Let’s start this post with I love love triangles to bits! Yes, yes, I know I’m being weird again and you probably now questioning my sanity as to why I love frustrating myself by getting into this kinda of love spectacle! Well I love drama and I already tried asking myself as to what I have gotten into again! But I’m the proverbial moth to a flame! I sometimes burned, but sometimes not. But often times…yeah.
In love triangle sometimes the main love interest is pretty obvious. He’s the first one to get introduced, the first man the female MC got acquainted to, and slowly infatuated to, but more often than not these guys are the ones with excessive life drama weighing the girl down with “I can’t love you now (or ever—not really) because I have so much on my plate right,” Sheesh!!! And so enter the guy # 2 saving the day.
I know the authors purposely are making guy # 2 the opposite of the male lead. For balance? For variety? For competition (obviously)? And the qualities these authors are putting in this second lead guys are making my heart flutter so easily. Especially if I couldn’t take the drama the male lead is doing! This is the scenario I’ve always gotten into whenever the romance story I read has this least received plot device. He might be the underdog but once in a while when shipping gods bestowed my ships their happily ever afters, rooting for him was all worth it! So yeah, sue my competitive shipper heart!
But like I said they are making the second lead always the patient guy. The one who always works hard! The one who always there to say that he will be waiting until her heart is ready and healed (all thanks to main male lead for breaking it. *sighs*) Serious talk though, will you still root for the guy who keeps breaking her heart? No? And that’s why I always suffer in what we called the second guy syndrome! He might be the second in rank but he’s the number one in my heart!
There are series that were brave enough to tackle this and chose the second lead as the female MC’s ultimate love interest. One of my favorites was Hirunaka no Ryuusei 「ひるなかの流星」by Mika Yamamori. Suzume has continuously harbored feelings for sensei. Sensei wasn’t determined enough to pursue a relationship. Whether it was about his position, Suzume’s uncle’s intervention or probably for Suzume herself, he decided not to continue any longer and made her feel that his decision was final. Like sorry girl, we just can’t. I’ve read a different shoujo with the same kind of relationship, teacher-student. You know what the teacher did? He asked her to wait…and she waited. He waited. They were patient. Now, in Suzume’s case there was a boy waiting and unwavering. So can you really blame me! And plus we all know the end was pretty romantic!!!
Another great example for me was Tonari no Atashi 「隣のあたし」by Atsuko Namba. Nina was in love with her childhood friend/neighbor for years. But he continuously gave her half-hearted responses. As if was teasing her that they can happen; making the poor girl kept on hoping. And that wasn’t cool dude. You like her, you like her! If you don’t, you don’t! There was nothing complicated with their relationship tbqh. But he made his bed, now he lied in it! So I’m pleased that there are cases of “it’s too late” and the “what ifs.” You can see that he regretted his actions but it was as I said too late. She moved on and loved another guy!
There are the times—many times that’s all they ever gonna be: the second guy! But even so I just can’t help loving him despite his unrequited love story. His moments? I treasured them! I love Baek In Ho from Cheese in the Trap [치즈인더트랩] by Soon Ki. Even though early on the author had already established the main couple, I was and still glued to his story! His relationship—the moments he had with Hong were just adorable! Their bickering! Their friendship is just so, so fun to read! I don’t hate the main guy, Jung but In Ho has stolen my heart & gripping it tightly even if the ship has never sailed!
That being said, I still want my darlings to have their HEA! So dear authors, it’s OK to break stereotype! If you want me to love the guy you originally chose for the girl, make him redeemable! Make him better! I also loved to see couples on dating stage too you know! Still, second guy is always not the second in my heart! Plenty of times they are the first because you authors are making him the most ideal (and for some more interesting) one out of the two! So again I ask, can you blame me?!
Do you also suffer from second guy syndrome? What are your memorable second lead guys that you’ve cheered on before? Dare to share it with me?