Love Island Love Lesson 4: Don’t Play Games #Maura

in 2019 Series 5/Love Island

Some people will look down their noses at you for lounging in front of Love Island when you could be reading The Guardian or watching a documentary.

Be sure to tell them that you’re researching gender bias and attitudes towards sex in Brexit-era Millennials.

Because it turns out that’s exactly what we are doing.

For Love Island is a fluffy programme with hard edges – it’s the iron fist in a velvet glove – and this year the show has landed quite a few punches.

Many of those punches have been thrown by “ring girl” Maura Higgins who has electrified viewers since she first strode into the villa, hand in hand with fellow islander, Elma Pazar.

So what love lesson can Maura have to teach us viewers? It looks like the upfront Irish girl is showing us the value of not playing games.

Yes, the 28 year old’s sharp heels may have smarted a little when she stepped on Molly-Mae Hague’s toes to try and land 20 year old boxer, Tommy Fury, but people also admired her directness.

She was bold, ballsy and bewitching.

Within the first night she had told Tommy that she was interested in him and if he was interested in her too she wouldn’t be pursuing anyone else.

She left no room for manoeuvre or to save face; she didn’t play games.

Tommy, who had been happy with Molly-Mae (although unimpressed with how she had been keeping her options open), admitted to viewers:

“My head has turned but I came in here hoping that someone would like me for me and straight for me and nobody else – she’s come and done that.”

It seemed that Maura was an unstoppable force of nature – and Tommy’s head was doing a “560 degree head turn” in her direction…

Some viewers were less enthusiastic.

While many applauded the drama of Maura’s entrance, her directness was out of step with how women are usually shown on the small screen and it left some of us feeling uncomfortable.

We were certainly taken aback to hear the men of the villa describe what they’d like to do to Maura sexually; the sex positions they’d take – how they’d pin her down and have their way with her.

We felt awkward watching their faces leer when she tried to work out.

It was like she was a piece of meat.

Except none of that happened, did it?

In fact, the Love Island men giggled and jumped up and down like children at Christmas time when Maura stalked into the villa and they pronounced her “fit!” – but they certainly didn’t announce what they might or might not like to do sexually with Maura.

Maura, on the other hand, showed less restraint…

As she sits at a table on that first evening, surveying Tommy while chatting to Elma, she says: “I wish he came over so I could wrap my legs around my head.” while looking intently in his direction.

“I wish he was eating me!” she adds later and both women squeal with laughter.

Elma wants to know where Tommy is from. Maura doesn’t know:

“It’s really bad,” she admits, “I think when he told me I was just thinking about like being in the hideaway with him or something…”

“Sex!” interjects Elma, laughing.

The next day Tommy’s sexual allure continues to make an impression as Maura admires his body while he works out in the garden:

“Oh Tommy boy – he better not flirt with me too much,” she tells Elma, “because I’m going to pounce on him, I’m not even joking.” she adds.

“Tommy’s starting to sweat now, it’s actually turning me on.” says Maura to Elma later.

“She was like pulling all these faces…” observes an indignant Molly-Mae.

What is telling is how unusual this view of female sexuality is on our screens.

Women are encouraged to look sexual and to be sexual, but they are usually the ones being gazed at – and not the ones doing the gazing…

Which is why Maura’s behaviour seems so striking.

That along with a sneaking suspicion that had Maura been called Maurice and had Tommy been called Tammy, we’d know exactly how to feel.

We’d deem it politically incorrect.

But as Maura says subsequently: “We’re in 2019, why is it such a big deal when a girl talks about sex. Why? Why is it such a big deal?”

She’s got a point.

The next day Tommy refuses to get “frisky under the covers” with Maura when she asks him to do so “Now. Here.” despite being visibly turned on by her.

He is torn between their attraction and his attachment to Molly-Mae and determined not to be physical with either girl until he’s made his decision.

Tommy rejects Maura’s advances but this does not detract from his evident admiration for her honest sexuality:

“She’s my type of girl – she’s upfront and she knows what she wants.” Tommy tells viewers.

However, the following incident had some viewers calling to have Maura removed from the show.

For when Tommy decides to sleep on the sofa, rather than share a bed with one of the girls (to avoid giving either of them “false hope” until he’s made his decision), Maura perches on the sofa and says:

“I’ll join you if you want.”

“You’ll join me?” Tommy seems somewhat taken aback by this offer from Maura on her first night in the villa.

“Yeah.” she affirms.

“You don’t want a kiss?” she adds “Just a peck!” she continues, already climbing over him to do so.

“No, just on the cheek,” replies Tommy, averting his head as she goes in for a kiss on the lips. A gentle smile is playing on his mouth though and he seems amused.

“Yeah you do,” she corrects him.

“Just on the cheek,” he says again, and once again he has to move his head to avoid her mouth.

The mild smile is still upon Tommy’s face throughout this somewhat awkward encounter.

How did you feel when you watched the scene?

Some folk on social media felt that Maura had crossed a line – but had she?

Others argued that Tommy is a muscle-bound boxer who could physically defend himself against Maura’s advances if he chose to.

The latter suggestion ignores the fact that a well built person can be less confident than their physically weaker partner.

What should matter is that Tommy didn’t seem unhappy about the interaction.

For although he ultimately decides to couple up with Molly-Mae, it’s the start of a solid friendship between the pair.

Don’t forget that it is Tommy who fights to save Maura from going home when the boys are asked to vote for one of the girls to leave the island in a recent episode.

And Maura, who had been so determined to win Tommy’s heart, proves a good sport, accepting the outcome and building a firm friendship with her former love rival, Molly-Mae.

But if not playing games results in such failure, why is it a love lesson worth learning?

Well, first of all, how much of a failure were Maura’s efforts with Tommy?

Her directness in telling him how she felt ensured that she wasted no time – finding out in just a couple of days that he didn’t feel the same way. Her short time investment meant that she was able to move on instantly.

In love, as in business, it is important to “fail fast” and then pivot.

And so she did.

She was also simply being herself and as we’ve learned from a previous love lesson, honesty really is the best policy.

Being a good loser is infinitely harder than being a good winner but Maura is made of sterner stuff and we soon found out that there is a lot more to her than her sexuality.

For Maura has thrown herself into life on the island, cracking jokes, befriending all and sundry – and leaping through the challenges with great vigour and enthusiasm.

“I actually didn’t think that I was very competitive but now, since coming in here, I think I am a very competitive girl.” Maura tells viewers with a grin.

Competitive she may be, but it was Maura who comforted a crying Lucie Donlan when she fell out with the other girls.

And it was Maura who was quick to befriend newcomer and model, Arabella Chi, despite joking about the annoyance of “more competition for Maura!”

It’s that kind of honesty and fearlessness that has broadened her appeal and made many viewers do a “head turn” of their own, with some now claiming that the sparky, vivacious girl from County Longford is single-handedly carrying the show.

Yes, love her or loathe her, the high jinks and drama that Maura Higgins provides have been TV gold.

And with Maura now settling into life at Casa Amor, we can’t wait to see what she does next…

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

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