Grateful for guilty pleasures

I’m not proud of what I’m about to say, but we’re all friends here and in the spirit of honesty being the best policy… my name’s Clare, and I’m a Love Island addict. There: I’ve said it. I know; it’s tripe, it’s the lowest form of entertainment, it’s a load of twaddle – say what you will about it, I already know. But I’ll still be changing my plans to ensure I’m home in time for 9pm, or staying up way past my bedtime to watch on catch up, god forbid I miss out on a day’s worth of goss from the Island (or even worse, that I find out what’s happened by absentmindedly scrolling through Twitter before I’ve had a chance to watch it). 

So what’s the appeal? The former sociology student in me might say it’s simply interesting to study the behaviours of a group of young singles forced together through a shared love of lip filler and thong bikinis… but let’s be honest, there are probably better ways of researching the human mindset. 

Honestly, its mindless. And in today’s world of seemingly never-ending bad news, why the heck shouldn’t we enjoy watching something that requires as little brain power as possible? Something that reduces the world to a single villa in Mallorca, that ignores the existence of politics or terrorism or human suffering, just momentarily? Ignorance is bliss, right? So let’s pretend to be ignorant for an hour each evening. Let’s pretend that all that really matters is who’s cracking onto who, whether anyone is grafting hard enough, or who’s being the most muggy (muggiest?!) today. 

Of course I’m trying quite hard to justify myself here; I doubt it’s really working. But the people on my screen, with their alternative language, their endless hair extensions (girls) and impossibly tight shorts (boys) are so far removed from my every day life that they are a constant source of fascination to me. And isn’t it just human nature to be nosey?!

I don’t know any of these professional Instagram types; personal trainers with ridiculous muscles, models or dancers permanently posed and selfie-ready. Would we be friends in real life? Probably not. But it’s not hard to get extremely, very seriously, must-text-my-best-friend-immediately-about-this-crucial-development invested in the love lives of people you’ve never met before, when you see them play out in front of you each night. Who didn’t want to go and slap stupid, stupid idiot Jonny upside his head when he dumped the lovely Camilla for the far less lovely Tyla? Who didn’t grin from ear to ear when Marcel asked Gabby to be his girlfriend? Who hasn’t questioned what their type on paper actually is at some point during the last four weeks?! I get it: if you don’t watch the show I probably sound like an absolute crazy person and you’re most likely questioning our entire friendship right now. But if you do watch it: do you hear me?!

Finding out that someone you know is also a secret addict is absolute gold dust. Flood gates well and truly opened; we’re aware that we’re equally as despicable as each other, now onto the important stuff: did Jess and Mike really get together? Can you believe Montana is only 21? Was that girl’s name really Tyne-Lexy? Did you know you can buy their actual water bottles on the Love Island app??!! (Sorry, I’ll stop soon, I promise).

And husbands/boyfriends/partners: I’m onto you too! Don’t tell me you’re not on the edge of your seat about when the next recoupling will happen; don’t pretend you’re sitting there reading something intellectual on your phone whilst your girlfriend watches: I see that one eye on the TV! I KNOW you’re living vicariously through these white-trousered, tattooed Essex boys. And that’s okay! I say enjoy it: whatever your guilty pleasure is, life’s too short to worry about what other people think. Embrace the embarrassment, lap up the entertainment. Normal service will be resumed next week. 

For Robyn Northcott, who’s just my type on paper. 


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