Hello, it's your friendly, neighborhood, 28-year-old grandmother. Fact: The first time I heard the term "thirst trap," it was a response to a Snap story I posted (so, two years ago). I thought I was being called thirsty and got offended. Yup, I'm a real cool person. Said snap was of me and my BFF at a black tie event and yes, I posted the one I looked best in. While grandma doesn't understand the art of posting a thirst trap, she's definitely done it before.
A post like this has one goal: attract thirst. Or, more aptly: attract attention. As with any social media post designed with a particular goal in mind, I do think you should treat posting one of these photos like an investment: What are the risks and what are the rewards? Am I simply having a rough day and looking to up my market shares, or am I putting an option out there for one stock (cutie) in particular?
While everyone can and should do whatever the eff they want, I have to admit that I find constant selfies, booty-in-mirror shots, and bikini pics very cringe-y. ARE YOU THAT NEEDY? Except, wait, I posted a solo bathing suit pic this summer (twice) and yes, I am definitely that needy. (An aside: If you provide a solidly self-deprecating caption, does it make it less yucky?)
The risk in posting a thirst trap is in looking like you are too into yourself, and also in not getting that one like (or 150 likes... yes, that's a lot for me; remember: grandma) that you were hoping for. The reward is... momentary validation? A text from your ex? These are all things worth considering.
Here are five questions to ask yourself before investing in a thirst trap:
1. Who Is The Trap Meant For?
Don't tell me you're posting it "just for you" — it's called a thirst trap for a reason. Identify whose thirst you are looking to attract.
Is it an old hookup who recently starting following you on Insta? Chill. Go for it. Is it for the person you dated who broke your heart, but still likes every single one of your posts? Maybe don't thirst trap them. Best block their bum and live your best life sans f*ckery.
2. What Do You Want It To Lead To?
Again, if you're posting to get the attention of someone from your past, or someone who's been ignoring your texts, think twice before posting.
What's the best case scenario? They text you, but they have a new girlfriend. They didn't pick you, and they don't deserve your time. (Yes, this is very specific.)
Worst case: They don't even throw you a like, they don't text you, and you spiral about whether your eyebrows look too thin in the picture. NOPE. You don't have time for this thinking.
If the thirst trap is meant to lead to general confidence, go for it, but if you're looking for validation from one person, text them "hi, how are you?" instead.
3. Where Are You Taking The Picture?
Are you in Bora Bora? Go for it. Selfies and solo shots and bikini pics in legitimately awesome places are opportunities for you to invest in. When you're 50, you'll look back and be like, "Damn."
Are you just in your third floor walk up with terrible lighting? Think twice. Do we really need to see that selfie you look so good in, especially if you've already posted three on your story today? If you are an influencer, you do you, but if you're not making money from your beautiful face, save those shots for the people who actually care about you.
4. When Are You Posting The Picture?
Again, this is mostly meant for those of you posting thirst traps specifically aimed at one person. (Because honestly, aren't we all mainly targeting just one to four peoples' attention on the 'gram?) Are you visiting an ex's city? Is it 1 a.m.? Are you drunk? Are you rapid fire posting filter-faced selfies that are ACTUAL traps because those filters make everyone look Kardashian-adjacent?
There's nothing wrong with nudging someone to think, "Oops, she's hot and I miss her," but at the end of the day, are your four Insta stories in a row going to change anything? If someone wants to text you, they'll text you. (I need to make that a shirt.)
5. Why Are You Really Posting It?
This is somewhat covered in terms of figuring out who you're posting it for, and what your goal is in doing it. It's totally fine to post something geared toward gaining a couple — or a hundred — peoples' attention. It's 2017; we all do it, I've definitely done it. Plenty of times.
But sometimes, I get a little sad when I realize I can't post an Instagram without refreshing for likes every 30 (read: 10) seconds. Getting a bunch of likes never makes me feel as good as I think it will. Getting that like or text from an ex never works its magic either. It just makes me sad that things didn't work out, and that I care about tiny little hearts on a screen.
I know I'm being a little harsh on the thirst trap, but I think it's important to remember that we're all like-monsters, and that's fine, but that it's not the most important part of life. OK, now that grandma has proven herself to be a true grandma, I want to say: Definitely still post that hot photo of yourself. Make someone jealous. Look really cute at that wedding and story it. BUT at the end of the day, just remember to keep in mind why you're doing it. It's just a picture, and you're hot no matter who notices it.
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