Why A Hookah Bar is Optimal For A First Date

It should be immediately noted that this article is really for people who smoke or enjoy tobacco in some form. If you do not smoke, either for health or religious reasons, or if you don’t participate in this new wild phenomenon called, “fun,” then this article doesn’t apply to you.

Hookah is enjoyable. Groundbreaking notion, I know, but it is. I’ve been smoking hookah since I was 20 years old. I’m currently 27 and I hope to be 27 for many years. I’m what you would call a hookah aficionado or a pipe-smoker. A regular popsicle-licker. I think the metaphor is delightfully clear.

I’ve taken many of my first dates to hookah bars. It’s become a go-to suggestion for me whenever I ask out a new poor, unfortunate soul. I do get asked a lot why I always suggest a hookah bar for first encounters. Well, fun fact, there’s a reason for that. But first, a history lesson.

Oh, don’t click off the article now. Learn something, why don’t you? Geeze.


Since around 2000, I’ve seen a burgeoning overgrowth of hookah lounges and hookah-users in the United States and it seems to have become a staple of hipster culture. In fact, I personally believe it’s directly related to the surplus of vape users we see nowadays. I bet it could’ve been the reason why vaporizers were ever invented. You’re welcome, Brenda.

According to historical records, the waterpipe was created by Irfan Shaikh, the personal physician of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great, after tobacco arrived in India in the 17th century. Cannabis was initially smoked in India until Roman Catholic missionaries from the Society of Jesus brought Tobacco to India, which would inevitably doom the Indian people to a lifetime of shortened lung capacities and inappropriate coughing in business meetings. But at least they looked cool AF smoking.  

You may have wondered why a physician would have supported the use of tobacco. If you didn’t, you should. And if you did, you’re good. The truth is Shaikh became concerned once tobacco-smoking had become popular with Indian noblemen and sought to find ways to make it healthier since asking them to quit cold turkey was likely not an option. He wondered if tobacco smoke were to be filtered through water, would it become purified or healthier to smoke? A little more than 500 years later and we’re still asking these questions and surprised/horrified to relearn that no type of smoking is good for you.

Damn, I’m not good at convincing people to do things. I promise I’ll start talking about why hookah is awesome soon.

The hookah or ḡalyān, as it’s referred to by the Persian poet, Ahlī Shirazi, soon became a status symbol of the Indian aristocracy. Smoking a hookah represented prestige and class – only the rich and landed classes would partake. However, the hookah would soon earn the appreciation and idolatry of the masses. Eventually, cafés and restaurants would offer hookah’s as a consumable. Fast forward a few years and nearly every person in India is smoking hookah daily.

As with most insta-obsessions and cool inventions, the hookah spread to other countries and found itself being offered in cafes and clubs around the world, in places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Persia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, South Arica, and of course, the United States. And upon arriving on the shores of the US, came the establishment of the Hookah Lounge (Cue dramatic music).

Hookah lounges are typically owned and operated by people of Muslim, Indian, or Arabian heritages and unlike cafes in their respective countries of origin, which offered hookah as a secondary service, lounges are directly intended for the purpose of smoking hookah. Duh.

Now that we’re apparently in 2018, and I’m just as saddened and shocked by this news as you are, you simply can’t travel down a major road without seeing at least one hookah store or cigar lounge along the way. So, for one thing, it’s fairly reasonable to suggest going to a hookah bar on a first date because it’s a safe bet there’s one in close proximity to both of you. And if not, you need to move out of Woods, Nell.


What is the purpose of a first date? To get to know each other, right? Or sometimes it’s just a flimsy formality you have to conduct in order to get into each other’s pants right away. Whatever the case is, the first date serves an important purpose. For one thing, it has to occur before a second date can happen. It also has to happen before you can eventually get married and become fated to a life of constant glares and side-eyes and listening to phrases like “no, I’m too tired” and “finish yourself, my carpel tunnel is acting up.”  

Like I said, a first date is a chance to get to know one another. You use this opportunity to ask questions about the other person, find out their hobbies, and feign interest in those hobbies to appear more appealing to them. However, if you’re like me, and you get nervous or intimidated easily by attractive people, first dates can be challenging.

One of the worst places to suggest for a first date is the movies. For one thing, you can’t talk and ask questions about each other during a movie. Unless you’re rude and that’s your aesthetic or you’re watching Fifty Shades and in that case who cares really. You’re also not even looking at the other person because you’re sitting next to them instead of front of them. Plus, it’s dark. You have no real concept of what the person looks like. You could be on a date with Barbara from Administration or the female Gremlin for all you know.

Dinner dates are boring and cliché. Suggesting a dinner date showcases simultaneously your lack of creativity. Why don’t you just invite him over to your place and pull a DENNIS system, why don’t you? Netflix and chill? Really? Not today, Satan.

For a first date, suggest something different or creative. Nobody’s impressed when you suggest a romantic walk through the liquor aisles of Wal-Mart. Okay, nevermind. Bad example. In any case, show the dude that you thought it through. They want to know how much effort you’re going to put into a first date because that’s a direct indication of how much effort you’ll likely put into a relationship. *Gasp*

Moreover, a first date should be light, easy, and accessible. Dinner dates are too dramatic and serious. Movies provide no opportunity to talk to each other. Coffee dates are a good pre-date – not a first date. That should’ve been conducted by now. You do a coffee date if you’re unsure if the guy or girl you’ve been talking to on Grindr for the past two weeks isn’t a nutjob or likes the Twilight movies. Same difference really.

For an actual first date, a hookah bar is a great idea. Again, you should verify first if the other person actually smokes or enjoys hookah first. Don’t take your date to a hookah bar if he or she does not smoke. That’s just rude.

Part of the reason I suggest a hookah bar is because it’s light, easy, and accessible much like a first date should be. It’s undemanding, unassuming, and presents a very carefree social environment. Hookah lounges encourage sociality and allows a great atmosphere to get to know each other. HOWEVER. Do not go to a club that serves hookah. They blast loud music from the 2000’s and it’s almost impossible to hear each other when Bye Bye Bye from N’Sync is playing in the background. No… go to a lounge where the lighting is mildly dim, the music is quiet, and you can enjoy each other’s company devoid of Boy Band music.

The larger reason I suggest a hookah bar is because if you’re anything like me, you do get nervous on dates. And why shouldn’t you get nervous to some degree? You’re on a date and you want to impress the other person. You want them to like you. You want them to see you for the loving, beautiful person you probably aren’t. I know for a fact I get nervous. I immediately begin to wonder if they hate me, if I said something stupid, if they’re judging me. All kinds of self-defeating, self-fulfilling prophetical thoughts plague my mind like locusts plagued the land of Egypt and Katy Perry’s Dark Horse plagued the radio in 2013.  

Hookah provides a wonderful social crutch for the average joe-schmo who gets nervous on dates. When you’re unsure of how to respond to a question or a thought presented by your date, you can simply take a hit of hookah before responding. This allows you a few more moments to think about a response before issuing one.

Plus, it gives your date an idea as to how you handle a hose. Yup, I said what I said.

It takes some of the focus and pressure off of you, too. When there’s an awkward silence or if you feel all eyes are on you, you can take a hint and blow out smoke rings to break up the awkward silences with some type of action.  

Plus, it’s a proven fact that when you’re around other people talking, it encourages you to speak up, as well. Hookah bars will make you more talkative and willing to ask and answer questions.

Does hookah make you high? Not really. That sensation of being high is really just you depriving your brain of oxygen. It’ll return back to normal in a few seconds. So it’s not really the same thing.  

Does hookah make you horny? It’s possible. I think any number of things can make you horny. I once saw a crazed old man petting a dead bird downtown and for some reason my wiener moved. So, just when I thought I figured out the male sexual response, my body reminds me that I have no fucking idea. Maybe it’s something about smoking from a hose. Who knows.

All I know is hookah bars do nothing, but afford you opportunities to chat, be social, and have fun in a relaxed environment. For first dates, a hookah bar is intimate, the fruity smells of flavored tobacco enrich the atmosphere, the lighting is dim, which is perfect for sexual escalation, and it’s quiet enough for intimate conversation. Overall, it’s a win-win.

Again, if neither are into hookah or smoking, disregard this post. If you are into it though, it may be worth a try on your next date.

Okay, I’m done. Go watch porn.

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Color me skeptical about putting ANY type of smoke in my body.  I think I'll pass.  After reading this article, I can't help but think about the early days of tobacco use.  Back then science also showed that there were no serious health issues with smoking.  Study after study showed that it was a harmless vice.  Some even showed the health benefits of smoking tobacco!  Then the 1960's hit and we were told that most if not all studies showing any negative side affects of smoking were suppressed and scientists that tried to raise awareness were drummed out of the academy.  I really wonder if we are repeating this with regards to "healthier" alternatives to smoking in our rush to legalize marijuana (full disclosure: I fully support).  I wonder if 40-50 years in the future humanity will hear the same thing about marijuana cigarettes, vaping pens, and the hookah that we did about tobacco. 

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