Poppers evoke retro nostalgia. They recall that initial arrival into Oz, that time, after struggling to accept yourself and reject traditional expectations, when you at last found your tribe and became privy to its underground customs, culture, and quips, and probably soon had a first taste of requited love. Invariably, somewhere along here, you became acquainted with a little brown bottle that at first reeked of patchouli and paint thinner. In time, the same stench might well represent the halcyon of horny.
For ages, distributors have kept feds off a scent heralded by one brand as the “Best Aroma in the World!” Online, aficionados liken popper fumes to “a bouquet of fruit,” while elsewhere Carmen Miranda weeps. Through a legal loophole, alkyl nitrites were sold for decades as VHS head cleaner. Technology marching on, marketing exploits the same loophole to brand the nitrites as whatever will sail past an enhanced TSA security check: leather cleaner, liquid incense, room odorizer, and most recently, fingernail polish remover.