Nerve Classics

Romancing the Stoner

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I can’t smoke pot. It doesn’t mellow me out, and it definitely doesn’t make me horny. I have two friends in L.A. who swear it helps them relax during anal sex, and then there’s my other friend, who’s straight, except when she’s high, she likes girls and can have orgasms just by kissing them. What happens when I take a hit? Add paranoia to a heightened sense of smell, and I’m in a corner frantically sniffing my armpits. If I really want to relax and get laid, I look for a partner whose fingertips smell like resin.

For years, potheads were my drug of choice. You know the type: the nice guy who’s always home, the one who thinks the world of you when you bring over a pizza — the guy with whom you can be lazy.

It started when I was fifteen. After breaking up with a budding alpha male named Brian (who was six-foot-two, with a hard body and a souped-up Camaro), I began to eyeball the potheads across the schoolyard. They were languid and sexy; they loved to go to IHOP. It was so much more relaxing to sit on the sidewalk with them, listening to Zeppelin, than to go to the Hamptons with Brian, who would scrutinize the tightness of my perm and the whiteness of my Pro-Keds. The stoners just looked at my ass like it was an ice cream cake.

Daniel showed up for our first date with a case of Coronas and a cast on his arm.

They’re just more basic, less analytical. They have a straightforward, pre-verbal quality that I love: if they like something, they put it in their mouths. There’s no strategy involved.

Once I was married to your basic leader of the pack. During our marriage, my husband started a company, got a Masters and a Ph.D., built all the shelves in our apartment, learned to speak German, ran ten miles a day and stopped having sex with me. We tried to address the problem, but there was no time between scuba expeditions and organic gardening. Like a finely crafted F-14 crashing into the desert, we came to an expensive, fiery end.

Then came Daniel. To earn money for college, I had been go-go dancing in a gigantic club, the kind that plays heavy metal and offers body shots during happy hour. When I spotted Daniel out on the floor, he gave me the stoner nod of approval: eyes at half mast; two slow, up-and-down movements of the head. I wrote my number on a cocktail napkin and stuffed it down his shirt.

Our relationship began immediately. Daniel showed up for our first date with a case of Coronas and a cast on his arm.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Duuuude, I fell off the roof!” he said.

I asked no questions. None of it mattered: not the broken arm, not the Beavis and Butt-Head laugh. With that mouth, that hair, those work boots, that little ass, that weedy lemony smell, I had to fuck him immediately. It was like sharing a bed with a puppy: he was clumsy and enthusiastic. Foreplay consisted of me taking one good look at him; we started kissing shortly after penetration. He gnawed on my neck and moaned unself-consciously, his broken arm besides my left ear, his long blond hair spilling all over my face. He was just feeling it, digging it, no thinking, no worries, oops, no condom. (I got lucky: no STDs, no baby.)

With a stoner, there’s little post-coital conversation but a lot of comfort. They’re like Xanax in human form. (Unfortunately, my woman-loving friends tell me that female stoners tend to get really chatty and creative. So unless you’re really into Gestalt Psychology as interpreted through watercolors, they might not provide the same level of tranquility.)

A few notes on attracting one of your own:

1. Habitat.

First of all, unless you’re a dealer, you can’t expect the stoner to come to you. Some places to look:

1. 7-Eleven, after 11
2. The graveyard shift at any gas station, really
3. Phish concerts
4. Upstate New York
5. Any community college*

* – a personal favorite.

2. What to Bring, How to Think.

The key to dating a stoner is to know your limitations. Or, I should say, his. You must always bring your own:

1. Money
2. Condoms
3. Cellphone
4. Umbrella

You must never:

1. Expect them to be on time.
2. Expect them to remember what they said last week.
3. Ask them to fix your showerhead.
4. Scold them for disappointing you.

3. Care and Feeding

It’s best to keep stoners indoors, where you can prepare their favorite snack foods. Daniel liked macaroni and cheese. I would make big bowls of it and turn on the Christmas lights. Then we’d lie on the floor naked, listening to reggae.

4. Sex

Judging by my experience, a stoner will have no problem getting turned on but will take a long time to come. They’re always game and usually so high you can put them into positions that stockbrokers find too painful. You’ll never hear, “It doesn’t bend that way” from a Stoner. I often find that men that have to get up early prefer to only have sex in bed — to save time, I guess. Daniel and I did it on the floor, right next to the popcorn and the remote.

Eventually, though, Daniel began having lapses in his ability to show up. He started missing our dates by a week or two. That’s when I realized something: you may need more than one Stoner to get through a stressful year. Shortly thereafter, I accidentally started dating a young Ph.D. candidate. He was so excited about German philosophy that he became an insomniac.

I had a one-nighter that began at a taco stand.

We met on campus, where I told him he looked like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. This excited him. He was a feminist and a vegetarian. I invited him over for dinner and managed to put him in a dress. When he asked for some lipstick, I thought, this could be interesting.

The sex was okay, although his tongue would cramp and he asked me to stop shaving my legs. Post-climax, he would turn on the lamp and start reading Heidegger aloud. I decided that I was not ready to accommodate any habit even remotely linked with ambition.

So I went on a bender. At a local dive bar, I met Timmy the model. I was attracted to his raspy voice and pursed lips. He had other tell-tale signs of the perfect stoner: he was happy, broke and had big blue eyes surrounded by red. I bought him a Rum & Coke and a bag of Doritos, and we made out on the beach for hours. Afterward, he lit up a joint and stared at me while he held in the smoke. He was able to say, “You’re a fuckin’ hottie,” without taking a breath.

But it was not to be. Timmy took off to the runways. Once in a while, he would leave me a message from Paris or Milan, something like, “Hey baby, I got fired from Armani for looking tired!” followed by several minutes of laughter and coughing. Still, I wasn’t ready to quit, not completely. I worked a few Surf Expos, giving away samples, stickers, keychains and my number to a few dudes who looked a little too young. I had a one-nighter that began at a taco stand.

In other words, I hit bottom. This is the final truism about dating stoners: the time always comes when you know it’s over. When you just can’t take one more bite of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, when you just can’t sit through one more showing of Ace Ventura. There’s never a dramatic breakup with a stoner — they just sort of float away. Then, they temporarily float back to ask, “Did I leave my weed by the bed?” And they always do.

Now, it’s been two years since I’ve indulged. The last one had a drum set by his bed. Around that time, my friends set me up with someone who listened to Miles Davis, worked and was in graduate school. The first few months were tough. The curfew was a challenge. The no-sex-while-he’s-doing-homework thing was annoying. But then I noticed that every story he told about his youth ended with him waking up on someone’s floor. As it turns out, he did drugs for years and is still a little toasted. It doesn’t seem to matter how busy he gets; his essential Tommy Chong still shines through. It’s like an inner calm.

So I believe I have found myself the perfect stoner — a former one. He still has that languid, sexy quality I love, but now that he’s off the weed, sex is intense and great. He’s post-coitally thoughtful. He never pressures me about anything. He can ignore what needs to be done — the dishes, the laundry, taxes — but will organize a booty call at any hour. He still runs out of toilet paper on a regular basis, but he always remembers my birthday.

This article originally appeared in Nerve’s True Stories.