Louise Bruton explains the fascination with Love Island, and why it can teach us all a valuble lesson
Go with your gut. I didn’t expect to connect with her the way that I did. We just wasn't compatible.
These are the lines that can only get you out of a sticky situation in Love Island, which is fast becoming Rejection Island and, if you’re Megan, it's Reject, Recouple, Regret, Rethink and Return Island. Other than learning the ways of soon-to-be influencers from Manchester, Essex and London, we can apply the lessons we learn from watching Rejection Island to our own love lives.
When you’ve been jilted, your stomach drops and your brain replays the break up over and over again, wondering when it went wrong. This causes you to lose sleep and to become a total nightmare to your friends. With the intense boarding conditions of Rejection Island, our housemates are living on top of exes that are sleeping on top of their new beaus, forcing all childish behaviour to rise to the top and bubble over as quickly as it started.
Following Josh’s recoupling with sexy locust Kaz from Casa Amor, poor, darling Georgia flits between fuming and drowning in her own sobs. At the age of 20, Georgia says that she has never - not once - been rejected in her entire life, which could be misconstrued as an insult to those that have a rejection list longer than the Love Island application list, but it’s not. She’s just a baby, fresh to this cruel world of love and pain. As a single mascara-tinted tear rolls down her face, the likes we haven’t seen since one Lauren Conrad from The Hills, 29-year-old Laura consoles her by reminding her that she’s still the same Georgia that walked into the villa five weeks ago, when everyone else just wants to shake her and say “IT’S NO LONGER LOVE ISLAND, GEORGIA. IT’S REJECTION ISLAND AND YOU HAVE WON. DING DING DING”.
Laura, however, is the patron saint in dealing with rejection, with the right mix of rage until a calm washes over her, letting her move on. Meanwhile, her ex Wes, who dumped her for Megan, who in turn dumped him for New Alex (not to be confused with Dr. Alex), who is now considering getting back with We— where were we?
Ahem. Wes. We were talking about Wes. God. There’s just so much to take in in such a short amount of time, isn’t there? Anyway, Wes’ rejection revenge plan involves hooking up with New Ellie, the real-life ex of Jack who’s currently coupled up with Male Sam, and getting Megan back into his man grip to prove that he never really cared in the first place. Ego can be such a frail and fickle thing...
Meanwhile, Dr. Alex is handling his umpteenth failed relationship by completely forgetting how to be a human. Whenever a human interacts with him, he searches the FiloFax in his brain for phrases that vaguely resemble banter and delivers curmudgeon after curmudgeon, sometimes even using the word curmudgeon, confusing everyone again with his offbeat humour.
A Man on Twitter - you know the kind, a man… on Twitter - asked me what the fascination of Love Island is and it’s this. It’s the way that human emotions play out when faced with lust, jealousy, heartbreak and rejection, albeit constructed by the meddling producers of Love Island.
The dramas and the tears of this show are put under a microscope for us to observe and learn from. We may laugh at Georgia for blatantly forgetting Kaz’s name - “Kez? Cassie? I don’t know why I keep forgetting” - but let she or he who has not “accidentally” sent a text to an ex meant for a new crush or she or he who has not uploaded a thirst trap Instagram post cast the first stone.
We try to distance ourselves from their overly manicured ways, saying that we would never do what they do, when we’ve all sent drunken texts or acted in a performative way to grab the attention of the object of our affection's eye. Plus, they are doing this in a confined space while being continuously challenged by producers that don’t want the villa to remain obstacle-free for any longer than 12 hours.
In the many twists and turns, we can see the manipulations people practice when they’re in the wrong in a relationship. We’ve seen Adam, Wes, Joshua and Megan warp the words of others, something they can get away with in real life but not in the villa, when everyone else is watching.
A lesson in rejection, Love Island is also a warning bell to all the lies that we have heard and have churned out ourselves. You may not want to identify yourself with one housemate entirely but in the real game of love, we’ve all been players and we’ve all been played and that’s the fascination of Love Island right there. It's us, when it's not us.