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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Linda Evangelista, Autumn 95

(continued from page 1)

Sadly, I have come across many people who make sweeping judgments about me both because I am gay and because I smoke cigars. It is ironic, Marvin, how similar these judgments are! In fact, many of your heterosexual readers have a very good idea how it feels to be gay in America because of the fact that they smoke cigars and receive the same type of persecution.

I have sat on a park bench smoking a fine cigar when someone who is walking by has turned to me and given me an angry sneer. How fragile these individuals must be if their afternoons are so quickly ruined by smelling cigar smoke for a split second as they pass me on a park bench! I still remember the day when a very large woman lectured me about how my health would suffer if I continued to smoke. I don't know about her, but I work out at the gym three times a week, swim three times a week, roller blade every day and eat a low-fat diet.

The hope for tolerance that all cigar smokers have is very similar to the hope that my gay brothers and sisters have. All we want is for people to realize that our private behavior neither affects nor concerns them in any way, shape or form, and that the United States of America was founded on the idea that every citizen may engage in his or her own personal pursuit of happiness unencumbered by others who may disagree with their ways.

The cigar and gay rights movements have a lot in common. In unison, we should all get together and tell the government to stay out of our smoking rooms and out of our bedrooms. It really is true that when we fight for the rights of one group, we are in turn fighting for the rights of all.

Christopher Lamparello
New York, New York

* * *

Dear Marvin,

For quite some time now I have been enjoying the company of a good smoke after a long and stressful day at work. I enjoy smoking cigars as much as I do purchasing them, touching them, and smelling them. As a single male under the age of 30, I try to socialize as much as possible. My career and my future are very important to me. I also realize how unacceptable smoking is in today's world. I seem to be in a generation that is split down the center, creating two factions: the smoke haters and the smoke lovers.

In the past six weeks a friend of mine has decided to try the time-honored ritual of cigar smoking. She was very impressed with the taste and now looks forward to a cigar as much as I do. Lately my friend and I have been going to a secluded local restaurant/bar to sample different drinks and cigars during the week. I have always, and will always, smoke cigars where others are not bothered by the aroma. If I know that someone around me is bothered by my smoke, I don't enjoy my cigar as much as I should. I have always been a considerate cigar smoker.

This same friend of mine had a birthday last week, and I received an invitation for a formal dress party in her honor. As my gift to her I purchased several cigars that I felt she would enjoy. As she opened the gift around a crowd of people, she thanked me and appreciated the time I spent in selecting the cigars. Her sister immediately stood up and began to ridicule me in front of everybody for forcing a bad habit on someone else. As I glanced around the room, all private discussions had stopped and attentions were in my direction. As the uncontrolled sister spoke on, her voice became more intense. She was actually telling everyone in the room that I had forced someone to smoke cigars and my gift was proof.

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