Sick of the Ick?

A deep dive into the most ridiculous icks

You’re scrolling through your “For You” page when you come across a video of a woman imitating a man putting on lip balm. He purses her lips into a quasi duck-face and squints in concentration. Then, he applies the balm in sharp, equal circles, pinching the applicator with all his fingers with a fervor that seems like it could shatter the plastic.

Does this image revolt you? You might have a lip-balm-applying ick.

Though no one can pinpoint where exactly the term ick originated, like most people, I first heard it mentioned in a TikTok. Shortly after I first came across it, the word ick became a common presence in group chats and conversations where romantic prospects were being discussed.

Urban Dictionary defines an ick as “something someone does that is an instant turn-off for you, making you instantly hate the idea of being with them romantically,” which perfectly encapsulates my understanding of the word.

Icks aren’t the same as red flags — they are trivial things that really shouldn’t affect one’s perception of a romantic partner, but end up having an overpowering effect.

For that reason, icks would be a fantastic topic for a research essay! But for the sake of this article, I’m going to take a sillier route, and propose a deeper dive into the most ridiculous icks that I could find.

Using a question sticker on Instagram (my favourite and most reliable way of gathering balanced and unbiased information, of course), I asked about the most insane icks that irk my followers or people they know. The results did not disappoint.

With this data, I’ve compiled a list of the top four most ridiculous icks, along with colourful commentary on the validity and/or absurdity of the ick produced by these inconsequential actions.

Country Roads Won’t Take Her Home

It’s 2 a.m. and the bar is clearing out. Your crush is sitting with abysmal posture when “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver starts playing. They immediately shoot up and begin slurring along with a soft southern drawl. It’s haunting and glass-shattering. In my books, this ick is absolutely valid — no one wants to be taken home after that display (though perhaps I’d consider it if Denver’s ballad was swapped with a Taylor Swift banger… is that just me?). I also love that this one has a story behind it; this ick would literally never cross anyone’s mind unless it happened to them.

Jacket Challenges

Do you know when you’re trying to put on your jacket and you’ve already got one arm in the sleeve, but you just can’t get the other to go in? There’s this ridiculous flailing and shimmying that occurs which instantaneously diminishes sex appeal faster than JMSB bros will teach you about crypto. While this paints a hilarious image, this ick just completely obliterates the Montreal dating pool. We all need to wear jackets, and unfortunately, we can’t always dawn them oh-so gracefully.

Grammar-Gate

You can tell that a journalist submitted this one. To them, there’s nothing less attractive than using the wrong “their,” and they’ll probably cut you off after one too many misplaced commas. I kind of get it — I love a properly positioned semi-colon as much as the next J-school gal, but I also want to stress the difference between grammar mistakes because of not knowing or caring (ew, gross), and grammar mistakes because of a learning disability or having to write in language that’s not your mother tongue (completely understandable and DEFINITELY not an ick).

The Ping-Pong Run

There’s something intrinsically humiliating about chasing after a ping-pong ball that has fallen off the table. You feel like a puppy playing fetch, except instead of being flipping adorable, you’re lumbering, clumsy, and are meekly crawling under a radiator to grasp a tiny white orb. It’s not a cute look. It’s also pretty universal — does anyone look good chasing after a ping-pong ball? But still, nothing screams sexy about that ordeal. The only solution: don’t play ping-pong in front of your crush, unless you plan on never dropping the ball.

In short, while some icks are simply hilarious, others pinpoint things that are just gross (see: crusty pasta sauce remnants around the corner of one’s lips). Yes, icks are often superficial and silly, but they add a sense of validity to a lack of romantic attraction that helps people to better understand their preferences. But perhaps the biggest ick of all is trying to over-analyze them, so I’ll just quit while I’m ahead, and let them exist to entertain.

 

Graphic by Madeline Schmidt

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