Loser Gets the Girl
Two men get in a fight, or at least a highly charged physical confrontation, over a woman they're both attracted to. One of them wins, so naturally she spurns him and goes for the loser.
Though the genderswapped version is of course possible, it appears to be rare-to-nonexistent in practice. Authors with traditional views about gender roles probably won't have women in this kind of confrontation, while more feminist writers are likely to shy away from Unfortunate Implications about physically capable women being unattractive. But see Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
Because this often leads to the After-Action Patchup or even more serious medical care, this often can be the result of the Florence Nightingale Effect. It can also be used as a Subversion of Did Not Get the Girl: the Loser Protagonist thinks she's out of his league, but then she comes back to him. It may serve as the conclusion of an Everything but the Girl show. The loser is frequently The Woobie, especially when his love interest is intended as an audience identification character.
- Kagome from Inuyasha tends to act this way.
- Meowth from Pokémon manages to defeat a Persian that was keeping his old Love interest Meowzie in his gang, but Meowzie decides to stay with the Persian as he helped her when her trainer abandoned her...and still thinks Meowth is a freak for knowing how to talk.
- Julia chooses Let over Jegan, after the latter had defeated Let in a battle. Much to Jegan's resentment and jealousy.
- Used at least a few times in the Archie Comics.
- A variation in Big Fish, where Edward Bloom lets Don Price beat him savagely because he's sworn to Sandra not to hurt him.
- In the movie version of Bridget Jones's Diary, she rejects Mark Darcy for beating up Daniel (but goes on to reject Daniel, too).
- In Next, Nicolas Cage is a man with the ability to see into the immediate future, and he knows none of his pickup lines will work on the woman he meets in a diner. Not even beating up her stalkerish ex-boyfriend gets him a good result, only allowing the boyfriend to sucker-punch him.
- Tommy Forester and Alum Bey get in a fight over Bridget Comfrey at the beginning of Stardust. After Alun beats up Tommy, who is comforted by Bridget, the narration says, "Neither of them was quite certain who had won, who had lost."
Live Action TV
- In The Big Bang Theory, this happens with Leonard, Penny's ex Kurt, and Penny, though when Penny comes on to Leonard he's Above the Influence.
- In Jeeves and Wooster, Jeeves plans to get one of Bertie's friend Bingo together with the current object of his infatuation by having another young lady distract him at a crucial point during a foot race, on the basis that she's more likely to be attracted to the "gallant loser" than a man who won a race against a group of septuagenarians (It Makes Sense in Context). Of course, Bingo immediately falls for the other woman, Bingo's flightiness being greater than even Jeeves predicted.
- In the Charmed episode "Happily Ever After", Phoebe's ex-husband Cole gets into an argument with her Boy of the Week Adam, which ends with Cole putting Adam in a painful-looking wrist lock and Adam and Phoebe walking off together.
- Not quite the same thing, but there's a song called The Winner in which this muscle-man describes the various ways that his need to "win" has cost him everything. Along with having innumerable health problems, well, not everything that he's won has been worth winning:
That woman, she gets uglier and she gets meaner every day.
- Allen from Xenosaga, who managed to look so pathetic while getting beaten that he not only got the girl, but reversed the girl's Face Heel Turn and derailed the Big Bad's plans in the process. Not many people can manage to have a Crowning Moment of Awesome while getting thrown around like a rag doll.
- In the American Dad episode "Camp Refoogee", Steve wins a critical race against the opposing camp to rescue his girlfriend... who promptly starts making out with the guy who lost the race. Her explanation: "I'm sorry Steve... but I'm kind of a crazy chick." It should be noted that the loser was a murderous militant leader who destroyed the girl's village. And he's an adult, while the girl is Steve's age, i.e. about fourteen. "Crazy chick" indeed.
- The Daffy Duck cartoon "Muscle Tussle": Daffy's gal is stolen by a beach hunk (named Charleston Charles Atlas) after the hunk beats him up, so he gets super muscle-building vitamins. He beats up the hunk, but the gal feels sorry for Charleston and stays with him.