“I’m officially the grandmother goose of the villa,” said Love Island’s latest contestant, Rachel Finni, who is the ancient, creaking, woodland-witch-in-a-cabin, give-up-your-seat-for-her-on-the-Tube old age of... 29.
“You’re 29?!” squeaked Chuggs, the first to ask Rachel her age and the one to give the reaction of the internet at large: one of nothing short of pure horror, because Chuggs didn’t know that women past 25 were allowed on Love Island, didn’t (in truth) realise they existed at all, because he’s certainly never seen any of them at Mahiki; which is the only place Chuggs himself exists – just Mahiki, the King’s Road in Chelsea and his parents’ stately home in Surrey.
“She’s 29” immediately began trending on Twitter, right after Rachel revealed the true extent of her worldliness; after she confessed that she was (whisper it) nearly 30 yet had still dared to walk into the Love Island villa, as though nobody could believe that at her great age, she could walk unaided at all.
Some on social media praised her skincare routine, because the rest of us unmentionables – the ones who have passed “Go!” at 30 and collected $200 and kept going around the Monopoly board on the way to 40 and beyond – have crevices the size of the Mariana Trench in our faces, but worse: so ravaged are we by the passing of the millennia that even the world’s largest deep-water sinkhole doesn’t get anywhere near to filling these craggy depths.
One of my favourite Twitter reactions was the person who wrote from the floor, where they’d clearly fainted clean away after hearing Rachel’s bombshell news in the first place: “She’s 29?! MAKE IT MAKE SENSE.”
Please, won’t someone make it make sense that Rachel isn’t wearing M&S “full brief” knickers; that she hasn’t got baggy-round-the-ankle 10 denier pop socks on with her kitten heels; that she isn’t wearing a sensible cardi with pearl buttons and travelling for free on public transport and actually choosing to watch DIY SOS?
MAKE IT MAKE SENSE that someone is allowed on Love Island even though they’re practically the same as Melisandre from Game of Thrones after she takes her necklace off and all of the young (hot) princes run away shrieking; make it make sense that the very same Chuggs later had to snog 29-year-old Rachel in the “slime” game, which was exactly like snogging Kate-Winslet-from-the-future as she chucks her jewels into the sea from the stern of a ship and swoons because she once made love to Leo on the Titanic, at least seventy or eighty years ago.
Make it make sense, because – at nearly-30 – Rachel has literally passed her social media sell-by date; she’s both passed and past it, she’s literally thinking about the latest fly-tipping scandal on the neighbourhood watch WhatsApp group and whether Brenda and John from number 57 are going to be running the Christmas window light display this year – because that was nice, that brought the whole street together, it really did – at the same time as she’s downing piña coladas; Rachel wants a boyfriend far less than she wants a healthy pension, because there’s nothing sexier than the words “Fidelity” and “evestor” and “Vanguard”, and if you know then you know ... that they’re not even the names of the teams on The Apprentice.
Rachel herself gave credit to the hallowed hills of Hertfordshire, which are seemingly a spring of eternal youth: the “good old Hertfordshire tap water” which has an elixir in it, which glows purple; a little like in Death Becomes Her when Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep fight over who gets to drink it first, as bits of themselves start falling off, as they stumble down the stairs and their heads roll and they have to peel strips of skin away because it’s dead, because they’re old – so old that the actual film was made in 1992, and Rachel can probably remember it because she too was born in 1992.
Won’t someone make it make sense?
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