Last Updated on February 22, 2016 by Team Spinfuel

A Tale of Sex, Vaping, Virginity, and Meeting Lizzie

by Julia and Keira Hartley-Barnes

“All my friends were doing it, but not me, I still had my virginity. I don’t know why exactly, I just was. I didn’t see what the big deal was anyway. I didn’t know what I was missing, or so my friends would tell me, and that was the truth of it. But, if I didn’t know what I was missing and I was getting on fine not knowing, then why bother? Right? Some people start vaping when they’re young, too young, and some wait until it’s too late. I don’t know, I just wasn’t in a hurry to lose my virginity to metal batteries and cartridges filled with fluids.”

And so began our conversation with Lizzie, a new friend.  This is how our conversation with Lizzie started, and how I wound up asking her if she wanted to become a contributor for Spinfuel.

Keira and I were attending a private photography show one evening not too long ago and while we were standing in front of an amazing photograph of a man and woman staring passionately into each other’s eyes with a look that simply had to be real love, real sexual tension, Lizzie walks over and says something about the electronic cigarettes we were enjoying at the time. Not the photograph, not the pure lust exuding from the energy in that couple’s life spirit, but on the e cigarettes. Hmmm…

Lizzie looked at us, moving from one to the other, and out of the blue came; “I recently lost my virginity to one of those.”

Startled, it took a few seconds to realize what “one of those” meant, but never shying away from meeting someone new, I encouraged her to tell us more. “Really? That’s great. What was it like?”. Keira had this wicked little smile as I said that, knowing that we were all getting ready to let innuendo fly, while the three of us began walking the gallery floor.

I bought a gorgeous photograph taken by a friend of mine (it was her first show, you have to show support), and as the evening died down Lizzie took us up on our invitation to come over to our apartment for a nightcap, just a couple of blocks away, and during the course of the next few hours she regaled us with the details of her journey from a smoker to vaper, leaving out very little detail.

Remembering exactly what she said is going to be impossible, but between Keira and myself I think we have reconstructed her story to about, oh, maybe 90%. Some of the inflection might be missing, as well as some of the details of a sexual nature that doesn’t really have anything to do with her vape-journey, but the events in her story are all true.

Here’s Lizzie’s story on how she became a vaper, to the best of our combined memory anyway.

“I think I shall remember my first time for the rest of my life, in all its vivid detail too, even though it wasn’t that great. You know how it is. One day you’re a virgin and the next day you’re not. It was so incredibly different that it is burned into my memory like 911 or the day my girlfriend told me it was over. (what happened to my Gaydar anyway?)

The sight of my first electronic cigarette, that taste, that smell, the whole ‘putting it into your mouth’ feeling, the inhaling for like ten seconds, and then letting it all out, the tasting of the vapor as it glides over your tongue, sparking the taste buds like little bolts of electricity. It was so different, so unexpected, and so very strange.”

At this point I wasn’t sure if Lizzie was pulling our leg, or if she was trying to turn us on, or if she just loved telling a good story. She definitely had my ear though, despite thinking she would, at any minute, begin discussing things of a more ‘adult nature’ and putting me on the spot. She was, after all, an adorable girl of 24, all of 5 feet tall, blond hair. She was this light-haired version of Keira really…fun to listen to, and fun to look at, with all the makings of a great coffeehouse storyteller.

“I remember that once I got used to it, the feel of the metal battery, the hard ‘filter’ that you couldn’t bite down on, its small, tiny hole at the end that would squirt tiny little drops of fluid if you sucked on it too hard, too fast, it was all so different, yet familiar too.”  (Yep. Different. Got that.)

“Anyway, I think I vaped like there was no tomorrow that night, with just a few breaks in between. It was a good thing that my friend had brought with him a few extra batteries cause we went through every one of them in one evening. (Oh come on now!) As the night drew on it got easier, it didn’t hurt my throat as much at 2AM as it did at back at 9PM, and by morning my throat was so worn out and the blood level of nicotine must have been really high because I didn’t even think about a real cigarette until sometime around noon. That’s when I realized I might just be able to do this.” (At this point Keira is squirming in her seat, looking a bit flush and breathing a little heavier. She was getting aroused!)

“But you know what? ‘They’ (as in all other vapers I suppose?) don’t tell you a lot when you first start doing it. There is so much you have to discover on your own. After that initial vape, when you are no longer a virgin, that excitement wears off and you become critical of the experience.” (Ain’t that the truth!)

“You begin asking; ‘Was that it?’, ‘Did I do it right?’, ‘Can I do it better?’, and ‘When can we do it again?’ You also begin to pick apart certain things about your first time, things that were exciting, yes, but on reflection certainly could have been better, do you know what I mean?” (Yes, Lizzie, I think we do. I think we all do.)

“You begin to think about the taste, and the thickness of the vapor. (OMG) You even begin to think about the differences, like how with a cigarette there is no need to take a 7-second drag to get a lung full of smoke, that the cig-a-like is in your mouth longer than you expected it would be, longer than you wanted it to be. Even thoughts like ‘Will I have to suck so hard all the time?’. And this is long before that first cartomizer is spent. It won’t last forever, certainly not even a pack’s worth of cigarettes, but a 3-minute vape does not empty a fully saturated cartomizer does it?” (huh?)

Keep in mind this is the first night we knew Lizzie. She was adorable, yes, and she can spin a yarn oozing with sexual energy without even trying, but finally she begins to settle down and actually talk about the real subject at hand…vaping.

Still, I admit it was so fascinating listening to her weave her story. Keira and I wanted to hear more, it’s not often we get such a great storyteller over here in our apartment, so we interrupted as little as possible and just let her tell the story the way she wanted. Keira was fixated on the tale she was telling, and the way she was telling it. Or, maybe, her interest was all about the way Lizzie was telling it.

“I don’t want to say I was obsessed with it, though I did spend in inordinate about of time thinking about what I was doing, and I was doing it as often as I possibly could. I would vape the minute I got up in the morning, I would escape into the office bathroom and vape in the stall, I would even sneak into the back of train and vape in private, afraid and a bit titillated that I might be discovered.” (Here I a laughed so hard I peed my pants a little.)

With a sly smile that told me she was getting the reaction from Keira that she wanted, Lizzie continued…“At night I would have my tablet on my lap as I watched TV, and I would be lurking in vaping forums, reading reviews about other brands, I was a Blu Cig user at first, and I learned a lot from these vape-porn websites, especially one called Spinfuel.”

At that point Keira let out a yelp like I’ve never heard before. She shot up from the sofa and, jumping up and down, speaking a mile a minute, uttering ‘Oh my God, oh my God, you’ve never going to believe this, you’re never going to believe this’… and she ran into the bedroom and came out with a couple of Spinfuel t-shirts and a stack of our calling cards. ‘Look, look, we’re Spinfuel! I swear to God, look… look.

All I could do is stare at Keira in disbelief. She was buying this! For a moment I thought she might have snapped. This was a side I hadn’t seen in a long time, not since climbing out of the car in Dublin, Ireland, Keira’s first trip overseas. That? Well that I could understand, but this? Weird doesn’t cover it. Gullible doesn’t cover it. This was pure Keira, cute, cuddly, naïve, gullible little Keira. She reminded me of a little girl hearing about Santa for the first time.

Lizzie got a little freaked out, but not so much by Keira’s sudden adrenalin rush, but because I think she knew she was in too deep, that Keira had jumped in with both feet now, and the only thing she could do is keep on getting deeper and deeper into the tale she was spinning. She had to somehow allow Keira to come away satisfied, content, relaxed and calm. Lizzie knew that now there was no choice, Keira needed and deserved a convo-gasm.

I thought this might be a good time for a break, to allow Keira to collect her wits, like a cold shower or something, so I went into the kitchen, made a plate of various cheeses, crackers, olives, and hummus, then walked back into the living room where I saw that Keira had opened her MacBook Air and began showing Lizzie around Spinfuel, at least I had hoped it was Spinfuel when I walked in, and not some weird website (adult content, do not open – ed.) that Keira knows I don’t appreciate her looking at…without me.

My job now was to at least try to walk Keira back from the edge, by getting her mind on food. This is harder than it sounds, trust me. I only hoped that she could hold on until Lizzie left, then I could settle her down nice and proper.

A few minutes later, we were munching on snacks and Lizzie continued her astonishing, albeit far-fetched tale. I wondered if she was a real writer. She could tell a story out loud, could she also write one?

“So anyway, like I said I started to feel a little different about it all. You know, it’s so easy to smoke. You pull out a cigarette, stick it between your lips and light a fire under it. But with electronic cigarettes? There is a lot of stuff you have to do. That’s okay though, you do it and you get used to it. You almost look forward to the rituals after a couple of weeks.  But after a while I wanted more than Blu Cigs was able to give me. Looking back now I’m sure that’s why I was always surfing the Internet… looking at all the other ‘options’.

The day after I lost ‘it’ to Blu I walked into Walgreens and bought my own Blu Cigs starter kit and a couple of packs of ‘cartomizers’. I was embarrassed to be caught looking at them, now I know what a guy feels when he pops in for a pack of condoms, but I took a deep breath and asked the man behind the counter for the kit. Eventually I went on to try all the flavors, most of them were pretty good.  (After hearing the remark about condoms Keira abruptly sat straight up, as though she just heard something distasteful. Good to know.)

But here’s the thing; unlike a real cigarette I had to really work that battery and cartomizer in order to get a lung full of vapor, and to feel it at the back of my throat. I hated that part. That’s the reason I soon began to keep a pack of smokes around, for times when I just had to have something that could satisfy the hunger, something that I could walk away from feeling satisfied.

It was like these ‘artificial cigarettes’ were okay for a quickie now and again but I needed the real thing between my lips.I felt myself beginning to backslide into tobacco cigarettes again. Most nights I could reach into my nightstand drawer, pull out a fresh battery and enjoy myself. But more and more I had to call a friend of mine to come over and ‘assist’ me by bringing his cigarettes with him. That’s when I began keeping a pack of smokes on hand.”

After this bit of storytelling Keira had recovered and was now nodding her head up and down in complete agreement. At the time I didn’t think Keira was nodding in agreement about cigarettes, though. Turned out I was right too, but about something that happened a long time in the past, where it will stay.

“Well, about a month after I started vaping regularly I sat down one night and added up all my receipts for the starter kit and the cartomizers and damn near chocked. I spent almost $300 the first month, $200 on cartomizers alone. I was vaping like a rabbit, like a crazed rabbit always looking for an opportunity. I just had to get that battery in my mouth and enjoy the flavored vapor, and when I couldn’t I turned to cigarettes. But for all that money I was angry with myself for still needing a real smoke. I had to do something.”

Things were getting serious now. I could tell Lizzie did not like this part of herself. I knew it made her feel weak, giving in to the addiction of tobacco cigarettes. She detested that part of herself, and was truly disappointed that cig-a-likes were not the cure-all she had hoped they would be.

“You know as well as I do that Massachusetts has more than its fair share of smokers. (True.) But electronic cigarettes are making an impact. Like I said, plenty of my friends started their vape journey before I did. There was only one thing to do and that was to ask my friends how they got over the hump (poor choice of words, or was it?). To ask them how they were able to stop smoking completely and learn to get all they needed from the artificial cigarettes. I wondered if they really had gotten over them, or if they were doing what I was doing, keeping a pack around the house discreetly.”

I was getting interested. I wondered as well.

“As it happened a few friends were smoking ‘behind the green door.’ (Really Lizzie?) They didn’t have any advice for me since they were in the same boat. I remember Carol telling me to let her know if I found a way to live without the real thing. ‘If you ever get to the point where you don’t need a live one anymore, give me a call. Between real cigarettes and fake ones I’m spending more money than I ever did.’ So I told I would let her know, and I eventually did.

Anthony, or rather Tony, (a mutual friend, I learned later) was able to vape without having cigarettes to fall back on, and he said he would help me. I invited him over for dinner and over dinner we talked about my virginity, how I lost it, and how I was making out. (What?)

He told me that the reason he couldn’t kick the habit of smoking completely was because he too had to work too hard to get enough vapor to feel like a genuine substitute for the real thing. I asked him how he overcame it because that was my problem too. That’s when he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out his way-bigger-than-a-cigarette-battery with a big tank-thing filled with the only e juice he ever uses.

I came to learn that what he had that night was called the eVic. It was so cool looking and so hi-tech that it even plugs into your computer and the software records everything. You can even change the setting through the software. He loved it, but even though I thought it was a cool looking battery there just wasn’t any way I was going to vape something that big. Maybe at night, in the dark, and under the covers, but not in the light of day. Too conspicuous for me. I hate drawing attention to myself. “

Really Liz?

At this point I began to wonder where this story of hers was going to wind up. Was she just talking to hear herself talk or did she have a point to make? Was she spinning a yarn or was it the truth? And, I have to admit that after a while I began to wonder if she was, in fact, attempting to seduce Keira right in front of me. I wondered if it would work too.

From the moment Keira and I met Lizzie to this very point in the evening, about 6 or 7 hours total, I didn’t see her once use any kind of electronic cigarette. This did not bode well for the validity of her story and lent some credence to my ‘seduction’ theory. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to see where this story was headed or if it was headed anywhere in particular, so I asked her; “What did you wind up with anyway. Are you really a vaper because I haven’t seen you vape once since the gallery?”

Keira looked over at me, stunned at my rudeness, embarrassed for all of us apparently, and she dared to apologize to Lizzie for me! Lizzie didn’t seem to mind what I said, and I immediately felt bad that I had upset Keira. “Shit” I said, “that didn’t come out right.” Lizzie ignored the whole thing and continued…Keira on the other hand…

“Good lord, no! I don’t smoke at all anymroe! But I don’t use anything near as big as Tony’s eVic either, there’s no way I could take the whole thing. I found something perfect for me.”

Hmm.. suddenly it seems like the story is on the way toward the finish line, and my suspicions were coming apart, Keira was coming around… so I let her go on.

“Look, I know everybody starts out with these things that look a lot like a real cigarette, I think it helps people make the transition ya know, but I also think they have a long way to go before they can take the place of a real cigarette for any smoker that smokes a pack a day or more.  For me it was like the end of the day and my lungs were so tired from taking these huge drags from these tiny batteries, and that’s normal I guess, or so I want to believe anyway.”

About a nanosecond after that sentence I knew I wrong the whole time. Lizzie was telling us her vape journey. Granted, she told it in a very sensual fashion, but I later learned this is the way she loves to tell a story, she has learned that if she loads her stories with innuendo people pay attention. I wondered if that were true. Probably was, Keira and I certainly paid attention. I also learned that Lizzie was ‘pitching’ us the whole time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

“Honestly, Spinfuel had a lot to do with what I ultimately chose to try. But its not like what I chose was the only thing that would have worked, but it was certainly one of them. “

Liz went on and on about Spinfuel and how we’re helping vapers, and blah blah blah. The Pitch. And then she continued…

It came down to the Johnson Creek Vea or the Halo Triton, and I think either one would have done the job. Both are really great looking, and they work ten times better than a small cigarette battery, and you don’t have to worry about having to deal with limited choices for e juice, you can use whatever you want.

SO WHAT DID YOU DECIDE, I thought to myself, daring not to get Keira upset again.

“Okay, okay. (laughing the whole time) I picked the Halo Triton, but not one of their stock ones. I went straight for the variable voltage batteries.”

At last she pulls this red VV Triton from her purse, half filled with a dark brown juice. In fact, it was the same thing we were using that night at the gallery. At least now I knew she actually was a vaper.

“This, right here, is what every virgin vaper should START with.  Forget the tiny battery nonsense, we all get here sooner or later, why waste your time and money, ya know? Just start here cause if you do you might just stop here too. Not everybody needs something big like Tony’s eVic. The VV Triton does all I want it to do, and what I need it to do. The best thing is I can take normal, cigarette-sized drags from it and still get a lung full of vapor. That’s the key, for me.

I might have gone with the Johnson Creek Vea, their dedicated cartomizer looks like it could be really good, but then I read it only put out 2.8v, so I decided to go with the Triton. If they (Johnson Creek) ever do come out with a VV Vea  I would definitely buy one.”

I had this feeling that if I didn’t put an end to this story of hers it could drag out all night, and I felt strongly that we were being pitched too, and I liked the pitch, so instead of letting her spin more tales I did my best to draw it to close. I talked for a few minutes about how great both of her choices were, and how I would also love a variable voltage Vea, and then I said this…

“Lizzie, that was one heck of a story. By any chance, do you write as well as you speak? We could always use another writer with Spinfuel. But you have to know what you’re talking about, so do you know more than just the Triton or the Vea stuff? Do you know e cigarettes and how they operate? Are you really interested in the industry?”

She told me that she was studying e cigarettes constantly, and that, yes, she could write, and she would love to write about e cigarettes because it had become an all-consuming hobby, and that while she loved photography and would certainly continue her wedding photography gig, she would love to write about electronic cigarettes. Then she asked me if I was offering her a job. I said that, yea, I was, but it would be for experience only, we could offer her a byline, nothing else. Well, that’s not exactly true, I also told her that if we sent her something to review that she could keep it if the company where it came from didn’t want it back, which we always, always, always, offer.

She thought about it for a few minutes while Keira and I picked up the apartment, put the dishes in the sink, wiped down counters, set up the coffee pot for the next morning, and we wandered back to the living room… and she said this…

“If I can write the way I talk, you know, with lots of, ah, sexual innuendo, then yea, I would love to.”

I looked at Keira and she smiled, I looked at Lizzie, and she was resolute but anxious, and then after about 10 seconds, a long time to stare at someone, I said “Deal.

Julia and Keira Hartley-Barnes

Lizzie (not her real name) is a working toward her PhD in literature at B.U.. She’s an avid vaper, a great storyteller, a working wedding photographer, and is filled with a passion for life. She’s also incredibly kinky, which makes for some very interesting evening at Hartley-Barnes.