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Ick To the Ick

Ick is the new ish.

This was one of the lessons of 2023 when I began hearing about ‘getting the ick‘ from young women.

Its context depends on who has the ick with whom and why.

Having the ick can be sexual, or for general reasons, or it can be gendered, usually towards a male.

When I asked about the ick, I was told I had used the term incorrectly.

Life in 2023 was hard enough without ick judgements; I stopped mentioning it.

The year progressed with no adverse impacts from this decision.

But I remain interested in what prompts ‘getting the ick‘, so an opinion piece by the Daily Mail’s Sarah Vine drew my eye.

Before we go further, let’s address my information source.

Some say you shouldn’t admit that you read tabloids or ‘red tops’. That this is best kept private – a guilty secret. Can I just say, as someone who once worked as a reporter, that these guys often break the news. And overblown reputations. And pomposity.

I like it when they target pomposity.

We’ll have that debate another time.

Sarah’s commentary arose from a survey (a straw poll of Daily Mail staff) that yielded a long list of male behaviors that result in ick judgements, many of them silly, in my view.

You can’t get the ick with a man for not having ice cubes, or for ordering a cocktail, or if he splits the bill or has a reusable bag for groceries. Or, these days, a man who shaves his armpits. As for men applying Vaseline with their little fingers – is this a trick addition, do you think?

Below is the full list compiled by Molly Clayton of actions by men that give women the ick.

I wouldn’t like to say which ick-inducing actions I am guilty of myself, but there are plenty, and also omissions I would add to this list.

For instance, I dislike the typically male action of backing into parking spaces without cause, but warm to anyone who coos over cats.

A friend never felt the same about her live-in love after he confessed he was unaware of Hiroshima and had never heard of Winnie the Pooh. She had a bad case of the ick, and they parted ways soon after.

Women told Molly they get the ick with men who … 

  • Know their exact weight 
  • Whistle 
  • Take pictures with their car 
  • Take selfies 
  • Order a steak in a restaurant then struggle to cut it 
  • Shave their underarms 
  • Drink white wine 
  • Walk too slowly 
  • Wear leather jackets 
  • Like milky coffee 
  • Mention astrology 
  • Order diet versions of a drink 
  • Split the bill 
  • Use the menu on the chocolate box to pick a chocolate to eat 
  • Order a dessert 
  • Only wear baseball caps backwards 
  • Read books about getting rich 
  • Mansplain everything 
  • Have short fingers 
  • Have long nails 
  • Make a noise when getting off a chair 
  • Talk about their ex 
  • Are overly touchy 
  • Are addicted to porn 
  • Have a weird laugh 
  • Hold cutlery with an overhand grip 
  • Trip when walking 
  • Can’t clap to a beat 
  • Are sunburnt 
  • Have feet that dangle out of the end of the bed 
  • Push a pull door 
  • Say ‘can’t wait’ when you arrange something 
  • Have a short neck 
  • Eat breakfast
  • Take baths 
  • Don’t read 
  • Are picky eaters 
  • Take off their necklace or chain before getting intimate 
  • Run for the bus 
  • Order cocktails 
  • Have lone grey hairs in their beard 
  • Wear Lycra 
  • Press their legs together on public transport
  • Buy mints rather than chewing gum 
  • Set more than two alarms for the morning 
  • Drive at exactly the speed limit 
  • Dance out of time to music 
  • Smile with food in their teeth 
  • Open food with the label upside down 
  • Study religion at college
  • Don’t have ice in the house 
  • Use a straw 
  • Play badminton or tennis 
  • Have a navy blue bath mat 
  • Have brown sheets 
  • Don’t have a minimum of two sets of sheets or towels 
  • Don’t swim 
  • Use something as a fake microphone and sing 
  • Have a reusable bag for groceries
  • Have fewer than four pillows 
  • Have more than four pillows 
  • Use ‘x’ or too many emojis 
  • Have posters 
  • Put a biro behind their ear 
  • Take ages to get served at the bar 
  • Say ‘perfecto’ 
  • Apply Vaseline with their baby finger 
  • Say ‘lil’ instead of ‘little’ 
  • Can’t find parking spots 
  • Are rude to restaurant staff 
  • Chew loudly with their mouth open 
  • Are overly obsessed with video games 
  • Don’t wear socks with shoes 
  • Talk about family wealth 
  • Play the air guitar 
  • Struggle to unhook a bra 
  • Use excessive punctuation in texts 
  • Leave a laundry pile in the bedroom 
  • Don’t tip 
  • Run with a backpack on (worse if it’s the kind with a water bottle built-in with a long plastic straw) 
  • Coo over cats 
  • Are oblivious to their bad breath 
  • Over-style their hair 
  • Order oatmeal/coconut/almond milk with coffee

Sarah rightly countered the list of icky male practices by asking Harry Wallop for female behaviors that give men the ick. His surprisingly short list would no doubt expand greatly with more input. Harry gets the ick with women who …

  • Pout in photos
  • Claim having a bath is ‘self-care’
  • Can’t throw
  • Weigh their food 
  • Read self-help books 
  • Have fake tans
  • Take an age to get ready 
  • Call wine ‘mommy juice’ or their work ‘mompreneurship’ 
  • Say ‘I couldn’t possibly’ when offered a dessert then dig their spoon into yours

And Harry and Sarah agree: calling anything an ick gives them both the ick.

Minnesotans have their own ‘ish list’. I have begun a MN straw poll, with the first entries shared below. Please comment!

Things that give Minnesotans the ish/ick:

  • Not making eye contact or greeting you when you pass on a walking path
  • Responding to texts with a single meaningless emoji
  • Not coming up with a single nice thing to say when walking into someone’s house for the first time: “You can always find something nice to say, even if you’re visiting a hoarder”
  • Commenting, not complimenting i.e. “you cut your hair” (if you thought it looked good, you would say so)
  • Bringing lemon bars to a church funeral. “My mother’s church friend, with whom she had a lifelong like/dislike relationship, said her friend brought them because they’re the cheapest thing you can make. Personally I love a well-made lemon bar.”
  • Not sending an RSVP to an event where your host needs an accurate guest list, then showing up at the last minute
  • Attending a meal and contributing bags of snacks or candy from a gas station, mainly because you need to ‘gas up’ en route
  • Not bringing enough to said event
  • Not allowing everyone at least a little time to talk during that obligatory 15 minute ‘relating’ section at the beginning of a meeting
  • Lecturing instead of having a two-way conversation
  • Public farting and belching
  • Dirty or untidy nails; biting nails and cuticles
  • Relying on Fox News to shape their views
  • Wearing shapeless tired apparel; apparel with lint, pills, and/or holes
  • Poor hygiene including dental hygiene
  • Asking what you do rather than being curious about who you are; someone we know, when asked what he does, always says “I’m an astronaut”

To be continued …

Lemon Bars

Classic lemon bars: simple, economical, delicious!

Lemon bar recipes abound in Minnesota. Here’s an easy one from Lunds & Byerlys.

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Combine 2 cups flour and ½ cup powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a fork or pastry blender to make fine crumbs. Press mixture into a 9×13-inch baking pan, pressing ½ inch up the sides. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, until just golden brown at edges.

For filling, mix sugar, ¼ cup flour and baking powder; add lemon juice, lemon zest and eggs. Pour mixture over hot crust. Bake 20 additional minutes at 350F. Cool completely. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. Cut into bars. Makes 36.

Photo Marti’s Bloody Mary cocktail, Clearwater truck stop and travel plaza, featuring giant pickle, cheese and spicy meat garnishes. Minnesotans are attracted to these like deer flies to Dark Shadows Blue.

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