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Hookah knowledge, hookah debate, hookah fun
Howdy Hookah Lovers!
Hookah-shisha.com presents our first guest blog author and finalist in our blog contest! Sarah K from Wyoming gives her poignant tale of an exciting hookah adventure, and goes to show that hookah smokers come in all ages and backgrounds. Without further ado, here is a “Mom’s Hookah Adventure.” Enjoy!
What does a tightly wrapped, middle-aged woman do for fun? Well, if you were me in 2006, you surreptitiously sneak out with a bunch of 20-something college pals and try smoking hookah. (I did bring my husband along for moral support, just in case,)
The story began in the summer of 2006 when I had the wild idea to return to college for my Masters degree. I decided to take some classes at the local junior college to ‘get back in the groove’ so to speak. During a class on ‘intercultural communication’, a cute kid (ok, Sunshine will giggle over that one) spoke of smoking his hookah. I, in the spirit of communication, quashed the noise in my head that said “This kid’s doing drugs!” and asked what exactly was he doing, and what was a hookah? Explanations followed with an invitation to go to the hookah lounge with him and some friends. (Horrors! Good girls don’t do that!!!)
I was curious. I began asking around, searching the literature and reading everything I could find on the subject. Just what IS this thing, what is it about, is it legal and can it hurt me?
As I studied, I found that the hookah is legal. It is a water pipe, not a bong. We never use the ‘B’ word, nor do we smoke illegal substances in the hookah. Later on as I traveled with ‘Pinky’ I made sure to keep the shisha in its original pouch so that, if any questions from law enforcement came up, I had the original package to prove it was tobacco and legal.
Sheesha is tobacco, therefore in some manner, can hurt me. As I looked into the studies, I was not convinced that they represented the type of tobacco used in hookahs. This is raw tobacco with honey or molasses, a flavoring and sometimes glycerin. I didn’t delude myself at all. This is tobacco. There is a danger in smoking it. I felt, compared to cigarettes, pipe tobacco and cigars, this was much less dangerous. I also looked at anecdotal information and found that no one was addicted to it. No cravings, no ‘I gotta have this or I’ll rob a bank,’ syndrome. This was primarily a social activity, shared in peaceful encounters between friends. For most people, this is an occasional indulgence with the benefit of a gorgeous hookah to admire between sessions.
A friend in Maryland, who has traveled the world and acts as my mentor in business, immediately jumped on the subject and regaled me with descriptions of his collection of hookahs. He offered in depth discussion on their origin, usage, design and etiquette. His father-in-law is in Iran and had supplemented the collection with some gorgeous hookahs. He was adamant that I try the hookah. He described dinner meetings in which after the final dessert, someone would say ‘did you bring your hookah’ and there was a mad dash to cars to retrieve hookahs. They’d sit for hours enjoying the camaraderie and discuss business.
Another friend, a journalist who covers Central Asia and the Middle East, explained that in the tribal regions a lot of business is still conducted by men sharing the hookah. When he realized the ‘hookah lounge’ was literally next door to my business, he told me to (essentially) ‘get over myself’ and try it. An Egyptian friend immediately offered pictures of herself with a group of students smoking hookah in the desert around a campfire on a group outing.
Ok…I did it. I went to the hookah lounge with my college pals and I smoked the hookah. I was nervous, worried about my reputation, and guess what? I liked it! I liked the people, the attitude and the taste. A week later, I was the proud owner of a beautiful green & gold Engineer hookah. A green Mya Mini, that lives in a pink travel case (dubbed Pinky by my kids), soon followed it. I was given a beautiful Pink Colossus for my birthday. My reputation is intact. I’ve made a lot of new friends and gained an insight into a whole different culture.