Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

The Ick Factor in Dating

The Ick Factor in Dating just a story  iStock 000010266210XSmall 300x197First things first – I’m using the phrase ick factor because that’s the phrase that came to mind when I sat down to write. I’m not subtly referencing a SATC episode or a dumbass political comment. Those things just happen to come up with you google ick factor.

So… the other day I got a from an acquaintance. We’d bumped into each other, earlier in the day. He texted to ask me out for a drink. His words, more or less, “You looked so sexy. We should get a drink.”

My gut said ick.

Which is what my gut always tells me when a guy says shit like that.

And then my head chimes in. And I remember a conversation I had ages ago with a male friend. A guy who, by his own admission, is lousy with women (but somehow got his wife to marry him). He reminded me that he, and most of his , have no idea how to speak to women. Especially women they are interested in/attracted to. So they’re more than likely to say dumbass things. AND that if I only go out with guys who are good with women, I’m going to be missing out on a lot of pretty cool guys. Men who would make decent boyfriends and partners if given a chance.

I took his advice to heart, and have been trying, REALLY trying to be open to dating the guys who suck with women. The ones who sometimes say the completely wrong thing.

Which leaves me pondering the ick factor. If that text had said, “Great to see you earlier. Let’s meet for a drink.” I would have been responded positively. Right away.

Now, I know guys. And I know that his (or any man’s decision) to ask me out is based on physical , first. I’m not a moron. Well, not a total moron.

But the fact that I received a text that was blatant about that (and that used the word sexy, from a man I’m not currently involved with) is icky. To me. Maybe there are lots of other women who would react differently. Who would like to hear that they looked sexy. And are comfortable with invitations of the, “you’re hot, let’s go out” variety.

Anyway, I’m babbling. My point, if I have one, is that I definitely do have an ick factor when it comes to dating. For me, the biggest way for a guy to blow it with me, pre-date, is to focus on looks or be overtly sexual. I’ll get creeped out and probably decide to pass.

Until now. I think. In this case I’ve said maybe. Because I still can’t decide. My gut is still saying ick. But my head is telling me to give the guy a chance.  Plus, it’s only a drink.


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16 to “The Ick Factor in Dating”


  1. The “ick factor” is there, IMHO, because these men treat you as a woman first, human being second. Men who are not “good with women” forget that women are human beings, not just pretty moving-talking things. At some point in their lives, men who say they are not “good with women” have probably listened to some errant advice about how to score with women, it being a numbers game, having to have a pick up line or some other such nonsense. To be “good with women” all men need to practice is how to be good with people. The secret is no greater than that.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Totally agree. The secret to being great with (real) women is remembering that we are PEOPLE. In my friends case, and the guys(his friends) he was talking about, I think these are men who in the “shy” and “clueless” category who have never attempted to follow any advice. Which I think makes them far more redeemable than the guys out there taking cues from AskMen.com.

  2. Tom says:

    While I don’t disagree with Rufus’ assessment, I’d like to posit that there are three factors in play with the “sexy” part of the text:
    1) People love being complimented. In the same way that most people’s favorite word is their name, most people like hearing nice things about themselves. I could be wildly off-base but I believe women like being complimented about their physical appearance. I rarely get the same response when I make a positive comment about a man’s looks, though I’m fairly excited when either a lady or a guy pay me any attention whatsoever. I could be the wrong person to ask this.
    2) “Sexy” is a mildly loaded word. And I’m guessing that’s where the “ick” factor plays in. There’s at least a mild implication that “I’d like to have sex with your body” when you use the word “sexy.” Even if you find someone’s intellect to be “sexy” there’s still the part about you wanting to make sweet, sweet sex on them. For some people, the word opens up a door in which you imagine tango’s vertical, horizontal and somewhat slanty-like. Which brings us to:
    3) Was he attractive? Not to bite Chris Rock too hard but if Denzel Washington (circa 1997, surely) tells you how “sexy” you are, it rarely makes a person say “ick” because sex with Denzel Washington (circa 1997, surely) seems like something which would be pleasurable. “Ick” only sticks when the thought of rolling around with a fella, given his unappealing visage or unappealing/ unknown character, sort of seems, well, grossy pants.

    Then again, what do I know?

    • Simone Grant says:

      Yes, sexy is a loaded word. And while I like being complimented, it’s all in the execution. The only guys who can call me sexy and not set off my ick factor are a) guys I’m already sleeping with b) really close male friends. All others are going to creep me out. As for the Denzel analogy… I’d have to think on that some more. Honestly, I’d probably still be thinking ick BUT might be more likely to forgive it. MIGHT. I’ve walked away from some seriously hotness in my time.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I agree with you it definitely has an Ick Factor. To not be involved with a woman and feel that comfortable saying that I would have my doubts about that man. What class of women does he normally ask out? It would be different if you were involved with the man.

  4. Chiara says:

    Agree with both Tom and Rufus..

    A woman likes to hear she’s sexy, obviously. The ick factor isn’t the comment itself.. It’s the fact that he chose those words for the pitch.

    You can say something about her looks and still get her to hook on.

    If someone said, “you’re sexy, let’s get a drink” I’d interpret it as, “I want to fuck you, do you need a drink first?”

    • Simone Grant says:

      Love it, and you’re right. Sexy puts way too much emphasis on sex. And that’s my assumption. It’s not about ME and getting to know me. It’s about wanting to fuck me.

  5. LadyD says:

    The “S” word (sexy) ALWAYS skeeves me out – I mean, REALLY?? Is that ALL you can come up with? Ugh – NEXT!! =X-P

  6. Samantha says:

    I couldn’t agree with this more! Ick factors are usually spot on emotions, too.

  7. Tracey says:

    I completely agree with everything you wrote. I’m a dating coach and I always tell my male clients to hold off on mentioning anything about a woman’s appearance because of the “ick” factor! It sounds like this guy may either be ignorant or only after 1 thing. If you are interested in him aside from this comemnt, I vote you give him a chance. If you have the time, you can let him take you out for a drink and learn more about him and then decide. good luck!

  8. Lennie Ross says:

    I think your friend has some interesting advice about giving guys a chance who aren’t good with women. Although its hard to get over them just seeming sleazy. I too am pretty sensitive to the ick factor- as in don’t comment on my body or mention sex in any word before we have been intimate. The truth is though that guys who are “good with women” and say “You seem cool. Let’s get a drink” are probably also thinking “she’s hot, I’d like to have sex with her”

  9. Becky says:

    I agree.. I have a profile on a dating website, and when I get a message/email from a guy that says “You are beautiful.” by finger says DELETE. If all they can comment on are my pictures, they haven’t read my profile enough, or at all, to even begin to know me as a person.

    ICK.

  10. amazingg0477 says:

    Sexy? Really? Even nice, as bland as that word is, would have been preferable. Boring, but preferable. With so many words in the English language, the fact that he comes up with this one is not just icky, it’s lazy. Trust your radar!

  11. Allison says:

    Men generally respond to the vibes you are sending out. Women dont deserve to be treated as objects, but in the same vain every 20 something year old is dressed like a slut and evey 40 year old is a maneater so what are men supposed to think? They have become completely desensitized to sex and how to behave like anything beyond primal assholes.