Love triangles as A Thing still peeve me on a deep and fundamental level. However, there’s a strangely unexplored variation on them that I allow the good grace of being interesting. Bisexual love triangles—food for thought, no? Your plucky teenaged heroine sits at the centre of a romantic subplot trying to choose between two love interests as she invariably does, yet one of them is a guy and the other is a girl. It’s simple enough, and good in a lot of ways, yet it’s so far underused in mainstream fiction.
Firstly, they acknowledge that bisexuals exist, if only in a fantastical fictional context because of course they’re a mythical creature of the woodlands in the world we live in. And, in having said bisexual as the main character, they’re immediately presented as sympathetic and heroic and, you know, a normal well-rounded character and person, and not marginalised, stereotyped or included to be titillating. And a full blown love triangle calls for proper development of their relationship, both with their male and female love interests, which staves off the problem bisexual heroines can run into where they’re only labelled as bi in passing because they made out with a girl in university, which is either used for comedy, fan service or a reject-shop-cheap attempt at being inclusive and modern.
It also gives you an immediate second major female character, which is always nice. It’s a little refreshing to see a break from the tried-and-died formula of heroine torn between two hunks! and again, allows for a legit LGBTQ+ relationship to be fleshed out in fiction and provides characters that readers who don’t fit the traditional mould can see themselves in. Of course, including another girl as one point of the triangle doesn’t magically elevate the story from the pit of clichés and problems that teen love triangles seem to be rooted in. E.g., If you’ve got a heroine wobbling to pieces trying to work out what her feelings are doing when she should be focussing on saving the world from whatever, it’s not going to be any less annoying just because one of her love interests is a young woman. There are pros as well as cons to this flip-flop of the norm, as there are with most things that end up in books. Continue reading