"Do you remember when Sean Dyche ate a worm?" I am saying. My editor remembers, yes. "You know when it sort of came out that he ate a worm? And we all talked about worms?"
"You wrote that thing," my editor says. I am interrupting his sushi.
"Yeah, yeah," I say. "The thing about the worms."
He nods. It looks like nice sushi, actually. Some sashimi in there, a little soft-shell crab thing.
"What was I saying? Oh, right:" – this is how I talk to people – "Yeah, and then I did that other worm thing! About the England squad!"
I'm actively taking time away from his lunch hour now. He looks at his sushi. He wants to eat it. He does not want to imagine worms, pink and dirt-covered, and writhing.
"The worm thing, yeah," he says. "I don’t understand football, but: I think it was funny. People said it was funny."
"Yeah," I say. There’s a lull. I’m not going to ask him where he got the sushi, but I’m very much going to think about asking him. "Yeah, there’s the thing."
"So you know Love Island—"
"But hear me out—"
"No, but— the Love Island cast, right. How many of them would ea—"
"No. It’s a no. Please do som—"
"But how many of them would eat worms—?"
Samira would not eat a worm. I feel like Samira could say "no thank you" with such a dazzling smile when you offered her a worm to eat that you would genuinely feel guilty about asking her to eat a worm. I'm sorry, Samira. You’re too pure to even associate with worm eating.
Eyal wouldn’t eat a worm because he’d be too busy picking at his anklet tan and trying to say something wise someone might turn into a text-on-a-sunset Instagram post. "Worms are people too," Eyal is saying. "I… have the soul of a worm. No worm-meat shall pass my lips." I like the guy, but: fuck off, mate. Eat wormy.
Laura would eat a worm, yeah. I don’t need to elaborate on this. Nobody with eyes like that says no to a worm.
"I— well— wow I suppose I— gosh I really ought to — erm — I mean I really shouldn’t, erm— have the have the? Sorry, sorry, sorry to interrupt you but— have the worms been cleaned, or?— ah I really shouldn'— yes, well no, I suppose if everyone is eating the wor— and you’re sure women will like me, if I eat worms." Eat worms you fucking PINK COWARD.
Kendall did not understand what Love Island is for. I imagine producers explaining the concept to her with horror. "Hold on, it’s what?" she’s saying. She’s yee-hawing out of the top of a jeep on the way to the villa. There’s no backing out of it now. "It’s a TV show? Where I flirt and talk? With other people? In the pursuit of finding true love?" They nod at her yes. "Can I not just constantly talk about how insecure I am and never fucking smile?" They shake their head no. She did it anyway. Kendall wouldn’t flirt on a TV show expressly produced to enable flirting between people. She would not eat a worm, no way.
Feel like Rosie would eat a worm at the start then would very quickly cool on the idea of worm eating, then realise she has to spend eight entire weeks (eight!) with this worm, metaphorically, this worm writhing towards her and trying to kiss her, and she will perfect a way to comb her hair with one hand and turn her face away whenever she feels a worm (metaphor) (for Adam) approaching her from one side.
Megan would absolutely not eat a worm, unless she knew already that worm-eating played well with the audience at home, at which point she would spend an episode-and-a-half toying with the idea of eating a worm before pulling a full 180° and getting off with Eyal instead, while a bucket of worms, pink and writhing, watch on from afar, weeping gently while Samira shhhs them.
Georgia is the only one in there I cannot get a read on. She is the island's True Neutral. Did she like Niall? Yeah, sort of. Was she gutted he left? Yes, but also no. Does she like Josh? She could like Josh, if the conditions were correct. Would she eat a worm? Gun to her head, family slowly drowning, laughing Bond villain-type situation: yeah, she’d eat a worm. But she would be very whatever about the whole worm-eating thing.
All Adam does, as best I can tell, is lean slightly too close to everyone he’s talking to and then just say, "Where are you at, like?" before skipping his 1,000th consecutive leg day, so I don’t think he'd eat a worm, no, unless you told him a worm had, like, one single gram of lean protein in it, then he’d yam it down in one before trying to kiss you when you’ve explicitly and repeatedly said you don’t want to kiss him.
ALTERNATE JOKE: Adam would say defiantly "I'd never eat a worm," before footage of him in a three-way worm-eat with two of the Geordie Shore girls goes viral. You’re right: they’re both good jokes. and it was the correct decision to cram them both into the same article in this ugly and ungainly way.
Quite like Wes. Wes – and this probably says a lot more about me than it says about him – Wes just very much gives me the impression of the popular lad at school who, when you bump into him at a pub two years after graduation, not only remembers your full name ("Joel Golby! How the fuck are you!") but actually also very genuinely asks you how you are and how it’s going, and you keep looking around half-questioningly – is he actually being performatively nice in front of a group of lads you don’t know, who are all secretly laughing and Snapchatting the whole thing? Is this just a sort of violent and elaborate foreplay before he absolutely decks me? – but then he nods along as you tell him what’s been going on with you ("University? Wow man. That sounds ace.") then… yes, is he…? Actually? Buying you a pint? And then your mates arrive and he firmly shakes your hand and says goodbye, and you’re shaken by this interaction for days— was he your friend all along? Was the opportunity for real friendship there and you never took it? I mean, he fucked Laura from the year above, for goodness' sake. How does he even know who you are? You weren’t even in any classes together? Was your whole life up until now – the quicksand of neuroses you built your entire personality upon – was that, actually, a lie? Did you have the opportunity to be cool all along?
Anyway: yeah, he’d eat a worm. He’d eat a worm on Instagram Live and a load of girls would watch and, inexplicably, be impressed, and DM slide him immediately afterwards. That man could eat a worm in front of an audience of millions and somehow come out of the process with a net higher amount of sexual charm. Your actual girlfriend is DMing Wes every time you go to the bathroom. She’s doing the eyes emoji and everything. "lol @ u eating a worm," she’s saying. When was the last time she flirted with you like this? When was the last time.
I like Hayley from Love Island because she’s unfurling into insanity like a flower blooms with the sun, and while on Day #1 you would look at her and go "fit, but very vacant", she has now matured into something else, something more, something better, and that is "fit, but deranged", and that adds a real element of spice to the worm-eating conundrum.
Would Hayley eat a worm? Put her alone, in a room, with a worm and a plate, and no: Hayley would not eat a worm. But try this: lock Hayley on a balcony and send in two 22-year-old drama students or beauticians or something, and get them to flirtily eat worms in front of the boys, laughing as they go, and watch her: watch her bust down a door with sheer force, watch her sprint through the house so fast it tears a tide in the carpets, watch her float with rage across the immaculate villa lawn, watch her stuff a handful of worms into her perfect Scouse mouth, and watch her scream through a mouthful of pink flesh, "SEE, EYAL? I CAN EAT WORMS AN ALL. I DON’T! EVEN! LIKE! YA!"
Yes, Hayley would eat worms. But only under her own duress.
Sorry, just got a vivid mental image of Niall pulling both of his hands into the chef's kiss sign before saying "eating. worms. is. proppa. banta." in that child-who-is-astonished-by-fireworks voice of his, and then gulping down a handful of them before being thoroughly sick into the pool while Adam rubs his back.
CHARLIE & JOSH
Until they prove to me otherwise, Charlie and Josh are the same person, just in two slightly different pairs of swimming trunks, and each will do almost anything for attention. For that reason – especially if producers do a little set-up where C&J get to sneak into the villa in the quiet hours of the morning and gulp the worms from a chalice while Laura and Samira watch them do it from a balcony nearby – yes, they absolutely would eat worms. Charlie would couple up with a worm if it guaranteed him more screen time.
Not only would Jack eat worms, I know precisely what noise he would make while he ate them: "Bosh." Jack, a hundred-thousand sparkling white teeth, throwing a single worm at his enormous gaping mouth: Bosh. Jack, pulling at a worm like a dog at some spaghetti, until it snaps in half and he swallows it, unblinking: Bosh. Dani, blinking against the sunlight, panting out words to all the girls assembled on beanbags around her: "I just really like boys who eat worms." Bosh, bosh, bosh. Jack would eat the worm with the straightforward pragmatism of a man who has seen hundreds of strippers' arseholes in the past calendar year alone, and then he would turn to the camera and ask for more. Bosh.
Dani would eat a worm, no doubt. In one of those little game-type setups they do while they get cleaners in to sort the house, perfect aquamarine horizon behind them, all her fellow contestants assembled around her, ripplingly perfect after all doing some pre-camera sit-ups? Absolutely, yes, Dani would eat a worm. "So I just put it in?" Dani is saying, as if she’s never eaten before. Jack’s there, tears in his love-filled eyes. "I just put it in my mouth? I’m scared!"
Hayley, for some reason, is seething about this.
"I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I—" and then she eats the worm, in one perfect gulp, then goes for another, and another, worm after worm after worm, tears smudging rivulets of mascara down her cheeks while she does it, until all the other contestants slowly start clapping and leave, until a production assistant has to come in and change the battery pack on her porta-mic. Dani would eat a worm, yes, which will stand her in very good stead for when she inevitably becomes Queen of the Jungle on I’m A Celeb… in circa five months' time.
WHO WOULD MOST EAT THE WORMS OUT OF THE ENTIRE LOVE ISLAND CAST?
I mean, if we’re being honest, they’d all eat a worm. They’re on Love Island, for goodness' sake. They’d do anything. They’d shag on TV. They’d quit their jobs to fuck for eight weeks. They would – all of them, every last one – eat a worm.