Life & Culture

The perils of getting the ick when dating

The ick is a dating trend that isn’t going anywhere



Getting the ick is like finding a hair in your food. Even if you send the meal back and get a fresh dish, it just never quite tastes the same. Urban Dictionary defines the ick as something someone does that is an instant turn-off for you, making you instantly hate the idea of being with them romantically. It is a term that has taken the dating world by storm and is arguably the equivalent of a third wheel on a date. Hovering around and waiting in the wings to kill any spark you might have with someone.

A friend of mine got the ick on a dating app when a guy conscientiously sent her a voice note of him singing. It didn’t do it for her, and she cringed at the very sound of this potential suitor singing down the phone. Let’s just say, they never met in person. Another ick worthy story I heard recently was a guy insisting on getting a round of drinks or should I say drink on a date. He returned with one beer. I repeat one beer. The singletons proceeded to share said beer, taking a sip each as they got to know each other in the pub. I’m sure all she got to know was that she 110 per cent had the ick.

Another friend of mine was waiting to meet a guy and as he walked into the restaurant, she  saw him trip up and tragically fall flat on his face. Immediately, she had the ick and made an SOS call to get her out of there.

I don’t know about you, but finding guys I even want to go out on a date with is hard enough so battling the loud ick voice in my head really messes with me. It gets even more complicated when the ick shows up a few months, even years into being with somebody. What do you do then? At least in the early stages of texting, speaking on the phone or the first five dates or so we can make a sweet escape. What do you do if you start catching the ick when you’ve moved in with someone, or worse, have married them?

When dating, and feeling unsure about someone you’re seeing there is the age-old advice of do you go with your head or your heart? Well in today’s dating climate I’d say do you go with your head, your heart or your ick? Some might say the ick is actually a blessing. And that we should embrace this subconscious feeling that something isn’t quite right or working for us.

But playing devil’s advocate, I’d say the ick could be a form of self-sabotage. The ick feels so absolute, like there is no coming back from it that once you see something icky you just can’t unsee it. But are some singletons scapegoating the ick as a way of getting out of something they just aren’t sure of?

Dating can be scary, especially when it starts going well. We are all guilty of dabbling in a little bit of self-destruction when we have been vulnerable with someone that we are in the midst of getting to know.

The ick is a dating trend that isn’t going anywhere. So, we might as well find joy in the ick. My single girlfriends and I have created a shared note on our iPhones adding a list of all our icks we’ve experienced on our dating antics. Number 14 is my current favourite: the thought of him stalling while driving his manual car. If you’ve caught the ick, don’t write them off too quickly. Just ask yourself, is it my head, my heart or my ick?

Aimee Belchak dreamed up her own matchmaking business, The A-gency, in lockdown. She sets up London- based Jewish singles aged 22-62 years old on blind dates every month. Aimee has her own podcast, Yente Tells All, and she’s on Instagram @AimeeBelchak. Send her your questions at

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