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.


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


Do famous namesakes take the cake?

The varying implications of being named after someone famous

What belongs to you, but everybody else uses it?

Your name of course!

Through your groans from my abominable dad joke, you’ve hopefully started to think about the notions of names and naming, and perhaps how strange it is that you identify and respond to a certain mixture of sounds that your parents chose a little while back.

I’ve always found names fascinating, and I’ve been known to wonder what makes people pick certain ones over others, or how names impact the people they correspond to.

I know why my name was chosen — my first name, Talia, is a name my parents loved and was inspired by my late great-grandmother, Tilly. My middle name, Regan, is a modern take on Regina, my other late great-grandmother’s name. Both were strong and kind women who also happened to be seamstresses (a skill that is not transferable by name, let me and my embarrassing mending jobs tell you…).

My name gives me a legacy to live up to, and it made me wonder how other people feel about theirs if they’ve been named after another person.

In particular, I became curious about those who are named after celebrities or movie characters. Do they feel an urge to measure up to them? Do they become a model for their aspirations? What happens if the celebrities do something wrong?

As usual, I took to my trusty Instagram story to see what I could find.

Liza Shahin is named after Liza Minnelli, the American actress, singer, dancer and choreographer.

“They wanted a name with an L because [of] my great grandmother,” she said of her parents, who wanted to commemorate their late relative. Shahin continued on to say that her mom was the one really set on the name Liza. “She really loves [Minnelli] as an artist, and she loves Cabaret and stuff like that.”

“I would say I know more [about Minelli] than the average person our age because of my name,” Shahin said, noting that about 50 per cent of the time she introduces herself, she gets asked if she was named after the superstar.

Shahin explained that she’s never felt that there was expectation to live up to Minnelli (thankfully, since that would be a pretty tall order), but she loves that she’s named after her.

“Based on performances, she’s kind of bubbly and I can be kind of bubbly,” said Shahin when asked whether they have similar qualities. “But that’s really about it. I don’t think I’m musical, really, and that’s what she’s known for.”

“She has a song called ‘Liza with a “Z”’ and it’s all about how everybody mispronounces her name,” said Shahin. “So that is the most I feel connected to her.”

Liza Minnelli is a pretty safe celebrity to be named after, but Shahin wonders what it would be like to be named after someone more problematic. “I feel like it’s easy to be named after someone, and then, like, they do something bad,” she said.

That being said, she posits that this problem of namesakes and “cancel culture” will probably become more of an issue as we get older and name our children after celebrities, since our generation is the one that tends to do the “cancelling.”

Sam Novack has a middle name straight from the Temple of Doom, and gives some perspective on what it’s like to be named after a fictional character.

If you haven’t already guessed, Novack’s middle name is Indiana, after Indiana Jones, a fictional archaeology professor and the hero of four movies to date.

“He probably just really liked Indiana Jones,” said Novack, referring to his father and explaining that his dad got to choose a “random” name because his mom got to choose one for his sister.

“Growing up, I watched the movies with my dad and we had them all on DVD,” he said. “I really never felt so much of an attachment to it.”

Despite the lack of profound effect from having this awesome middle name, Novack explained that he did “used to really want the same kind of hat as him,” which to me is as profound as it gets.

While Alexa Toguri-Laurin isn’t named after a celebrity, she explained that she does share a name with the Amazon cloud-based voice service, which has brought up similar issues that come from celebrity namesakes.

“Some girls have either funny experiences or really disheartening experiences,” said Toguri-Laurin. “For me, I kind of get annoyed with the joke, but I kind of got used to it.”

Toguri-Laurin stressed that her attitude towards all the Alexa jokes is not the case for everyone. She mentioned a recent BBC article about parents calling on Amazon to change their product’s name because their daughters were being bullied for sharing a name with the voice service.

Amazon so thoughtfully responded by apologizing and informing the public that there are options to change the settings on their products to respond to a different name than Alexa, but that they wouldn’t abolish Alexa entirely.

While there’s no straight formula to choosing a good namesake, it’s safe to say that names are powerful — they have the ability to inspire, commemorate, and even cause pain. Personally, I’d stick to people who have already passed or fictional characters that can’t surprise you with awful actions, but that’s just me. Just please steer clear from politicians — you’ll thank me later.

Graphic by James Fay


My strange obsession: Day in My Life Vlogs

No Danielle-like-and-subscribe-buy-my-merch, it’s a day in MY life (I wish)

The extreme close-up of espresso dripping down into a marble mug.

The lo-fi beats shimmering over aesthetically pleasing B-roll footage of candles being lit, coffee being sipped, and hydro flasks being filled.

The La Croix-stocked fridge.

Let’s not forget about the eloquently lit bathroom consisting of The Ordinary skincare products, guasha stones, and eucalyptus hanging over a rainshower.

Hi. My name is Mélina and I have a slight obsession with “Day In My Life” vlogs.

There’s something about watching people on YouTube go through their days doing supposedly productive and wholesome things that just… gets me. From the morning coffee, to the seven-step skincare routine, to the weekly trip to the Village Juicery, I want it all.

When I open a video and see that it’s more than 10 minutes long, I know it’s going to be a good day for me. The truth is, I usually end up watching these videos for inspiration hoping they will encourage me to at least try to have a YouTuber-esque day in my life as well.

A day that is worthy of being accompanied by lo-fi beats as I film myself sipping an oat milk latte in my Barefoot Dreams robe, sitting on a white fluffy couch next to a perfectly manicured tall plant.

These YouTubers fill me with a different sense of “put-togetherness” that I haven’t quite felt before. At the same time, they also remind me that I should probably be getting to tasks that I’m avoiding, which is usually the case.

Through watching these vlogs, I too feel I am living the seemingly perfect life I get to witness through my laptop screen. Only in a less trendy, less glamorous, but equally caffeinated sort of way.

I may not be living out my life in a high rise apartment in New York City, grabbing expensive brunches with the gals, and reading spicy books by Colleen Hoover under fairy lights in a low-key type of coffee shop in Brooklyn, but I’m still living my best life.

However, if there’s one thing that these videos have taught me it is the absolute therapeutic pleasure of perfecting a skincare routine.

This has to be my favourite part.

Sometimes, I’ll stand in front of the mirror with my headband on, hair tied back, and snuggled in my bathrobe and recite my entire skincare routine, step-by-step. I do the whole shabang in a very “Harper’s Bazaar get unready with me” type of style.

I start with a classic, “Hey Guys! So I’ll be running you through how I take care of my skin…” and then go on to describe the benefits of each of the products I’m using each step of the way. I even do a little smize and shimmy in between steps, just to make myself FEEL like a real YouTuber.

The only people truly witnessing my routine are my cats, who like the warm bathroom floor.

You’re lying to yourself  if you’re reading this and thinking, “That’s weird I would never do that.” I know who you really are and you can’t hide from me.

Bottom line is that “Day in My Life” vlogs keep me sane these days, sort of. They’re that extra sprinkle that make my days better.

I’m not an influencer (if you didn’t catch that already). I know I can’t afford most of the things that they have or do.

In the words of Miss Ariana Grande: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I [don’t] got it.”


Graphic by James Fay

The gay agenda exposed — I infiltrated the alphabet mafia

An Investigative Essay by Chadrick P. Übermensch, Esquire

Author’s note: Navigating a homophobic world as a queer person has never been easy. For years, homophobes have speculated that any advancements by the LGBTQ+ community have been parts of a scheme known as “the gay agenda”. While this is continuously refuted, there is also a panoply of issues within the queer community that affects people of intersecting identities who do not feel represented or accepted within mainstream gay spaces.


A few months ago, I made a decision that would alter my life forever. I would consider myself the ultimate alpha-dude-bro — I’m the manliest manly man you could ever imagine. To further bask in my masculine glory, I began posting pictures of my workouts onto To my utter shock and dismay, I rapidly gained a following of gay men. I gained thousands of followers within the first week, accompanied by unseemly, unsolicited, scandalous messages: “hey handsome,” “I love your body,” “show hole,” “you look incredible.” After thousands of these messages, I had enough. As I thought of the level of sophistication and coordination required to flood my inbox at such a high rate with such disturbing messages, a shiver went down my spine. Something deeply sinister was going on here, and a larger force was behind it all. In that moment, I knew I had to try to expose the Gay Agenda.

I wouldn’t say I have a problem with gay people. The problem comes when they try to shove it in my face. Why are men smooching on the kiss cam at baseball games? Let me watch a dozen muscular men in uber-tight polyester jog together in peace without bringing your ideology into it. If anything, straight people are being discriminated against! We can’t even buy Campbell’s soup without seeing these fruitcakes in their commercials! These egregious exhibits are clearly machiavellian manifestations of the Gay Agenda, which is why I had to put a stop to it.

In order to end the Gay Agenda, I first had to locate the LGBT Organization’s headquarters. They all live in the same facility, you know. I hopped on a bus downtown. In the dead of night, I walked across town to the corner of Fistenberg and Dyckman, where I found a telephone booth. As I entered the booth, I picked up the phone. From what I had learned online before my arrival, I knew the code I had to enter was 6453-73623-927-4373 (the password is mike-pence-was-here). Someone picked up the call. “You’ve reached the Hightower Record Store, how may I assist you?” Taking a deep breath, I responded. “Hello. I’m looking for your selection of Charli XCX vinyls.” Suddenly, a red light turned on and the booth began descending like an elevator.

Once I made it to the main floor, I was in complete shock. The entire place was decked out in enough blacklight and rainbow strobe lights to send an epilectic to the hospital. The music was a confusing blend of incomprehensible hyperpop glitch and early 2000s Eurotrash. Dance floors were packed with thin, pale bodies, in a blend of thrifted and vintage designer fashion. These people had icy looks in their eyes, trembling from gallons of iced coffee. I walked around the main halls, reading the signs above different rooms. There were ones dedicated to worshipping idols (pop idols, that is), blue hair-dying stations, rooms solely dedicated to yelling “we hate the straights!” in unison, rooms for witchcraft in which they’d put curses on Boosie Badazz and Dave Chapelle, and yassification stations as well.

After spending time snooping around the place, I finally found what I was looking for. As it turns out, the Gay Agenda is also a physical agenda! I began reading their program: “Monday — make Ellen emperor for life; bake Betty Crocker funfetti cake; and hunt down Tones and I for making “Dance Monkey.” Tuesday — persuade waiters to hand men dessert menus; enact Critical Gay Theory; and manufacture 750,000 rainbow poppies. Wednesday — bring-your-bottom-to-work day; and light a candle at the altar of RuPaul. Thursday — neuter straight men in public bathrooms; and Golden Girls watch party. Friday — give Cher.” I stashed a copy in my jacket — I could now expose these people for good.

As I was exiting the hall, I noticed a different elevator. This one had much less glitz, glamour, and gay. I got inside and the doors closed smoothly — I could barely hear the untz-untz of the Eurotrash music from in here. There were only two buttons: one for the floor I was on, and one below. I descended, and was shocked upon my arrival. The basement was a plain office building, with workers sitting at their desks, getting some work done. However, there was something fundamentally different about who was working in this office compared to the crowd upstairs.

I walked around and struck up a few conversations with folks, still incognito. What made this room different is that most people in it were people of colour, people with disabilities, fat people, and everyone deemed inferior from the upstairs crowd. “Notice how most of the crazies upstairs are white teenagers with no other oppression to claim,” said a Black trans woman. “We’re the ones who make the culture, they’re the ones who distort it beyond repair. We have some common issues, but they disregard us in every way — we’ve gotten so used to it that we expect them to erase us.” I spoke with many others who felt the same way. They made me realize how truly futile some of my issues with the community were.

As I exited the room, I opened a back door to a stairwell. I climbed up dozens of flights of stairs until I reached a door that opened to the street. My watch read 4:30 a.m. As I took a deep breath, I reached into my pocket and grabbed my phone. I opened, swiped through my settings, and deleted my original thirst trap account. As the sun began to rise, I took my copy of the agenda, shredded it, and shoved it through the holes of a sewer grate. It was time for me to go home and rethink some of my beliefs.


Feature graphic by James Fay

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