In defence of love triangles, and other geometry.
In recent months I’ve chatted with a couple of people who hate love triangles.
Hate them like burning. Hate them like paper cuts.
Really hate them.
Personally, I’ve got nothing against triangles. They’re just another geometric shape that life can sometimes emulate. I might prefer a parallelogram or rhombus but that’s just because I like to say “parallelogram and rhombus”. Not because I like those arrangements any better than triangles.
But they made me think about Night School and Allie’s complex love life. And I have to say, I don’t really see Night School as a love triangle. I see it more as a crooked line – she likes one boy and then, when that doesn’t work, she decides she likes another.
Either way, to me it doesn’t really matter because I don’t think romance is ever neat. And the idea that your first love would be the right one for you… well.
Let’s just say it doesn’t usually work out that way. And that’s Ok. In fact, it’s good.
The geometry of love
To understand where I’m coming from, you should probably know that I change my mind. A lot. I mean, how does anybody NOT do that? Changing my mind is like breathing. I can change it in mid-step. Mid-thought. Mid-explanation.
And when I was a teenager, I was even more changeable. I considered making up my mind about anything to be a kind of failure.
Perhaps because of that I liked the wrong people way too often. Even when I liked the right person I would worry that they were the wrong person right up until we broke up, at which point I was always certain they’d been the right person all along.
It was a NIGHTMARE, people. A tangled web of worrying and guessing and panicking.
Life is messy
I’ve read that when you meet the right person, “you’ll just know.”
Life doesn’t come with neon arrows pointing at people and “This one’s Ok!” spelled out in magenta LED letters only you can see.
It’s entirely possible that when you meet the right person you’ll be in a bad mood. Your hair will be frizzy, your mascara will be smeared. You’ll drop your bag and a tampon will fall out and roll across the floor to rest gently against his foot.
And you’ll think “He’s not all that” as an act of self-defence.
It might be the third date before you realise you really like him.
A triangle seems simple by comparison.
Embrace the messiness
According to my journal, the year I was sixteen I had epic crushes on five boys.
I could list the top three for you: Mike Delaney (always number 1 with a bullet all the way through high school), Pete Tsarek (who was all wrong for me but I did not care then and I don’t care now), Peter Baker (who played DRUMS, and later went to a private university, and is probably a millionaire now).
So the idea that a teenage girl is having trouble making her mind up about which boy is right for her feels perfectly normal to me. And I fear she won’t make up her mind any time soon, because I love Allie’s indecision. I can relate to it.
Long may she waver.