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Thirst Aid Kit is quick to get to the point. Introducing the podcast with its mission statement, “Lust is a feeling. Thirst is the performance of that feeling,” hosts Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins, both successful culture writers, make it clear from the start that this podcast is for the shameless and sex-positive expression of female desire. Further cementing its mission, the show’s bio continues delightfully explaining the hosts’ intentions to “explore the public ways women express their desire, particularly [at] this moment when we are all asking more pointed questions about Hollywood, representation, and opportunity.”
This clear direction — a probable partial result of Adewunmi and Perkins’s preceding guest spots on Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton’s Another Round — has no doubt contributed to the success of the show. Unfortunately, providing comprehensive comedic opinions is not all these podcasts have in common. Both are former BuzzFeed darlings in need of a new home due to the site’s continual downsizing. Another Round parted ways with the company at the end of 2017, while Thirst Aid Kit was able to hold on after the dismissal of BuzzFeed’s in-house podcast team in September 2018, but recently announced that the show’s time there has come to an end. It’s a huge blow to the medium, the only silver lining being that you can get caught up on all three seasons (50 episodes in total) in the interim.
The best place to start, though, is with what’s largely considered by regular listeners as Thirst Aid Kit’s landmark episode. Started in November 2017, the weekly podcast was able to hit a massive milestone with only a dozen episodes down. Thirsting over everyone from Laurence Fishburne to Bruce Willis throughout its tenure, it’s season one’s finale that highlights Thirst Aid Kit’s best attribute — Adewunmi and Perkins’s considerate and humorous approach to the celebrity crush — and proves that you can quench a thirst if you hustle hard enough.
“Chris Evans (feat. Chris Evans)” sees Adewunmi and Perkins joined by none other than the real Chris Evans (Captain America, not to be confused with Thor, Spider-Man, or Star-Lord) instantly heightening the Thirst Aid Kit experience. This is a get — not just because Evans is well-known, but because it’s well-known that the hosts have had the hots for him for a while. From Adewunmi’s favorable profile on Evans for BuzzFeed, which was published more than a year prior to this episode, to this tweet where they rank Evans the No.1 Chris above all the aforementioned Chrises, Thirst Aid Kit has a long and lovely relationship to this Hollywood hunk. What’s most noticeable about this episode, however, is how much the tone remains the same even though they were able to land a personal fave. Let’s face it: Celebrity crush culture can and has taken disgusting turns throughout history, especially when the internet and a certain degree of separation are involved. Thirst Aid Kit is not that. Instead, it is a respectful appreciation of attractiveness that makes space for humanity, all while centering female voices.
Up top, Adewunmi and Perkins draw listeners in by analyzing a pop-culture phenom with rapid-fire but nuanced takes that are both full of adoration and skepticism. As they consider Evans’s entire career, it’s like the best version of you and your friends’ deep-creeping a crush online because the crush is famous and your friends are certified critics. Through giddy giggles and in-sync sighs of anticipation, the hosts begin their look at Evans’s evolution as “a real live fucking heartthrob” by looking at their own changing relationships to this thirst in tandem with his changing body hair, which reveals Perkins’s initial hesitancy to jump on the Evans’s train. “When I find myself being attracted to someone with blond hair and blue eyes, I fight it tooth and nail,” she says, referring to Evans’s role as Marvel’s Cap. Adewunmi builds on this to make a salient point about representation, responding, “When we’re talking about humanizing everybody, we have to kind of move away from idealized versions of perfection.” And humanize Evans they do, as they comb through his career, stopping to shout out his woke-bae leanings like when he called out Frank Grillo (also of the Captain America franchise) for putting the phrase black people in air quotes. “When a white man says some shit, I think it behooves the other white man in the room to call him on that shit,” says Adewunmi. They also pause to point out instances of what they deem genuine vulnerability despite, as Adewunmi says, Evans looking “like a dude who enjoys sports, and he does, and one who would probably be quite obnoxious in a bar.”
Then the back half hits harder than Cap’s 12-pound Vibranium shield when Adewunmi and Perkins are joined by Evans himself. The hosts take their ability to humanize subjects to its peak, and listeners are treated to a relaxed but revealing interview with Evans recounting times when he felt he didn’t “stack up,” making jokes about his own admission of dorkdom. “God, everybody says they’re a dork. That’s such a stupid thing to say. I shouldn’t have said that. But I really do have dorky tendencies,” says Evans, presenting himself with the level of vulnerability and self-awareness the hosts surely hoped for. They also get to flip the script by discussing in detail the physical pressures of stardom, a topic of conversation often reserved for women, which allows the conventionally attractive Evans to acknowledge what it’s like to work in an industry with demanding beauty standards and confess that it takes a concentrated effort to be hot. “I still feel like I’m just trying to pull a fast one over on people,” says Evans. “If you look back at some of my photos from childhood, it was not kind. I had a really bumpy road, and I think, like, most of us, we still feel like that no matter what, no matter what happens, we kind of connect to that chapter in life when you first start exploring the feelings of comparison [to others].”
And of course, this sort of careful consideration of the human experience is carried out with a heaping dose of humor, as Thirst Aid Kit is as much about the laughs as it is about the lust. Numerous times throughout the podcast, the hosts banter wittily, but it’s the concluding fanfic wars that lend themselves to uproarious laughter. The episode wraps up with Perkins then Adewunmi reading their imaginary trysts with Evans, each trying to outdo the other in the decidedly difficult task of objectifying a man with whom they’ve actually spoken. The hosts bounce off one another shouting praise (Adewunmi responding “Yes, bitch!” after Perkins reads, “Awkwardly he reaches into the bag and pulls out a huge jar of cocoa butter. ‘So you don’t have to worry about ash tonight,’ he says,” is extra endearing) as they enjoy the lovely absurdity of it all.
Thirst Aid Kit’s consistent level of female empowerment fueled by Adewunmi and Perkins’s relentless thirst provides a crush catalogue sure to pique your interest, so scroll through and settle in for what’s certain to be the best obsession session on your internet boyfriend yet. Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time before they return with more episodes.