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"When kissed for the first time, a girl should close her eyes. The second time, she should give an ecstatic back kick, clutching her sweetheart by his coat lapels."
—from "An Outline of Motion Picture Etiquette," October 1923 issue of Screenland

Traditionally, when a woman and a man kiss, the woman tends to lift her leg to show just how hot and heavy it's getting or to demonstrate how much she trusts the man to hold her up.

A somewhat Discredited Trope nowadays, and mostly crops up in parody (though the alert viewer will still sometimes see it played straight, mainly in romantic comedies), as often a man will do this to emphasize his effeminate side, or both people will do it at once. The Trope Namer is the film version of The Princess Diaries.

Though the trope originated earlier, the Hays Code required that women, in love scenes, at all times have "at least one foot on the floor" (in other words, no love scenes in bed). It may even be an example of Getting Crap Past the Radar if it's combined with Something Else Also Rises. However, this euphemistic meaning has become mostly forgotten over time, to the point where it can be used without a single raised eyebrow in children's programming, or conversely, seen in pornographic movies, where the need for euphemism is lessened, to say the least.

According to some commentary on the topic (including several actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood), this trope was/is also intended as a way for starlets with shapely legs to show off their limbs. This is borne out by numerous posed "cheesecake" photographs from the 1930's through the 1960's where the model is striking a Foot Popping-style pose without actually kissing anyone (generally she's the only one in the picture). Many old hosiery advertisements (stockings and pantyhose) also used the trope in this way, to showcase their wares by calling attention to the legs wearing them.

See also Stock Kisses.

Examples of Foot Popping include:


  • Older Than Television: a magazine stocking advertisement from the 1920's features this trope, suggesting that it developed as soon as skirts became short enough to show off female legs.
  • This trope used to show up frequently in pantyhose and stocking commercials (and some shoe commercials as well) in the 1960's and 1970's. In the 1980's, commercials for Big Red gum would occasionally show this trope, sometimes spoofed, sometimes played straight.

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • As shown in the picture, Black Canary and Batman once indulged in this.
  • Apollo of The Authority (a man married to Midnighter, another man, mind you) did the leg lift thing while they kissed once. This notably inverts the One Head Taller rule as far as the two of them are concerned.
  • Lois and Clark's kiss in issue 3 of All-Star Superman provides a sterling example of how this trope can still be played straight.
  • In X-Man comic from The Nineties, Nate Grey meets a mutant who uses her life-consuming powers to commit mass euthanasia. After they "hit it off", he takes her on a flying ride and kisses her. She lifts her foot. While flying.
  • Gender-inverted (and mostly off-frame) in Excalibur, in a sequence where newly arrived alien hottie Cerise decides to try out kissing with Nightcrawler.
  • Teen Titans: Wonder Girl does it the first time she and Superboy kiss. They're both in the air at the time.

Fan Fiction


  • National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 had a scene where both the man and the woman stick one foot in the air as they kiss. Then each puts the other foot in the air at the same time. They just sort of hover there.
  • In the first The Princess Diaries movie (the protagonist's life dream is to meet a guy, fall in love at first sight, and kiss him like this. She expressly specifies the foot pop. Subverted three times and then played straight.
    • First try: Daydream sequence, when the protagonist is kissing the boy and she can't pop her foot because it's cemented to the sidewalk by used gum.
    • Second try: protagonist and boy are hiding in a shed. Kiss is attempted, foot gets caught in fishing net and she falls over.
    • Third try: guy forces her into a kiss with paparazzi surrounding them. She starts to do this, then takes off her sandal and beats the guy over the head with it.
    • Fourth try: protagonist is (finally) kissing the boy she likes outside, her foot pops properly. Her foot pops such that it turns on the fountains in the garden as well as all the lights, demonstrating that when one kisses the right person, foot pops go perfectly.
  • Anne Hathaway's character indulges in Foot Popping again in the second The Princess Diaries movie on two occasions:
    • First attempt: Mia gets smooched at a garden party. She accidentally turns on a sprinkler system, drenching herself and her kisser.
    • Second attempt: Played straight. Mia encounters her true love (the same guy who kissed her earlier) and kisses him in front of the throne; she lifts her foot as the camera pulls back out of the room.
      • Heck, she picks up both feet on the second one.
  • Spoofed in The Naked Gun when Frank Drebin and his Love Interest do this at the same time.
  • In the 1932 Jean Harlow film, Red-Headed Woman, the protagonist and her boyfriend go behind the cupboard in a bar, so we only see their feet. She lifts one of their legs, showing that they're kissing — quite scandalous in a public place back then.
  • Spoofed in the Bob Hope/Jane Russell film Son of Paleface, in the scene where Jane kisses Bob. One of Jane's shapely legs goes up as per trope specifications, then both of Bob's legs fly up in the air and the spurs on his bootheels (he's in full-dress cowboy gear) begin to spin madly.
  • This was subverted in Date Movie. Julia pops her foot while kissing Grant, and Grant pops his foot also-- the wrong way.
  • Seen and played straight in Ferris Buellers Day Off, when Ferris (Matthew Broderick) greets his girlfriend (Mia Sara).
  • Also played straight in Working Girl at a key romantic moment between Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford's characters.
  • Played straight in the classic musical Three Little Words, where Red Skelton's character finds his fiancee kissing another man backstage.
  • In the Dean Martin/Tony Curtis/Janet Leigh movie Who Was That Lady, the movie opens with a scene showing Leigh arriving at her husband's (Curtis) office and catching him in the act of kissing a Foot Popping girl.
  • Played straight by Brigitte Bardot in her 1950's movie Une Parisienne.
  • Martine Carol strikes a Foot Popping pose in her movie Nana during an onstage scene, though she doesn't actually kiss her male opposite number.
  • Done in So I Married an Axe Murderer by Mike Myers' character, kissing his bride at the altar, dressed in a kilt.
  • Scooby Doo Curse of the Lake Monster has one between Shaggy and Velma played entirely straight.
  • Barbie in Toy Story 3 does this. Considering that she's a Barbie Doll, it's a weird moment in the film.
    • Ken does the same in the follow-up short Hawaiian Vacation.
  • Some Like It Hot: when "Sugar" Kane kisses Joe as he's lounging on a couch, one leg stands up straight in the air behind her back.
  • In & Out contains a male-on-male example, when openly-gay Peter cuts off inadvertently-outed Howard's "you've got the wrong man" protests with his lips, giving the audience its first solid indicator that, no, in fact, he doesn't.
  • Léon: The Professional. When Léon rescues Mathilda from corrupt cops at the DEA office, she throws herself into his arms; naturally as she's only a little girl the subsequent Foot Popping closeup shows her feet hanging a foot above the floor.
  • The last kiss in OSS 117 Lost in Rio.
  • Spoofed in Date Movie, the girl and guy kiss, she pops her foot. He then pops his foot, in the wrong direction (Accompanied by a sickening crunch)!


  • In the photo-novelization of the 1980 Village People movie Can't Stop The Music, there is a picture of Valerie Perrine Foot Popping while she kisses Bruce Jenner. In the actual movie, Perrine and Jenner are shown only from the waist up.
  • In a Magic: The Gathering novel (Invasion if I recall correctly), the Weatherlight crew is fighting a group of mooks. One of them tries to get a jump on Hanna from behind. She turns her head, kisses him and does a foot pop. The mook goes down clutching himself. This may also qualify as both a Crowning Moment of Funny and Crowning Moment of Awesome.

Live Action TV

  • Scrubs did a gag in which JD and Kim both lift their legs while kissing.
  • In Heroes, Isaac's prophetic painting of Peter and Simone kissing under an umbrella in the rain has Simone with her leg up.
  • Pushing Daisies has an Daydream Surprise from Olive Snook where she is literally swept off her feet.
  • In one episode of Happy Days, the boys watch a kissing scene involving an actress with whom they might have a chance to win a date and discuss how much they'd like to raise that foot up.
    • In another episode of Happy Days, Potsie observes Fonzie kissing a Foot Popping girl and comments that Foot Popping is a signal that the girl is "worldly".
  • In the episode of Living Single where Overton and Sinclaire finally Spit It Out, they both pop their feet when they finally kiss.
  • Sarah does this in the 'Something Ida This Way Comes' episode of Brothers and Sisters.
  • Mork did this while kissing Mindy in the episode "Mork The Prankster".
  • In the movie version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode The Double Affair, The Spy With My Face, Senta Berger disrobes, enters a shower and kisses Robert Vaughn. Only their legs are seen, and hers take a sort of Foot Popping pose (actually, more like her bare foot caressing Vaughn's bare legs) accompanied by suggestive dialogue.
  • In the Family Matters episode where Urkel finally promises to truly make a commitment to Myra, their kiss has her doing a foot pop.
  • Exaggerated in Step by Step, when Mark and the girlfriend he met via computer kiss and pop not just their feet, but their arms, when Cody walks into the room.
  • The Boy Meets World episode "No Guts, No Cory" has forties!Topanga do this during and after her goodbye kiss with forties!Cory before the latter goes to fight in World War II.


  • The cover of the old Carmen Cavallaro record, For Latin Lovers, shows this trope.
  • The cover of the 2007 compilation album, The Departure Lounge: Love also shows this trope.
  • In the video for Eddie Money's early-1980's song "Shakin'", the Latina beauty driving the blue "lowrider" strikes a Foot Popping pose as she kisses the hood of her car after winning a street race.
  • The music video for Josh Turner's "Your Man" plays this trope straight as his lover lifts her foot while kissing in an elevator.

Video Games

Web Comics


 Florence: When a dog lifts its leg, the image that comes to most people's minds isn't associated with romance.


Western Animation

  • At the end of the Futurama episode "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" his wife does this as he kisses her, the Obstructive Bureaucrat does this earlier in the episode while kissing Fry.
    • In the episode "When Aliens Attack", the title character does it in the fictional show Single Female Lawyer.
  • Shows up in the Disney version of Hercules, where Megara, naturally, is not a victim of Pater Familicide but a Femme Fatale.
  • Homer Simpson has done this a few times while kissing Marge.
  • Done by Sam in the last episode of Danny Phantom when he finally kisses her.
  • Parodied in Chicken Little, right before the titular character leaves to go stop aliens from destroying the town; he grabs his friend Abby, the Ugly Duckling, delivers a rapid-fire confession of his love for her, and kisses her. Her foot pop is immediate and rather funny.
  • This happens in Re Boot during Bob and Dot's first and only kiss (unless you count Dot kissing the fake Bob several times over the course of the My Two Bobs movie).
  • Makes a gender inverted appearance in Total Drama World Tour when Duncan and Gwen kiss for the second time.
  • The Alchemist pops a foot in the fourth season finale of The Venture Brothers when Shore Leave kisses him.
  • At the end of Ralph Bakshi's Fire and Ice, when Larn and Teegra embrace, she pops a foot.
  • Actress!Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender, "The Ember Island Players".
  • Done by Leah at the end of Osmosis Jones when she kisses Ozzy. According to commentary, the animation was added in for laughs.
  • In Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes, Black Widow does this as she and Hawkeye share a goodbye kiss.
  • In Littlest Pet Shop, Tess McSavage does this when Penny Ling hugs her.

Web Original

Real Life