Communication is an incredible thing. Anthropologists might argue that what sets us apart from other mammals is our inability to shut the fuck up. Social media has meant that we’ve never communicated more. As I write this, I’m discussing dinner with my housemate, a date with my friends in a group chat, and birthday gifts with my significant other.
If Shakespeare had this much access to the thoughts and feelings of others, he would have definitely been famous on Twitter. This would probably have meant he wrote fewer plays. One can discuss whether that would have been a good thing.
This increased conversation has all sorts of outcomes, including that we all know how many shared experiences we have. For example, I now know that no bisexual person can sit on a chair correctly, and everyone tried to chew on their barbies when they were little. It also means we can discuss our sexual peccadilloes and peculiarities more openly.
For example, I’ve always found it attractive when a man driving a car puts his arm behind my seat whilst looking over his shoulder to reverse. Apparently, lots of people feel the same way. I have no idea why, but it’s certainly amusing.
What Is An Ick?
Then there are the icks. I don’t think I needed social media to tell me that basically nobody likes to kiss someone with rotten teeth or that misogyny is a turn-off, but I’ve seen those discussed. Then, much like the car thing, there are other random things that are, I suppose, off-putting, but I hadn’t really thought about them. For example, when bowling with a date, watching them walk back after throwing the ball is weirdly uncomfortable.
Here’s the problem: 78% of users surveyed by Badoo have ended a relationship because of an ick. Officially, you can end a relationship at any time for any reason. But come on! This is pathetic. If you’re so concerned over the sight of someone walking, in an activity that you’re also presumably participating in, then simply do not go.
Why Do Couples Break Up?
As longtime readers of this blog will know, the concept of ending relationships is something I find interesting. What makes a person, after a fair amount of time and emotional energy, wake up and decide that they never want to see their significant other again? Is it something to do with their significant other and their attachment style, love language or inability to recognise and respect their values?
Or is the problem more to do with the person themselves, and their issues with commitment, incompatible life goals or lack of sexual fulfilment? There’s so much to discuss and debate on these topics, and almost everyone you meet will have opinions and relevant experience. But to end a relationship over an awkward post-bowl waddle? It seems so trite and immature.
Perhaps I’m being harsh. If you get the ick and it’s enough to end a relationship, that person is probably better off without you, and vice versa. That something could be ended due to an ick means it wasn’t very serious and the people involved weren’t really committed to one another. Maybe dumping someone because you got an ick is an indicator that you’re both fifteen and you’ll end up kissing badly behind the bowling alley bins before the end of the evening. Telling a fifteen-year-old to grow up is redundant.
How Does Social Media Play Into This?
Because of our increased communication due to social media, more and more people are talking about their icks and discovering new ones. I feel conflicted about this. On one hand, I want people to understand themselves and their sexuality because I think that’s a good way to build happy, lasting relationships and feel satisfied in oneself.
On the other hand, the next time I go bowling, I’ll feel self-conscious. If I took the time to seek out other icks people are discussing on TikTok or Instagram, perhaps I’d want to avoid other activities as well. I don’t want or need to feel judged for every minuscule action or live in fear of being dumped because of the way I walk after bowling. It’s not fun or healthy.
Ultimately, there’s basically nothing dating apps like Badoo can do to stop people from getting the ick or discussing their icks online. I suppose I would just urge people to remember that all the icks I’ve come across are extremely minor and it would be easy to push past them and move on with your life and relationship.
You don’t have to feel intensely sexually attracted to your partner at all times, and true love and connection sometimes mean looking at someone, realising they look gross, and then remembering how important they are to you and simply moving on.