Leanne On Love Island Is Right: ‘The Ick’ Is Real

'I just feel like I've got the ick. I don't want to be around him, I don't want him to touch me, I don't want him to kiss me.'

Love Island Leanne Amaning

by Daisy Buchanan and Georgia Aspinall |

The teaser for tonight's episode of Love Island had us instantly hooked: Leanne Amaning admitting to her fellow islanders that she has caught 'the ick' when it comes to her current partner Mike Boateng.

'I just feel like I've got the ick,' she said. 'I don't want to be around him, I don't want him to touch me, I don't want him to kiss me.'

And while her comments have attracted backlash online for not telling Boateng how she feels before she shared it with other islanders, many are relating to her predicament. In fact, it's quite reminiscent of Love Island 2017, when Olivia Attwood was coupled up with Sam Gowland and developed the notorious 'ick'.

Leanne and Mike
©ITV Pictures

‘When you’ve seen a boy, and got the ick, it doesn’t go,' she said at the time. 'It’s caught you, and it’s taken over your body. It’s just ick. I can’t shake it off.’

If you’ve ever ended a relationship before it’s begun, chances are that you know all about ‘the ick’. More often than not, it’s a gut feeling. It’s difficult to put it into words. A few years ago, I caught it on my sixth date with a teacher called Tom. For dates one through five, I was totally into Tom.

He was funny, clever and slightly snarky. I spent a blissful few weeks wandering about London, slightly hungover, with last night’s knickers on, buying emergency deodorant when I’d promised myself to go home before last orders. That’s how much I liked Tom. But on date six, during a curry near London Bridge, I found myself looking across the table and thinking ‘No. Oh, no!’

I don’t know whether it was the way he ranted about the waiter about the superiority of Kingfisher beer over Cobra, or just the face he pulled when encountering a particularly sour pickle, but the 'ick' had descended. There was no going back. It was as if I’d accidentally taken a picture with a really unflattering filter, and no amount of photo editing could replace what I’d seen. Or as if a stranger farted while I was trying on perfumes in Duty Free, and every fancy fragrance I tried now smelled of poo.

The ‘ick’ is completely personal. It’s not the fault of the person who ‘gives’ you the 'ick' - it doesn’t mean they’re doomed to a love life of ickiness. But once you’re in the 'ick’s' clutches, you have to escape as fast as you can. You’re James Franco in 127 Hours, and the 'ick' is your arm.

My friend Mollie* says that she’d been seeing a guy for a few of months before she caught the 'ick'. ‘It was going well, and he’d even had lunch with my parents. But one morning, I woke up, saw his face on the pillow and thought “He looks like Peter Kay”. I have nothing against Peter Kay, he’s very funny. But there was something about the way his hair was squashed against his forehead, or the angle of his jaw and Peter Kay was all I could see, and it just made me not want to have sex with him ever again. You can’t tell someone that you want to break up with them because they have suddenly started to remind you of Peter Kay. I had to make something up about still having feelings for an ex.’

Your intuition is so much more powerful than taking advice from someone else

The thing about the 'ick' is that it’s a gut sense, and you rarely encounter it on a first or second date. As Leanne and Olivia found, it usually comes up when you’ve spent enough time with someone to start to see a future with them. And for what it's worth, life coach Susanna M. Halonen explains that it’s always worth trusting your gut. ‘Your intuition is encoded in your brain like "a web of fact and feeling." This is why intuition is so much more powerful than taking advice from someone else. Your intuition connects your body, mind, and spirit, and how those three elements have digested everything from your past.’

So even if an ‘ick’ seems illogical, chances are that it’s a smart response from your brain and body, which are working together to tell you that the relationship isn’t a runner.

Can you ever move past an ‘ick’? I’m not sure - but I do know that I’ve experienced occasional potential ‘icks’ with my husband that haven’t bothered me, even when they might have sent me running away in previous relationships. (It’s the ultimate test of true love - can you still adore someone and find them sexy when you’ve done their laundry after a difficult day of diarrhoea?) Even if the ‘ick’ doesn’t make sense, you’ll probably find a valid and much more painful reason to break up with someone later on, and that’s when life gets messy. When you’ve got the 'ick', you’ve got to go.

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