Love Island meme of Michael Griffiths calling Amber Gill childish.

Love Island Love Lesson 5: No More Mr Nice Guy #Curtis #Michael

in 2019 Series 5/Love Island

If you are watching Love Island you are probably feeling somewhat discombobulated.

We are living in a post-Casa Amor era where heads have been turned – along with our stomachs.

The test of being surrounded by six new girls while their partners were in Casa Amor for a few days proved too much for Michael Griffiths and Curtis Pritchard.

In fact, their heads turned so fast I’m surprised neither of them broke their neck.

Of course, we knew that some heads would turn – but we didn’t expect it from the two  Love Island Nice Guys…

When the women return from Casa Amor, Amy Hart finds herself ditched by Curtis while Amber Gill is dumped by Michael.

 “I never thought you’d do this to me. You’re the perfect man, after all.”
Amy Hart to Curtis Pritchard

On the plus side, we’ve learned a few things…

And our latest Love Island Love Lesson is that women (and men) should avoid dating Mr. Nice Guy at all costs.

So who are Nice Guys?

Essentially, they are people who put their partner’s needs ahead of their own.

At all times.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Guess again.

Let’s take a look at one example of this fascinating species: Curtis Pritchard…

A professional ballroom dancer, Curtis was permanently perky. A smile was always upon his face and motivational speeches dropped from his lips at perfectly timed intervals.

Curtis paired off with air hostess Amy Hart instantly and they skipped the Crazy Stupid Love phase and headed straight into cosy domesticity.

He even asked Amy to be his “half-girlfriend” in his apparent determination to demonstrate commitment at a time (10 days in?) when commitment was a wholly unrealistic expectation for either of them to have had.

Curtis was the House Daddy to Amy’s House Mummy.

He was kind. He was considerate. He was caring.

No wonder his fellow islanders were turning to him for relationship advice.

Curtis seemed to have it all figured out.

Social media was awash with admiration: Wasn’t Curtis lovely? Why aren’t more guys like Curtis?!

But as the incorrigible Maura Higgins puts it so eloquently:

“If everyone liked you it would be f•cking weird!”

She wasn’t talking about Curtis – but she could have been…

Sure enough, after about a week, people were weirded out by all that perfection.

Now tweeters called poor Curtis “fake.”

He was “playing a game.” He was “in it to win it.”

Not to worry though, Love Island had another Mr Nice!

Michael, who was coupled up with feisty Amber Gill prior to Casa Amor, appeared so laidback he was almost horizontal and that easy laugh of his gave the impression of an entirely contented man, happy with his lot in life.

Specifically, he seemed very happy with Amber.

But appearances can be so deceptive…

OK, OK – there were a few warning signs that all wasn’t right in his and Amber’s relationship…

Michael had a tendency to get very worked up about issues that Amber considered “small stuff.”

But as quickly as he heated up, he would subside and apologise to a baffled and / or miffed Amber.

This state of affairs meant that nothing ever got resolved between the pair.

If this sounds like a red flag waving in Amber’s face with ‘Casa Amor Trouble Ahead’ written on it in marker pen, that’s not fair.

Juxtaposition it with lots of gooey-eyed gazing, bucketfuls of laughter and talks of introducing each other to their respective families.

Curtis and Amy skipped over a couple of hurdles too, the most significant of which was a blindfolded Curtis not realising that the girl whose kiss he’d rated a 10 was the amazonian Arabella Chi, and not Amy…

True to form, Curtis repeatedly apologised for an error that was entirely beyond his control.

Yet both relationships seemed to glide along pretty smoothly and if there was any frantic paddling underwater it didn’t break the surface.

And then Casa Amor loomed and suddenly both boats capsized and the relationships went under.

“For once in my life I’m going with my gut,” declared Curtis, throwing caution to the wind.

Sure enough, by his second chat with Jourdan Riane, he was ready to couple up with her instead of Amy…

She declined him in favour of Danny Williams but Michael coupled up with the pretty, albeit stern, Joanna Chimonides.

Meanwhile, wild card and boxer, Tommy Fury, was snuggled up in bed with his woman’s toy elephant every night.

Viewers were astounded.

The world was on its head.

So what exactly was it that led to this double ‘betrayal’?

Cynics on social media have pointed to two incidents prior to Casa Amor as possible triggers:

The first was a task where Curtis and Amy discovered that, despite being House Mummy and Daddy, they weren’t popular with great British public. Or at least not popular enough to be voted into the top three couples…

Furthermore, they were read a tweet from someone who saw “no genuine connection between Amy and Curtis.”

The second revelation was that one tweeter thought that Michael was “whipped” by Amber, while another doubted that she was into him.

Michael and Curtis laughed it all off.

Or so we thought…

But perhaps a hallmark of Nice Guys is that they care excessively about what other people think.

We can’t speak for Michael or Curtis, but isn’t that why Nice Guys are so nice?

Whether or not the perceptions of the outside world were a factor, the views of those inside the villa certainly seemed important to Michael.

On being reunited with all the islanders, he appeared mainly concerned with the group’s opinion of him, rather than Amber’s.

An indignant Michael tells Molly-Mae Hague that he can “see the disgust on your face.”

You see, Michael’s decision to recouple just didn’t seem to fit with how people had perceived him.

But as he himself says of his previous behaviour: “I wasn’t really being myself.”

He elaborates: “I haven’t been staying true to myself, biting my tongue in situations I wouldn’t usually bite my tongue in and overlooking things I wouldn’t usually overlook.”

He is understandably upset that his friend, Anna Vakili, liked him better when he wasn’t being himself.

“Who are you?” Anna asks repeatedly.

And Michael is different on the night of the recoupling than how we’ve seen him before.

His body language is utterly transformed. He stands with his chest out, chin up and his face stern.

He is also on the defensive, calling the girls “childish” and “pathetic.”

He looks much less happy and much more confident.

Is this who Michael is?

Michael seems keen to focus on Amber’s flaws as the reason for his recoupling with Joanna – but as Anna succinctly puts it:

“You waited until a new girl came in before you made it a thing.”

Although Curtis was rejected by Jourdan, he tells Amy about this unrequited attraction in his determination to be more honest.

Like Michael, Curtis is a very different man now.

He is stripped down and deflated where he was once buoyant. But his face is an open book now and he feels like “a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

It feels like progress.

Watching him answer Amy’s questions – meeting her eyes and responding with unflinching honesty – was riveting TV:

“I realise that I had been lying to myself. I’d been lying to everyone. And worse of all I’d been lying to you.”

His lie was in pretending that their relationship was perfect.

(And, you could argue, in trying to be perfect.)

Curtis, you’re not Jesus! You can’t expect to be perfect – it’s not realistic!
Ovie Soko

In fact, had Curtis been less polite and less tolerant of their differences – had he instead been open with Amy about the things he felt they needed “to work on,” Amy would have had the opportunity to adjust her expectations.

Instead, with this wholly unexpected dumping, she has no power, no agency and no choice.

Or so we thought…

For Amy soon realised that she had options and took control – by leaving the show.

Since neither Curtis or Michael are the embodiments of perfection that we thought they were, we are left asking, just like Anna did – who are they?

“The guy you fell in love with doesn’t exist.” Anna told Amy.

She’s right. He doesn’t.

“He’s not the person I thought he was” says Amber of Michael.

She’s right. He isn’t.

Simply put, Nice Guys (and Nice Girls) do not exist.

They are a figment of ours and their imagination.

People can be basically decent, yes, but they’re still flawed and fascinating.

Some have claimed that Curtis and Michael are examples of  “toxic masculinity.”

I disagree. It isn’t a specifically masculine trait to suppress your own feelings and then feel unheard.

Whatever gender you may be, if you aren’t honest with yourself then you cannot be honest with anyone else.

Both men owed it to themselves to make it clear how they felt – at the time.

Or as that Shakespeare chap put it, when he was advising Michael and Curtis:

“This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man…”

So, if you find yourself dating a Nice Guy (if he always ends up agreeing with you then he is one), it’s time to pause and reflect.

So who should you date?

How about a Tommy!?

For it turns out that the Tommys in life go straight for what they want – because they’re not scared of the consequences.

Whether he is pursuing Lucie Donlan (to Joe Garratt’s annoyance), or getting to know Maura Higgins, (to Molly-Mae Hague’s annoyance), or training to be a champion, Tommy has always followed his gut.

He makes his own decisions in life – and never mind what other people may say.

When tweeters (and Anton…) called into question Molly-Mae’s sincerity, Tommy gave it due consideration but decided that he trusted his partner (and himself), and the relationship has flourished.

Now that the dust has settled – and my own irritation has abated – I am actually looking forward to discovering who Curtis and Michael really are.

Already, it’s hard not to admire this new Curtis and his determination to be honest no matter how uncomfortable it makes himself and others.

He now thinks carefully before he speaks; not to censor himself, but to ensure that he isn’t doing that.

Since the drama of the recoupling night, Michael has apologised to Amber for his behaviour, and Curtis and Amy have parted on good terms

The pair of them might just surprise us for the better sometime…

At any rate, substance beats surface.

They are what they are.

NEXT ARTICLE: Love Island Lesson 6: Perfection Isn’t Enough #Ovie

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