- During the first "time jump" era, Susan Smith, one of Les' high school students (and much like Lisa before her, mousy, nerdy, thick-glasses wearing and unpopular), is beaten by her boyfriend, a popular jock. While Les and Bull note expose the jock, Lisa shares her story with Susan about her time with Frankie.
- In Mr. Bug Goes to Town, Swat tells Mr. Beetle, when it is revealed that he lied about killing Hoppity, that he shouldn't hit him because he's wearing glasses. He chases him off-screen where nothing is seen but a lot is heard.
- King Candy in Wreck-It Ralph tries to pull this on Ralph. Ralph proceeds to literally hit King Candy over the head with the frames.
- In Batman (1989), The Joker (Jack Nicholson) whips on a pair of fake glasses and makes the appeal, in the typical inappropriately comedic in timing Joker way, but Batman decks him in the face anyway. Fun Fact: One especially stupid TV edit cuts out the entire climax after this point and goes straight to the Joker falling to his death.
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. While playing dodgeball:
Simon: Glasses! Glasses! You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses, would you?! [Gets hit by a dodgeball] Right in the pancreas.
- Groucho Marx says this in Go West (and, yes, the guy would).
- Shemp does this to avoid getting hit by Moe in The Three Stooges short "Who Done It?" Of course, Moe does it anyway without bothering to remove the glasses.
- In Vivacious Lady, the Apt. Manager (Franklin Pangborn) says that he has glasses, but they're being fixed, reminding Peter (James Stewart) that he shouldn't hit a man with glasses.
- Sidewalk Stories: The artist resorts to this when the much bigger rival artist is about to pummel him, whipping out glasses that he apparently had staged for that purpose.
- In Detective School Dropouts, after accidentally ramming the car of a pair of henchmen in Pisa, one of the heroes, who is bespectacled, is punched in the face by one of the henchmen. He says "Are you crazy? You don't hit a guy with glasses." and is promptly punched again. The protagonists then retaliate by ripping the henchman's clothes off.
- Insufferable Genius Agnan of the French novel series Le Petit Nicolas by René Goscinny gets hit by by his class comrades on a fairly regular basis. However, since he's the Teacher's Pet, they rarely get away with it.
- In The Dark Tower book Wizard and Glass, Eldred Jonas is absolutely willing to hit his glasses-wearing underling Roy Depape, but warns Depape first that Depape is about to receive a beating for his failure, giving Depape a chance to take the glasses off before Jonas pounds on him. Jonas makes clear though that if Depape doesn't move fast enough in removing the glasses, Jonas would have had no problem beating the crap out of him anyway and breaking the glasses.
Jonas: Take off your spectacles.
Depape: Jonas, what's this about, I don't-
Jonas: Or if you want 'em broke, leave 'em on. It's all the same to me. [As soon as Depape takes off the glasses, Jonas hits him]
- In Elizabeth Peters's novel The Golden One, the protagonists' "hopelessly well-bred" ally, Bertie, confronts an arrogant English youth who almost raped his Egyptian love interest, but hesitates to throw the first punch, because the man is wearing glasses - and gets sucker-punched for his consideration. During their second confrontation, Bertie doesn't hesitate to knock the man flat, though he insists that the man take off his glasses first, to the annoyance of the protagonists.
- In the 2000 miniseries of Arabian Nights, the Genie of the Ring unsuccessfully attempts this to avoid being attacked by the Genie of the Lamp.
Genie of the Ring: You wouldn't hit a guy wearing...whatever these are would you?
Genie of the Lamp: Hold still while I think about it...
- Batman (1966)
- In "The Bookworm Turns", Batman cites this trope as he prepares to battle the Bookworm's Mooks, requesting that they take off their glasses, which they oblige. Batman takes a moment to deliver An Aesop to Robin: "Never hit a man with glasses." Which is Hilarious in Hindsight considering Michael Keaton's Batman would avert this trope 20 years later (and to a guy who definitely deserved it, no less).
- In "It's the Way You Play the Game", a mook named Leo confronts Batman.
Leo: You wouldn't hit a man with glasses, would ya?
Batman: You're not wearing glasses.
Leo: I'm not? [Prepares to punch Batman]
Batman: [Punches Leo first] Laugh that off, Leo!
- El Chapulín Colorado once tried to get out of a fight by claiming he was not allowed to hit a guy with glasses. When the bad guy said "But I don't wear glasses", El Chapulin said "But I do" and then put on a pair of sunglasses.
- The Drew Carey Show: Kate hooks up with a trio of women who are identical to Drew, Oswald and Lewis. When the female Drew criticizes Kate for her anger issues, Kate responds "take off those glasses and I'll show you anger issues!
- Family Matters: Narrowly averted in the Season 1 episode "In a Jam," where a bully torments the glasses-wearing Urkel into giving him his lunch money. When Urkel stands up to the thug (who is more than twice his size), the bully — aptly named "Bull" Watson — threatens him with harm if he refuses again. When Urkel stands his ground a day later, Bull grabs Urkel by the collar and cocks his fist ... only for Eddie to show up in the proverbial nick of time to distract Bull and get him to reconsider. (Bull eventually gets a fist to his stomach, causing him to back off.)
- In contrast, in later seasons after Urkel invented his Transformation Chamber, Urkel's alter egos (most notably, Bruce Lee Urkel) were non-eyeglass wearing. This is always after the ruffians for the episode beat up the glasses-wearing Urkel.
- Subverted in Get Smart when Smart, 99, and The Chief are captured by KAOS agents and ordered to make a phone call for something. Smart notices that the agent covering them and closest to them is wearing glasses and he knows that the Chief can sing a note high enough to shatter glass. So, he makes up a story that the Chief needs to sing a certain note as part of a code on the phone, and the Chief sings that note to shatter the lenses of the KAOS agent's glasses, allowing Smart to tackle him. Thus their survival depended on specifically hitting a guy with glasses.
- Malcolm in the Middle had Reese remove a kid's glasses and punch him when he tried this excuse.
- In the first episode, a bully who tried to hit Malcolm ended up accidentally hitting Stevie instead. The fact Stevie wears glasses was one of the reasons the bully was berated for doing that.
- When Reese reestablishes his status as school bully, one of his first acts is to grab a bully who had stolen and was wearing another boy's glasses, grab the glasses with one hand, and then punch him so hard that he falls back, with the glasses still in place where his head had been.
- When Mister Ed has pulled a particularly unfortunate trick on Wilbur, he (somehow) hurriedly puts on a pair of glasses and warns "You can get five years for hitting a horse with glasses!"
- A variant happens on The Nanny. After one of Fran's many screw-ups, her boss Maxwell is standing nearby, looking furious. Fran hastily grabs Maxwell's eight-year-old daughter Gracie, holding her in front of her as a Human Shield of sorts, and says "You wouldn't hit the woman carrying your child, would you?"
- In the Quantum Leap episode "The Cam-ikazi Kid", Sam leaps into a dorky teenager who is harassed by bullies. He protests, "You can't pants a guy with glasses!" The bully replies, "What glasses?", takes the glasses, and pantses him anyway.
- Radio Enfer: Vincent (who wears glasses) says this to Maria when she's angry at him, adding he's also easily able to bleed from his nose. She responds by simply raising her arm in anger, causing him to run away in fear.
- Implied in The Rockford Files episode "The Kirkoff Case": Rockford puts on glasses and pretends to be an insurance agent; when the disguise fails and he starts getting roughed up, he protests, "Didn't you notice I was wearing glasses?"
- Tales of the Gold Monkey. In "Trunk from the Past", Jake Cutter accuses Ted (an Old Flame of Sarah White) of lying, so Ted throws a punch which Jake dodges just by leaning sideways, leaving Ted's fist poised in mid-air. Jake then says the only reason he hasn't hit back is because of this trope, so Ted angrily removes his glasses. Jake promptly knocks him through the nearest door.
- Walker, Texas Ranger:
- At least once on an episode, a criminal syndicate corners the glasses-wearing, elderly C.D. Parker (Noble Willingham) in an effort to intimidate him into getting Walker to drop his investigation. When C.D. tries to get them to back off by saying they shouldn't hit a guy with glasses, one of the crooks removes his glasses, breaks them... and then beats him to a pulp. (Of course, Walker gets his revenge in the end.)
- During the final fight scene in Season 6's "Forgotten People", C.D. himself once punched an orderly (who really had it coming due to him working for a corrupt nursing home administrator) who was wearing glasses. We later see C.D. with his hand bandaged and complaining that he even had to get a tetanus shot.
- At one MTV Video Music Awards show, someone booed Eminem on stage as he was accepting an award. Eminem, immediately assuming the heckler was Moby (whom the rapper dissed in his song and video for "Without Me", and who was cracking jokes with Jon Stewart about Eminem on a guest appearance on The Daily Show at the time), responded, "I will hit a man with glasses."
- Played for Laughs in Luigi il Pugilista by Elio e le Storie Tese: a boxer who wears glasses in the ring becomes the world champion because nobody wants to hit him. He loses the title when he takes his glasses off to impress the girl who holds the round sign. You can watch the video here (in Italian).
- WWE SummerSlam 91 featured WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Mr. Perfect vs. Bret "The Hitman" Hart. When Mr. Perfect's manager "Coach" stood by the ropes and tried to motivate his man to get up, Hart knocked him down. Both announcers were aghast that Hart would hit a man with glasses.
- On the last night of Season 4 of WWE NXT, Daniel Bryan was talking with his rookie, Ensemble Dark Horse Derrick Bateman backstage before a tag team match. Danielson recalled that he'd punch Bateman if he got eliminated (which he did, the prior week). Bateman reaches down and immediately tries to invoke this; as soon as he straightens up, Danielson decks him. But seeing how he would go on and win the match for his team, Danielson's actions turned into a Wangstless version of Get A Hold Of Yourself Man.
Daniel Bryan:[to Bateman] Now get up. Because you've got a NXT Rookie Reunion Tag Team Match tonight, an I want you to win! And I don't want you to win for me, I want you to win for you! I want you to win for chicks! I want you to win for America! AND I WANT YOU TO WIN FOR CLEVELAND!
- Jim Ross: More than once, "Good Ol' J.R." got socked — including after he began wearing glasses — by the heels, usually Triple H and at least once Mankind.
- Several of the heel managers of the 1980s WWF wore glasses (usually but not always sunglasses) and each one of them — Slick, Jimmy Hart and "Lucious" Johnny Valiant — got clocked when they tried to interfere in their charges' matches.
- In the late 1980s/early 1990s WWF, the character of Brother Love was a bespectacled Southern preacher who — during his Talk Show with Fists "The Brother Love Show"— was clearly alligned with the villians and did everything to antagonize the faces. Several times, he attempted to get involved in the action, almost always leading to him gettting socked by the good guys. The most frequent people who struck Love (both while he was wearing his glasses, and also after they were knocked off) were the top two faces of the WWF at the time: Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper has gotten a few licks in, while the Hart Foundation (the tag team of Bret "The Hitman" Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart) once clotheslined Love after a match. Every time, the announcers — save for the heelish Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan — supported hitting this guy with glasses every time.
- There was also Jameson, the over-the-top, dyed-in-the-wool autistic mark character who was the mascot of the Bushwackers. As part of Jameson's outfit, he wore taped up glasses … and more than once, he was roughed up by various heels, including the ultra-snobbish Beverly Brothers. Averted when a face team – usually, the Bushwackers – came to his rescue.
- In the standard ending of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Cranky Kong insults the protagonists' performance, and they surround him, apparently to beat him up. As they close in, Cranky puts on a pair of glasses and says the line.
- One of the motorcycle gangers Ben fights in Full Throttle will say this at the start of the battle, though it sounds more like a taunt than a plea for mercy.
- Looney Tunes:
- In "Transylvania 6-5000", Bugs Bunny (turned into a baseball bat) does this to Count Bloodcount (turned into a vampire bat). Since he knows what's coming, the Count quickly puts on a pair of glasses when he sees what Bugs transformed into; Bugs hits him anyway.
- In "Scrap Happy Daffy", Daffy Duck uses this against a goat. When the goat goes to attack Daffy's rear, a pair of glasses appear on his tail feathers too.
- In another cartoon, "Hare Splitter", Bugs put on some glasses to prevent his rival in love from hitting him. It doesn't work.
- Invoked in "Hippety Hopper". "He's safe. Nobody hits a guy with glasses on." (offscreen thud) "Of course, I could be wrong."
- In one episode of the X-Men: The Animated Series cartoon, some toughs in a bar are getting belligerent with Cyclops. He tries to play it cool and says the line, but one of them says "So? take 'em off.", grabs Cyke's shades, and things start to go downhill from there.
- In one episode of DuckTales (1987), Gizmoduck tries to persuade an attacking security robot not to hit him by putting on a wig and saying, "You wouldn't hit a lady, would you?" When that doesn't work, he adds a pair of glasses to his disguise and asks, "What about a lady in glasses?" He gets punted.
- Rocko's Modern Life: In the episode "Cabin Fever", Ed Bighead, while wearing goggles, uses a snow launcher to pelt Rocko and Heffer with snowballs, only to accidentally nail a bear, who removes Ed's goggles right before giving him a Megaton Punch to the face.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jackie is looking for a sheep's spirit using a pair of magic goggles. When he becomes surrounded by Shadowkhan, Jackie says this phrase.
- In the Futurama episode "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", Bender is caught cheating in a game of poker using X-ray glasses. When he's cornered, he nervously states, "Hey...you wouldn't hit a guy wearing X-ray glasses, would ya?" Unsurprisingly, it doesn't work.
- Subverted in an episode of Family Guy where Stewie whacks Brian (wearing glasses) in the face with a baseball bat, which causes the broken lens in the latter's glasses to cut his eyes.
- Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: Dick Dastardly once has the squadron wear glasses. When he tried to hit Muttley, the trope has been invoked and it worked.
- In the Danny Phantom episode "Splitting Images":
Danny: [in Poindexter's body] You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses! [dodges Poindexter's punch] You couldn't hit a guy with glasses! [dodges again] In fact, you couldn't hit the broad side of a barn!
Poindexter: [in Danny's body] Ugh! Hold still!
- The Simpsons: Milhouse tried to use the trope to avoid being beaten by Nelson. Nelson reacted by removing the glasses. In another episode, Season 8's "Lisa's Date With Density," it is implied Nelson actually punched Milhouse several times (and between the eyes(!)) after Lisa tried to pass a note to Nelson in class but Milhouse – who was helping Lisa out – intercepted it, with Nelson getting the wrong idea.
- In the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "Jeepers, It's The Creeper" Velma tries this on the Creeper. He does bother to respond by removing her glasses, then Velma kicks him in the shin and grabs them back.
- Jeckle invokes this to the bull in the Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "Bulldozing The Bull."
Jeckle: I say... you wouldn't hit someone in glasses, would you? [the bull headbutts him into the air]
Jeckle: [to us] I believe he would!
- In an interesting subversion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) has one episode where Vernon Fenwick uses this phrase while holding a pair of glasses...the kind with drinks in them.
- Code Lyoko: Played with in "Mister Puck"; Odd tells Hervé to take off his glasses as he's about to punch him.
- Played with in The Proud Family where, in the episode "Enter the Bullies", one kid with glasses askes the Gross Sisters for a bowl of porridge (as the Gross Sisters recently stole everyone's money and were eating a high-class meal to themselves). Olei promptly gets up and takes off the kid's glasses before completely pummeling him off-screen.
- Mickey Mouse (2013): In "Ghoul Friend", Mickey believes a ghoul that looks like Goofy wants to harm him, so when he is surrounded, Mickey uses his hands to mimic a pair of glasses and uses the phrase. Subverted, since it turns out the ghoul wanted to help Mickey with his car.