There's nothing better than love right? It's one of those things that you're "supposed" to find and hold onto during your lifetime. Whether you're in the puppy love stage or full blown head over heels, smoking of any kind can be a serious deal breaker.
I've visited many hookah lounges and heard several different spins on what hookah is and how it works. There were moment when I heard a simple breakdown like "just try it and inhale until you're done," and those are just not the words you want to hear before inhaling smoke. It's detrimental to the hookah community to have a new person introduced without the knowledge they require for comfort. We, being the hookah aficionados, have sought after and absorbed new hookah knowledge daily. This allows us to prepare hookahs safely using the right products, and utilizing certain tweaks to create the perfect session.
Think back to your first experience smoking hookah, you may not have had all the answers or even the right questions on the mind. Now think about the moment one more time, and imagine what it would be like if you knew everything you know now. If you're still in the beginning phases and hoping to gain some insight, just click around(ultimate shisha guide) because you're in the right spot.
A beginner smoker going for a light mint smoke could possibly end up with Haze Ultimint or Tangiers Cane Mint, and become frozen longer than Steve Rodgers(Captain America, duh). Mistakes like this happen when you start to explore the hookah world without proper knowledge, but it's what helped us to get where we're at now. In this scenario I would've suggested Al Fakher Mint, it's classic and works great as a entry step into the mint shisha market without forming ice cicles in your chest.
Spread The Gospel
You've made it to this website so we'll automatically give you the hookah street credit you deserve. You can still be in the learning phase of mastering the perfect Tangiers pack, but you know more than the average bear. It's now time to use some of this knowledge in an informative conversation with your partner, and allow them to decide on the first bowl because this session is for the both of you.
Let's take a quick break because we might have missed an important step in the process. What's happens if your partner doesn't like hookah? Easy, leave them. I joke, but in all honesty there's about 7 billion people on the planet, so you do the math. This is a moment where the devil and angel pop up on your shoulders, and you have to make a decision. It may not be this serious at the beginning, but if you have long term plans you may need to think about creating a hookah room.
Ok back to our regularly scheduled program. Now let's say your partner is DTS (Down To Smoke), and you just can't stop dancing out of pure joy. Don't run into the lab or order something by yourself, bring them with you and let them see your process. WARNING: There will be a lot of questions. You must be patient and prepared to explain each step, but remember you only have to this a couple of times. You wouldn't want them to learn from someone else right? This is the first session together and you're both the captains...sort of.
If you consider yourself a hookah enthusiast/expert/master/god, throw that mindset out the window but keep the knowledge. Have you ever been introduced to a new hobby by an expert and they ramble on with too much cockiness, leading you to lose interest? Yeah, let's try not to be that person.
The complete understanding of a hookah doesn't need to be achieved before the coals are lit, in fact it's easier to explain as you work and smoke. Talking about the differences between natural charcoal and lighting requirements will make more sense with the pieces in your hand, or at least on the burner. The same can be said about conversations that deal with the gauge of downstems and hoses, without having something to reference.
Similar to bringing up introductions to your parents or moving in together on the first date, explaining all the new hookah devices in the initial conversation can cause slight confusion. Hookah diffusers are easy to explain so we'll let that slide, but explaining all the different types heat management devices before lighting the first bowl will send information in one ear and out the other.
Key points to bring up for new users are as followed; its tobacco(unless it's herbal shisha), inhalation patterns plus purging to avoid coughing, and the buzz factor of course. Lead by example, I know there are some vacuum inhalers out there that could pull the charcoal straight through the foil, just know that every inhale doesn't need to sound like the last. Your partner is watching/studying your steps during this process, so keep it simple but feel free to show off some smoke rings. If they become envious of your rings and they can't nail them down, just bust out a Monkey O.
Shisha Brands & Flavors For Beginners
You've received the green light on making a bowl for the both of you, and now you have to decide on a flavor and brand. My first recommendation is to ask questions about their smoking history and tolerance with nicotine, this will help you make a quick decision on the brand to be enjoyed. If they've never smoked once in their life then you should start with a light smoke that wouldn't buzz them into outer space, loading a flavor from any of the brands pictured above should result in a pleasant smoke session. The buzz level within these brands rest in between light and average depending on your packing method, and now you all just need to pick a flavor.
Tangiers Orange Soda has a high rank in first time Tangiers flavor orders, and it's primarily because of it's connection to a past experience. Shisha flavors that can replicate past taste experiences are easily relatable for a first time smoker, and loading up the first bowl with citrus or peaches could be a home run. Early in my smoking life I would mix everything with mint, and it's something I still enjoy but found it to be an everyday thing at the start of my hookah life. Shisha flavors that have slight cooling usually have a high success rate in bowl enjoyment, like one of favorite fruit and mint combos, Al Fahker Grapefruit mint. The small amounts of mint creates a smoother inhale, and if more mint is desired you can go straight mint or test out gum flavors as they're easily relatable from memory.
You can start the loading process but having your partner smell through flavors, allows them to have a better understanding of the translation from shisha aroma to actually tasting the clouds. Starting off with one flavor is an easy start, but over time you may want to spice things up and bring in a second or possible third flavor. It's better to ask first instead of surprising your partner, and include them in the selection process by smelling both flavor at the same time. Just remember that you will both be looking for different things within each combination, so meet their standards to stay on the playing field. Once your partner is experienced you may receive treats like this more often, and you both can discover the world of shisha combinations. It takes two, three, and possibly four to tango.
Do's & Don'ts
There's a time and a place for some shisha blends, seasonal flavors like pumpkin and christmas mix can be smoked outside of their season, but somehow always taste better during the event. If you've just met your partner and you're not ready for the birds and the bee's, don't send mixed signals with your shisha collection. Inviting someone over off of Tinder and loading Haze Panty Droppa, does not guarantee that panties or boxers will drop but it's a good flavor. Tonic Before Sex or After Sex shouldn't be a goto blend if you just met on Christian Mingle, in that scenario I recommend Eve's Temptation. At the same time it's 2016 and everyone is different and these cheeky flavor names could spark interesting conversations, or a slap to the face. Choose your adventure.
Prepare this session as if you were making food for your partner or mom, and you want to impress. This means no dusty old hoses, dirty bases, and ghosted hookah stems. Avoid the high nicotine blends like Tangiers, Nirvana, and Nakhla, unless your partner already has a medium to high tolerance for nicotine. A tip from past experience is to use 2 cube shaped coals to start off with and only add more heat if desired by the new user, it may not be the session YOU want but this is about their experience.
If your first smoking experience with your partner takes place at a hookah lounge, the previous information still applies. If you're cool with the lounge owner ask to see the preparation area in hopes of a better explanation/experience, and continue the conversation once the hookah arrives on your table. In the end we'll hope that they enjoy the experience and have a some desire to come back for a round 2.
Wrap It Up
Don't trust these hoses. If you haven't made it to first base, then handing someone a device from your mouth to put into their mouth without protection is cringe worthy. Mouth tips should always be used and expected at a hookah lounge, and always make sure you have some on hand if the party gets larger than expected. If you know where eachothers mouths have been and it's just you two, we'll let you make that call but it's a nice habit to form.
Thanks for reading.
Smoke. Love. Peace.