If you’re a Love Island hater, look away now, because things are about to get pretty vacuous around here.
The other week, Olivia (one of my favourite contestants on this year’s sex fuelled extravaganza) spoke about catching The Ick and I want to talk about it, because it’s something I’ve experienced many times throughout my dating life and I’m thrilled to learn it’s a shared sentiment and not just me being picky.
There was the journalist who stood up in front of a crowded bar and pretended to be Dermot O’Leary presenting the X Factor during a date in one of London’s coolest spots, The Troubador. There was the barman who ate Nachos far too loudly next to me on a trip to the cinema. There was the banker who was sick in the taxi home. The almost perfect one who wore camo print trousers. The musician who had horrid hands and feet. The teacher who wore rubber soled, platform shoes. The poor chap who was too scared to kiss me. And finally, the gap year fling who insisted on wearing a beanie, even though we were seeing each other throughout the summer.
Whenever I dated anyone, there would be something ridiculous that would put me off. I would then complain to mum about their imperfections, regaling her with yet another tale of yet another dumping, and she would say to me, ‘It wouldn’t matter if you liked him’.
And she was right. Without even knowing it, she had identified The Ick.
Catching it is actually a pretty uncontrollable reality. It creeps up on you when you least expect it. One day, you can be excited about your latest squeeze and the next, he rocks up to a BBQ to meet all your mates in a pair of white Birkenstocks. You didn’t see it coming. The guy you thought was a catch, now falls to the bottom of the pile and even the thought of him sitting opposite you at dinner becomes unbearable.
That’s when you know you’ve caught it. You go cold. You grow distant. You want out.
Of course, The Ick isn’t always brought on by a poor choice of footwear. The sad truth is, they might not even have done anything wrong when it suddenly dawns on you that kissing them would be like kissing your cousin and that you want to get as far away from them as humanly possible.
If you’ve ever experienced it for yourself, you’ll know that The Ick is more stubborn than Herpes when you catch it, and there certainly isn’t a universal trigger which causes that incessant need to get out immediately, but without it, we wouldn’t find someone more suitable. In fact, I like to see it as a nice little gift from Mother Nature to tell us that the person we’re dating isn’t quite right for us. That we need to get out. That this one isn’t the one.
It leads us onto bigger and better Ick-Free relationships with men like my current boyfriend, for example, who has publicly showed himself up more times than Kerry Katona and still can’t make me catch The dreaded Ick, no matter how hard he tries.
On our first date, he waited over an hour for me to arrive. I normally would’ve cringed at the thought of someone sticking around so long. Later that night, he swung a lampshade across the bar at The Shard and pretended it didn’t happen instead of making light of the situation. Whilst we were dating, we were texting a lot, and let’s just say spelling isn’t his strong point, something that would have made me want to die in any other instance. Over the past 3 years, he’s worn boxer shorts in the pool on a group holiday because he forgot his swimwear. He sent me a photograph of his blackened toenail that later fell off (he sent me a photo of this, too). He sits down when he pees, hates Jeremy Corbyn and didn’t know who The Maccabees were when I expressed my sorrow at their departure from music.
He’s done so much more to make me catch The Ick than the others, so why haven’t I?
Because I actually like him. And genuinely liking or loving someone is the only prevention from this one.
So, with this in mind, it’s safe to say that Olivia was right to move on, and Tyla should follow suit – because there ain’t no coming back from this one, even if there is 50k and a deal with Miss Pap at stake. And to all those men (the majority of whom are either married or in long term relationships now) who I turned away due to that feeling: you know what they say, one woman’s Ick is another woman’s perfect date… or something like that.
Listen to that little whisper from Mother Nature, ladies. Like all mums, she knows best.