It's deflating when celebrities aren't as good in real life as you'd imagined them to be. You feel like you've been hoodwinked; short-changed. Luckily, this never happens with reality stars. Think Gemma Collins will be a hurricane in a neon pink, keyhole-bust chiffon dress, blowing in with sunglasses on and a square smile plastered over her face, shriek-screaming "HIYA GYURLZ"? You will be satisfied. Meeting a reality TV person is like bumping into an old friend.
Case in point: the Love Island contestants. We've seen these perma-oiled beings shower, eat, jackrabbit and raise their young. We've followed them around the circle of life and out again, tracked what they've been up to since leaving their Majorcan ecosystem. Kem and Chris have their own spin-off show; Olivia – AKA the greatest Love Island contestant of all time – is reportedly charging a minor £10,000 per club appearance; and Muggy Mike is posing against kitchen surfaces, topless and dead-eyed, cupping protein powder in both hands.
Meanwhile, resident nice guy Marcel has a planned Blazin' Squad comeback and a book. An actual self-help book about love and dating, called Dr. Marcel's Little Book of Big Love, which was turned around astonishingly quickly. He left the house on the 24th of July, and by the 7th of August – within 13 days – I was reading everything Marcel Somerville knows about relationships.
Marcel was arguably the most boy-next-door of this year's Love Island contestants; we know this from his kind eyes and the fact he evaded the gossip pits that swirled throughout the villa. He's the sort of guy I can only imagine in four situations: i. having sensitive chats with all my male mates at the pub; ii. getting brought a mug of tea in bed by his mum and thanking her profusely; iii. dancing extremely well in Oceana, giving girls the eye while respecting their personal space; iv. doing reps at the gym, listening to "Crossroads" through wireless headphones.
I meet him in a publicist's office in Oxford Circus to talk about dating, wearing a Primark T-shirt bearing Marcel's catchphrase ("I used to be in Blazin' Squad"). As soon as he sees it he leans back into his chair, laughing, and gives me the double finger point.
"Dr Marcel, are you ready to talk about sex and love and dating?"
Dr Marcel holds up his book as a yes, and we're ready to go. Much of what follows will be coded heterosexual, because this is the language of Love Island.
VICE: Dr Marcel, in what situation is it OK to double text?
Dr Marcel: Double text? Talk to me.
Say you send a message and the receiver doesn't reply, but you want attention? You're an attention beg.
Ne-ver. If you send something saying, like, "Hey, what's going on" and then you wait five hours and send a message like, "hey it's me again" – you don't want to do that! Never, never do that. You should never do that. If you've sent him a message and he doesn't respond to you [knocks twice on the table], don't follow up on it because if they want to speak to you they'd definitely reply to you, 100 percent.
Girls are so aware of being annoying that they'll hold back, whereas straight men often – I find – are in fact begs because they don't have that awareness.
"Maybe she just hasn't read it yet!" [holds up a finger] "If I send her another one, maybe she'll read that one!" Nah. It's not cool, it's not cool, it's not cool.
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Dr Marcel, what are the three things a girl should do if she wants a guy to notice her?
Let's say you're in a club. One: Be confident. If you walk in and you've got a little bit of something about you, then people are going, like, naturally, look. Feel your absolute confident self. Two: For me, if a girl is giving me the eye... eye contact is definitely a winner. It's like a signal. Three: Don't be in their face going, like, "heeey!" for attention – you want to play it cool.
But what if you're a massive attention seeker?
You hang on.
You reel it in. If you do play it like you don't want the attention, someone will probably give you more attention. Believe.
Should I ever use Blazin' Squad's back catalogue to pull?
I told Gabby what "Flip Reverse" was about, and she was like, "Oh my god, I didn't know it was about that!" [it's a consensual bum sex anthem]. So when we got out, I sung that song to her and we went home, and flip reversed it, so... yeah.
Dr Marcel, do you think it's possible to ice someone successfully and then come back to dating them?
These questions are deep. It is, but I don't really condone it. You shouldn't have someone there for when you just want to pick and choose. I think that's kinda like... kinda user-ish, isn't it? Obviously if you have a relationship where it's strictly to have sex, sometimes that's different. But if one of you thinks it could be a thing, then the other shouldn't cool it off and go back with you. I don't really support that.
Do you think it's miserable we have these terms like icing?
It is a bit mad that, because of social media, there's a word for everything now. Maybe it's good to know you've been iced, rather than not knowing what to call it.
What about ghosting someone?
I did have to ghost one girl I was seeing for a little bit. I didn't feel like it was going in the right direction, so I said it, but it wouldn't get through to her. We kept going around in circles because she wasn't getting the picture. So then I had to air it. If it's ridiculously deep, if you've been together two years, you need to have a face-to-face and talk things through. Via a message, the person is never going to feel like they got closure on it. But yeah, if they're not listening to you and they turn into a pest, you can ghost them.
Dr Marcel, what's the best love advice someone's given you?
My mum always said, "Don't worry, Marce, you'll find the right one when the time's right." I give that to everyone else. You don't need to chase love. Deep.
After getting my advice, I decide that we can now rate my Tinder game together (Marcel doesn't like Tinder because he can pull in real life, obviously). I've only just linked Tinder with my new Facebook account, so my only "interests" are listed as "Transcendental meditation", emo-rapper "Lil Peep", "Humans of the Sesh", "VICE", "Dazed" and "Mental Health Awareness". All this considered, I wasn't looking like a sizzling option.
Since Marcel is nice, he has to settle into the idea of "dragging" what I have on offer.
We start with a picture of me and mates, which I won't put here because I don't want my friendships soiled, but Marcel says he likes our poses and that it's important for everyone to have pics of them and their mates on Tinder, because "if a girl has fit friends, it kinda makes guys go, 'Ah, her girls could probably get with my boys.'"
"Woah!? Is that a real dog? ["Nah, it's a fake"] So currently you're holding a fake dog in your picture. Right now I've started thinking, 'Why the hell is she holding a fluffy dog?' That's just me, though. Maybe guys are out there who are seriously fucking into white dogs, you know what I mean? Freaky."
"This is a seductive look, but I do love the fashion in this. I do like the socks. Is this a hotel? I'd be like, 'She seems like a cool chick.' Thirsty but fun – I like that."
"You look like a deep thinker. Man, looking out into that distance being really deep about this situation right now. I'm thinking, 'She's got a bit of something in there.' You've got the banter from the other photos, but you're calmed and reserved at the same time. You're pretty deep, Hannah, I'm not gonna lie."
[A lot of silence]. "Um. This is nice. ["You don't like it, do you?"] I think that's fine because guys do love memes and guys do love banter, and a girl's got to have things like that. It's definitely... good."
Before I leave, we talk about Marcel's love life as it stands. The time was right, he feels, with Gabby. I say that I imagine a Love Island relationship is forged in the same kind of fire as the intense romantic bonds made between survivors of accidents, where the adrenaline and sexual tension makes you lurch for each other, but afterwards you realise they're annoying and you have nothing in common. Or at least that's what happens in action films.
"Being in a villa 24 hours of the day with someone, it's easy to build a relationship with them," Marcel agrees. "But coming out and when you get back into the real world, it's a bit mad and you hit the reality. It's just about disciplining yourself in a way to make sure you're making time for that other person when it's deep, so we've both just said: remember when we get free time, that's ours, innit. That's the plan."
Marcel is a capricorn, and he's pleased this makes him wise and caring. Gabby is also a capricorn. In my "love and sex horoscopes" book it says that a man and woman capricorn in a relationship means a lot of mutual expression and sexual oneness. "Deepness," he sighs. "You're a really deep person too, innit. Love that."
Dr. Marcel's Little Book of Big Love by Marcel Somerville out 24th August RRP £12.99 (Blink Publishing)
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