Watching Love Island with teens


Daughter one may not have counted a lot of snails on her recent biology field trip, but she did come back with some additional knowledge about biology – although perhaps not the kind her teachers intended. Apparently the field trip team only had two hours off a night and those two hours coincided with Love Island. Daughters one, two and three have spent the entire week catching up on the exploits of the barely clad contestants.

“Do they ever put any clothes on?” I asked. “And do they ever use the pool? It seems such a waste to just sit around all day talking.” I would dearly love to do some regular swimming, but I’ve yet to figure out how to fit it in the schedule.

“It’s called editing, mum,” said daughter one caustically without even looking up. At that moment the girls on the programme, who all look like they are out of a Barbie catalogue, were having hot dogs jammed into their bikinis by the overly muscular boys.

Daughters one, two and three were mesmerised. My mum came over and had a brief rant about how the programme was turning people into replaceable commodities. This fell completely on deaf ears. The girls don’t even appear to pay much attention to the sex bits since they mainly seem to involve a mound moving under a duvet. It is the relationship stuff they are interested in – the tears, the jealousy, the manipulation, the declarations of love…

My partner just rolls his eyes every time he walks past the telly and disappears to watch Rick Stein on his computer. If Love Island were all about eating, now that would be another thing. “When are you going to get Rick Stein to one of your festivals?” he asked the other night. I have severely let him down by never interviewing anyone he is remotely interested in over the entire course of my career. No Dave Gahan, no Martin Gore, no Rick.

When the girls are in unison, as over Love Island, and they outnumber the adults it is hard to take them on. Plus I fear they are smarter than their parents. Daughter three is going to some pampering session next week. I did a long impassioned speech against pampering, princesses and the like. “Girls are so much more than this,” I think I ended on. What has happened to my human rights campaigner, I wondered – the girl who ended her talk on Black History Month when she was eight with an impassioned plea against racism and a call to act like Nelson Mandela. “Nelson Mandela stood up for his rights, I’m standing up for mine.” She has been sucked into a vortex of makeovers and moisturising courtesy of Youtubers [I blame Zoella]. Daughter three just looked at me pityingly. “Mum, you do know that this is just a phase I’m going through,” she said.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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