Smokin’

Column by Bonnie J. Gordon

Although I’ve always been a fairly girly girl, I try not to let it stand in the way of enjoying those things usually associated with guys. 

I don’t watch sports or play video games, but I have been known to play poker, drink single malt scotch and hang out at the track.

I’ve never felt more like a member of the boys’ club than when I’m smoking a cigar. I stumbled into the pleasures of a good cigar when I set out to buy a gift for a cigar-smoking friend.

This friend lets me hang out on his boat, drink lots of beer and act really silly a few times a year, which greatly enhances my mental health. I wanted to get him something good.

After consulting with a cigar aficionado, I took myself off to Santa Fe Cigar Company. I ended up purchasing some very fine Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Reals.

I thought, why not get a few of these for myself and try it out? I’d taken a puff of someone’s cigar in the past, but you can’t discover the true pleasure of smoking a cigar like that. 

I came home from the cigar store, went out on the back patio and lit up. The taste was phenomenal — smoky, nutty, slightly sweet.

You don’t inhale cigars. You hold the smoke in your mouth and enjoy the flavor. There’s really nothing like it.

Smoking a cigar is at once relaxing and invigorating. It should be a languorous experience that must be savored. It should take at least half an hour to smoke a cigar.

One of the things I enjoy most about my weekly cigar is the opportunity it affords to sit back and think in a calm state. I’m concentrating on the experience, but I also allow my mind to wander into all kinds of interesting places. Do I think more creatively when I’m smoking a cigar, or do I just feel like I do?

Either way, I immerge from the experience ready to tackle life with new gusto. It’s also enjoyable to share the cigar experience with others. Nothing builds camaraderie like enjoying a good cigar with a friend.

Conversations over a cigar take on an intimate quality that comes from sharing something fine. Part of the pleasure of smoking cigars is the ritual.

You take your cigar from your gorgeous wooden humidor, cut off the end with your guillotine-like cigar cutter, set out your favorite ash tray and take out your lighter. I look forward to the whole experience.

Smoking cigars is not good for you, but smoking only one cigar a week and refraining from inhaling reduce health risks to something that is acceptable to me. The relaxation and pleasure I get from smoking a good cigar may even offset the negative effects.

The jury seems to be out on whether smoking an occasional cigar has statistically significant health risks. I’m not saying you should smoke cigars, necessarily. The very idea is bound to appall some people.

I am saying that taking pleasure in a few petty vices might be worth the price in possible negative consequences. I hope you have little pleasures in our life that bring you the satisfaction an occasional cigar brings me, and remember, it’s good to practice moderation in all things — even moderation.

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