How to date like a Love Islander

My love life as of recently has been even more dire than usual.

I know…I mean… I also thought we’d hit rock bottom people but APPARENTLY NOT.

With the online dating world full of freaks and IRL men proving to be disingenuous dickheads my current mood is basically this:

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So, it’s kind of strange that my new obsession of the moment is a show in which the end game is to fall madly in love (and win loads of cash – this at the very least I can get on board with.) Yeah you guessed it, it’s Love Island.

Sadly, it’s true, what started as idle curiosity has led to me and my pal G sitting on her sofa mid-heatwave with wet flannels on our heads, eating frozen grapes and shouting things like ‘SHES A SNAKE KEM’ and ‘GO FUCK YOURSELF YOU MELTY MUG’.

Top quality enjoyment.

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Artists impression of G and I preparing for Love Island

What I didn’t expect was that I might actually be able to…oh god…learn something from what is essentially a dramatized and very attractive version of a Wetherspoons smoking area after 1am.

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soz mags yes they bloody are

Yeah, I see your eyes rolling from here. I would have rolled mine too. However, the more Love Island I watch, the more I am forced to admit that these beautiful buffoons have managed to progress further in their romantic lives in two weeks than I have in the past two years.

Excuse me while I just go and put my head straight in the oven.

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So, with that in mind here’s what I think we can learn from this year’s gang of borderline idiots. Hint – its more than you think.

  • How to tell if someone is your type on paper

Listen closely because this is very important.

STEP ONE: get a piece of paper

STEP TWO: write down every physical attribute that makes someone a ‘bit of you’.

STEP THREE: do not lose paper

STEP FOUR: as soon as you see a stranger of the opposite sex, consult paper and if they match at least two of these, start whispering loudly to anyone who will listen about how they are VERY FIT. Immediately sack off anyone you might be dating no matter how much you like them or how nice they are to you in favour of someone who might be a cretin because they are tall and have dark hair.

STEP FIVE: When said ‘bit of you’ turns out to be a total pleb, blame it all on the paper. You couldn’t help it. The paper TOLD you to do it. Nasty bad paper.

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Getting serious for a second though – sure it’s important to know what you like and what you don’t like. However, remembering that what’s on paper isn’t real life is pretty important. Some of the best people I’ve dated are people I would have swiped past on a dating app because they didn’t match what I thought my type was (on paper).

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Like Liv, you might think (on paper) your type is ‘gormless beefcake’ however you might find out its actually, umm… gormless polar bear? Imagine the possibilities….

  • If someone is mugging you off, pie them off

Before Love Island came into my life I genuinely thought ‘mugging someone off’ meant to make them an overly milky cup of tea. Can you tell I grew up in Surrey?

Turns out not to be so.

Whatever name you know it by the art of mugging someone off is as old as time. Remember that time you dated someone and they told you they really liked you and then as soon as you decided you liked them back they got all weird and stopped replying to your texts?

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They mugged you off mate.

Remember when you found out that the guy who promised you he was dating you and only you turned out to be dating someone else?

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He definitely mugged you off

Remember when your boyfriend told you he was in love with you and then contacted your friend and work colleague on Plenty of Fish? No? just me?

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Yeah, he mugged you off too….

Remember when you went to the guy you had been seeing’s house after a night out with a group of friends and he came home and completely ignored you? Remember when the best-case scenario you could come up with is someone you really liked mistook you for a bit of furniture in his living room?

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He well and truly mugged you off pal.

GOD that was depressing.

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Whilst the official definition might be ‘behaviour that is unacceptable towards someone you’re supposed to care about’ there is a whole other facet to this phenomenon of being mugged off.  It’s bad behaviour that makes you feel like a total fool (or MUG) in the process.

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It makes sense that on an island where everyone looks like a Hollyoaks extra on steroids, some fairly sizeable egos will, inevitably, be bruised. What is kind of refreshing is the ruthlessness the islander employ in swiftly extricating themselves from situations they aren’t happy with.

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As someone who has a horrible tendency to hang around for far longer than she should, waiting for the nice guy from the initial stages of dating to reappear (hint – they are ALL nice in the beginning) I know first-hand how hard it is to walk away. But it is quite possibly the strongest tool in your arsenal and your best chance to be happy.

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If you sit around feeling secretly miserable trying to think up crafty ways to get someone interested in you today they will a) smell your desperation (which in my head smells a bit like off-eggs) and b) continue to treat you badly until you finally beat retreat like a sad dog.

Don’t be a sad dog. No one fancies a sad dog.

If someone you care about makes you feel any less than fantastic it’s time to give them a big old pie to the face. Metaphorically. Or literally. Whatever takes your fancy. Because life’s too bloody short and I speak as someone who once had to drink a gin in a tin in a park at 11am because a boy who quite clearly had no interest in her, confirmed he had no interest in her. GET A CLUE and give them the pie.

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You’re welcome.

  • Be prepared to graft

This possibly confuses me the most out of all the Love Island idiosyncrasies. I feel like every Love Island contestant has some weird inner knowledge of the concept of grafting that has somehow passed me by.

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So many questions

– how does one graft?

– When does one graft?

– Who should do said grafting?

– Is it the same as putting all your eggs in one basket?

HELP ME IM SO CONFUSED

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I think I may have been doing relationships entirely wrong (noooo you DON’T say) because I don’t think I have ever ‘grafted’ in my life. In fact, whenever I picture someone grafting I weirdly think of someone scaling a rock face or making some sort of sculpture out of stone. I just can’t get my head around it.

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I guess the kind of refreshing thing about this whole baffling process is that it is nice to see people actually make an effort to win the affections of their chosen victim…cough…I mean partner.

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Their willingness to lay their hearts out on the table like roadkill is totally alien to the way I live my life which tends to go something more like this: starts dating boy – is unsure of boy – warms up to boy – decides quite likes boy – freaks out and cries to friend in a pub about being scared to get feelings hurt – friends say ‘he isn’t like that’ – boy goes weird – boy not ready for relationship/still in love with ex/bit of a chronic arsehat – drink ten buckets of rose at lunchtime and cry to patient friends – swear off men – meet new boy AND REPEAT.

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ME IN EVERY RELATIONSHIP EVER

So perhaps there’s something in the Love Island methodology of making you intentions super clear.

True – the £100,000 incentive doesn’t hurt but in a day and age when texting someone ‘hey how u’; counts as massive effort, watching Chris running around after Olivia like a sad skunk whilst wailing about being a polar bear made my heart warm.

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What that says about me I honestly couldn’t tell you.

  • Don’t put your eggs all in one basket

If Love Island was a vegan retreat they’d all be in serious trouble. There are so many eggs flying around you could literally bake enough roasted vegetable quiches to serve an entire army of sad vegetarians at a wedding.

From what I can work out when you go into Love Island, you are given a certain amount of eggs and, much like an over enthusiastic poultry farmer, your job is to lob said eggs into the willing or unwilling baskets of people you want to shag.

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It’s all very confusing – what if you were to tell someone you had seven eggs in their basket only to find they had three in yours? What if theirs are goose eggs though?! Yours might be quails – does that make it equal?? What does that mean? WHAT DOES ANY OF IT MEAAAANNN.

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Yeah, I’ve lost my train of thought, I’m a freak and it’s not surprising I’m single is it.

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  • Recognise when you’ve got the Ick

Whilst I don’t identify with Liv from Love Island in many ways I felt like the moment she sat down in front of the camera and told the world she’d got the ick for Sam-nice-but-utterly-stupid she was EVERY WOMAN.

The ick is a very real affliction. If you’ve never felt it, good for you but chances are you know exactly what I mean.

This once happened to my pal B. She was dating a very nice, handsome man who was so kind that he had been in hospital for three weeks donating bone marrow to a stranger. All praise you Jesus man. Unfortunately, one day, during a romantic evening out he said the word ‘ridonkculous’. And she got the ick. Goodbye male Mother Teresa – see you never.

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Equally I recently received a message from a man asking me how my…gulps back sick… ‘funky Friday’ was going. Instant Ick. He could have taken me to actual Hogwarts and it still wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference.

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The ick is unstoppable and must be listened to. Take it from someone who spent a long while in a relationship pretending that I got really cold at night so had to wear pyjamas buttoned up to my chin because the thought of them touching me made me want to rip my skin off. There’s NOTHING you can do about the ick.

  • Don’t be a snake

If Love Island can teach us anything it’s that whilst people are genuinely looking for a connection they also have a rather annoying tendency to behave like massive knobs.

People say things that they don’t mean, change their minds based on a whim and are easily distracted by leggy brunettes in short skirts.

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And I fear the outside world is no different.

In fact the only discernible difference I can see is that on Love Island there is the accountability of the cameras. I often wonder how we would all behave if there was a chance that our bad behaviour would get replayed back to us or crucially people we like.

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If you knew that the person you liked would end up seeing you flirting with someone else, for example, maybe you wouldn’t do it.

If you knew that your girlfriend would have video evidence of you chuckling with your idiot mates and planning to get it on with someone else it might make you reconsider being such a massive bellend.

If you knew that the person you’d been dating for circa three months would have to watch you drinking gins in a tin with some girl with ginormous eyebrows on Primrose Hill after you promised you weren’t dating anyone else perhaps it would make you reconsider your behaviour.*

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JUST SAYIN

*if it seems like an oddly specific example it is and I’m 100% not sorry.

Even the Love Islanders seem to forget that all their behaviour is being documented. Such is life. But I think taking a moment to think ‘would I be happy for my person to watch this back on tape’ is often quite a good indicator about how close you are to the dividing line between nice human and massive dickhead.

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So yeah don’t be a huge slimy snake because cameras or no cameras it ALWAYS comes back to bite you in the arse. Men (sorry guys you in particular need to hear this) take heed: I quote my good friend T here and she’s not wrong: WOMEN. KNOW. EVERYTHING.

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  • Be more Camilla

Ok guys so we can’t all be humanitarian bomb disposal experts and also looking banging in a bikini because life is basically not that kind but we can certainly be a bit more Camilla.

She might not be your cup of tea (if you’re Satan with a heart of the darkest coal but whatevs) but if there’s one thing we can learn from the most baffling Love Island contestant of all time* it’s be true to yourself.

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*seriously Cammy what are you doing in there? You didn’t know what muggy meant. You thought grafting was something a builder did to the outside of your house. It must be like living in a foreign land but instead of guidebooks/translation aids you’re surrounded by beautiful zoo animals who blink at you in incomprehension when you say things like ‘women…should…sometimes pay on dates?)

Along with completely breaking my heart, last night’s episode was an important reminder of staying classy and remembering your worth. When Camilla was unceremoniously dumped by a full body version of the art attack talking head with a lisp for a Sainsburys basics version of Michelle Keegan, she was THE CLASSIEST PERSON EVER:

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I personally would have spat in his water bottle and then thoroughly enjoyed watching him drink from it. But that’s just me.

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As usual Camilla is right. You can’t force someone to like you. You can’t force someone to be honest. You can’t force someone treat you with the same respect you give them (can you JONNY you bag of arseholes). What you can do is respect yourself and know when to say enough is enough. Because, quite frankly, if you have to convince someone to choose you, you probably should have already chosen to get the hell out of there.

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Remember for every time you feel absolutely gutted…there’s probably a bit of you just around the corner. QUICK GET YOUR BIT OF PAPER OUT.

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