Few more annoying archetypes exist than “wine o’ clock” middle-aged women who operate under the mistaken assumption that, by sticking to just rosé and cabs, their functioning alcoholism is cute (or worse, a substitute for a well-rounded personality). Occasionally these ladies congregate in small groups to lush out together and chat about their work, the news of the day, and the lives they might have had if only things had gone slightly different after college.
Recently, a new breed of psychonaut, bored by the old methods and seeking new frontiers of communal inebriation, has emerged to give the wine moms a run for their money. The hot new trend in Western Europe is brieing parties, where circles of women take MDMA wrapped in brie cheese and grind their teeth together from the safety of a living room.
Brieing first appeared in a May 16, 2018 Metro article, where an anonymous 50-year-old spoke of hosting regular molly-infused dinner parties to help her and her friends recapture some of the happiness of their youths.
“We did not seem to have as much of a laugh than as when we were younger, there always seemed to be barriers up between us,” said the anonymous London businesswoman. “So, one of our group suggested we all take MDMA together so we could open up to each other and improve our friendships.”
While these events certainly sounded nice on paper, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of these dairy drug trips so special, so I decided to host a mini-brieing party to find out for myself.
As I am a man in my early thirties, I knew I wouldn’t be getting an authentic brieing experience if I just popped a pill and chomped some cheese myself, so I recruited my two closest (read: only) middle-aged female friends to join me in the experiment. Much like brieing’s progenitor, my friends would also like to remain anonymous, so I’ll be referring to them as Alice and Bridget for the remainder of the story.
I prepared a small charcuterie spread for my guests. Not too much to fill their stomachs and offset the MDMA effects, but not so little as to make myself look like a bad host. We also split a bottle of white wine amongst the three of us. Yes, I know this can also negate the drug’s effects, but I simply can’t serve cheese without a wine accompaniment.
For our main course, I cut the fluffy white top off a fresh wheel of brie and uncapped some capsules containing our three doses. After carving distinct wedges to keep the portions segregated, I poured the powder from each pill onto its corresponding triangle. We dug in.
Immediately there was retching as we realized it would have made much more sense to fold the bitter crystals into the soft cheese so that they’d never hit our tongues.
“This is disgusting,” said Alice as she floundered for her glass of wine, desperate to wash it down.
Once we’d all finished our doses, Bridget put on her favorite EDM genre to prepare us for the roll to come.
We resumed friendly chatting, the two women getting to know one another for the first time while simultaneously catching up with me. While getting high with friends you already know and love is ideal, no one can deny that MDMA also lends itself to making new friends for that festival, evening or moment in line for the bathroom. I wasn’t too worried about the women being strangers before the brieing party, and my intuition had paid off. Before long, they were cracking each other up (and teasing me) like they’d been buddies for ages.
I was the first to feel the drug’s effects. About 40 minutes after intake, I slumped back into the couch and announced it was hitting me. Both women said they weren’t quite there yet, drawing some embarrassing parallels to other types of performance that we then had a laugh about.
We passed more time by playing with my cat and critiquing my book collection. Eventually, Alice noted that she was flushed and “on the cusp of… something.” Bridget claimed to still be sober, but her suggestion that we all go sit on the floor in my closet with colorful lights strobing hinted at the contrary.
The following hour was a bit of a blur but, whether or not they were admitting it, all parties were clearly in the throes of the roll. Bridget and I had both taken MDMA before and were aware of the ups and downs of the experience. Alice, the E-virgin of the party, was feeling all of it for the first time and, fortunately, having a blast.
The women, one married and the other in a long-term relationship, admitted it had taken some convincing to get their significant others to believe that this wasn’t a terrible idea for a Tuesday night. But as all parties were familiar with the nature of my journalistic endeavors, they eventually (and probably foolishly) came to the conclusion that they’d be in good hands. So, when the comedown was finally undeniably upon us and yawns began to replace clenched jaws, I breathed a sigh of relief that I was returning my friends to their loved ones intact and, hopefully, not facing too rough a next day. Ubers were called, and we shared a big three-way hug, having made it to the end of our journey.
I doubt any of us will be attending any future brieing parties—for as much fun as she’d had in the moment, Alice reported feeling “like death” the two days after—but I’m nonetheless glad that we did it. It’s not every day that reporting on a flash-in-the-pan trend affords me an opportunity to spend an evening catching up with two old friends and helping them each make a new one.
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