Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are cigars really just "a guy thing?"

A while back I received an email forwarded to me from a Famous Smoke Shop Customer Service agent. It was from a woman customer who wrote: "When you send out your emails, make them more gender neutral. I’m tired of seeing all the reference to guys in the emails. There are plenty of woman smokers too."

Here's the deal: With regard to writing the emails, I never thought I was being sexist; I was just relating to my fellow BOTL's ("Brothers of the Leaf"). Wondering if there are any "Sisters of the Leaf," I googled the acronym "SOTL." What came up was "Scholarship of Teaching and Learning" at Indiana University, Bloomington. So I tried a search on "Sisters of the Leaf" and got "Tea Leaf Green Live at Three Sisters Park," "Caroline Leaf and Her Two Sisters," and "Fall Leaf Quilt Pattern by Four Twin Sisters." Not exactly very much to do with cigars. But I digress.

Now, a lot of guys will tell you there's nothing sexier than seeing a woman smoking a cigar. OK, maybe some women, too (not that there's anything wrong with that). Not surprisingly, I've stumbled upon many a cigar website with pix of chicks smoking cigars. They grab my attention, but other than being used as a prop, I doubt as to whether any of these girls actually smoke cigars.

The sexual aspect aside, I not only enjoy meeting women cigar smokers, I respect women cigar smokers. Truth is, you just don't see all that many women smoking cigars. Or to put it another way, you really don't find many serious women cigar smokers, but I know they're out there. I did an article on women cigar smokers a few years ago, and these ladies were smoking some pretty serious cigars; not the mild or flavored fare some might suspect of a stereotypical female cigar smoker.

Moreover, I see plenty of women cigar smokers at the IPCPR trade show every year, many of whom are cigar store owners, so you know they have a vested interest in the leaf. Online, you'll find sites like FumeeWorld.com, started by Heather Waibel Haddad, and CigarWoman.com, a site dedicated to women cigar smokers. Then there's Jennifer Jordan, senior editor at SavorEachGlass.com, who blogs regularly on cigars.

I guess the sexual divide has mostly to do with the origins of cigar smoking, which throughout history has been a male-dominated practice. Take it to the next level, and maybe one of the big reasons a lot of men band together to smoke cigars is because, let's face it, it's one of the few times they can get away from their "significant others."

So is smoking cigars just "a guy thing?" I think for the most part, yes. But let's at least give our cigar-smoking "sisters" some cred.

Your thoughts?

10 comments:

Heather Haddad said...

Certainly cigars are still a male-dominated industry, however the number and presence of female cigar smokers is growing. Just like you don't typically expect a woman to drink whiskey or play poker, plenty do. For this reason, I argue it isn't a "guy thing" a phrase which implies that only men do or should do it. Thank you for mentioning Fumee in this article, I am constantly striving to raise the profile of female cigar smokers.

Gary Korb said...

Hi Heather. I think your poker comparison is an excellent parallel. Keep up the great work at Fumee.

MonkeyDan said...

Make no mistake...it's a guy thing. Women are welcome to join, but it's all about friendship, conversation and humor. Cigars are a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

Cigars may well be a "guy thing" in some circles, but my fiancee and I are both cigar fans - and the love of a good stogie is one of the things that actually brought us together.

When we're out smoking at any one of our favorite cigar bars, we often see lots of other women smoking. Perhaps now that the cigar craze of the mid 90's has calmed down, the only women smoking are the true fans, not the curious or trendy.

Gary Korb said...

Something that I probably should have mentioned - and perhaps the biggest irony with regard to cigars being a "guy thing" is - most of the rollers, sorters and packers in the cigar factories are women.

Thud said...

MonkeyDan says: "it's a guy thing. Women are welcome to join, but it's all about friendship, conversation and humor."

Friendship, conversation, and humor exist quite nicely in mixed company. My wife and I both enjoy cigars, and it makes for a nice relaxing evening. And I certainly enjoy her friendship, conversation, and humor.

This perception that it's a "guy thing" is what keeps her (and women like her) out of the tobacco shops.

Damsel said...

Cigars a "Guy thing" ? - I differ with you there, and to show how Women Cigar Lovers, SOTLs have grown in number....I invite you to visit our network at www.cigars4women.com. There you will find true women cigar enthusiasts, who have joined to discuss, review and share their experiences with the cigar community.

My name is Damsel, and I am the creator of C4W.

"If U haven't noticed the increase in Women Smoking Cigars, U haven't been paying attention." I always say...

enjoy, Damsel...

Gary Korb said...

Damsel,
I'm pleased that you commented and plugged your website. Sorry I overlooked it, too. As I said in my posting, "I not only enjoy meeting women cigar smokers, I respect women cigar smokers." So, it's good to know that more women are seriously getting into smoking cigars.
Enjoy,
G~

Damsel said...

Hi Gary,
Thanks for allowing me to plug our website. Much like Heather, I use every opportunity available to promote women in the cigar community. We're an avid bunch of cigar enthusiasts at C4W, and your respect is greatly appreciated!

Damsel....

women smoking cigars blog said...

Girls have been smoking cigars 3000 times more than they did in the 1980’s so you don’t have to worry, just go to your local cigar lounge and you might find one there, if you don’t, you might have to search for them lol. http://womensmokingcigars.wordpress.com has a bunch of stuff on women who smoke cigars and what not. Women are a rare sight, but when I see one, I really have to admire them =)