We are the men who watch Love Island, and we will not be silenced
It’s our type of show on paper
It’s a brave new world, and we’re no longer shackled by the gender stereotypes of old. Men, in 2017, can be whoever they want to be.
Want to drink a cold Piña Colada with a pink umbrella in it? Go right ahead. Want to wear leggings because they make your legs look extra supple? There’s nothing wrong with that. Want to watch ITV2’s turbulent relationship behemoth Love Island, a show classically marketed at girls? You know what, fucking go for it.
Here are some of the boys who are no longer ashamed to admit they love Love Island. We are many, the haters are few.
Oli, 23, Video Producer
I got into Love Island quite a lot later than everyone else, probably because I’m not very cool. But now I spend my days at work fixated on ITV player catching up. I’m nearly there. And I can recite the “fun in the sun” Superdrug advert rote like a trash TV parrot.
Ed, 20, Civil Servant
It’s genuinely good fucking television. It’s got more drama than Game of Thrones, it’s more visually pleasing than a Baz Luhrmann film, and that time Harley did a backflip featured a level of athleticism you can only wish Scottish footballers would employ.
You advocate its merits to your friends and then get them hooked: it’s the same word-of-mouth fanaticism that led to you watching Breaking Bad. Imagine not watching a show which is better than Breaking Bad, because you’re scared someone will find out you want to see a girl from Essex and a boy from Newcastle rub their bodies together under some covers.
Frankly, I think the onus is on you to tell me why I shouldn’t watch.
Dominic, 20, Student
As a red-blooded male, I am happy to admit that I am a regular Love Island viewer. In the 21st century, it’s time to end outdated ideas about who should watch what. In all honesty, it’s absolutely addictive.
There’s a lot to love about the show. The sarcastic narration and the ridiculous number of plot twists. The sublime editing, which makes the love lives and postcard deliveries of complete strangers more interesting than I ever thought possible. The chance to have my faith in humanity restored by Gabby and Marcel, and to vent my frustrations whenever Amber or the slightly creepy Craig appear.
It’s important to remember there are worse people than Love Island viewers, including the people absolutely convinced they are superior human beings just because they don’t watch it. I’m fairly sure my running commentaries have lost me at least a couple of Twitter followers, who I hope can forgive me once it’s all over. My family are nearing the point of disowning me.
Is this going to make me stop and think about my nightly ITV2 habit? Of course not. Roll on 9pm.
Rich, 29, Advertising
I knew my girlfriend would eventually cash in all the tokens she’d accrued after sitting 100s of hours of televised sport. Now I find myself deeply connecting with the Blazin’ Squad’s greatest hits and wondering if Camilla will ever find true love.
Sammy, 21, Recent Graduate
I first got into Love Island last season as all my friends were watching. Never one to resist the pressure of FOMO, I expected to watch it very absent-mindedly just so I could contribute tidbits to university conversations.
But I was immediately hooked. It’s sun, sex and snakey housemates and it’s everything you hoped your lads’ holiday after A-Levels would become before you inevitably got third degree burns and an STI on the first day.
Tom, 25, Journalist
Love Island’s got a better mix of people than other shows everyone gets hooked on. They’re not all chavs or all toffs like TOWIE or Made in Chelsea.
At first I irrationally hated everyone on there, especially Chris with his polar bear banter. But I’ve got to know them, I’ve got to understand why Kem sulks most of the time because he just can’t handle his own emotions. It’s like a science experiment, it’s genius. Shamelessly playing with people’s emotions and letting them run riot.
They’re never that smashed and while it’s obviously staged at points, they dive right in and they’re genuinely funny. Now I only rationally hate Amber.
Ben, 20, Student
On paper Love Island isn’t my kind of show but, after a few days of adjustment and a well-planned drinking game, it’s a show I’ve stayed coupled up with ever since. Once you come to terms with the fact that you’re watching a dystopian nightmare where plastic people pretend to care for each other in the hopes of winning money, it’s really quite hard to stop watching it.
This year’s season has seen so many moments which have come to define the whole ‘fake-love-real-drama’ reality genre: from Camilla introducing the boys to feminism to Harley and Marcel’s star-crossed (and short-lived) bromance, even a series of heated (AND DEFINITELY NOT FAKE) fights; there really has never been a better time to start watching Love Island, or at least to stop pretending that you’re not.
Yusuf, 20, Student
It’s summer, you’re cracking open cold ones with the boys (naturally,) and you want some juicy goss to end the day, ITV2 is the place to be obv. When you watch Love Island you enter a strange reality where you wonder why you’re here but it’s just amazing.
Blazin’ Squad, types of paper and getting emotional about water bottles, it’s got it all. I watched it last year, and tbh I think last year’s group were a bit better but having said that I did feel ashamed about watching it, but I had to come clean when my mate Kate started tagging me in Love Island memes.
The truth was out and so was my love for the frankly bizarre show that is Love Island. So yeah I do watch it – it’s one of the few bits of reality TV I do watch. Usually it’s test cricket or Brooklyn Nine Nine but you know, the heart wants what the heart wants.
Masculinity intact? I’m not sure I had any to start with. Peace. (Harley and Marcel 5ever).
Jeremy, 68, Politician
— The Tab (@TheTab) July 7, 2017