How to Avoid Giving Women ‘The Ick’

Dating can be a treacherous game. It’s not enough to just meet someone (which isn’t easy to begin with). You also have to make it through the talking stage, first date, first sleepover, meeting of friends, and the what-are-we conversation without incident before you can finally declare yourselves “together.” But then you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, relaxed in the knowledge that you love someone who also loves you. Unless, at any point in time, you give the love of your life the ick.

For the uninitiated, the ick is a phenomenon in which a woman is forever turned off by a man after he does something inconsequential but awkward or effeminate, like plugging his ears or ordering a Frappuccino. The phrase was coined by a contestant on Love Island UK in 2017, but it went mainstream in the 2020s on TikTok, where girlfriends and female admirers have gained millions of views for documenting the icks given to them by their respective boyfriends and crushes. (Yes, the trend is mainly straight women complaining about straight men, often for doing things that seem unmanly.) The man will be going about his day, partaking in the basic ritual of human life, and only to be featured in a video with the caption “New ick unlocked.”

These women have cataloged, collectively, more icks than a man could ever hope to avoid. TikTok accounts like @wyszkay are dedicated to documenting them all. Here’s an overview, conveniently organized into seven main categories:

Getting dressed
Wearing a towel around the waist
Wearing toe socks
Tying a shoe
Wearing a sweatshirt tied around your waist
Wearing a color-coordinated outfit
Wearing loose shoes

Eating at a restaurant
Pouring beer from a pitcher
Cleaning fingers after eating
Drinking from a clear glass
Eating edamame
Tapping sauce out of a bottle
Ordering a frappucino

Getting from point A to point B
Using a wide-handled bike
Walking on pebbles
Walking downhill
Running under a closing garage door
Fitting into the back of a cramped car
Belaying back down after rock climbing
Using an interactive map in a mall

Being in, or around, water
Treading water
Doing water aerobics
Testing the temperature of a pool
Swimming in goggles
Kneeling in water
Setting up a fish tank
Falling off a paddleboard
Jumping into water

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