One last sip: why I'll miss the Thirst Aid Kit podcast
There should be one of those dense German words for the glazed look that descends upon a podcast-free person when a podcast fan starts recommending their faves. You feel something like a cult member as you ramble on about why a super-niche concept has become an unmissable chunk of your weekly routine, meeting only stunned confusion. The fact is, a good podcast has to be heard to be believed. There are only a handful of pods that I'd ever risk this look for, and one of them is the brilliant, lust-filled Thirst Aid Kit, which sadly took its final bow last week after nearly three years.
Hosted by British ex-Guardian-columnist and producer Bim Adewunmi and American journalist and cultural critic Nichole Perkins, Thirst Aid Kit was a temple to female desire. It was naughty. It was funny. It was irreverent. If you're not familiar with the colloquial usage, 'thirst' in the slang world is somewhere between a crush and a ladyboner. Female desire is something rarely discussed in mainstream media, and this was a safe, joyful space for female desire and a frank discussion about all of the weird stuff we find sexy.
Although the subject of this pod was unapologetically Hot Men in Pop Culture, it somehow managed to maintain a highbrow, academic feel. Each episode focuses either on one actor or public figure both hosts find alluring, or a group of them (see 'The Chrises' episode, breaking down the hotness of Pine, Evans et al). The hosts would write their own short 'drabbles' (sexy fan-fiction), and sift through each chap's career to find the key moments that made them so worthy of our thirst.
I loved the mix of men because it wasn't your obvious GQ or Glamour-style list of mainstream Ken dolls - very little Brad Pitt, almost no Clooney. Instead, Bim and Nichole introduced me to Taika Waititi (his work, via his artful scruffiness and puppy-dog eyes); they showed me the nerdy deliciousness of Dev Patel and Jake Johnson. Their lust was inclusive and knew no bounds. They debated the many little details of a man that might make them an object of desire - not just the abs and the stubble, but a certain intensity in a widely-watched screen moment; the feeling that this man would have progressive values, or be a good father. They explored how our taste in men fluctuated with age and life experience. They didn't agree on everything, either - it was acknowledged that one woman's lip-biting Adonis was another's hard pass. The concept of what is handsome, what is magnetic, spanned decades: we could go from a so-now star such as Michael B. Jordan (rightfully re-dubbed Michael Bae Jordan) to Joshua Jackson, my boy-next-door tween crush.
Listening to real-life-friends Bim and Nichole banter about sexy men in their own playful way - snorting with laughter but also completely comfortable in their own desire and their awareness of the female gaze - felt like crashing the best girls' night in, even six weeks deep into a pandemic-prompted lockdown. I'm so sad to see it go, but if you haven't yet listened, you have a whole archive of hilarious, filthy fun to dig into. As Bim might say, the foof wants what the foof wants. And my foof wants more excellent, female-gazey, sex-positive, high-low content of this nature.