To Pop Or Not To Pop?

· Updated on May 28, 2018

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in for dire help: his new American boyfriend wants to do poppers when he visits, but our dear reader has 1.) never tried them, and 2.) they are illegal in his country.

But what is a boy to do? Well, Hola Papi has some, um, legal advice on the matter.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!

Hola Papi!

I’d bother with cutesy stuff if my question weren’t so basic, but here it goes: Poppers are illegal in my country and have historically been hard to find. So I’ve sort of just avoided indulging. However, I’ve hadseveral dates with an American and I’m going to cross the border soon.

He’s made it clear that (if I’m comfortable) poppers are on the menu. I legitimately have no idea what to expect and have told him as much, but I can’t exactly ask my queer peers (for whom theyare equallyillegal) about what to expect.

What should I do?

Amylia Nitrate

Hi there, Amylia!

Can I just say how happy I am you found such a considerate boyfriend? I don’t know where you are that poppers aren’t on the menu. Making them illegal sounds particularly extreme. But here in the U.S., you can find them at a variety of restaurants.

Sonic has some good jalapeño poppers, but so does Chili’s. Both of which are extremely American institutions (at Sonic, you don’t even have to get out of your car. At Chili’s, you don’t have to get out of your pajamas). They’re also pretty easy to make at home. Just pick up some Panko and beat an egg and you’re basically halfway there.

That’s what you’re talking about, right? Because I know you’re not writing into this family-friendly weekly column where we deal with very serious, highly personal problems within the LGBTQ community to ask me about recreational drug use.

It would be very irresponsible of me, Amylia, to describe for you in detail the potentially illegal experience of huffing paint thinner out of what looks like a 5-Hour Energy shot. Doing so would compromise the very integrity of this website, and of the work I am trying to do here.

Just kidding. I’m RUSH Limbaugh. Let’s do this.

For starters, I would be remiss not to mention that, while they are definitely abundant here, the legality of poppers in the U.S. remains dubious. Or at least that’s what Google told me after I read two articles on the subject and then gave up on trying to find out. I don’t know. It’s not my job to understand the law. This isn’t Hola Atticus Finch.

So for legal reasons I made up in my head but am at least 51% sure are real, I’m going to be speaking strictly in the hypothetical here.

Judging by your mention of a border and the illegality of poppers in your country, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that you are either writing to me from Mexico or Canada. The ways of Canada are foreign to me and smell vaguely of maple syrup and beard oil, but as a frequent visitor to Mexico and as a Gay of Mexican Descent, let me tell you that if you are in fact in Mexico, then you’re clearly not trying very hard to get your hands on poppers.

Theoretically speaking, if I were to try to obtain poppers while visiting Mexico during one passionate summer of my bygone youth, I might try to enter a sex shop and, after fifteen minutes or so of pretending to browse, I might approach the cashier and ask for “aroma liquida” because that is what a VICE article told me to do.

The cashier might yell to the back, in plain English, “Yo, this dude wants poppers,” and I might get subsequently asked to leave. That’s where some people, weak of spirit, would give up. But hypothetically, you could continue.

To make a long story short, Amylia: sometimes you find yourself in a tent in the crowded black markets of Tepito among pickled jars of chupacabra feet where you meet and befriend a reasonably handsome Ukrainian man named Oleksander who sells his wares out of the trunk of a Ford Fiesta and has danger in his steely blue eyes. You could buy a vial of substance there for the rest of the pesos in your wallet, and Oleksander might even be nice enough to drive you back to Cuauhtémoc, and that would be the end of that, save for the occasional WhatsApp message from him asking if you moved away and if you might be interested in “high-stakes cockfighting. Weapons allowed.”

That’s just the reality of being gay.

As for getting them here in the U.S., just go to any bodega in New York City and say Papi sent you. Just kidding. Don’t do that. I don’t know what will happen if you do.

Nor do I know, per se, what it feels like to take poppers. But I’ve heard that poppers possibly feel like a stampede of horny mustangs galloping across the vast plains of your mind, activating every pleasure receptor in your body like some kind of libido-driven Avatar state.

Your muscles will peace out to take a smoke break as your blood vessels dilate and your third eye opens and you relax into a puddle of enlightenment for thirty seconds or so. Or maybe you’ll just get a headache. Maybe! I wouldn’t know.

At the end of the day, do what you want. You might like it. You might hate it. Just enjoy your trip, and let’s let our RUSH for life keep us alive.

Hola Poppers

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