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Dear Marvin,

I just finished reading most of the Summer issue of Cigar Aficionado. As my husband passed me the issue to read (we fight over who gets it first!), he looked at me with knowing eyes. As I read through the "Dear Marvin" letters, I knew why he gave me that look when I got to the letter from Jim Gordon of Morris Plains, New Jersey.

Congratulations to Jim for giving men everywhere a nice black eye! I'll admit, I haven't been enjoying cigars for very long (and neither has my husband, who loves the fact that he has someone so close to him who shares this affection for fine cigars, Cognac, Port and microbrews) but I certainly don't smoke them for anyone but me! Cigars are very expensive, a hassle to carry with you, a hassle to keep, not to mention the cost of all the accessories that go with it. And I'd do all this to impress guys like Jim?!

I do have my own humidor, and surprised my husband with a 150-cigar, custom-made exotic humidor for his birthday. (Jealous, Jim?) I don't run across very many men who have this view. Look at the rest of the "Dear Marvin" letters; most men are thrilled to have women who share in their love for cigars. I don't have many men treat me any differently when I light up a cigar--usually they want to talk to anyone about cigars--because they love cigars. Not because they're male or female.

The most attention I get is from women. They casually start conversations with me to find out about cigars. How I started with them and what kind I prefer. I encourage them (especially if they're smoking a cigarette!). I try to tell them they don't have to smoke a small cigar or even a panatela-- they might like the taste of a larger, more full-bodied smoke. I've got a box of Fuente 858s and a box of Montesino Diplimaticos in the humidor now, not to mention the 50 assorted cigars I brought home from the Dallas Big Smoke!

I just wanted to point out to Jim (and other cavemen) that a cigar aficionado is just that--male or female. Those who don't really enjoy it, won't last. Hey, that's more cigars for those of us that do! But do consider how many men smoke cigars for attention. And Jim, at least you did get a rebuttal to your letter. That's a good thing. Now, here's to an inch-long ash
in your eye.

Thanks for the room to vent, Marvin, and a wonderful coffee table quality place to do it!

Linda Leser
Dallas, Texas


Dear Marvin,

I am writing in response to Jim Gordon's letter. Mr. Gordon seems upset that there has been an increase in publicity on the topic of women and cigars. Mr. Gordon feels that women are "faking" their enjoyment of cigars and that, in reality, they are choking and holding back their tears while enduring this unpleasantness.

Wake up, Mr. Gordon.

Recently there has been a large increase in the number of new cigar smokers, in part due to its newfound publicity and many "smoker nights" throughout the country. Many of these new smokers are women, and we enjoy a good cigar just as much as the next man. Mr. Gordon also states that women don't "savor the subtle array of flavors" in a cigar and that we can't involve ourselves in intelligent aficionado discussions. Mr. Gordon, how many women aficionados have you conversed with? Could not this statement be made about some of the neophyte male cigar smokers as well? With anything new, isn't there a period of learning and development of finer distinctions?

As a final note I would like to ask Mr. Gordon why he is so outraged at the recent visibility of women aficionados. Does he feel that women shouldn't smoke cigars? If so, then he should just state that opinion plainly, rather than trying to pin inaccurate and offensive motivations on those of us who just want to enjoy a good cigar.

Christina D. Rosetti
Jersey City, New Jersey


Dear Marvin,

This is a response to the "man" from New Jersey. I am a 25-year-old woman, and a regular cigar smoker. My women friends and I fully enjoy smoking our cigars, not only in private, but also in public. We absolutely do not smoke cigars for attention, only for the pleasure. My friends and I consider ourselves to be cigar aficionados as much as any man has a right to consider himself to be one. I have met many other women who are also cigar smokers; some enjoy them more than the men smokers that I've met. I find that with any cigar smoker I meet, we have an instant bond and a very interesting subject to discuss.

I commend Cigar Aficionado for printing articles and promoting women cigar smokers. I only wish there were more. If it wasn't for "men" like the one from New Jersey, I am quite sure that there would be many more women open to trying and enjoying fine cigars. The last thing we cigar smokers need is to have other smokers put us down or turn us off. So to all the women reading out there, let's light up in salute to ourselves.

Lily A. De Vaul
Napa, California


Dear Marvin,

I would like to respond to Mr. Jim Gordon. Mr. Gordon expressed his doubts about the fact that women in general truly enjoy smoking cigars. My husband and I find this kind of thinking amusing, and both agreed that I should express my feelings on this matter.

First of all, I have had a passion for fine cigars long before the recent popularity of cigar clubs and cigar magazines. Back in the mid-1970s I was fortunate enough to have a college roommate who was Cuban. After a few months in the dorm, she liked and trusted me enough to reveal what was in the big wooden case under her bed--a bounty from the homeland. This delighted me because as a high school girl I used to love the smell of the janitor's cigar as he came into our building to clean. I learned a lot from that roommate, a lot about one of the great pleasures of life--smoking fine cigars.

Now nearly 20 years later, I own my own $1,119 humidor loaded with the best of the best. I have many girlfriends who share my enthusiasm, several of whom have gone to the Dominican Republic to see how cigars are actually made. Last year for my birthday, my parents gave me a box of 150th Signature Series Partagas. None of my lady friends nor I has a great deal of money. Surely we wouldn't spend so much time and money on these things if they made us "hold back coughs and tears," as Mr. Gordon suggests. We make it a priority because we truly like it.

It is just my opinion, but maybe Mr. Gordon needs to open up his mind a bit; maybe then he wouldn't feel so threatened by this reality. Isn't it possible for women's olfactory and gustatory senses to enjoy the same pleasures as men's do? Oh, and not to open up another can of worms, but my girlfriends and I also enjoy a good ball game, a fine Scotch and great sex!

Name Withheld
Detroit, Michigan


Dear Marvin,

I'd like to respond to a letter published in your last issue, from the gentleman (and I use the term loosely) who feels that "cigar aficionadA's" might just be "impostors."

I am a 42-year-old executive for a major computer training company in the D.C. area, and a single mom! I always have a very full day, which includes the second worst commute in the nation, the Beltway, so when I need to relax, I smoke a cigar!

I was a cigarette smoker for many years and in 1974 was employed at the New York Zoological Society (Bronx Zoo). After the gates closed at the end of a busy day (when the crowds were overwhelming), my associates and I gathered back in our office to count up the day's receipts. I was inevitably out of cigarettes. My co-workers, all retired New York City cops, would never offer to buy me cigarettes because they were bad for your health--they always offered for me to sample their cigars! Well, needless to say, I've been hooked since then. (I quit smoking cigarettes over five years ago).

I am the woman who has had the guts to light up a cigar in public for years; I've been trendy for a long time, and personally I have enjoyed all the attention. I have on occasion had men approach me, asking that I please talk to their wives, hoping that I could help convert them.

Imagine my fiancé's relief when on our first date, he asked if I minded if he lit up. I said, "Hey no problem, I'll join you," and we both shared a great smoke (Hoyo de Monterrey Sultans).

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