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Ladies and Cigars

Aficionadas: Women and Their Cigars
Gwen Martin, Evan J. Elkin
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95

"These gentlemen gave us some seegars...these are leaves of tobacco rolled up in such a manner that they serve both for a pipe and for tobacco itself. These the ladies, as well as gentlemen, are very fond of smoking."

-John Cockburn, English traveler in Costa Rica, 1735

"A cigar numbs sorrows and fills the solitary hours with a million gracious images."

-George Sand, 1867

"For me, cigar smoking is part of the ritual of the fine art of living."

-Helena Stigeler, president and cofounder, Michel Perrenoud International, Inc., 1995

"I smoked my first cigar during a business trip to South America," says Dallas-based businesswoman, inventor, author and patent-law expert Tomima Edmark. "I had just returned from a dinner given by one of the embassies in Santiago, Chile, and I was sitting in the hotel lobby with a group of 12 American businessmen when they, en masse, began lighting up Cuban cigars. I was intrigued by the sight. One of them offered me a cigar, but in a very teasing way, never expecting me to accept."

Having grown up with five brothers, Edmark knew a dare when she saw one. "They were surprised at first when I said, 'Sure.' But they loved the fact that I joined them, and they loved showing me the ropes. I have to say I didn't enjoy the taste right away, but I immediately understood the pleasure in the ritual--cutting it, holding it, gesturing with it."

Edmark says that her cigar smoking attracted the attention of a number of other men in the hotel lobby that evening. "Some of the men in our group called my attention to a Latin gentleman who they said had been staring at me amorously for some time," Edmark says with a laugh. "The man eventually approached me and said, 'I've been looking all my life for a woman who smokes a cigar.' I declined his invitation to dinner."

Edmark's story may resonate with other cigar aficionadas. It sums up the whole range of reactions that a cigar-smoking woman is bound to elicit. Confronted with a woman smoking a cigar, men

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