My most traumatic experience to date started out like any other Monday. Ryan hadn’t texted me back in four days (I mean who’s counting but whatever). We’d been on three dates, slept together twice. Did I hallucinate our effortless connection? Was he just really busy at work or was he…ghosting? What was happening? So I did what any girl would do: I laid a thirst trap for him on Facebook. But what happened has left me forever changed.
The goal of my boner-trapping selfie was twofold: A, to reel Ryan back in, and B, to send out some feelers for other dudes in my dick rolodex, in the event that Ryan did not, in fact, want to spend the rest of his life with me. And honestly, who doesn’t love a little online approval?
I’ve got shameless selfies down to a science. I’m the fucking 18th-century French-Canadian fur trapper of Facebook thirst. So I posted the finest selfie a girl can take: cut cheekbones, eyebrows on fleek, soft lighting and a shitload of filters. I took it on the subway platform with an ad for Game of Thrones in the background, because Ryan loves GoT. Also, it made it look like I just so happened to be headed somewhere looking like a goddamn model—somewhere he wasn’t invited.
The notifications quickly started rolling in: my best friend, a couple girls from college, that creep Harrison from work, my ex Luke, this guy Tom I fucked last St. Patrick’s Day. Not a bad turnout. I anxiously refreshed my browser every few seconds. I needed Ryan to tumble headfirst into my infinite vortex of thirst.
On my 27th refresh, my heart skipped a beat: three notifications! This is it. Ryan’s one of these noties, I can just feel it. I sunk back into my “Ryan proposes to Grace at Big Sur but in a casual way, like they both knew it was coming this whole time and can’t stop laughing cause everything just feels so right!” fantasy I’d scripted after date #2. The game was back on.
And then I saw them. The notifications every girl dreads when a thirst trap has been laid. “Maureen Wolinksi likes your photo.” “Maureen Wolinksi commented on your photo.” “Maureen Wolinksi mentioned you in a comment.”
My mom fell into my thirst trap. Head first. Noooo!!!
“WOW, sweetie!!!! You look AMAZING!!! SO proud of the woman you’ve become. <3”
No, I thought. My meticulously plotted thirst has been entirely undone by my mom’s undying adoration. How did my own mother not know me better than this? Couldn’t she tell my shameless Facebook selfie had purpose? I began to question whether I was even her daughter. She was momming up my dick-enchanting sex-vortex like I didn’t even matter to her. Then, she doubled down:
“Any boy would be lucky to have you, my baby girl!”
The likes from dudes I’d railed came to a halt. She had just humanized me in the middle of my self-objectifying scheme—this was bad. My face went from something Ryan would potentially come all over to something my relatives wanted to pinch and kiss. How could I recover from this? Should I just delete the photo? Should I retire from Facebook? Then, the unthinkable happened:
“Kathy Wolinski: Doesn’t she look just like mom here? :’-)”
That’s right. She tagged my Aunt Kathy. And the two went nuts over my thirst trap. Kathy said I got my eyes from the Wolinksi side. My mom demonstrated her agreement with eight Facebook stickers of cats smiling/crying with laughter. The familial likes came stampeding into my notifications. My thirst trap had been hijacked by well-meaning, middle-aged women who want nothing but the best for me.
It was a complete and total disaster.
Life throws trauma at us all the time, and some say our true selves come out in times of chaos. As soon as I called in sick and popped several Xanax, I decided to be the strongest version of myself. I liked my mom’s comment and proceeded to not delete my picture. I thought to myself, If Ryan is scared off by my mom’s Facebook love, then you know what? He can cancel the honeymoon in Thailand I know he’s already planned for us. Hazy-brained from all the pills, I finally came to peace with my mother’s online presence.
That day, I learned a precious lesson: Thirst is for all. Even moms. A like on Facebook is a like, even if it comes from folks whose DNA you share and not whose DNA you’d like on your face. I’m stronger for this experience. While Ryan never liked my photo or texted me again and I think actually blocked my number, at least I had my Wolinksi eyes and a dozen aunts who think they’re pretty.
Lesson learned: You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose who falls for your thirst traps. Love you, Mom!