Love In defence of ‘thirst’
We often dismiss guys who try too hard, but comedian and writer Josh Gondelman thinks we’re being harsh. Here’s why.
ihave a confession to make: I’m what might be called ‘thirsty’. I’m extra. I do too much. And that goes double in romantic situations: I’m as ill-equipped to ‘play it cool’ as I am to play Nba-level basketball. In case you’ve missed this bit of lingo, thirst, as it’s understood in the modern era, is an outspoken desire bordering on neediness; the guy who tries too hard to win your attention or affection. It’s often sexual and always used in a pejorative sense, as in “He’s so thirsty” or “Who’s that thirsty rando?” (Rando, of course, being short for random loser/ creep/ fill in your own insult). But the fact that a guy is thirsty is no reason to mock him.
Hear me out. Making a romantic overture to someone often seems awkward and sometimes even a little desperate. That’s because it is. But it’s also a gesture that takes both vulnerability and assertiveness, and those are good qualities, even when they result in rejection.
No great love story has ever begun without a spark of thirst. Romance doesn’t just happen on its own. Here’s a conversation you’ve never had: “Gran, how did you and grandpa meet?” “Well, we saw each other from across the room at a high school dance, and then we both kind of played it cool. Now, 50 years later, here we are.” any such behaviour). I didn’t send a picture of my junk or even a (slightly) more subtle eggplant emoji. I slid into her DMS to thank her for liking a joke I made (what can I say – I was flattered).
A DM is an intimate gesture; a tweet sent publicly is a shout. A DM is a note passed in secret, implying, “For your eyes only.” It’s not necessarily a gross move, but it’s a thirsty one for sure. And I didn’t have to reach out that way; I wanted to. Naturally, if I hadn’t had a reply, I would have pulled back. I’m thirsty, not criminal. I spent years honing my thirst by doing things like taking a hint.
Soon after our brief exchange, I met her in person at a party she was throwing (I was invited! I promise I’m not a creep). I asked for her phone number (thirsty!), SMSED her the next day (extra thirsty!) and