Love Island 2021: Liam and Tyler have left us pondering if a world without men would really be so bad
In Jacqueline Harpman’s lesser known, cult dystopia I Who Have Never Known Men, readers follow the story of 40 women who escape their cages, only to discover a world void of men. Civilisation as they know it has collapsed, the land unyielding and barren, and as the women trudge towards emptiness, hope dwindles to nothing. This is not the feel-good feminist parable ilk of modern publishing.
While watching the last two episodes of Love Island, with all the swift, delicious cruelty of Casa Amor, I found myself thinking about those women. Yes, most of them died horrible deaths. Yes, I myself would not be able to survive the male-dearth apocalypse. Yes, gender isn’t really the main theme of the novel here, and yet…Would a world without men really be so bad?
It seems that our original hunks are in hot water, with the babes of Casa Amor the closest thing we have to sirens – the kind of ethereal temptresses sea shanties are written about, or that horny pre-Raphaelite artists paint. Instead of realising that this is all completely manufactured by producers in a stuffy, overheated studio somewhere near the villa, the men have lost their heads entirely. This is car-crash TV at its most insatiable, the new girls absolutely aware of their limited time in the villa and using all the tricks in their arsenal to snag a man. I’m caveating this with the fact that none of our new hotties are in the wrong here. They have a job and they are doing it well. So well in fact that day one featured a three-way snog, toe sucking, and a very sensual body kiss from Mary. This is, for Liam and Tyler, a big problem.
With the women of the villa waiting for their men, like wives awaiting their soldiers to return from the war, it made the stark contrast between their behaviour all the more brutal. For weeks we have watched as Millie and Liam flirted their way into bed, their chaotic sexual sizzle giving way to something more meaningful. She was, after all, his “Millie-Moo.” But danger approaches. New girl Lillie is a triple threat. Blonde, perky and petite, she has been purposely placed in the villa, the arrow to Liam’s Achilles heel. So far there has been no out-of-game snog, but their recent cuddling in bed and Lille’s flagrant attempts at pursuit seems to be dissolving Liam’s fortitude.
Also facing temptation of the flesh is fan-favourite Tyler, who has been caught in a will-they-won’t they tryst with Clarisse. This is devastating for us Kaz fans, who finally thought there was a man who deserved her affections.
None of this is helped by Jake, our forked-tongue Satan, who seems to be living vicariously through the actions of his “single” brethren. You could see the fire in his eyes as he urged Liam to take advantage of his opportunity in Casa Amor, to taste the delectable sights and eat from the forbidden fruit in the garden of… okay, I think you get the metaphor.
Back to our waiting wives, the arrival of a postcard from across the island revealed the boys’ shenanigans away from home. It sent relationships into assorted death spirals. Convinced that Teddy has been disloyal, we’re seeing Faye’s insecurities getting the better of her, an unfair photographic portrayal of Teddy’s actions potentially throwing her into the arms of Dale, aka Mr Veneer 2021. Tyler’s behaviour now revealed, Kaz is also considering moving on, this time with very hot Irishman Matthew, with whom there seems to be zero sexual chemistry.
Love Island villa in shock after receiving postcard from Casa Amor
If you scratch the surface, is this really what all men are like? Are we all mere subjects to the magical whimsy of an erection? Though I’m aware this review is now falling into flagrant heteronormative misandry, Casa Amor brings out the worst in all of us. Including me.
It is important to remember that this is reality TV, a gameshow concocted and manipulated to get us frothing at the mouth in rage, or screaming at the TV in ecstasy. Under a “what happens in Casa Amor, stays in Casa Amor” mentality, it is now up to the girls in the villa to move on from their men, to have a little fun and decide whether these really are the people worth pining over. The wife era of Love Island is no more: it is time for our girls to embrace a world without their men and to finally work out who is deserving of their trust.