Dating and Love Island

Dating and Love Island

What is it with Love Island?  Why is it so popular? I swear virtually every person I know is watching it, or if they’re not, their children are. 

Dating Shows

he Love Island ‘phenomenon’, for want of a better word, started back in 2015 and it really does seem to have captured the public’s attention.  You can’t go on social media , read a tabloid or go online without encountering some juicy tidbit or other about the current show. In fact, I was just browsing the ‘sidebar of shame’ in The Daily Fail and there are more features on the Love Island ‘cast’ and host than on almost any other subject.

The blurb for the show proclaims ‘Caroline Flack hosts the show with the cast of hot young singles who have come looking for a summer of love and romance in Majorca. The winning couple will leave the island with £50,000.’

Oh so it’s not just about ‘love’ then?  Surprise, surprise!

Love Island
image from ITV

The public seem to be fascinated by the idea of simply watching  people date. We watch Blind Date, Take Me Out, First Dates, The Undateables … the list goes on.  We’re a nation addicted. A whole world of welovedates.com .  Why do we watch these programmes so avidly?  What is it about them that we love so much?

Dating Fails

Turns out, we’re not all matchmakers at heart who love a good romance though.  What we love best are the fails, the embarrassing comments, the cringeworthy moments. We love watching people making fools of themselves. 

What worries me with Love Island is the sameness of the characters in the cast. This year there’s not a hint of body diversity.  Suntans, six-packs, dazzling white teeth, waxed and oiled hairless bodies, hair extensions, bee-stung lip fillers …

man with a six pack

So many young impressionable teenagers watch the programme religiously, never missing an episode. They and we are confronted by a screen full of body beautifuls.. Kids sitting in their bedrooms catching up on the latest episode on their phones, must wonder at their own self-worth. Body Confidence is pretty fragile when you’re young, in particular and so it’s important that we see worth in all shapes and sizes.  Perhaps ITV could work on that for next year?

Personally I have never ever watched an episode of Love Island but I have read about the toxic fallout from past shows,  Suicides, breakdowns, mental health problems to name a few.

couple holding hands

Surely young people should be getting themselves out and about meeting real people, chatting and making friendships in the real world rather than watching anti-role-models trying to form new relationships in the most artificial setting imaginable? 

How would I match people if I was a matchmaker I sometimes wonder?  I certainly wouldn’t choose potential partners for people based on looks alone.  And if I was casting for an alternative Love Island, I most definitely wouldn’t just choose a load of Barbies and Kens!

barbie dolls

No, we’d have varying hues of complexions, people with bad-hair days, a few spots here and there perhaps.Some of the potential datees would carry a few extra pounds, some would be skinny, some might be geeky and most would have average teeth. They wouldn’t all be super confident ‘I Love Me’ types either.. I’d have a healthy mix of awkward, ordinary, intelligent, humorous and interesting  people.  

Listen to me, sounding like I care! 

Online Dating

The dating world today is a completely different ballgame compared to back in the day.  It’s a world I’m so glad I don’t have to visit.

People looking for a new partner online are faced with a veritable plethora of sites . When they google. free dating site  and the like, so much stuff comes up. And let’s be fair most of the sites present you with pictures galore of potential partners.

online dating

How about if we choose someone to go on a date with based on the last book they read?  Or their favourite book or film of all time? Let’s be fair, at least you’d be guaranteed some interesting conversation. Or ask the question, if you could be someone else for a day, who would you like to be and why? You could pick the person whose answer you identify with most.  I’m not sure it would catch on, but hey anything new is worth a shot isn’t it!

So anyway, tonight I’m going to watch Love Island myself for the first time.  I’d love to be proved wrong and it’s not just a load of vacuous narcissists and egotistical morons.  Sadly I don’t think I will …

By Sally Williams

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