Here is some of what you’ll hear when you listen to the Buzzfeed podcast “Thirst Aid Kit”: two voices, either one a smooth spread. Laughter, cackles, guffaws, snorts, sighs, moans, censures, apologies. Joy, frustration, discovery, and above all, lust.
The podcast’s tagline is after all, “What we do when we lust out loud.”
Each week, co-hosts Nichole Perkins and Bim Adewunmi (with the efforts of their diligent production team) pick a dish to be consumed be it a genre of man or a specific object of desire (designated by the podcast as a “thirst object”) to focus on and lust over. They break down why exactly this object is desirable while having a good ol’ swoony time.
Perkins & Adewunmi know that women, particularly women of color, are discouraged in patriarchal and white supremacist systems from expressing their desire Just the fact of women doing so hints that perhaps the world is not and should not be centered around the the male gaze and the desires of men, even though patriarchy is built on this premise. Add race, class, and religion into the mix and you’ve got multiple systems making it more difficult to simply and openly express “yes, please, I would like that.”
It is just that, a simple concept. Let’s just talk about what we like. For myself, this is difficult feat. I don’t think I realized just how much so until I started trying to doing so. I don’t say what I want until I’ve done a thorough analysis of what everyone else around me wants, and, though there is a place for thoughtfulness and consideration I have a feeling I have taken it too far (as a lot of women do, it’s how we’re socialized). It’s gotten to the point where I almost don’t know how to just say what I like and want. What we think should be easy is rarely actually so, and so it’s easier to go about this whole process with a friend or, in the case of Thirst Aid Kit, two.
One of the benefits of podcasts in general is that they are intimate and yet distant. I feel safe with Perkins and Adewunmi even though we’ve never met and I do not actually know them. But with their honesty and analysis, a discussion of lust becomes more accessible and less scary.
It can be scary to assert what you want. It takes a type of vulnerability to do so, and vulnerability is terrifying. So for me, being able to laugh through it in the indirect company of two women of color makes it light years less scary.
For me, it’s significant to note that Adewunmi is also a Muslim woman, which is huge to a fellow Muslim woman like me. I have heard my entire life that good Muslim girls do or don’t act a certain way, and part of that has to do with good Muslim girls not being explicit with romantic or sexual desire. Seeing (or rather hearing) a Muslim woman talk about desire is pretty life-changing.
Perkins and Adewunmi are two creative, hilarious women, and even if this podcast wasn’t as eye-opening, it would still be hysterical. There have been too many times I’ll be listening in public and need to cover up an burst of laughter with a cough or else just lean into looking a little mad. But, for me, it is also the former. It tells me “hey lady, it is perfectly acceptable to talk about what you like,” be that Michael B Jordan’s dimples or Rahul Kohli’s full beard. Maybe this reassurance will help me be able to express more readily what I want in other areas of life too. In the meantime, stay hydrated, friends.