Please Explain Thirst Following

I do it, you do it, we all do it

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a very public and very creepy crush on Seth Meyers, followed closely by Steven Yeun. But why do we do it? What can I say? I’ve had a deep abiding love for men with good cheekbones and strong comedy backgrounds since at least senior year of high school. I can’t change who I am. And I don’t want to.

So what’s the difference between that and say, someone following an unknown model with what appears to be her titties out at every major desert-based music festival? Would it be different if it were a big name like Karlie Kloss or Candice Swanepoel? Or if I weren’t from Palm Desert?

Because, like seriously dude, I grew up fifteen minutes away from Indio. Don’t make me salty on my own hometown, that’s just fucking rude. It’s bad enough that the creationist museum bought the Cabazon Dinosaurs and took a giant, preachy crap on my childhood memories.

I took to facebook to ask my friends and family what they thought of the practice. They weren’t very helpful. Except for my Aunt Donna. Thanks, Donna.

Oh, haha. Well, we don’t live in bubbles. I have been following John Travolta for years…. it don’t mean a thing in my relationships tho ;) -Donna

What I ended up getting was a pretty even split down the middle. Half of my friends and family insisted that the practice was disrespectful to your partner while the other half insisted that it’s harmless — like a crush. Everyone else said that it didn’t matter if you trusted your partner, which isn’t what I asked at all — but I appreciate their enthusiasm.

Yes. That motherfucker is with me. He likes me. I don’t care who he looks at. I’m the one who takes him home. Quote that shit. -Caitlin, friend and fellow comedian
If someone is following just out of physical attractiveness, they’re window-shopping. Not okay. Celebrity crushes are a freebie. -My mom, after I explained to her what thirst-following was, and also instagram

So why do we do it?

I don’t harbor any secret fantasy of meeting either of my celebrity crushes at, say, an improv performance and living with them on a ranch where we practice polyandry and raise dinosaurs.

I don’t even enjoy their photos all that much. Most of it is VSCOcam hipster nonesense. I certainly don’t wish my boyfriend looked like either of them.

I tell myself my behavior is somehow excusable because it’s an attraction based on a perceived personality trait and not a rigid beauty standard that could hurt my partner’s feelings. Or that it’s okay because these people are clearly unattainable. That it’s normal because they are actors who present themselves for public consumption and not some random with a mirror and an iphone.

But, being a big fat hypocrite, I get upset when it’s the other way around. I could whip out the robot-claw-arm they sell for old people at Rite Aid and reach super far to say that it’s different for women because we are constantly policing our own bodies and that thirst-follows set unfair standards. But really I’m just petty and jealous and I’ll keep myself up with rapid-fire questions that have no answer and solve nothing.

Who is she?
What’s her name?
Why are her boobs always out?
Does she need someone to help her buy a bra? I can do that, I used to work for Victoria’s Secret.
Where did you find her?
Do you wish I didn’t have massive germanic birthing hips?
Why would you follow someone who uses “g*psy” to describe her privileged rich-girl wanderlust?

It’s a racial slur, okay? Are you listening to me? Being a human girl with a pulse and a face, I’m also subject to the occasional thirst-follow. While most of them are flattering, if a bit confusing, I always feel a pang of guilt when I see one of my followers posting a girlfriend. I’d never want another woman to feel bad because of me. I wouldn’t want them to ask themselves the questions I ask myself. Also, I wouldn’t really understand it. I am “improv-troupe hot” at best, people.

The concept of a thirst-follow is relatively new. I mean, we’ve always been creepy, but now there’s a way to show everyone how gross we really are. You’d think the transparency of social media would deter us but I’m still down to look at funny men with good faces. So why do we do it? Why do we do something that is at best creepy and at worst hurtful?

Why do you do it? Do you think there’s a difference between celebrities and just-plain attractive normies? Do you think it’s disrespectful or a necessary evil? Where do you draw the line?