In a society where people, by and large, agree not to engage in random acts of violence with each other, a story can be restricted by the fact that, well, everybody's kind of agreed not to engage in random acts of violence with each other. The Glove Slap is an end-run around this. The process of slapping someone with a white, preferably lacy glove is in itself so polite and dignified that it somehow seems socially acceptable that the natural outcome of the slap is a Duel to the Death.
Well, that's the theory anyway. A long time ago, the trope might have been used like this. But these days it's only the stuff of laughter and parody. Chiefly, no doubt, because the chances that the duel will actually be fought are low.
Most of the time this trope is used in such a way that accents the absurdity of the formality. Characters who otherwise have no problem with overt acts of hostility will treat the glove as being somehow significant while still recognizing that The Glove Slap means that everything is now no holds barred.
Anime and Manga
- Mahou Sensei Negima, Tsukuyomi challenges Setsuna to a match of swords by removing her Victorian-style glove and tossing it almost playfully at Setsuna. Setsuna merely snatches it out of the air. Later Ayaka uses this on Kuu Fei.
- In Pumpkin Scissors, Alice challenges a corrupt Lord to a duel by throwing her glove at him across a crowded ballroom.
- In Urusei Yatsura, when the election for class president result in a tie-vote for Ataru and Mendo, Mendo decides to settle it with a dueling method passed down through the Mendo Clan for generations...using cannons to blast an apple off of the duelists heads. Wanting to make an official challenge, Mendo prepares to throw a white glove at Ataru, who flees. Mendo proceeds to chase Ataru all over school grounds, ultimately hit Lum, who fries him.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni. Beatrice crashes Erika and Battler's wedding to challenge Erika to a duel like this. Erika's refusal would forever mark her a coward in the eyes of the entire magical community.
Hey, what is this? Slap Boris Day?
- Parodied in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. The Sheriff of Rottingham does this to Robin to challenge him to a duel, and Robin responds by slapping him back... with a metal gauntlet.
- Except the Sheriff had no intention of fighting fair.
Mervin, the Sheriff of Rottingham: A fight to the death, mano a mano, man to man, just you and me and my GUARDS!
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Colonel Vogel slaps Henry several times with his glove until Henry grabs his wrist stopping him.
- In Beauty and the Beast, Lumiere does this to Cogsworth at the end of the movie.
- Buster Keaton does this in Hard Luck—in an attempt to coax his opponent into range of a shotgun with a string tied to the trigger.
- In Casanova, Giovanni tries to challenge Casanova this way but for a variety of reasons, Casanova isn't keen on the idea... until his servant forces his hand by slapping Giovanni back.
- A variant in Metropolis: when the Thin Man tries to bribe Josaphat into leaving his apartment (and letting the Thin Man meet Frieder in Josaphat's place), Josaphat picks up the bribe money and slaps the Thin Man in the face with it.
- People do this frequently in Scaramouche. Given that they're usually challenging Andre, it doesn't go well for them.
- In David Eddings' Malloreon, one of the protagonists, Sir Mandorallen (a knight, as his title implies), challenges a man who insulted his friend to a duel by throwing down his gauntlet. Well, throwing? He misses and hits the guy straight in the face. With a steel gauntlet. Ouch.
- This is how Erast Fandorin is often manipulated into duels. "Manipulated" because he never accepts challenges otherwise, as he always wins them.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel His Last Command, an aristocratic officer declares Ludd had insulted him and engages in this. Ludd punched him and declares the duel over.
- In The Dragon Knight by Gordon R. Dickson, the main character experiences the glove slap firsthand. Then mentions that it was an armored gauntlet, and it really, really hurt.
- Played straight in Squire as a challenge to a jousting match, and treated as a grievous insult, so that Kel feels sufficiently provoked to take the guy up on it when she'd said she wasn't going to compete unless she had to.
- Used in Scaramouche the novel as well as the film.
Live Action TV
- Allo Allo - M. Alphonse ze undertaker challenges Rene in zis manner.
- Done by "Sir Gilles Estram" in the Doctor Who story The King's Demons.
- Star Trek the Original Series: Captain Kirk does this to Trelane.
- In an early episode of Family Matters, Urkel challenges a bully to a boxing match by hitting him in the face with a big leather mitten. (It was winter.) It made a satisfying thump.
- In an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide Seth Powers is upset that Moze is dating Faymen. Even though they have broken up, he calls it off as "taking time off from each other." Faymen comes in, Seth challenges him for Moze's heart and honor(or something), pulls out a white glove and slaps him with it. Faymen follows suit.
- Charmed had Simon summoning a glove and slapping Henry with magic for a duel over Paige.
- On Drake and Josh, Josh (disguised as a doctor) does this to Drake before he is about to perform surgery because the staff believes he is a famous doctor (which is inevitably proven wrong in the end of the episode).
- On Chapelles Show Charlie Murphy tells the story of when Rick James(played in flashback by Dave Chapelle) slapped in a nightclub. An incensed Charlie explains why it :
First of all you don't slap a man! Even when slapping was fashionable. They did it in Paris, a guy would come up they'd be like 'whap-pap' "I challenge you to a duel!" They would have a gunfight after that! Someone had to go!
- Cyrano De Bergerac: Invoked by Christian and Cyrano, but neither of them plays it straight:
- At Act I scene III, Christian wishes to throw his glove at De Valvert, but then he has a Crowning Moment of Funny:
Christian (who is watching and listening, starts on hearing this name): The Viscount! Ah! I will throw full in his face my. . .
(He puts his hand in his pocket, and finds there the hand of a pickpocket who is about to rob him)
- At Act I scene IV, Cyrano talks about it to provoke De Valvert… and also because Cyrano is so poor he doesn’t have gloves.
Cyrano: I wear no gloves? And what of that?
I had one,. . .remnant of an old worn pair,
And, knowing not what else to do with it,
I threw it in the face of. . .some young fool.
- A solution to a puzzle in The Curse of Monkey Island, where you have to prove to a dapper pirate that you're a gentleman.
- And he'll only accept that you are one if you can take him in a duel. And he won't duel you until you serve him with the proper insult (and apparently just calling him a doody-head isn't insulting enough).
- The Simpsons- Homer is inspired to do it by a Zorro movie and keeps it up once he realizes people will just give him what he wants because they don't want to duel. He receives his comeuppance (and the rest of the episode's premise) when he slaps an actual Southern Gentleman in the course of slapping a long line of people.
"Why oh why did I slap a man who says 'suh'?!"
- Later in the episode, the Simpsons have fled their home to avoid the duel and come across Jimmy Carter working on Habitat for Humanity. Homer, obviously not having learned anything, tries to needle him into building him a house; Carter pulls out a glove and Homer screams and drives away as fast as he can.
- Tom and Jerry, episode Duel Personality [dead link] - Jerry gets sick of the chase in one episode, somehow lands inside a glove drawer, motions Tom to stop and proceeds with the glove slap after which they seem to agree to a series of organized feuds involving cannons and slingshots. After the battles are over and Tom is again chasing Jerry in the same way as before, Jerry glove slaps Tom again, except this time Tom takes the glove and slaps Jerry over and over when chasing him.
- In Knights Must Fall, Bugs Bunny reacted to such a challenge from a knight by yanking the knight's steel gauntlet off and smacking him with that.
- A similar gag in a Bugs Bunny cartoon has Bugs load his glove with a brick for the return slap..
- Parodied in "Porky Pig's Feat," Porky and Daffy from the 1940's, where Daffy, after being slapped and challenged by another character ("You have insulted me! We meet on the field of honor! My Card."), he returns suit ("You have insult me! We meet on the field of onion!")and slaps back with a horseshoe-stuffed glove, and then slaps him in the face with flypaper ("My Card, you cad!").
- Played with in one of the Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons, "Choose Yer Weppin," when an upper class gentleman slaps Popeye in the face with his white gloves. Popeye then takes the gloves out of the man's pocket, puts it on his hand, and then punches him square in the jaw with it.
- Teen Titans: In "Date With Destiny" Starfire does this to Kitten.
- In the Steampunk short, A Gentlemans Duel, the Englishman delivers one to his opposing French suitor, damaging his mustache.
- The B-plot of one Kappa Mikey episode has Ozu force Lily and Gonard into a fake relationship for publicity, than have Guano 'cut in' for added drama. This results in the two 'rivals' slapping each other with progressively bigger white gloves.
- In the Goofy short "The Art of Self-Defense", a history of fighting includes a scene of two 17th Century gentlemen slapping each other repeatedly. One sneaks his snuff box inside his glove during a break.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy does this to accept a challenge from Lucius because he Saw It in a Movie Once. Lucius responds by slapping him with a concrete hand.
- On The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Captain K'nuckles recieves this by a feutal lord after he insults him by not referring him as "Your Lordship." A rather shameful duel insues, which surprisingly ends in a draw.
- Truth in Television, sort of: Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia admitted he would've liked to have done this to pundit Chris Matthews on the latter's show. No, really! (Conan O'Brien had a field day with that one.)
- Another possible origin of this is seen in the 1777 Code Duello. If one person insulted another but then apologized, then fighting a duel was dishonourable. But if one gentleman struck another, then no verbal apology would be sufficient, and a duel would be necessary. Therefore, striking a person with your glove was a way to demand the other person duel you.
- These gloves, https://web.archive.org/web/20120817063323/http://budk.com/Apparel/Leather-Sap-Gloves, are made so that doing this will be adding injury to insult.