“If you marry me, I am not against waking up at 3 am to bake scones,” reads a DM from an anonymous and evidently thirsty individual to Black Panther actor (and thick-thighed king) Winston Duke. “One thing is for certain… my fans are determined to keep me thicc! 3 am scones you say?” the actor tweeted in reply alongside screenshot evidence. In a matter of seconds, Duke’s responses became a non-judgemental zone for marriage proposals and offers of various 3 am meals he could have if only he chose them instead. “Oh? You respond to fan messages?” tweeted one fan. “Please notice me, I can cook and do laundry and in the evenings we can read together.” We get it. If anything, this cute fan-to-celebrity social media interaction only served to make the thirsty thirstier — there’s now more than enough reason to hope that a simple DM could lead to something more (‘maybe, just maybe, my crush will read the direct message I sent at an ungodly hour and our love story will unfold…’).
Few generations have worn their thirst on their sleeves quite like this: shooting their shot at celebrities and noteworthy figures with unabashed confidence and absolutely no fucks given. It takes no thought to tell actor Aldis Hodge “I see your worth, KING” under a shirtless Instagram photo, or tweet Janelle Monae, “I wish I loved my wife as much as I love you.” We’ve entered a no-holds-barred territory where shame and inhibitions didn’t receive an invite. Rapper Yo Gotti’s cult single “Down In The DM” really is the anthem of our thirsty times.
While harmless celebrity obsession is nothing new or even scandalous, with the help of social media, we have been given unprecedented access to our faves more than ever before. It’s not entirely delusional to believe that a sneaky “let’s link up” message via social media could lead to a late rendezvous with someone famous—in fact, it’s become a perpetual fascination online with more than 12,000 videos on TikTok detailing how to best slide into a celebrity DMs to gain a response. Gradually, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and now TikTok, have worn away the boundaries that helped celebrities preserve their lofty, unattainable image. Now, the mystery has gone and anyone’s inbox is fair game. Just ask Drake. It’s also two-fold: celebrities are getting in touch with us, the regular folk. Between Adam Levine’s widely-reported “flirty” DMs to Instagram influencers to Ben Afflecks’ Raya dating app video message before he reunited with Jennifer Lopez, a new celebrity narrative has emerged: are they just as thirsty for our attention as we are for them?
Thirstiness, by its current pop-culture definition, is a particularly eager, horny, and sometimes desperate version of lust that can make even the strongest-willed person act out of character (and send that risky text or post that ‘thirst trap’ to Instagram). On social media, it gets a bad rep’ for good reason; unsolicited DMs can be intrusive, offensive, and completely unhinged (one man DM’d me to tell me that my “massive lips” should be “face pillows” for him to “sleep on”– LB). Regardless, there’s a subtle difference between being thirsty and entirely parched.
Whether it’s acted upon or not, being thirsty for someone out of reach is as human, as well… needing a drink of water. Culturally, across music and cinema, thirst has played a huge role in how we express desire, longing, and pangs of groin ache for the objects of our affection. When Alicia Keys made the iconic husky-toned phone call to the man in the coffee house in the video for “You Don’t Know My Name”(“This is the waitress from the coffee house on 39th and Lennox. You know, the one with the braids?”) was she thirsty? Yes. But, did she manage to seduce a young Mos Def wearing a hairnet? Absolutely. Maybe the resounding advice here is that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. And not all expressions of thirsty desires are inherently cringe. Unbothered has found five Black women who risked it all to send thirsty DMs to their crushes.
The DM: “I’m heading to your show tonight.”
How It Went Down: “Back in Twitter’s heyday (pre-Elon and pre-250 characters), I tweeted that I was going to the gig of an up-and-coming band who were working with some major artists (cough, Pharell Williams, cough). Excitedly, I sent another tweet, tagging the band, sharing that I would be attending the gig on my own and whether anyone else would be stopping by (I clearly didn’t care about my safety back then). Lo and behold, one of the band members slid into my DMs and introduced himself, and said he’d be in my city for a few days. I put on my best skinny jeans and Vans combo, went to the gig, and did my best to look sexy, mysterious, and unbothered in the crowd (Yes, exactly like that meme).”
“After the show, he came to find me; we spoke over drinks and found we had a lot in common (well, that’s what I told myself at the time). That night I took him around the city, showed him the sights, and had some drinks. And yes, we kissed just before he jumped in a taxi to head back to his hotel (I took myself home). The next day he flew back to the States but I was hooked. Over the next year, we kept in touch via the DMs whilst he was on tour and one day, he DM’d to say that he’d be in Europe again soon. My THIRSTY ASS flew to Germany to see him and we had the best long weekend ever. Now, I’m older and wiser, I can’t believe I did something so impulsive but, I’ll never forget that guy in the band who slid into my DMs.” – anonymous
The DM: “Hey bighead…”
How It Went Down: “I don’t know what it is about social media that makes you feel more brazen, but something in me just clicked that night and I said ‘fuck it.’ I was a freshman in college and he was a junior. He was dark chocolate, tall, and beefy! My girls and I had this thing about giving people code names when speaking about them in public because the campus loves to gossip. Let’s just say, we called him ‘Big Daddy Sway’ for a reason. The best part was that even though he played on the football team, he was still super sweet and down to earth. We saw each other often because we ran in the same friend circle but I never felt like I had the courage to confront him face to face. For the most part, I kept my cool and the flirting was very minimal. Until one fateful girl’s night.
“I really can’t tell you what came over me that night so I’m just going to blame it on the alcohol. However, after a few shots of liquid courage I decided tonight was the night to lay all my cards on the table. I literally cringe to this day thinking about that message. For better or for worse, I was going to find out once and for all what was good with Big Daddy Sway. My girls and I gathered around my computer and logged into my Facebook (shout out to my squad for supporting my shenanigans!). After over 30 minutes of proofreading, I took a deep breath, hit send, and then immediately logged off! My poor little heart was fluttering all over the place.
“The next morning, I logged into Facebook and found the most gracious response from him letting me know how flattered he was but that he was currently dating someone else. I probably avoided him for a solid week! When I saw him again he definitely called me out on it. “Oh, so I can’t get no hug?” he asked when he walked up to me in the cafe. I literally froze. He reached out and hugged me tight. I felt my knees buckle and he snickered under his breath. At the end of the day, we remained cordial and I learned a valuable lesson. You’re guaranteed to miss the shots you don’t shoot.” – anonymous
The DM: “I see you liked my pictures.”
How It Went Down: “I DM celebrities because, like, WTF, nothing is going to come of it?” said TikTok user Sydnee Morris. “I DM’d this guy four times and three out of the four times he would end up searching through my profile and liking some of my pictures. This time he opened my DMs and looked at some old messages I had sent,” she shared to the app, before revealing that she setback their pending romance before it even began. “But, I put on my story a screenshot of him liking my pictures. I played myself because I didn’t expect him to look at my story especially because [my Instagram story] is so long. Now I’m dying from embarrassment because I will never be with him and I don’t know what to do or say.”
The DM: “I’ll give you a reason to smile.”
How It Went Down: It’s late. That succulent, fine-as-hell person you’ve been *stalking* on your feed is active on socials. You want to seize the opportunity and finally make that connection. You’re about to slide in their DMs but you have no clue what to say beyond “hi”. Sound familiar? TikTok creator Lowkey Prose says go ahead and send a sexy, innuendo-dripping voice note “if you’re OK with being bold.” “This will make him feel Bonita in 10 seconds,” writes poet and TikTok creator Lowkey Prose before sharing her sure-fire way to seduce via the DMs. “Like a photo of him smiling, slide into his DMs and share a voice note saying this, “Hey Troy, I am (insert name) I like how you smile and I think if we ever hung out I’d give you another reason too.”
The DM: “I can’t this week but I’m free next week.”
How It Went Down: Model, social media star, and New York native Eloise Dufka shared her full-proof method and “the secret sauce” when it comes to sliding into a man’s DMs, regardless of their age, occupation, wealth, or celebrity status. On TikTok, Eloise’s fun “72-hour experiment” saw her sliding into the DMs of her crushes using just one of two pickup lines. She explained that her approach is “so simple that it’ll boggle your mind” and she’s had a pretty solid success rate. “The [pick up line] I use the most is ‘I can’t this week but I’m free next week.’ I think it’s genius for several reasons… because it takes a certain type of person to have a witty response to it. It cuts through the bullshit and gets straight to the point: a date. We’re really just saving everyone a lot of time,” she says in her video. Her second pickup line is even simpler: “So when are you coming to New York?” “Literally just that,” she says in the clip with more than 85K views. “I didn’t check my DMs for a couple of hours and he said, “I’m coming at the end of the month.” “I know it’s supposed to be one year older, one year wiser,” she adds to the camera, “but I kinda think it’s one year older one year bolder. I can’t lie, I’m kinda here for the plot. Sometimes you have to take your love life into your own hands.”
The DM: “Can I buy you a smoothie?”
How It Went Down: This story almost sounds like folklore… But, back in 2018, one college student successfully slid into (everyone’s ‘man’ in their minds) Michael B. Jordan’s DMs. When Sylvia Wilson, 21, heard the actor would be at her campus, she decided to drop him a message. As the story goes, per Buzzfeed, Sylvia offered to buy the Creed actor a smoothie and the offer worked. “It was hot, and I didn’t think it’d be appropriate to ask to buy him a drink, so I opted for a smoothie,” she said to Buzzfeed at the time. Michael B. Jordan responded and said, “You don’t have to buy me anything. You can get a pic.” After admittedly having to spar with the actor’s security guards, Sylvia was able to get that cute pic that makes them both look “bae official.” “He was so sweet and nice,” Sylvia said to Buzzfeed. “He was more than happy to take pictures with me and my friends that came with me! He smelled like Mahogany Teakwood from Bath & Body Works but better…”