Think Aloud explores book-related discussions encompassing reading, writing, blogging, and perhaps newsworthy content. The focus is to push the boundaries, stretch the mind, and encourage dialogue within this community. Let’s all think out loud.
Are Not Actually Triangles
Modern love triangles should not be confused with Love-V’s.
(Disclaimer: I’m ignoring the likely origin of love triangles referencing A likes B, B likes C, and C likes A for the point to be made. The word triangle is used more a dozen+ times. I apologize if you end up hating triangles.)
What makes a love triangle…a triangle?
The central point of two diverging alternatives creates a V-shape but the divergence isn’t typically connected at all; by friendship or love. If they were, many books would be promoting diversity in a negative light as it essentially shrugs off the unexplored relationship. See, the problem I have with love triangles is in the shape itself. I’m no math guru but three vertices + two edges does not equate to a triangle. It doesn’t work like that and it’s in the missing third-side that makes the concept incomplete.
True love triangles seldom exist and those that are coined as such aren’t even triangles at all; and honestly, I fault readers for this. I blame our laziness for continually defining something as a narrative gem when it’s obviously a rock. (Or vice-versa, really.) Yes, putting things into boxes have made things easier to digest but describing [what is in essence] a Love-V as a triangle restricts the possibility for real love triangles to be aptly named.
(Genders are being generalized for sake of example.)
By all intents and purposes, Exhibit A is the standard “love triangle” we buy into even if both suitors have no connection (aside from scathing bitterness). While this appears in our minds, Exhibit B is what’s actually happening. When you stamp romances with the love triangle label, the perspective taking shape is one which centers on a boy/girl having two suitors of the opposite sex. This label, whether we mean to or not, is what has become of most geometric romances in storytelling; a narrow scope that diminishes sex-positive diversity and non-hetero relationships.
But what can we say about the relationship between two persons of interest in the same triangle as the origin?
Irrespective of the protagonist’s sexuality, the result will always open up the LGBTQIA dialogue with homosexuality or bisexuality at the forefront of what influences the formation of the third edge. With current love triangles being typically underscored as heterosexually-driven, the onus on comments seem to require the distinction in romantic portrayal over-and-beyond the listed genre; that is, whether or not the involved romance is part of the LGBTQIA-spectrum.
This is absurd when the opposite should be true.
The flaw in modern [heterosexual] love-triangles is that they don’t actually exist in practice. The closest it can come to what we label as a “love triangle” is if the persons of interest are bisexual. To put it in perspective (and without making it sound exclusive or anything): Love-V’s can exist for every single sexual orientation relationship but love-triangles can only be truly represented in the light of LGBTQIA.
Let me use some pop-culture examples. Take your pick: Twilight? Hunger Games? Vampire Diaries? Brangelina & Anniston?
I’m sure many have been part of the eternal debate to decide which side of the triangle you fall under. But unless there’s some unknown polygamous friends-with-benefits relationship happening, then it should be set in stone that Edward + Jacob, Gale + Peeta, Stefan and Damon, and Angelina + Anniston can be shipped but it isn’t realistic in the reigns of the narrative to do so. It would be disingenuous to label them as a love shape unless their relationship is possible. It’s in the fulfillment of relationship between both persons of interest that distinguish a love triangle between that of a Love-V.
Yet despite my belief that Love-V just sounds outright confusing and ugly, I’m not saying that you should ever stop waving the flag of feels toward shapely romances for its [often] clichéd and drama-llama writing. Instead, I implore you to send them in the right direction—to acknowledge whether or not it’s a love-letter or a love-shape—because there is a difference.
And that’s that.
- What’s your definition of a love triangle?
- What’s your opinion on readers continually using love triangles when they’re actually trying to describe a love-V?
- What would you like to see more of in a love triangle (or done differently); or would you just want to see less of this trope?
Obviously I’m not here to make you change how you go about your day but I hope to have made you think about the misused label to describe so many romances. And to be frank, I’m pretty guilty of it too!
As always, just remember to think aloud.
So…this idea came to me after the other think aloud where I talked about Instalove In Post Apocalyptic Settings and why it should be realistic to get with everyone. Not to mention a few months ago I looked at The Diminishing Utility of Love Triangles. Both of these were in the same realms of topic….but this post, on the other hand, was more of a thought that started as love triangles not really making a lot of sense to me when the two characters of interest were rarely connected. Then my brain was like wut? and everything above happened.