Almost nine in ten (89%) millennials say they can’t bear to look past a partner’s quirk, with 5% admitting they’ve left a first date immediately after experiencing the dreaded ‘ick’, according to new research.

The study by Paddy Power Bingo, uncovers Brits’ personal turnoffs, ranging from bad hygiene to more unusual peeves such as “using a knife and fork incorrectly”.

However, for the festive season, over two fifths (41%) of Brits will be ignoring their partners agitating habits in a bid to keep up the Christmas cheer.

Whilst the festive period may give temporary respite for offenders, the report found a quarter of relationships are ick-infested on the first date, with one in ten arising before the pair even meet.

When faced with an ugly ick, such as “saliva in the corner of your mouth”, one in twenty (5%) admit to leaving their date immediately – whilst over a quarter (26%) tried to look past it, but ultimately ended the romance specifically due to their respective turnoffs.

The research also suggests Britain is a nation of clean freaks, with most relationship problems arising from hygiene issues (52%). Bad manners (29%) and noisy eaters or drinkers (28%) are also particularly unbearable.

The top 10 icks that bother Brits most

Rank Option Proportion of people
1 Bad hygiene 52%
2 Bad manners 29%
3 Being a noisy easter/drinker 28%
4 Being rude to staff 17%
5 Being too arrogant 17%
6 Chewing with their mouth open 13%
7 Being self-absorbed 12%
8 Being on their phone all the time 12%
9 Bad dress sense 8%
10 Being a mummy’s boy/daddy’s girl 7%

When asked to name their ick, other more out-the-box responses included:

  • “Running for public transport and missing it”
  • “Sucking on a sweet for too long”
  • “Saying hehe”
  • “Having small teeth with big gums”
  • “People smelling like garlic”
  • “Dramatic sneezing”

However, some relationships are still going the distance with icks being no match for the power of love. The average couple stays together for over 12 years despite the ‘icky’ situation.

A spokesperson for Paddy Power Bingo said, “A lot of people admit they’re going to be avoiding an ick-induced break-up simply as it’s Christmas. Personally, I think bad hygiene at any time of year is worthy of a break-up… Christmas and Birthdays included! 

 “Some of the turnoffs uncovered really show how picky we are as a nation – and how bizarre our issues can be. Looks like I better make sure I catch my train the next time I make a run for it… and keep to modest sneeze levels!”


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