Everybody knows what poppers are, right? Not really. Like the notorious chode, it is still a subject of debate among stupid people with nothing better to talk about. Some of our interns, who hail from the Middle West and the South, believe poppers are those cardiac arrest-inducing fried things that morbidly obese people smother in dippin’ sauce and stuff down their miserable fat throats. On the Coasts, however, we know that poppers have more to do with sniffing something that makes your butthole feel all loose and tingly. Who’s right in this war of words? New York is, of course. We sent our bumpkin interns out into the city that never sits (because they're sore from doing it in the butt all the time) to learn the real meaning of poppers:
VICE: What do poppers mean to you?
Mitra from Brooklyn: It is a video cleaning fluid that people take. Gay men use it to help them have stamina in bed.
You ever sniff a popper?
Once on Fire Island at Cherry Grove, of course.
How was it?
It's stupid. I was with a bunch of gay dudes and we inhaled it. I remember saying, "I can feel my brain cells colliding."
Did you get wild?
No. It only lasts 30 seconds, then you have to do more. It's a silly drug because it's not supposed to be a drug, you know?
You guys are from the West Coast. Does poppers mean something different out there?
Jeremy from San Francisco: The word makes me think of [laughs] power bottoms.
Jeremy: Yeah, those are people who enjoy anal sex—a lot. I know that people use poppers to party all the time, especially back in San Francisco. We used to see people using poppers while they were dancing.
What does it do to you?
Jeremy: I've never tried it.
Zach from San Francisco: I've never tried it either. But I know it is supposed to get you really horny, really quick.
Jeremy: And it's really dangerous.
Really? It sounds so harmless. Do people act different on poppers or is it like any other drug?
Jeremy: People are probably on every other kind of drug when they are using poppers.
Zach: Yeah, and I'm always too drunk to notice the difference.
Great. Thanks for talking to me.
Jeremy: Sure, now let's go get some poppers.
Kate from St. Louis: Oh my god, you look just like my friend.
Yeah, are you dating a guy named Max?
Nah. But I do want to talk with you about something that could be kind of gay, I guess.
I don't want to talk about that because then I am going to say something about assholes.
Well, that's what the kids want to hear.
Alright. The people that do poppers want their assholes loosened up, right?
How'd you find that out?
I have a lot of gay friends and they are into it.
Have you ever done poppers before?
I inhaled one once and almost fainted.
Was it fun?
Did poppers mean something different back in the day?
Cozmo from Brooklyn: Poppers was something that you break open and you sniff to get high. People usually did that when they wanted to enhance their sexual orgasm experience.
How'd you find out about poppers?
I come from South Brooklyn. Before this neighborhood changed to the way it is now, it was all about sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. The only thing that unified the race or sex question was dope. After we found out what drugs were about, it didn't matter who was white, black, or Puerto Rican. It was about the drugs.
You did a lot of drugs back in the day?
Through the grace of god I have a little more than 33 years clean.
What's a popper to you, friend?
Dan from Connecticut: Poppers are idiotic hipsters.
I think I've been called that. Is it not a good thing?
Nope. It's definitely a derogatory term.
You have any idea what a popper is?
Captain Ed from Miami: It's a little cheese flavored thing that you eat. I had them in bars when I was a kid.
I know you know what poppers are.
Daniel from Puerto Rico: I believe it's amyl nitrate.
I'm not sure what it was originally made for—I think cleaning tapes. Now, it's used as a muscle relaxant before anal sex.
How'd you discover that?
That's what's up, man.
That is what's up.
Ever had a popper?
Jay from Alaska: It's a food item. Jalapeno poppers, right?
Finally, someone knows about poppers, the food. Aren't they great?
No way. They're disgusting. You order them and then you regret ordering them.
Previously – How Do You Heal a Broken Heart