Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The ick factor

Ickiness is a condition that is responsible for the demise of many potential relationships. Symptoms of ickiness include nausea, claustrophobia and disinterest. The one and only side effect of ickiness is immediate termination of the relationship - studies show that this side effect occurs in 100 percent of cases.

My oldest friends are VERY familiar with the ick factor. Starting back when I was about fifteen, I've used this phrase pretty much every time I started seeing someone new. If a guy had feelings that were equal to or greater than mine, I would immediately find him "icky." It didn't matter if I'd liked him for six months before we started "going out," or if he was the hottest/coolest/most popular guy around. If the ick creeped in, it was over.

I never outgrew ickiness, but I did get much better at disguising it with seemingly legitimate reasons why I didn't like someone: they liked me too much, too soon; they were too old, too young, too pretty, gay - you get the point.

In fact, even when I first started seeing J-Dogg, the ick factor threatened keep us apart. The first time he came over to watch a movie, I was nauseous and I wanted to run out the door, down the street and maybe all the way to Nebraska. So why did J-Dogg end up being different? Well, it's not rocket science - I slept with him. I slept with him WAY before I should have, and while it put me in an incredibly vulnerable position for the remainder of our relationship, it also cemented my feet to the ground long enough for me to fall in love for the first time.

Not to sound too much like a psychology term paper, but THANK GOD for J-Dogg. If I hadn't fallen for him, I might have never stopped running long enough to realize that I CLEARLY have some sort of fear of intimacy. Pretty obvious, huh? I guess sometimes I need to be hit over the head with things before I get it.

So what's the point of telling you this now? Well, as I spend more time with MML, I'm beginning to feel a little bit of the ickiness that's obviously associated with the possibility of getting hurt. Last week he asked me to go to dinner, but I'd already make plans to go out with Surfer Dude, so I had to say no. When I told MML I already had plans, he suggested lunch. Then on Friday, he called me in the late afternoon to see if he could stop by to take a walk with me and the puppy. He contacts me everyday. He always seems excited to see me. He even thinks I look cute in my bright pink terry cloth (with rainbow accents) beach cover-up. But instead of enjoying the attention, I focus on how he is incredibly competitive and got legitimately upset when the girls beat the guys during a recent flip cup tournament. Instead of enjoying the excitement of something new, I focus on his occasionally girly taste in TV shows and music, contemplating if he's manly enough for me.

The problem is that recognizing ickiness as an emotion I don't want to validate, doesn't make it go away. The good news is that I like MML and I'm going to stick around to see if something good could happen between us...even if I have to chain myself to a chair.


Laurie Stark said...

Oh man, I am EXACTLY like this. Historically, my attraction to people has two settings: Full Blown and OMG ICK. The first week or so with a guy I'm usually hovering somewhere in the middle, but once it slides into "ick" territory, there's no going back. It's horrible. I'm always envious of friends who can date someone and be sort of lukewarm about them for awhile, allowing their feelings to grow slowly.

That said, I've noticed that over the past three years, I seem to have at least partially outgrown this (although, like you, I wonder if sex has something to do with it).

Anonymous said...

If you need a volunteer, I will gladly chain you in that chair myself and keep the key :) though I haven't met MML yet (though I'm hoping this may happen sometime in the not so distant future) from what I've heard, I think he is worth sticking around for to see if there could be more for you two... D.