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‘The Ick’ Is Spreading And It’s Time For Us To Raise Our Dating Standards

August 13, 2019

Catching ‘the Ick’ is easier than you’d think…

Ever been on a date and just felt a bit icky?

You’re out for drinks and you’re having a relatively nice time but something just feels kind of, well, off.  It wasn’t a bad date, but you just can’t pinpoint why you feel a bit weird about it.

Are you being paranoid? Are your standards too high?

You’ve just been diagnosed with The Ick.

And you’re not alone in experiencing the ickiness that is modern dating.

We’ve all heard of red flags – behavioral warning signs that don’t seem that bad at the time but with the clarity of hindsight make you realize you should have gotten out there and then – but there’s more that we need to be mindful of.

Let me break it down.

I went on one of these not-bad-but-not-good dates last week.

Nothing horrible happened. I feel like I need to reiterate just how fine this guy was; He was sweet enough, wasn’t pushy and seemed to be (somewhat) interested in what I had to say.

I was equal parts intrigued and infatuated until he said something that shocked me out of my smitten stupor.

“Don’t you think the bartender has gained a lot of weight? I guess that’s just what happens when you work behind a bar.”

What was, for him, just a passing comment, to me, it seemed awfully close to fat-shaming. As the words which ultimately led to his demise left his mouth, a cringe shuddered through my core.

Believe me when I say I tried to let it go. I shocked myself as I swept past the comment and tried to change the subject, but ultimately, that was it. Something had awoken in me and it was determined to get this boy away.

Looking back, he probably body-shamed the bartender in an attempt to highlight how fit he was. I’m sure he expected my panties to drop as he went on and on about how active he was but I was overwhelmed by a feeling that I couldn’t describe.

It wasn’t quite irritation but I was disinterested and done. With that one sentence, I had caught… The Ick.

The thing about The Ick is that it’s (nearly) impossible to come back from. It hits you right out of nowhere but changes everything in an instant. You can be a year into a relationship with someone and still catch The Ick. You can try to ignore it in hopes that it will go away but trust me, it won’t.

Everything after he said that sentence bothered me.

As he talked about his degree and his hopes of making lots of money, I started seething behind my smile. Things I wouldn’t ordinarily find annoying were now dealbreakers. Phrases that, individually, would spark no emotional response seemed so much worse because of the snowball effect from the initial body-shaming comment.

When he asked me what my preferred genre of porn would be, The Ick grew stronger.

When he was intimidated by my job, The Ick was almost unbearable.

By the end it was almost like his end-date goal of sex was emanating from his skin, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

We finished our drinks and went our separate ways. He was a gentleman, aside from a sly comment that insinuated his disappointment that I wouldn’t be putting out as I hopped into my Uber.

Which begs the question; was he really a gentleman because he didn’t physically pressure me into sex, or was he actually a jerk for making the comment?

Our standards for male behavior are so low.

Men who are passive to the mistreatment of women but think they’re allies because they don’t actively engage in the abuse aren’t actually nice guys.

I hear my friends swoon about how amazing a guy was because he didn’t get mad when they said no to sex, but this doesn’t automatically make him a nice guy. It literally means he has treated you with the minimum standard of respect.

It’s not impressive that a guy stopped initiating intercourse because you said ‘no’ – that should be normal.

Boys aren’t boyfriend material just because they aren’t sexual predators.

As I told my friends about my recent encounter with The Ick I felt compelled to defend my date at every turn. “He was so nice though, he didn’t get mad when I didn’t go home with him” was an actual sentence that left my mouth, and I really wish it hadn’t.

Recently, The Ick has gained a lot of attention as women are finally able to label a feeling that we’ve all been experiencing for years. You see, The Ick is an extension of your intuition and if there’s one thing I believe in this life, it’s to follow your gut feeling.

Women are so often made to feel crazy or paranoid for following their intuition as society gaslights us into quiet ‘coolness’. We are taught that to stand up for yourself is to be uptight, and so in an attempt to be the ‘cool’ girl we let boys walk all over us.

We ignore The Ick and justify red flags with behavior that is literally the bare minimum because we are conditioned to believe that without a male partner, we aren’t worth even that.

Women need to start expecting more from men. It shouldn’t be wildly impressive when a man doesn’t treat us terribly. Sure, he wasn’t sexist but that doesn’t make him a good guy.

I shouldn’t have even needed to tell my friends this guy didn’t get mad when I didn’t want to go home with him because no guy ever has the right to get mad when a girl says no. Period. That shouldn’t give him brownie points.

If there is something about a person that doesn’t sit well, don’t waste your time hoping that feeling will go away. If you are on a date and The Ick hits you, you don’t have to sit through another few drinks. Contrary to what we are conditioned to believe, we don’t owe men our time, our patience, or our vaginas.

The spread of The Ick means that women are raising their expectations. It means we aren’t settling for slightly below average. It means that we are expecting ‘nice guys’ to actually be nice, not just slightly less problematic than most.

It’s time for us to trust The Ick.

Featured image via unsplash.com

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