What is the famous ‘ick’?

Have you ever had an unexplainable feeling that you really don't like the person you're seeing? Maybe you've experienced the 'ick'...

Jude Parkinson
3rd November 2021
Image: @cottonbro via Pexels
A phrase well known to most women, a simple yet potent three letter word with the capability to eliminate the reason for an explanation into why sparks didn’t fly on a date, or why your friend stopped seeing someone out of the blue. It is a common but uncontrollable feeling which usually has the capability to cause relationships to come to a blunt end.

So, what is 'ick' if you’re not already familiar? It’s a female phenomenon usually seen in heterosexual relationships in which an inconsequential habit, behaviour or action can cause a sudden and unexplainable dislike and unattraction for the other person. It is separate from just being unsure about wanting to continue to form a relationship with somebody, or discovering red flags in a person; it's more of a strong intuition caused by mannerisms which evoke feelings of abhorrence.

“You THINK you like them but then you suddenly catch 'The Ick'. From then on you can't look at the person in the same way, you just progressively get more and more turned off by them, weirdly & maybe for no reason in particular” (“Urban Dictionary: The Ick”)

‘The ick’ is subjective to everyone and what maybe a hinderance for some, others may in fact like in a potential partner. It all comes down to personal opinion and what someone is attracted to. The 'ick' usually happens in the early stages of dating or in a relationship when you and your partner are still getting to know each other. However, when it happens, many women agree it can be a difficult feeling to get rid of - hence why many relationships don’t proceed past that point.

Image: Olivia from Love Island @loveisland on Twitter

Reality TV show Love Island has fuelled the use of the term over the past few years with the phrase first becoming popular in Season 6. Now part of the show’s key vocabulary, along with ‘I’ve got a text’ and ‘mugged off’, the girls use the 'ick' to explain why they abruptly stop liking the boy they are coupled up with. A justifiable reason on the show to subsequently ‘crack on’ with a different boy.

Due to the odd nature of an ‘ick’ many may find it hard to comprehend and could possibly question its genuineness. Is it a self-defence strategy for women, used when two people aren’t suited and triggering a sense to move on? Or do some women maybe use it as a scape goat for when they aren’t clicking with their date in an attempt to soften the blow that second date isn’t on the cards? Either way, many women will verify it is a real and candid notion which can emerge in relationships with no rationality.

Getting the 'ick' for someone doesn’t take away the fact that they are a human being, and that everyone is different, it just indicates that a particular thing about them irritates you and due to that you probably aren’t compatible as a couple.

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AUTHOR: Jude Parkinson
Sub-editor for Travel. 2nd year Media, communication and culture student.

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