A Gentleman's Guide
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ESSENTIALS

 

 

 

 

THIRST TRAPPINGS

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Anyone who’s been anywhere on social media can attest to having encountered a thirst trap or two. Whether we’re subposting in order to get someone’s attention, or trying to gain a little fame and admiration for our diligent efforts in effecting the perfect pose for the perfect post, the vast majority of us are guilty of setting a thirst trap. These cataloged moments in time are often carefully crafted to evoke feelings of lust, desire, regret and envy, and offer us the recognition that we so desperately desire. However popular they might be, thirst traps, and the people who post them, often get a bad rap from the same people who double tap their way into the same traps they judge others for posting. But, everybody enjoys a thirst trap, right? Maybe. There are those who do their best to shame thirst trap setters, as they often have questions about what the return on these types of investments are and don’t understand the logic behind posting sexually suggestive pictures for the sake of drawing attention to yourself. But to them we ask what's the point of posting a picture that you didn’t want to be well received?

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Let us be very clear in saying that we’ve all posted a thirst trap at one point or another. And, DeSpItE wHaT oThErS tHiNk , there’s nothing wrong with seeking this kind of validation within reason. Who among us doesn’t want to feel desired, to feel attractive and wanted? Hands? We thrive off of validation and anyone telling you otherwise is proof that a lie doesn’t care who tells it. The barista at Starbucks validates us right before we place our complicated ass orders, just like our supervisors validates us with the compliments they give on our performance reviews. Our validation can be found in our partner’s response to our feelings, the approval we get from our parents, and the reassurance we get from our friends.  Each and every one of our personal relationships offers us a certain amount of validation. Each and every damn one of them!

It's the recognition and acceptance of our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and the reason that we rush to tell our friends about the new Beaux in our life. It’s the satisfaction we feel as a result of being able to tell our friends about the house we’re about to buy, or the vacation we’re about to take. We share these things because we’re excited for ourselves and want to know that others are excited for us too. A lot of people have a hard time admitting this because nobody likes a braggart, but everyone loves having their accomplishments acknowledged. We’re not sure why some are adamant in stating that they don’t need to be validated by others, because again, we all do. Proof of this is found in our social media presence, because if we didn’t need to be validated, why are we on social media? Our social platforms allow us to share our thoughts and opinions with the masses, and if we weren’t interested in what anyone thought about our thoughts, we wouldn’t post them, and it's just as simple as that.

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There is a caveat to this, and it lies within the differences that exist between a want and a need. Now because we’re not new to any of this, we know that there are people who want as much validation as possible, which is why their Instagram posts read like a 1996 Playgirl calendar -- and you know exactly who we’re talking about. These are the people who have allowed their naturally occurring need for validation to chaotically mutate into pure desperation as every filtered photo they post is in direct competition with the last filtered photo they posted. These are the people who literally thrive off of the double taps and they can often be found deleting and reposting pictures that didn’t get a certain number of likes within a certain amount of time. They’ll then repost them when they feel more eyes will be present. They frequently check to see how many comments they’ve received, and act as if their next breath is reliant upon the number of followers they’ve acquired within the past day. This is unhealthy, and demonstrates an inability to find, hold on to, and express a concrete sense of self.

Sense of self relates to the perceptions we have about ourselves and our self-image. It’s us knowing who we are beyond the photos, filters and likes. We all feel the criticizing sting of our inner critic, and more times than not this dominates our view of who we are. The result of these self-inflicted chides is that they damage our authenticity, confidence and vitality. This may lead one to seek external validation, as external validation can help to boost confidence. We’re not here to point fingers, but a lot of us tie our self-worth to what others think of us. Never mind that people are always judging and categorizing us based off of other influences, or that these things have nothing to do with us at all, because at the end of the day, that’s not what we’re digesting. The only thing we tend to care about is whether or not we’re liked. This is what tends to fuel many of the thirst traps we see, a desire to be well liked and publicly acknowledged, a lack of self sustaining renewable confidence in self and a hunger for external validation.

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Social media has been a major part of many of our lives and allows us to connect with people who we otherwise wouldn't know existed. However, it's not uncommon for some to struggle with understanding the difference between social media likes, shares, comments, retweets, followers and subscribers and real life interactions with people in real life. A lot of us are guilty of this, so don’t feel bad if we’re singing your life with our words. Like anything in life, it's all about balance and moderation. The balance lies in differentiating between the satisfaction we get from the likes our followers give us on the photos of us in front of the mirror in the locker room at L.A. Fitness and the real life satisfaction we get as a result of accomplishing our goal of getting in shape. Its where these two things remain as separate as they are unrelated. Pay attention to that last part, because it speaks to the importance of doing something as simple as going to the gym for you and your health as opposed to going to the gym and bulking up to get the attention of others. There is a difference.

Again, we all love a good thirst trap, but what we love more than that is a secure sense of self! If our daily dose of dopamine comes from social media likes, shares, retweets and follows, we’re not living right. Winning money and eating chocolate should feel like winning money and eating chocolate--not like getting a hundred likes within the first few seconds of posting to Instagram. A secure sense of self finds its root in knowing your every tick and your every tock. It’s knowing your values, beliefs and traits and being able to unabashedly stand in them. Its being able to accept these things as being as valid as they are true and being bold enough to find pride in them.

A larger and more important aspect of knowing yourself is being able to acknowledge your talents, skills and success, and if you consider flaunting your sex and sexuality as part of that then live your best life by posting that picture, because we’ll appreciate it more than you’ll ever know!

We are, at no fault to ourselves, social beings. We talk about ourselves at least 40% of the time and share our thoughts and interests because we like being able to give people an idea of who we are. While thirst traps don’t really give our followers a solid sense of who we are, they are about us and, when successful, inspire others to slide in our DMs to shoot their respective shots. They give us instant gratification, and interestingly enough, allow us to demonstrate a sense of control of how we want to be perceived. Where some may view thirst traps as an unhealthy craving for external validation (which, again, is something we all need in varying degrees) they allow people to express themselves in ways that they probably didn’t feel comfortable doing before.

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It's important that we allow thirst trappers the opportunity to thrive because, well...Instagram would be super boring without them and because we’re all entitled to live our best lives. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking a little attention because we all seek some form of validation. What's essential is that we don’t allow ourselves to get caught up in needing more validation from others than we get from ourselves AND that our self esteem and self-value fit us as tightly as those black 2(X)ist boxer briefs fit us in that viral picture we posted last Sunday.  Our popularity, attractiveness and self-worth stem from the work we do on ourselves and from the inside out. As long as we hold fast to that, then we’re entitled to show a little thigh for a few likes.

To thine own self, be true. Know yourself to the point that you’re able to operate from a position of authenticity. Accept your peaks and your valleys without self-recrimination. Affirm yourself by standing your ground with class and dignity, because those who seek to judge you only do so because their thirst traps don’t grab the attention yours do. And, finally, strive to remain at peace with yourself and the decisions you make. Hell, you’re not killing yourself in the gym for nothing, so snap and post as often as you please, but make sure that your biggest fan, your biggest catch and your most prized mark, is yourself. As long as you can commit to these things, we implore you to trap down thirstyanna, trap down.