Contestants on Australia’s ‘The Bachelor’ fell in love with each other instead of the loser guy

The Bachelor is a romance epic for our modern age, wherein a bunch of women compete for a man’s attention on TV until he picks one of them at the end of the programming season. Ah, l’amour! OK, I’m being sarcastic. Or I was until reading this story about contestants on Australia’s The Bachelor falling in love with each other, instead of going for the bachelor who is, you know, the center of the show. Now that’s a love story I’d tune in to watch.

Megan Marx and Tiffany Scanlon met as competitors for the hand of this season’s Australian bachelor. (American news outlets say that the latter’s surname is James, but Australian sources give her name as Tiffany Scanlon.) However, their competition soon turned into friendship, and eventually into something deeper. Marx’s Instagram was full of pictures of herself and Scanlon snuggling and getting adorably affectionate, leading followers to speculate that their relationship was more than platonic.

Those speculations were confirmed in an Oct. 24 post where Marx went public regarding their romance. “Friendship ripened into something bolder,” she wrote, “trust in a very strange situation was formed, and now every adventure we have rivals the other…She’s helped me to disintegrate many of the ideals I’ve had that were harmful (about relationships, about career and ‘stability’) and for that I feel set free.” She signed off with, “Happy Birthday Tiffany. I love you.”

I’m not crying, I just have something in my eye.

To be honest, this news has me slightly rethinking my negativity towards The Bachelor. Using reality TV to find a partner? What’s wrong with finding a stranger online, or meeting through work or mutual friends and then sitting around awkwardly for months until someone makes the first move? (I mean, besides the safety issues, the uncomfortable small talk, the worry that if it doesn’t work out you might still have to see them all the time…)

But it turns out you really can find love on television, albeit not in the way you might expect. Look at these two:

OH MY GOD. Is that not the sweetest thing ever?! Forget the mean stuff I said earlier about The Bachelor; if going on a reality show and subjecting yourself to nationwide scrutiny is what it takes to find that kind of relationship, then what the hell, get in front of those cameras.

In addition to basically being the heart eyes emoji come to life, Marx and Scanlon’s story is an antidote to the heteronormativity of the Bachelor franchise. Why haven’t we ever seen a season of The Bachelor with male contestants, or a Bachelorette season with women? Attraction to one gender doesn’t exclude attraction to another. Love is a beautiful, often non-normative state, and The Bachelor should think about reflecting that if it wants to continue claiming its “reality TV” label. Marx and Scanlon can show them how to do it right.