It was the summer of 2018. I met Melissa via a queer dating account on Instagram that channeled the vibe of earnest, late-80s personals ads. It's since evolved into an app called Lex, but at the time, you could submit a blurb about yourself and what you were looking for. It would get posted to the Personals Instagram account along with your handle so gay hotties could hit you up if they were interested.
“In search of a real fun gyal who kinda remembers what life was like before Amazon Prime,” Mel's ad read. I was hooked.
We met at a piano bar for our first date and talked for six hours straight over Peroni's and steak fries. A few more dates confirmed the feeling: I was in way over my head. I knew I was falling in love with her — I mean, the words “I love you” wrapped around my brain like ticker tape every time we hung out — but I couldn't just say them out loud without sounding like a maniac.
Even by lesbian standards, two weeks was way too fast. I had to wait at least a month before I could tell her. The only problem was that I had this irrational fear that I would die before getting the chance. What if I got hit by a bus or choked on a walnut? I scanned the crosswalk a dozen times before stepping off the street and ate salads extra slowly. Every mundane activity became an imminent threat.
As Mel and I prepared to check out an art exhibit near Koreatown, I rolled a joint of Bacio Gelato by Sherbinskis with the intention of chilling out. I needed to fixate on the art instead of a freak accident cheating me of the opportunity to express my feelings to the potential love of my life.
“This is the good shit,” I told her.
And it really was. Bacio Gelato, also known as Gelato #41, is the beloved cross of Sunset Sherbert and Thin Mint Cookies by Sherbinskis. This strain was a labor of love and legendary in the world of cultivation, which is why I wanted to share it with someone I was starting to fall for. As the content manager for a weed review website, I was smoking a lot of hyped strains at the time, but Bacio Gelato was the flower I saved for special occasions. With complex floral notes and a smooth toke that tasted like mint chocolate, it smoked like the Cadillac of strains.
The effects of Bacio Gelato were equally cush for me. Every time I lit up, the high would start with a warm feeling that radiated from my chest to my head and back down toward my toes. With my body in marshmallow mode, I could focus on my mind becoming clearer. It always felt as if the high swept away the existential cobwebs in my brain, Marie Kondo-ing my neurotic thoughts so the silly, absurd ones could cartwheel around carefree. Smoking Bacio Gelato was like waking up on the right side of the bed. The high managed to straddle that fine line between helping me feel different and better but also more like myself.
So, you can probably understand why I reached for it on that afternoon Mel and I had our museum date. I wanted Mel to see me as cool and capable, if not a connoisseur of high art, then a collector of high experiences. What I didn't know at the time was that she wanted to seem cool too, even if weed wasn't her drug of choice. If my tolerance for THC is at sea level, hers is at the bottom of the Mariana trench.
We hotboxed my Prius in the museum parking lot and proceeded to get way too high. I started to realize my plan was backfiring when the joyful mental clarity set in and I felt more aware than ever that Mel was my favorite person. The downer side of my personality was nowhere to be found to temper the situation. So instead of feeling a manageable level of joy, it was joy overload. Like, is my body physically capable of processing this much positive emotion? Cute aggression is real, should I be worried I might eat Mel? Amused, but a little concerned. That's where my mind was at.
And Mel was right there with me — times about 1000. We went from giggly and chatty to prim and reserved like we were in a 420-friendly Jane Austen reprisal.
“Shall we head in for our appointment?”
The smoke billowed out of my car as we stepped out, sunglasses on. As soon as we entered the building, I did what any super-stoned person would do and headed straight for the massive light show. In the safety of the dimly lit room, we watched some slow-moving geometric shapes float around us. We let our highs taper off a bit, and soon enough, we could hold hands without feeling like literal sparks might fly and burn the whole place down.
Since then, Mel and I have gotten married and switched to high-CBD pre-rolls, but I'll never forget how much that Bacio Gelato joint humbled us. We smoked to seem cooler, to insulate ourselves from our ultra-raw, ultra-fresh feelings. But the Bacio Gelato was like, “Lol, guess again!" We were more exposed, less able to hide how we felt, and ultimately closer for it. I might just suggest Sherbinskis put a warning label on the eighths going forward. Something like, “Be warned, this strain may make you fall in love faster.”