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WOMEN AND CIGARS

 

Susan Hill

Cigar smoking
is no longer
a male pleasure.

It is a typical London twenty-something party. Flames flicker in the darkness to light tobacco. There is a distinctive smell of tobacco coming from two young women dressed in leather trousers and bodices.

It only takes five minutes for them to be the centre of an admiring group of fashion-conscious young men. Despite the presence of equally attractive non-smokers and cigarette smokers, the cigar-smoking girls are the ones getting all the attention.

Smoking a cigar is one of the ultimate signs of women’s liberation. Women have chained themselves to railings, marched, burnt their bras, established Greenham Common as a worldwide symbol of peace – and now they’re invading this sacred male preserve.

Celebrities are leading the way: Demi Moore, Madonna, Whoopi Goldberg, Linda Evangelista and Sharon Stone have all been pictured smoking cigars. A voice of disagreement comes from actor Jim Belushi: ‘It’s not a fashion. Women should stay away from it. It’s none of their business.’ Tell that to the growing number of ladies running their own cigar bars, the fastest growing type of bar in New York. Ironically, Internet sites devoted to the subject of women cigar smokers are full of men complimenting them for it.

Four years ago Gerry McKenna opened Bar Cuba in Macclesfield in the North of England. ‘We specialise in a blend of food, all kinds of music and cigar aromas,’ he explains. How does he feel about the growing trend of female smokers? ‘It’s obvious that some do it to be the focus of attention.
The ones that treat the cigar with respect definitely add to their sex appeal. It makes them appear confident, dominant, sexier and in control.’

But not every woman likes the idea. ‘I can’t think of anything more disgusting,’ says Caroline Bunn, a banker from London. ‘I don't like it in men, and I think it’s revolting to see young women smoking cigars.

No level of cigar smoking is without risk to health. Fidel Castro recently took his doctor’s advice and gave up his famous Cuban cigars. Perhaps the ladies who smoke will follow his example, once they can no longer get the desired reaction from those around them.

Source: New English Digest

GLOSSARY

is no longer: isn't anymore (ya no es)
distinctive
: having special quality
(particular, especial)
bodice: part of a woman's dress above her waist
(canesús)
railings: iron bars (rejas)
burnt their bras: put fire to their brassieres (prendido fuego a sus sostenes)
preserve
: an activity only suitable for a particular group of people
(actividad, interés)

should stay away from: should keep a distance (deberían mantenerse al margen de)
it's none of their business: tendency (no les incumbe)
trend: tendency (tendencia)

disgusting: fill with distaste (desagradable)
gave up: abandonned, stopped smoking (abandonó)
can no longer get: can't get anymore (ya no puedan conseguir)

 

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