Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stilletto Stoners

Jennifer Pelham kicks off her black Marc Jacobs pumps, slips out of her trim Theory blazer, and collapses on the couch. The 29-year-old corporate attorney for one of Manhattan's top law firms has just clocked another 12-hour day, and though it's over, she's having a hard time shaking off her frustrations. "I hate the term pothead—it connotes that I'm high 24/7, which I'm not," Pelham says, wincing. "I don't need it to get through my day. I just enjoy it when my day is over." Her nightly ritual costs only $50 a month, a pittance compared with the cost of her monthly gym membership or a Saturday night out with her fiancĂ©, an investment banker, who occasionally smokes with her. At 5'4", slim and athletic—she ran three miles a day while in law school—Pelham insists that pot is the ideal antidote to a hairy workday: It never induces a post-happy-hour hangover and, unlike the Xanax a doctor once prescribed for her anxiety, never leaves her groggy or numb.

Most of us know someone like Jennifer Pelham, a balls-to-the-wall career animal whose idea of decompressing after a grueling day isn't a glass of Chardonnay but a toke (or three) of marijuana—not just every now and again, but on a regular basis—the type who stashes a pack of E-Z Wider rolling paper in the silverware drawer or keeps a pipe at the ready next to a pile of bills. One in five women who admitted to indulging in the previous month lives in a household earning more than $75,000 a year. "I love to have a glass of wine now and again, but going out and downing sugary cocktails isn't fun for me. And drinking is so much more expensive," says Debbie Schwartz, a 28-year-old reality-show production manager who recently moved to New York from Los Angeles.

"Alcohol makes you feel more social, but weed works in a different way. You're quieter, more contemplative. My friends and I get more in depth about specific issues," she says. What's more, Bridges says sex was much better

I have a stressful job, I have a baby. I need to unwind somehow, and I don't really like to drink," she grumbles. So, while hanging out with married friends, most of whom are also parents, Murphy will occasionally join in when one pulls out a baggie and starts prepping a bowl. "I got kind of uptight," she says of her weed-free phase. "And my husband was like, 'Actually, I liked you better when you smoked.'"

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