I checked with Miss Manners, but she didn't know. What is proper etiquette for passing of the bong? Will my cohorts hate me if I take two hits before passing it along?
— Double Dipper
Dear Bong Beginner,
Bong etiquette is indeed a real thing, and I'm shocked Miss Manners did not have an answer for you. What a slacker! Perhaps Martha Stewart can tackle this the next time she has Snoop Dogg over? In the meantime, allow me to set your mind at ease with some simple tips for pulling on a bong in a group setting.
First, the basics: Once a bong is passed to you, hold it with one hand, place your mouth over the chamber, light the cannabis with your other hand and start to inhale. Once the chamber has filled with enough smoke, remove the carb/bowl (where the cannabis hangs out) and inhale all that good smoke. If you're a bong newbie, start by taking a smaller hit, as a rip from a bong is a lot more intense than a hit from a regular bowl or joint.
When it comes to sharing a bong, manners are expected, but they're fairly straightforward:
- Take proper care of the bong at hand. Bongs are usually made of glass and therefore susceptible to breakage, so be careful! That means no slamming of the bong on a table or tripping over it and shattering it (Ack! Stinky bong water everywhere! No thank you!). It also means no slobbering all over the bong. In this case, sharing (your saliva) isn't caring. Wipe the mouth area down if you got it a little wet.
- You pack it, you puff first. The general rule is that if you pack the bowl, you're given the first green hit. That said, don't be rude and claim all the green for yourself. Aim your flame in the corner of the cannabis as opposed to straight on, so everyone can get at least some green — this rule is for everyone in the circle, by the way. But, obviously, if you're feeling generous, you can totally pass the fresh hit to whomever you'd like.
- Puff & pass. When the bong is passed to you, etiquette dictates that you take one hit and then pass. With a bong — depending on the height of the chamber — that could still mean getting quite the substantial inhale (FYI: When it comes to joints, I'm of the mind that puff, puff, pass is totally fine!). And never pass a cashed bong. Either refill it yourself, or let the host know.
- Clear the chamber. Don't hand a bong over to the next person before clearing out the chamber of smoke. It's like sharing a half-eaten sandwich, nobody is really into that. Either inhale it all yourself, or pull out the carb to filter it out.
- Ask before you aspirate! If you're not quite sure how to use a particular bong — ask! People will appreciate that more than you having a frightening coughing fit or accidentally dousing the herb in bong water somehow. We've all had our own first time and most folks will happily share the ins and outs of their precious bong with you. After all, everyone's after a good time.
And how about one last rule that is applicable in all situations: Never, ever, ever pocket someone else's lighter. It's happened to the best of us. You get home and you notice that you've got a Bic that doesn't belong to you. Accidents happen, I get that. But do your best to be as observant as possible, given the circumstances, and ensure that the lighter makes its way back to its proper owner.