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Greetings, Kittens!

Welcome back to the Hot Summer Romance Giveaway Hop . Today, as an author of bi-poly romance, I’d like to talk about love triads vs. love triangles, and the progression from bromance to romance.

Fiction of every stripe has made use of the love triangle since we sat around camp fires, huddled against the night. The oldest love triangles are often centered around brothers who love the same woman. This is in part because the relationship between brothers has always fascinated us. The rivalry, the intensity, the fierce loyalty and the sacrifice between brothers has been part of an epic tapestry that stretches as far back as Remus and Romulus and even further to Osiris and Set and beyond.

Competition for a mate meets competition for familial attention and recognition when the brother dynamic is wed to the love triangle. The explosive possibilities for betrayal and even lethal retaliation raises the stakes. Higher stakes means a greater interest in the outcome and so we tell the stories over and over again. In modern Western culture, the minutia may change but the story is inevitably the same, with the more heroic brother winning the girl, sacrificing the relationship for his brother, or dying by his brother’s hands. As many ways as this can be spun, it does inevitably require an upgrade. Step in...the best friend triangle.

Close male relationships were once the norm, especially among the educated elite. Time spent with ones intellectual peers was considered beneficial—even necessary—and these relationships were fostered at every turn. Meant to mirror siblingship and even exceed it, close bond friendships still honored their origins. This lead to the widespread formation of brotherhoods among scholars and tradesmen and terms like brothers-in-arms for those who served together in military ranks.

Where brothers-by-birth are meant to compete, chosen brothers inspire a different, deeper loyalty. After all, these men lack the history of a childhood being compared to each other, trying to outdo each other or feeling inadequate in one another’s presence. And if any of these elements are present, well it simply fortifies the connection since in the end these two people chose to remain close. As a result, these are the relationships meant to endure. And they usually do—until a woman arrives to tear it all apart.

Be she divine angel or evil temptress, if you listen to the stories, historically women are the most destructive force to close male relationships. In part, this mirrors the severing of childhood ties for adult marriage, elevating sexual and reproductive relationship above all others. Its vilification represents the resentment to growing up and relinquishing the carefree days of bachelorhood. It is also a visceral response to leaving the company of the knowable masculine for the unknowable feminine. But what do you expect when for so long men wrote the tales and sung the songs? So what happened when women took up the pen?

Well, for the most part they wrote about relationships between women, but when romance finally made its way onto the pages, the love triangle was alive and well. For women, the perfect love triangle existed when both men adored the heroine but held disdain for one another. In this way, the heroine was not culpable in altering heart-held ties. In fact, in early works men rarely had any heart-held ties. Instead there are many gothic, brooding counts, widowers who would never love again and otherwise grumpy, gruff alpha males all waiting for the right woman to come along. Ever so often we get the dueling noblemen, figuratively or literally, competing to make the virginal heroine swoon.

It would take more time than I have here to breakdown exactly what happened with male friendships but sufficient to say in America, the rise of the labor class, military careers, isolated suburbs with long commutes and a general nose to the grindstone mentality changed our definitions of masculinity. Real men worked and provided for their families and didn’t have time to sit down and talk about feelings “like a bunch of women”. Emotional interaction was a luxury men didn’t have and more and more adult male relationships were reduced to alcohol fueled laments on life or sports analogies where no one asked anything deep, least they be viewed as less than men. This is not just a caricature women see about men, but a true loss men have expressed in their relationships and one finally taking a turn again.

We got our first taste of changing male relationships in the 1970s and fiction followed suit, but it was not to last through the cutthroat ‘80s. Romance fiction held on however and filling in the gap with the return of the brother themed love triangle in full force. The 1990’s introduced the “sensitive male” personae and held out emotional security and intimate connection as sexy. As a byproduct, men not only connected with women better than they had all century, they actually began to connect with other men on a genuine level. After the near-cannibalistic everyone-out-for-themselves ‘80’s, the ‘90’s saw the resurrection of the male best friend.

As a result, Hollywood gave us the buddy comedy in abundance, while television and romance novels gave us the best-friend love triangle. Even in print these relationships always played it safe and resolved in one of two ways. Most often they resolved into a heterosexual pairing where love had conquered all and there were no regrets concerning the now discarded male. When that was too predictable, they were momentarily subversive where all parties tried to make it work through loads of angst only to arrive at the inevitable course correction of a tragic ending. The overriding message? That the heroine must choose or fate would chose for her, often with the subtlety of a cross-town bus out of nowhere.

For those of us who hate the love triangle trope things seemed hopeless. Then came the new millennium and the rise of the ménage. Suddenly, on the page at least, the heroine didn’t have to choose. These best friends, and sometimes even brothers, could find a way to share and prosper rather than destroy everything between them by competing. Of course sharing didn’t always mean enduring love. Most ménage fiction as early as three years ago still held with the one-off sexual adventure from which everyone eventually came to their senses.

It’s been a short jump between ménage and polymory and those one-off encounters blossomed on the page into full relationships. They aren’t yet abundant but I believe they will be as male relationships continue to grow closer. Currently, Hollywood has taken notice of evolving connections between men and we see the rise of the man-crush, the man-date and the bromance on screens big and small. Is it any wonder that more love triads have also been published and more and more of those have been MMF where the men love each other as much as the heroine?

I’m not expecting Hollywood to jump on the bi-male bandwagon tomorrow, but the first few sincere offerings can’t be that far behind. For now, I’ll take the acknowledgement of being in love with more than one person and fully wanting relationships with both of them, as a great start. Right now, it appears that paranormal fiction will be our answer on the screen to inspire more authors to put it on the page.

*Spoiler Alert* The triangle in The Vampire Diaries is built upon the premise that both Salvator brothers are loved by Elena, as they were by her predecessor Katherine. This was finally accepted and acknowledged by all sides, and although a choice was made at the close of season, this is still the only network show that may still cross that line down the road. Although I’m not caught up on this season yet HBO’s True Blood is a step close, with Sookie openly admitting to being in love with both Eric and Bill and actively wanting both of them. Both are classic triangles, and even with choices made, neither come with the imperative of the old to, “choose or else”. Without this imperative, the outcome of not only choosing both but actively pursuing it to a positive conclusion becomes natural. The idea is there and ripe for exploration. To date however, only the non-fiction movie Savages directed by Oliver Stone has crossed the divide of two het men in love with the same women and willing to share. It’s a harsh film with its share of violence but at least our lovers all make it out alive.

Once they successfully cross the line into working polyamory on a popular show and mega hit movie, it’s just a short hop, skip and jump from the male intimacy of the het bromance to that of the bi-romance. Happy Hopping!


Remember to comment to win a copy of A Way To A Dragon's Heart or the backlist title of your choice. Please leave an email where I can contact the winner or winners and don't forget to keeping visit over the next few days, there's a grand prize of Kindle Fire and a $50 Amazon gift card through the larger Insatiable Reads hop!

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( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 18th, 2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the great post. itlnbrt @ att dot net
Jul. 18th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks for commenting. Enjoy the hop! :)


Edited at 2013-07-18 09:52 pm (UTC)
Jul. 18th, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
Excellent post and may I say, as mush as I love Damon - more than I love Stefan, I want Stefan with Elaina. My cats are named Damon and Elaina. I'm that obsessed. LOL heather1974 at gmail dot com
Jul. 18th, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, I don't like Damon. I love Ian S. and I want him to have a job, and I think Damon has the potential to be a better character than he is--even if that's never being redeemed or good. All I want is consistency of writing him, but that's a whole nother conversation ;)

Good luck on the prizes!


Edited at 2013-07-18 09:52 pm (UTC)
Jul. 18th, 2013 06:18 pm (UTC)
Interesting take. Consider how men's relationships were in the ancient and medieval period. They were brought up together, trained together, and many went on to live in the same households. When they were in the field, so to speak, often for extended periods of time, without the benefit of females, one can't help but think that some form of intimacy didn't happen. The nobility married to increase wealth, lands, or for political benefit more than they did for love. People rarely had a private bedroom as we do.

Could a man be openly bisexual? Would it have been tolerated? The rumors about King Richard the Lion-Hearted came about in modern times from interpretation of medieval writing. But who are we to say what a priest's words meant? Richard supposedly slept with maidens and married women. A bastard son is mentioned although not officially credited to him. Possibly. Might he have been bisexual?

Laurel Hamilton's Anita Blake novels has taken the MMF relationship public. Men have been oogling the FF in the form of porn since early time. The mm or mmf books aren't any different and it's no surprise in my mind that such books have become popular with women.
Jul. 18th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
I think we need to give a great deal of leeway on the interpretation of ancient male relationships to include intimacy, both emotional and sexual. There's evidence to conclude that male-male relationships may have been considered quite normal between close youth, and was only see as odd in the Western world if you did not also take a wife. Of course, that's both open an problematic, more than can be covered here. But, yes, I clearly believe there are many bisexual male figures from the Pharoahs, to Alexander the Great, to King Richard on down.

LKH did bring the MMF forward in public, but it took several books to see it on the page rather than implied by past behavior. It shows that coming to the line can sustain a series, but crossing the line takes cautious navigation. I hope more major series see she hasn't suffered for it and allow bisexuality in their triads rather than sticking with the same rigid heteronormative triangles.

This Means War with Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon would have been a perfect setup with the dynamic in play. Ah well, next time right?

And yes, it's no surprise that MM and MMF have taken off with female readers, I'm only surprised it took so long.

Thanks for commenting and good luck!


Edited at 2013-07-18 09:52 pm (UTC)
Laurie Goudge
Jul. 18th, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the post. i enjoyed reading it today :)

Jul. 18th, 2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for commenting! Good luck!


Edited at 2013-07-18 09:53 pm (UTC)
Jul. 18th, 2013 09:22 pm (UTC)
I loved it when Sookie admitted to wanting both and I wish they would have explored that other than a dream.


Jul. 18th, 2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
Yes! So do I! There was so much there to explore and get into. I'm still holding out hope, because it has so much potential!

Thanks and best of luck!


Edited at 2013-07-18 09:53 pm (UTC)
Jul. 18th, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
Thank's for the giveaway. Interesting thoughts.

Jul. 18th, 2013 11:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks
Thanks for the comment! Good luck on the hop :)

Jul. 18th, 2013 10:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the giveaway! carlywood@comcast.net
Jul. 18th, 2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! Thanks for coming by!

Jul. 19th, 2013 12:40 am (UTC)
Amen to that!
Xakara, you are so right! It always seems a woman is causing problems between two guys. They just can't resist us. :)
Very interesting commentary, thanks!
Jul. 19th, 2013 01:52 am (UTC)
Re: Amen to that!
Thank you! Always good to know someone else sees it!

Good luck,

Jul. 19th, 2013 02:45 am (UTC)
Summer Romance Giveaway Hop
Thanks for the great giveaway/hop! kamclauc AT gmail DOT com
Jul. 19th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC)
Re: Summer Romance Giveaway Hop
Thanks for coming by!

Jul. 19th, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Interesting post. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

Jul. 19th, 2013 05:05 am (UTC)
Thanks for commenting!

Cassandra Hicks
Jul. 19th, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
Loving it!
Absolutely love this post!
Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
dixiedukegurl2 AT yahoo DOT com
Jul. 19th, 2013 11:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Loving it!
Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy the rest of the hop and good luck on all the giveaways!

Jul. 20th, 2013 12:46 am (UTC)
Summer romance giveaway blog
I found your part of the blog to be very interesting. Thank you for your view into this issue.

Jul. 24th, 2013 08:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Summer romance giveaway blog
Thanks, and thanks for coming by!

Jul. 20th, 2013 02:42 am (UTC)
not a huge fan
I'm not a huge fan of love triangles but sometimes it can be done right but most the time just to get ratings they drag things out to long or make it too complicated. Thanks for the chance at this great giveaway and for participating in the hop.

Jul. 24th, 2013 07:43 pm (UTC)
Re: not a huge fan
I never like a love triangle, I'm so over that dynamic, but I think the progression of them to triads holds a lot of undiscovered country.

Thanks for commenting.

Jul. 20th, 2013 04:40 am (UTC)
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com
Jul. 24th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for commenting!

Jul. 20th, 2013 02:36 pm (UTC)
So entertaining, thank you! I discovered new , cool blog! :)
Jul. 24th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!

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( 60 comments — Leave a comment )

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