Are 'Icks' Just Giving Us Permission To Be Judgemental AF?
The term 'ick' needs to go. Let me make a case for the fact it needs to be eradicated from your vocabulary
The first time I came across the term ‘ick’ was probably Love Island, and likely out of the mouth of Olivia Attwood who I will forever adore, especially since her evolution from the show. The first time that sticks in my mind though is coming across a TikTok where someone was saying that wearing a helmet is an ‘ick’ or when they walk back from their turn at bowling. The most recent time, and what provoked this article, was flipping through Instagram stories when someone wrote that their ick was when they had cooked their partner food and their partner was saying ‘mmm’ after every mouth full.
In short, can we just say you are a judgemental prick and move on?
Why are you assessing someone in terms of attractiveness when bowling? Just enjoy the fucking bowling. Are we now saying they should lose the helmet so that they can still be a turn-on to you? I wouldn’t want a brain injury on my conscious, thanks. And now someone enjoying their food, and by the way, appreciating your cooking is offputting.
Well… maybe your attraction to someone shouldn’t be so fragile.
Now that we live in a world where we are hyperconscious about our appearance all the time, it is understandable we have gained the illusion that people need to be attractive at all times. After all, in my childhood, the only time I had to be conscious that someone was taking a picture of me was on school picture day or my birthday. My appearance would only be documented and kept as evidence a few times a year. Now it’s more like a few times an hour. Now, anyone could snap a picture of you from an unflattering angle and someone else could yell ‘TURN OFF’. It is not your job to be attractive 100% of the time. In fact, many moments in life when I feel the best, I look the worst and if I was with someone constantly assessing my appearance, that would feel really shitty.
It’s a very demoralising way to view the world and in any romantic relationship with substance, you won’t be assessing someone’s attractiveness constantly. The word ‘ick’ means we lose sight of the big picture when dating and we forget that what someone looks like is one of the least important things to make a relationship work. I would even go as far as to say someone’s physical appearance is unimportant after the first date. As I say in The Selfish Romantic:
‘A relationship can’t exist on aesthetics alone. If it does, it’s not a quality one. Choose a person merely on looks and a few years in, you’ll be craving good conversation. Regardless of how you feel about your appearance, looks will only get you past the first date. After that, what makes a first date turn into a second date is a lot more complex than aesthetics.’
Maybe it’s not really about your attraction at all, and you are using the term ‘icks’ to avoid the fact that the increased levels of connection and intimacy are making you scared and want to run. Dismissing someone over a pedantic ‘ick’ like wearing a helmet gives you the illusion of safety because by you ending it, you believe they can’t hurt you and you are protecting yourself by judging them first. In fact, you are still getting hurt but that hurt is being created by yourself and that hurts more because you are not giving yourself the permission to be loved and accepted. You judge them because you are so worried they will judge you and be thinking the same thoughts you are thinking about their appearance, but what if they weren’t thinking that at all? What if you are the only one who was being judgemental? This is just your avoidance coming up with any excuse because you are scared. Admit you are scared and stay in the relationship. It’s OK if you get hurt. It’s better to be scared and get hurt because it doesn’t work out than preempt breaking up.
If I were to be generous, there are moments in a relationship where everything someone does is so fascinating, interesting and hot to you. And sometimes when you lose attraction for someone, everything they do becomes an ‘ick’ because you frankly no longer want to be around the person. But then is the word ‘ick’ necessary? If someone is annoying you by simply breathing, that sounds like a you problem.
If you have hit that stage, end the relationship and move on. Why further insult the person or label that person in a way that sounds finite and permanent? You are allowed to not be attracted to someone but your opinion does not make it a fact. Just because you have lost attraction to them, doesn’t mean they are not attractive. No human is a ‘walking ick’. I truly believe there is someone in the world who will find you attractive and your opinion does not trump another’s.
It is so tempting when you lose attraction for a person to then demonise them but this is not helpful. I think it’s a horrible road to walk down to twist a past relationship into disgust, simply because it ended and furthermore, it doesn’t help you move on to diminish someone on their looks. Looks, that by the way, at one point in time, you did find attractive.
We have used bodily insult as a way to avoid our feelings and you hear it all the time on apps like TikTok. ‘I can’t believe I let a medium ugly man dump me’ and here’s the reality. This is still body shame. If you have to use comments about someone’s appearance in your argument, then your argument is weak. If you continue to walk through the world, judging everyone on their appearance, no wonder you are so worried about your own. The people who are most critical of others are most critical of themselves.
If you are against body shame, then you shouldn’t be using the word ‘ick’ either. Continue down this road and you are in danger of being Chandler in Friends, dumping someone because their nostrils are too big.
Lots of love,