Understanding 'The Ick'
The Ick. You've either got it or you don't.
And if you do, it's virtually impossible to come back from.
Defining, unquestionable, and pretty much impenetrable, once The Ick takes hold there's very little hope for you or your budding relationship. But what exactly is The Ick, and how do you know if you've got it?
As per Urban Dictionary, The Ick is defined as follows: "You could be on the chirpse with a guy or girl, everything seems to be going fine.. you THINK you like them but then you suddenly catch 'The Ick'.
"From then on you can't look at the person in the same way, you just progressively get more and more turned off by them, weirdly and maybe for no reason in particular grossed out by them.
"You'll cringeeeeee at the thought of you and them together. Nothing will be the same, you won't be able to do it any longer and eventually have to cut it off."
There was a considerable amount of The Ick talk during last night's Love Island ahead of Priya and Brett's unceremonious exit from the villa.
Medical student Priya expressed her dismay to the other girls that she feared she had gotten The Ick during her recent dinner date. She thought Brett was boring, he wasn't flirting enough with her, he didn't like cheese - all things entirely worthy of calling things off for, apart from the cheese element.
And yet, this is what Priya stuck with throughout the entirety of last night's episode. Brett's favourite cheese was Brie. Brett wouldn't opt for a cheese board on a date. Brett didn't like cheese at all and was only saying he did because he thought it was what Priya wanted to hear.
It's this painful specificity that makes The Ick so glorious. The majority of the time, people end their relationships because they didn't click, they don't want the same things, or someone has wronged another in some way.
But when The Ick is involved, the reasons behind any potential split are so innocuous, so inoffensive, so seemingly irrelevant that you'd wonder why this person is dating at all if they're set to run a mile the second someone admits they've got their mam saved as 'mummy' in their phone.
Surely there are more important factors at play here. But there isn't - and that's what makes The Ick so beautiful. It's a scapegoat. A means of telling yourself you're tapping out for one reason, but really, you just don't like the person.
You blame it on their single bed box room, but really you were going to leave anyway. You say it was to do with their Anne Robinson childhood crush, but really you just don't like them. You claim you can't get past the fact that they tie their laces, but really you aren't ready for a relationship yourself.
Apparently, the phrase entered public consciousness back in 2017 when it was uttered on, you guessed it, Love Island. Olivia was discussing her relationship with Sam, when she suddenly realised that she wasn't into him anymore.
"Sam's a really nice guy, such a happy boy so full of light," she said. "Thought I kinda fancied him, but I've caught The Ick and I can't knock it off. Once you've caught it, it takes over body. I can't do it anymore."
So, we've established that The Ick has been around for a long time - but what exactly has given us Irish girls The Ick in recent years? To find out, we asked our readers to share some of their impenetrable Ick stories with us - and they did not disappoint.
"He told me he didn't care about passing his exams but he spent all day studying," said one person.
"A 27-year-old man kissed me like we were 14 at the Gaeltacht - whirlpool," said another.
Peak petty Ick here as someone else said: "Saw him having a bop at a nightclub," while another added: "How he said 'hello' in voice notes."
Another person said: "Using 2in1 shampoo and conditioner," which is quite specific but also probably quite common. Someone else said: "Sent me a pic of his legs in bed." Another added: "He took a selfie."
As expressed above, The Ick can come in many forms, but it's usually petty, often incredibly specific, and probably entirely irrelevant if you do actually like the person.
If you are concerned that you may have gotten The Ick, speak to a trusted friend today. And stop texting that person. There's no point, you're too far gone now.