Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, or you’ve taken the stance that it’s all just too lowbrow, you’ll be aware of the country’s biggest guilty pleasure for the past eight weeks, Love Island.
For those of you who have been living in a cave, the show is based around a group of 20-something girls and boys thrown together into a villa in Majorca.
They’ve come on the show to ‘find love’ apparently – not to get their 15 minutes of reality TV fame and a blue tick on their Twitter and Instagram accounts, honest.
And so they couple up, but these couples can change and they can ‘recouple.’ New girls and boys come into the house each week to spice things up, as well as people getting dumped from the island if they have failed to find that ‘genuine true love’ that they all crave (seriously, it’s not just about getting to sit on the couch opposite Holly & Philip on This Morning).
And so at 9pm every night – except Saturday when I admit I have been at a loss – myself along with 3.4 million others in the UK, have been switching on to watch the latest trials and tribulations amongst the bronzed millennials in the Love Island villa.
But this reality TV phenomenon has not been a straightforward easy watch for me such as the likes of Dance Moms (I know, I know) and Made In Chelsea.
Oh no, Love Island has put me in a right old mental quandary most nights. My moral muscles have been tweaking and I’ve been put through an array of emotions during each episode.
Heartache and Empathy
Watching someone get dumped is uncomfortable viewing, and the Islanders dump each other with the same old classic lines that we’ve all used, and had used on us: ‘It’s not you it’s me.’ ‘I’ve just not been feeling the same recently.’ ‘I think we’re better as friends.’
Those words bring back hideous memories for us all because there’s no two ways about it, it feels super sh*t to hear that someone doesn’t want you anymore.
And it feels triply super sh*t when that person just told you there was categorically absolutely nobody else in the picture, only to hear that he or she has been spotted snogging the face off someone else at the bus stop.
But the Love Island kids have to endure it as not only their fellow islanders watch on, but the vast majority of us at home on our sofas.
And if that’s not enough, they then have to witness the person who just binned them ‘cracking on’ and ‘doing bits’ with someone else about 5 minutes later, possibly on a sun lounger a few feet away. It’s hard to watch, but watch it I did.
Disapproval and Envy
I have been internally perplexed by the number of girls sauntering around with hungry bums.
The thongs these kids wear are so teeny tiny that not even a firm, pert, youthful bottom could resist munching them up.
‘Tut, tut’ I’d say disdainfully inside the motherhead, ‘that’s a disgrace to be showing off so much smooth, toned buttock.’ While within the same nanosecond, my thoughts would scream ‘F*ck me, wouldn’t it feel good to walk around with that booty? But my middle aged dimpled, saggy ars wouldn’t just be hungry in that, it’d be flippin’ ravenous. The world would never see that teeny tiny thong again.’
Body Positivity Alarm Bells
There’s a lot of good work going on out there to dispel the notion that women should look a certain way – preferably a size 8 with not a wobble in sight.
We’ve had it rammed down our throats for years by the media that if your bikini bod isn’t (unrealistically) like that of a Barbie doll, you may as well give up and go and live in that cave I was talking about.
I’ve been teaching my children to embrace who they are because beauty really does come from within – not in a pair of pneumatic breasts, a thigh gap and plumped up lips. But how does this argument stand when our nation’s teens revere the Love Islanders with their surgically enhanced bits and ‘perfect’ physical appearance?
And it’s not just the girls anymore. The boys are seriously six packed up and spend a huge amount of time on their looks, leading to a rise in boys feeling pressure to look a certain way. Not ideal for anyone’s mental health.
But still I kept watching until the winners of Love Island 2018 – Jack and Dani – were crowned last night.
It all comes right in the end
Jack was the only male contestant throughout the eight weeks not to have a ripped Action Man physique. If anything he had a nice little bit of wobble on his belly, and seemed a down to earth, decent bloke (albeit with very white teeth).
His new girlfriend, Dani, had the eyelash extensions and a little bit of lip plumping, but apart from that (and having Danny Dyer as her dad) she seemed a really lovely person and the most normal of the girls, both in appearance and personality.
So in the end, the great British public saw through all the rock hard abs and flawless faces and chose the couple who appeared to genuinely fall in love.
And despite my morals being tugged on each night, I admit I loved it. I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of relationship drama and a juicy dissection of it all over the water cooler at work / at school pick up / in the post office queue.
The big question is what will I do at 9pm every night for the rest of the summer? Celebrity Big Brother is coming soon I hear…