Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  NIGHTSPOTS

The Bijou Chronicles
by Steven Toushin and Madame Bubby
2012-11-07

This article shared 4006 times since Wed Nov 7, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


How did the gay community know about poppers, the brands of poppers, and especially what they were used for? The answer: "advertising." Early ads for poppers in the late 1960s called them "aromas." At that time, aromatherapy was little known outside of France. In 1969, outfits like JacMasters began to sell vials or "inhalers" containing isobutyl nitrite; Locker Room was the first brand name that was trademarked. The original popper formula was isobutyl nitrate, or amyl.

During the 1970s, poppers or "aromas" were marketed as sexual incense to gay men. No they weren't of the patchouli sandalwood scent. The scent that gay men inhaled was supposed to be a locker room or armpit scent: the smell of hot, rough, uninhibited sex.

Poppers had become so popular that, by 1977, The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine claimed that the use of isobutyl nitrite as a recreational drug had become a substantial $50 million a year business. Even more brands such Bolt, Hardware, Thrust, Quicksilver (not Thunderbolt) were first introduced around 1977-78. The Bijou started selling them around that time because the company (Great Lakes Products) that was making these poppers was renting space from me to manufacture their poppers. The owner of these name brands was Joe Miller (he committed suicide in 2010).

By the late '70s, the popularity of the drug even extended to straight men and women. In the August 1979 issue of Playgirl, a "cautious" user's guide to drugs and sex reported that amyl nitrate intensifies orgasms but also smells like glue. The article said that amyl was banned by the FDA and replaced by butyl, "which smells like old tennis shoes and is sold as a 'room deodorizer.' " Old tennis shoes? Could be quite stimulating in certain situations, depending on your fetish. And that smell certainly does evoke the locker room—literally!

The popper ads in gay magazines became more creative and catered to a variety of sexual tastes in this era of sexual liberation. For example, the ad for JacMasters in a 1976 Drummer Magazine was both campy and erotic. The bulging jockstrap on one of the action figures harks back to the physique magazines like Physique Pictorial. Yet the hand holding what vaguely looks like a bottle by the logo probably represents a handjob. Big bottle equals big cock. Inhaling the aroma will make your cock big and hard. Or even like a giant cock to the little men holding the big bottle of aroma!

In the '80s, the AIDS epidemic swept away the sexually-charged gay culture of the '70s that created and responded to the popper ads, but poppers themselves went underground (unfortunately, in many cases, in fake, or non-amyl formulas). The mainstream gay press, because of the possible connection between HIV and the use of nitrate, stopped running ads for poppers.

Then Congress passed a law outlawing the original amyl nitrate formulas; now the major ingredient is butyl. There are numerous poppers being distributed under different names, and most people have their favorites: for example, Rush and Brown Bottle are good old standbys for most people who first buy poppers (not taking away from long-time users that only like these brands); as time went on, people graduated to other brands.

Regarding false types of poppers, for example Can Opener, Private Stock, Platinum, and others, in truth are the same formula as Brown Bottle, but in different packaging, done to deceive people. Other current brands such D&E, Nitro, Zap, Man Scent, and Mr. Wonderful, will give people headaches; their manufacturers produce them to make money, not caring about quality and the intended purpose of the product.

Will poppers ever become as "poppular" as they were in the '70s and '80s? As activities that were once part of the sexual underground become more mainstream in the 21st century, perhaps poppers in their true form will once again become an exciting part of our diverse sexual culture.


This article shared 4006 times since Wed Nov 7, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Pride Journey: Iceland 2022-03-21
- The only way to describe Iceland is ... magical. It truly is. Iceland is like no other place I've visited in the world. It's topography, climate, people, culture, history, and nightlife blended together make Iceland a ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Jeffrey Wayne ("Jef") Morgan 2022-01-11
- Jeffrey Wayne "Jef" Morgan, of Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood, passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack while shoveling snow on Jan. 2. He was 58. Jef was the well-loved manager at Little Jim's on ...


Gay News

'Andersonville Homecoming' Sept. 24-26; line-up, vendors, safety protocols announced 2021-09-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Sept. 15, 2021) The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is pleased to announce the full entertainment line-up and vendors for Andersonville Homecoming--a three-night, two-day outdoor festival featuring ...


Gay News

Next OUTspoken show Sept. 7 2021-08-24
- An OUTspoken Storytelling Night taking place Tuesday, Sept. 7, will offer tales told by six people who will relate their stories of fun and fortune from a LGBTQ+ perspective. The entertainment will start at 7 p.m. ...


Gay News

Taste of River North cancelled 2021-07-29
- On July 29, the River North Residents Association, along with theMART and Duff Entertainment, announced the cancellation of the 2021 edition of Taste of River North. The event was slated to take place Aug. 20-21 at ...


Gay News

OUTspoken storytelling to host six takes from LGBTQ+ perspective 2021-07-26
--From a press release - The month of August is hot - but OUTspoken at the Sidetrack will be even hotter on Aug. 3 when six storytellers will tell tales of fun and fortune from a LGBTQ+ perspective! The program will start at 7:00 pm at ...


Gay News

LGBTQIA+ tavern to open in Uptown this fall 2021-07-14
- 2Bears Tavern Group—which owns and operates Andersonville's The SoFo Tap and Meeting House Tavern as well as Rogers Park's Jackhammer—is opening 2Bears Tavern Uptown in the former Nick's on Wilson space at 1140 W. Wilson Ave. ...


Gay News

Pride Parade coordinator provides latest on the 'likely scenario' for event 2021-05-08
- Tim Frye, the coordinator of the 2021 Pride Parade, told Windy City Times that the assessment of this year's event has not changed over the last few weeks. The official statement/assessment at this point is: "We ...


Gay News

OUTspoken Storytelling to host tales from LGBTQ perspectives Nov. 10 2020-11-01
--From a press release - Another exciting OUTspoken Storytelling Night will offer the perspective of four Chicagoans telling life's stories from their LGBTQ+ viewpoint or that of their close friends and relatives, Tuesday, Nov. 10, starting at 7 p.m. on Zoom. ...


Gay News

Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade, this year a drive-through 2020-10-26
--From a Chicago Park District press release - CHICAGO: LUMA8, in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the Chicago Park District and Presenting Sponsor, the Blommer Chocolate Company, is pleased to announce Arts in the Dark - an UPSIDE ...


Gay News

Nightlines 1990-2001, Nightspots 2001-2015 2020-09-30
- Throughout the 1990s, Nightlines focused on the LGBTQ entertainment scene, from the bars to the stage and everything in between. With the new millennium came a significant format change as Nightspots focused in on the bar ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Former Northalsted bartender Eric Sangster dies at 37 2020-09-27
- Northalsted bartender Eric Sangster died Sept. 17 unexpectedly at the age of 37. At the time of this article's publication, Sangster's cause of death is unknown. Sangster was born June 4, 1983, on a Jacksonville, North ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Gay business owner/nightlife figure Bob Yeaworth dies 2020-09-20
- Gay business owner and promoter Robert "Bob" Yeaworth died Sept. 14 from complications due to his ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) diagnosis. He was 64. Yeaworth was born Sept. 17, 1955 in Cincinnati, Ohio, ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Medusa's owner Dave Shelton passes away 2020-08-19
- Dave Shelton, a.k.a. Dave "Medusa" Shelton—so named for his trademark frizzy locks— "just was different," recalled his good friend of 45 years, Richard Cooke. Shelton was the proprietor of the iconic nightspot Medusa's on Sheffield in ...


Gay News

Gerber/Hart fall benefit Sept. 12-13 2020-08-08
- The Gerber/Hart Library and Archives fall benefit—"Saving LGBTQ History: Archives in a Time of Activism"—will take place Sept. 12-13 at the venue, 6500 N. Clark St. On those days, there will be a series of 90-minute ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.