Times reporter Melena Ryzik has spent the last five months interviewing young New Yorkers about how, in spite of the fact that drugs are widely known to be bad, "cocaine is a prominent part of a night out." Using evidence gleaned from Craigslist, blogs, and quotes from cokeheads, Melena does a good job of showing that coke is so hot right now, but the question remains: why is this the case? Don't get me wrong: I am not trying to be all D.A.R.E. on you, because there are some substances I support wholeheartedly. But I've never really gotten the appeal of a drug that limpens dicks, promotes nasty-tasting postnasal drip, and turns ordinary sick hangovers into scenes from some cliché drug movie. I decided to get to the bottom of the mystery of what the appeal of blow is, besides getting to say all those incredibly cool-sounding euphemisms like "skiing" and "Bolivian Marching Powder." So I asked a wide array of—okay, I asked some professional blog-types—what they see in cocaine.

Well, there's the 'duh' answer, the when your day is done and you want to run thing: one bloglord says the drug's main appeal is that it gives you "the ability to stay awake. Sounds boring, but i think it's sort of that simple." However, another internet-writer contradicts him: "I can blow a rail and then fall asleep." But then again, she's insane.

Another crazy blog lady finds that the appeal of the drug is in its ego-boosting qualities. "It's that feeling like you're in something someone is going to make a coffee table book about." Another blogger also cites the "inflated sense of importance" she derived back in her days of heavy usage. Huh.

And a writer-type says she likes cocaine because it's such effective social glue. "Completely aside from whatever physical effects there are, it's like magical fairy dust social bonding powder. When I quit coke for a year the only part I missed was the sneakiness. The grabbing someone's hand and taking them into the bathroom with you, or slipping it to someone under the table. You could be with 30 people, but five of you would have a secret you had to keep from the rest. Who you chose to share with showed who you valued."

Ok, so: we've learned that cocaine helps you stay up late, love yourself more, and also helps your night life be more like middle school. But what about the people who need it just to get through the day, like the European financier who will "take a gram of coke and make half a million dollars"? Most people I asked think he is batshit insane: "I have no insight into how anyone could do blow and then work" seems to be the consensus. The only quasi-dissenter mentioned that using coke to work depends what kind of work you do: "As a general rule, you write like SHIT on cocaine. It's not like weed in that way. But i'm sure you could broker the hell out of some stocks."

Hmm! Well. I still don't really see the appeal of cocaine. Also, I'm probably getting fired.

Cocaine: Hidden In Plain Sight [NYT]