I have absolutely no shame in letting you know that my own (love) life has been put on the back hob, at a low heat, gently simmering as I surrender all of my brain cells and every single fibre of my being to ITV2 every single night. Barely five minutes pass without me wondering what Kem Cetinay’s mum looks like, or why no one really fancies Montana. I’ve downloaded the app, DM’d Mike, dreamt about Chris’ eyebrows and now I’m writing an article about it.
I think Love Island is a pretty accurate reflection of where we’re at romantically, Britain. It is something of a well-lit mirror being held up to the rather inexplicable and bizarre dating cultures we’re all subscribing to as 20-somethings. We’re fickle af, needy, desirous, jealous, our romantic lives are more public than ever, we rate and slate people in the blink of an eye, re-couple minutely and we always, always want what we cannot have.
In short, we’ve transformed our own love lives into a game using our mobile phones, and much like Love Island, we’re voting people on and off our own tiny islands all the time. What if I told you that your mum was Caroline Flack and the guy doing the voice over is actually your internal monologue. Love Island is basically the Truman Show and you’re Jim Carey. Ok- maybe too far- I’ll reel it in, but here are some practical Love Island dating lessons. Take heed.
Muggy Mike: You want to- but, just, don’t
Come on? We all let out a collective phwoar when Greek God Mike Thalassitis entered the house. I actually got up, squeezed a pillow, bit my knuckle and did a lap of the living room. Fuck me! Those nostrils, that curled lip, those sunken eyes. But, after around four hours (in Love Island time that’s a month) we realised there wasn’t much else to dear Mike. He was as dry as a Ryvita and there was no disputing it. Then he went for Olivia and Chris gave him his now legendary epithet: ‘Muggy Mike’ drops hairspray. The thing is, Chris had a point. Mike was a rotten egg from the start and we all knew it. WARNING: Muggy Mike comes in many different forms (there’s Malibu Mike and Prom Mike) but avoid him at all costs. He looks right, but he won’t do right by you- he’ll shag your mate in a Holiday Inn when you’re checking your Twitter. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Sometimes you get stuck in a corridor and just make out with someone you shouldn’t
You know, we’ve all been there. You’re dating someone. Then, you’re passing a friend of yours in a corridor, and there’s no way around it, you’re just suddenly humping and making out. Bloody corridors! Of course, this happened to Olivia (‘he walked past I’d thought I’d stick it on him a bit’). We’ve all kissed people we shouldn’t have and it’s always better just to come clean, blame the nearest bit of architecture and move on so you can stick it on someone you really fancy.
A ‘good connection’ is vital
People in the house talk a lot about how much of a ‘good connection’ they have with people they’ve known for forty-five minutes or less. While this might seem amazingly naïve there’s a nugget of profundity in there somewhere. You know when you think your life would be easier if you just fancied X? Forget it. You don’t. If the connection ain’t good, you can’t hear shit. Move on.
No man is a Love Island
What your mates think about who you’re banging is unavoidably relevant. Whether you like it or not. Did you see the way Marcel egged his mates on, over Skype, into saying Gabby had a nice bum? This is ‘I care what my mates think’ 101. We all do it. We should all rise above it. Your pack will undoubtedly help you duck, dive and weave through the currently dangerous dating world we’re living in, and they’ll tuck you into bed and kiss your foreheads if they’re Kem. But they’ll also snake you (Amber) lie to your face (Amber) and hit on your boyfriend (Amber). Just remember, only you have to see that person’s hairy back every morning, not your mates, so as long as it’s a hairy back you want to comb, chill.
We don’t make an effort like we used to
Ba-loody, hell. Wow. The getting ready montages aren’t only the most cinematic segues we’ve seen in a TV show for yonks, they’re also a massive reminder that turning up to a date in the outfit you slept in only works in East London. Even then, the “irony” of this has been wearing a bit thin for a while. Time to try deodorant again, guys.
Love hurts. Enjoy the pain. Hell, ham it up
When Dom found out that Jess and Muggy Mike had played a game-set-and-match of tonsil tennis approx. 10 seconds after leaving the house, despite her having sworn her undying love about ten minutes prior, Dom got angry. Like, he threw something in the pool, and then he stopped off through the fake grass. The other housemates gasped. He then preceded to huff and puff on a window sill and pull at his really tight t-shirt and take his fake glasses on and off while checking his hair was still in place. We’ve all been there, we all know saving face, in the long run, helps your sex appeal- but come on? Wasn’t that sweet? I felt so much better about that time I pretended to do my shoe laces up in a shopping centre in Brighton, only to slip my Vans off and throw one at my then boyfriend’s head. Totally fine.
Good guys do win (sometimes)
Marcel. Kem. They’re boys you could take home to your mum, and your nan, and your old school reunion- because, quite frankly they’re shining bastions of loveliness with great skin. They might not be the hottest tongs at the salon, but I bet they’re bloody good at ironing and they make a half decent roast. All you’d need to do is cut their jeans of them as they sleep…
Boys don’t mean the things they say
All the time. They can’t help it. Maybe the jeans are cutting off the blood circulation to their vital organs, maybe? Take Montana’s recent fiasco with Simon. As she so eloquently puts it: ‘I just don’t get him. He’s well hard to read but then he does really nice stuff all the time so it’s confusing.’ NB, guys, always read between the lines, he’s about to de-couple. Move on.
Don’t be a doormat
In Love Island vernacular- you’ve got to graft. As soon as you get a whiff of someone moving on- ‘graft’. You’ve got to put out to stay in on Love Island. In real-life terms read as: if you sense any disingenuous motives keep your cards close to your chest, start getting tough on yourself and hit on someone nearby (depressing I know!). In all seriousness, standing up for yourself has never been anything but hot and respectable. Camilla’s behaviour with Johnny, although noble, was a little whimpering and just simply wasn’t cut throat enough (she couldn’t even chuck some water at Tyla during the swill game). Camilla you should’ve disposed of Johnny like you do bombs. People are moving fast outchea. Cut more bra straps will you?
It something feels like a flirt, wife it
On the other hand, Johnny, you’re a snake and Camilla deserves better but we appreciate that you know what you like (Tyla) and you go for it (make out with her moments after dumping Camilla). Can’t argue with that.
Snitches end up in ditches
Amber is playing Love Island like a game of chess. Queen, bishops, pawns, she’s making some seriously big, rather poorly veiled moves, but this is Love Island. Almost anything can be rectified with a ‘that’s been taken completely out of content [sic]’ (Kem, Love Island, 2017). Poor Kem is her goddamn pawn and Simon was the bishop, but he got captured quick. The thing is she’s not that good at chess. In fact, during the swirl game, Amber had more full glasses of water thrown at her than an ice bucket challenge montage. Amber might be about to get her comeuppance…
When in doubt re-couple
If Love Island teaches us anything, it’s that nothing needs to be forever. The dating cycle, in the house, is a microcosm of the life cycle of an actual relationship. The smitten stages, the ‘are we going out?’ moment through to deep, true love and then the full-blown divorce- in the space of 4 days. These people are operating in light years, sure, but also YOLO, because Caroline Flack might walk in at any minute and reveal a second secret house...Savage.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.