You can hook up with guys on Instagram now so I guess Tinder is officially dead

Instagram is the only place worth taking your hoe-related business


A thirst trap, for those that don't know, is a photo posted on social media to deliberately garner the attention of a certain person/certain people. It'll usually be a smoking hot selfie, but it can be more subtle – a snap of the opening to a TV show you know your special someone also likes, or a screenshot of a Spotify song you connected over. In any case, you'll be posting something you know the object of your desires will be likely to engage with.

And the weird bit is, it actually works. It sounds so stupid, but loads of people I know (and myself, for the record) have found that post-thirst trap on their Instagram story, their DMs will no longer be as barren as the Sahara desert, but brimming with messages from crushes and fuckboys alike.

It's like they know, too. Haven't you ever seen someone's story and messaged them about it? Have you ever considered that they posted it in full knowledge that you'd respond? It's like a secret, almost subconscious connection between you and your other half. It's like mind-fucking.

I thought I'd try and figure out exactly what makes a good thirst trap and use Instagram like it were Tinder to try and get myself some dates.

1: The basic thirst trap

I started my experiment by posting a fairly basic (in both senses of the word) selfie on my Insta story. I wasn't expecting much from this fairly standard snap of my face, but to my surprise, it sort of worked?

Here we have a WhatsApp message from the guy I like, so, you know, RESULT. Interestingly, his name is pretty high up on the list of viewers Instagram provides for your stories, the order of which is a source of constant anxiety.

What does it MEAN

What does it MEAN

Are these people I stalk? People who stalk me? It's certainly not random, with my closest friends/the guy I like/guys I have liked in the past always near the top, so maybe Instagram is just a mind-reader.

2: The filter thirst trap

Day two and I decided to go for something a little different and upload a pic with a filter. It seems to work for so many girls, so I thought I'd step out my comfort zone and give it a whirl.

Needless to say, I think I may be the one person in the world who can't pull off filters. Thinking they were meant to make you instantly look 1000x better, not worse, my inboxes all returned to their usual state of barrenness.

3: The boomerang thirst trap

Third day, and I decided to attempt a boomerang, another variation on the thirst trap theme. As a boomerang-selfie virgin, I went for a very subtle head tilt, and after a good minute of agonising over whether I looked like a creepy robot or not, I hit send.

Surprisingly it was a success, as a guy I used to fancy back in school sent me a DM with the fire emoji – I'll take that.

So it seems thirst traps actually do sort of work as a way to start talking to someone on Instagram.

They're kind of a halfway house between actually messaging someone first and doing nothing – you're not being totally passive, but you're grabbing their attention. You're putting the ball in their court whilst maintaining all the power, so to speak. They're an open invite to send a message without fear of rejection or 'looking too keen' – really, it's no wonder so many people post thirst traps and so many people engage with them.

Direct messaging

I was going to be thorough about this: I had to try it from the other side too. I waited for any guy on my feed to post anything vaguely interesting, before DMing him about it.

Okay, no reply, but I'm still hopeful, because my victim was much more willing to chat to me. Fuck thirst traps, I thought – I don't need them to message a guy first. Though this felt a little weird – thirst traps really do normalise the whole palava of "messaging first" – I went for it, and it worked.

With an opener as dull as my usual Tinder attempts, I ploughed into the unknown and messaged a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who I'd found using the "explore" feature. I got an instant response – which, interestingly, almost never happens on Tinder. Plus, to be honest, I was sort of shocked that I wasn't totally pied off or sent a brutal "?".

This is someone I have never met, and whilst that's literally the point of Tinder, Insta has always seemed a bit more personal – even intimate – so I was chuffed to get a reply. I suppose Insta is a comfortable middle point between Facebook and Tinder: whilst a random add or message on Facebook can seem kind of creepy, a Tinder match is becoming almost totally impersonal and distant. Instagram provides just enough information to get a person's "vibe": they're more than five photos and a two sentence bio, yet less than several family holiday photo albums from the ebbs and throes of puberty.

So, yeah. Move over Tinder. Instagram is the only place worth taking your hoe-related business. Don't save that smoking selfie for your Tinder profile – stick it on your Insta story and watch the messages flood in.