Do Guys Get “The Ick”? We Asked A Male Dating Coach And Here’s What She Said

In today’s dating sphere, we often see numerous anecdotes strewn across social media with women in particular discussing the many icks they experience with men.

By Jenny White5 min read
Pexels/Yulia Polyakova

For women, it could be a mere effeminate gesture emanating from the man that causes the whole house of cards to come tumbling down, and she becomes turned off from him irreparably and completely. 

By contrast, it may appear that not many men on the dating scene complain about female icks. It’s frowned upon for men to voice their desires and preferences concerning women, as much is it for them to confess what turns them off. Furthermore, many modern men do not possess sufficient life experience in dating enough women to develop certain tastes and preferences, along with any icks. 

One-third of all men in the United States under 30 are virgins and/or have not had sex with a woman within the last year. These types of guys tend to endure a lot of bad behavior from women that may otherwise cause the more seasoned and experienced man among us to get the ick. 

Based on my many trials and observations in dealing with the more experienced men among us as a dating coach though, I can tell you that men can and will develop an ick toward certain female behaviors and mannerisms. 

Let’s now dive into these specifics so that, in the future, you may avoid giving a man the ick…

Fishbowl Narcissism and Fame-Seeking

While it’s true that the more inexperienced men among millions of eligible singles don’t seem to have higher standards for women’s behavior, a more worldly and sophisticated man will.

Fame-seeking and narcissism are running amok in our culture, and a more low-key, reserved guy who doesn’t warm to these displays of showing off for likes and followers is considered “sexist,” and to many men, it’s a double standard.

The excerpts below from a piece by GQ magazine entitled, “Is It Sexist for Men to Get the Ick?” features men believing they will be painted in a very bad light for getting the ick. The first example highlights a man’s experience with a showboating, fame-seeking woman: “Liam still winces remembering the moment. He was at his local pub with the woman he’d been seeing. Though they had only been dating for a few months, things were moving fast, accelerated by lockdown. They had gone on holiday together and met each other’s friends. Then, that afternoon, she pulled out her phone to show him her Instagram and her recent pivot to video in which she addressed her followers about her 30-day fitness challenge. ‘You could have heard a pin drop,’ says Liam, now 34. As much as he would have liked to, he was unable to conceal his honest response. ‘She was a lovely girl, a good laugh – but I was like, this is a turn-off,’ he says. ‘I’m not really of the generation who speak into the camera. It just made me cringe.’ His date read as much on his face, Liam says. ‘She was absolutely mortified, my reaction was so easily interpreted as horror.’”

Narcissism and fame-seeking may make him question what motivations you have in keeping him around. 

Could narcissism and fame-seeking turn him off? Surely they could. They may make him question what motivations you have in keeping him around. 

Are you going to be vindictive at some point and air his dirty laundry online to your followers? Would you violate his privacy? Share parts of his personal business that he is uncomfortable with and has every right to be? These may be the questions blaring in a man’s mind and sounding off the alarm bells. And it’s not sexist, nor is it unreasonable for him not to want to be involved with a person who seeks fame and a virtual fishbowl reality.

Bad Attitudes, Blabbermouthing, and Obnoxiousness

With the many women who read my material, I endlessly encourage them to say a lot less to men. Staying silent at crucial moments is often interpreted by men as being more graceful and feminine. 

Contrary to what women might believe, babbling can be off-putting to men. As is being obnoxious with a bad attitude. The GQ article included Michael’s experience. He “describes having his desire instantly dissipate after his date talked all the way through the film they were watching (Palm Springs, with Andy Samberg: 'a solid picture,' he says). Though they had not yet slept together, Michael had felt a strong connection on their earlier dates, and says they had planned this night at his house ‘knowing what it would likely lead to.’ But at the woman’s ‘loud, incessant’ commentary on the film, Michael says, ‘I shut down. She stayed over, but we didn’t so much as kiss in the night.’ When she pressed him the next day about what had gone wrong, ‘I told her she was lovely, but I wasn’t feeling it,’ Michael says. ‘Really, it was the movie chatter that did it.’ He was just grateful that they weren’t at the cinema, he adds.”

Another way to understand the ick is “as an indicator of clashing sensibilities or values,” says GQ writer Elle Hunt, and cites the following examples: “Paul, 36, remembers being instantly turned off by a woman who otherwise ‘ticked all the boxes’ after she exploded at bar staff over their bill. ‘It turned out she’d misunderstood the parameters of happy hour – but the unexpected rudeness took the wind out of my sails.’ Ned, 29, likewise lost interest in a colleague before their second date had even got underway when she was dismissive to a homeless man on their way to the cinema.”

Major buzzkill. Each of these men describes how they felt a strong connection to these women, and all it took was some babbling, irrational shouting, and making a scene for them to really step back and say, “What the heck am I doing here?”

To prevent this from happening to you, try to remain conscientious and conscious of your environment, your tone, and how you speak to a man, as well as how you speak to others while you’re together. Try your best to remain congruent in your behavior with minimal outbursts and eschew louder, brash behavior that makes you instantly appear unladylike to him to avoid giving him the ick.

Various Icks That Can Also Be a Big Factor

Yahoo recently published a list of the 40 biggest icks that can apply to both sexes. In reference to women, let’s highlight a few below that may pertain more specifically to women than other potential icks on the list:

Being Obsessed with Star Signs

Astrology tends to be a more female pursuit, and many men find it to be a turnoff. They’ve been known to write women off entirely who present themselves as astrology buffs. Your best bet is to not talk about astrology with a man. It would be akin to a man wanting to talk about rebuilding engines and wrestling high scores with you. He also might think that you'll blame your bad behavior on your sign or be less willing to take accountability for your actions. Asking him for his star sign or time of birth right off the bat is also guaranteed to be an ick for many men as it generally leads you to assume characteristics about him that he may or may not possess.

Men don’t like a woman’s makeup smearing and smudging on their clothes. 

Wearing Too Much Makeup

This can pose a problem because men like to see your real appearance, and too much makeup tends to conceal it. Try a no-makeup-makeup look for your next date or simply go a little lighter on the eyeshadow and contour than you're used to. Many men have also told me that they don’t like a woman’s makeup smearing and smudging on their clothes (totally understandable.) It can be awkward for them to walk around with a giant orange stain for the rest of the evening on their white dress shirt and a big hassle to remove stained makeup from their clothing afterwards. Lighter makeup should help to avoid this, but you can also be more aware of where your face hits when you're hugging him or interacting.

Taking Longer Than Him To Get Ready

I’ve heard many complaints and frustrations from men that women have shown up exceedingly late to dates because it took them hours to get ready. Getting ready as a woman can be time-consuming because we want to look our very best, but one or two hours to get ready for a date is more than sufficient. And if you anticipate that you may be running late for a date, try to schedule your primping and care time for a much earlier slot so you can arrive on time. You would feel like your time isn't being respected if a guy showed up exceedingly late to a date with you, so you can assume the feeling goes both ways.

Closing Thoughts

Icks on today’s dating scene continue to be a fairly large problem. Though it may seem that women have more leeway in terms of provoking icks in men, it can be a fine line to walk with any man you may be dating. 

While you can’t please everyone and be perfect 100% of the time, you can avoid giving a man the ick when you polish up your behavior and manners. 

“The ick” may also be a sound indicator that that person just isn’t for you. If they don’t like the way that unruly piece of hair keeps falling in your face, they will likely find other reasons not to appreciate you. Reasons that have much less to do with your hair falling in your face and more to do with it not being a good connection overall.

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