The filmmaker, producer, and comedy show runner Tyler Perry has never really been a lifestyle influencer. He’s wildly successful—a show-business tycoon worth a billion dollars—but the public has never looked to Perry for personal wellness, beauty, or anything that might fall under the remit of a Kardashian.
Perry unwittingly changed that on Wednesday, when he posted an inspirational selfie on Twitter, along with an earnest message about his “midlife crisis.” Perry’s selfie smashed open the thirst trap floodgates. It generated a flurry of responses from people telling the mogul that he’s loved and anything but alone, occasionally with a sultry pose for good measure.
Perry has done the world a service, and it’s not only because many of the thread’s replies make for hilarious reading. The thread provides a case study in the subtle art of the thirst trap, which can be an underused asset in a social media novice’s quest for love and romance. In the spirit of Tyler Perry, here’s some ways to use a tasteful thirst trap to find out who’s been admiring you from afar.
This might be harder to pull off for men, because generations of socially conditioned stoicism has conditioned us otherwise, but be vulnerable. If you want someone to appreciate you for you, the thirst trap is a great vehicle for broadcasting yourself, spiritual bruises and all, to the outside world.
Of course, don’t use this as a cry for help, because that’s not what thirst traps are about (they’re about keeping your audience thirsty). But don’t shy away from letting your audience know that you, too, struggle, if you feel it’s appropriate. Take it from Tyler Perry: He’s immensely successful and adored in Hollywood, yet at a crossroads in life. His honesty spurred an avalanche of reactions that you probably can’t match, but it’s possible that your emotional honesty will be appreciated.
It’s the same ploy that gets strangers to talk to you on the street, if you’re into that sort of thing: If you’re holding a prop—say, a crystal ball or wizard staff—people might not necessarily be more likely to talk to you, but they’ll sure as hell be thinking about you.
I’m not saying to go full cosplay and walk around pretending to be Gandalf, but don’t shy away from getting creative with these thirst traps. You’re laying them for a reason—to ensnare the attention (and affection) of anyone with a set of eyes, (if you’re not aiming specifically for that special someone). That said, invite whoever falls into this thirst trap to fall into your world. Props sure can aid in that pursuit—so above all, be creative. You likely won’t inspire anything on par with Tyler Perry’s selfie if you’re just taking a random post-workout picture in front of the mirror.
Let’s be honest, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to take a good picture with a smartphone, but plenty of people on Instagram demonstrate they have zero understanding of what makes for an aesthetically pleasing photo. You can avoid falling into this camp by covering some basic groundwork, such as finding the right lighting and angles. Feel free to do multiple takes, since you want to get this right.
As a general pro-tip: natural light from your windows usually lends itself to decent smartphone photography. Low-lit lamps are usually always better than overhead lighting.
Even though your goal might be to capture the attention of someone you like, the point of a thirst trap is to have fun, and the thirst traps flourishes in a no-stress environment. To that end, enjoy yourself and take all sorts of photos. As fashion photographer Henry Wu told Men’s Health earlier this year:
With every shot, change it up a bit: smile and don’t smile, be sensual or distraught. Also consider a few shots where you are looking away from the camera — looking up or down, closing your eyes, and breathing through your mouth.
This might not be the foolproof guide to corralling an army of horny aunts like Tyler Perry did, but that’s probably not what you want to do anyway. Hopefully, though, this will provide you with enough knowhow to go forth and lay your thirst traps to great effect.