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Out of the Humidor

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I have just discovered your magazine and think it's great, except that, like all men on the subject of cigars, it is sexist.
I am a young, female computer professional. As a girl, I occasionally "liberated" cigars (mainly Romeo y Julietas) from my father's desk and learned the noble art of cigar smoking. Later when I moved into a shared flat, I would secretly indulge in the luxury of a good cigar as a special treat or just a pick-me-up. So that my flatmates would not discover my "dark secret," I did most of my smoking in parks. I tried bars, but the sight of a lone lady enjoying her cigar seemed always to attract men's comments and stares.
Now that I have moved into my own home I can, and do, smoke whenever I want to, but until recently it has always been when I was alone. A few months back, my youngest sister turned up while I was halfway through a Dunhill Corona, and I was forced to confess my dreadful secret. Her reaction amazed me. She took a tubed panetela from her bag and lit up. It turns out that she, too, experimented with my father's cigars and secretly adored them.
Between puffs we agreed that it is men's sexist reaction to we female cigar smokers that forces us to hide and feel guilty. But no more! From that day on, we both came out" and now blow smoke into the faces of those men who think we should not smoke. For the sake of all women, please dispel the myth that cigars are for men only. If you were to publish articles and pictures that depict women smoking cigars, I do believe your readership would double.
Bev Thomas
Warwickshire, England

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Dear Marvin:
Your magazine's "Out of the Humidor" section is one of the best and most enjoyable features in the magazine.
I especially enjoyed the letter from the man in California who described the clean-up process that he goes through to placate his wife after he smokes a cigar.
My ex-wife made a demand on me: either the cigars or her. My second wife has made no such demands. In fact, she cannot. The third paragraph of our prenuptial agreement gives me the unfettered right to smoke cigars without an elaborate postsmoke wash-up procedure. Legal disputes over that particular clause are by the law of Cuba.
Harry N. Turk
New York, New York

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Dear Marvin:
I would like to share with you an incident that occurred this past spring. I was at home studying for my final examination in statistics to be held the next morning. While I am a good student, this particular course had been giving me trouble. I was nervous and irritable when the postman arrived. He provided all the excuse I needed to get away from my desk.
Finding the latest edition of CIGAR AFICIONADO in the mail lifted my spirits considerably. I selected a Montecruz Colossus, the largest cigar in my humidor, donned my slippers, put up my feet and for the next hour or so relaxed with my smoke and enjoyed your magazine from cover to cover. I took special delight in the profile on Groucho; the levity was just what I needed.
When, sadly, my cigar was finished, I returned to my studies. However, I did so with renewed confidence and energy. Much of my frustration had become smoke and ash. The hour I spent with that cigar and your magazine did as much for me as a good night's sleep.
When my grades arrived this summer, I opened the envelope with confidence: I knew I had done well enough to pass statistics. But an "A"!
I cannot prove it, statistically speaking, but I have no doubt that the time spent in relaxation and meditation with a fine cigar that spring afternoon contributed greatly to my success the next day.
C. T. Bradley
San Francisco, California

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Dear Marvin:
There is a lack of tolerance and respect for tradition in our society. I always thought there were at least three times in one's life when it was not only tolerable to smoke a cigar, but customary: births, weddings and funerals. At our wedding, we had a box of Macanudos on the bar, and whenever I have been fortunate to have been invited to be a groomsman, I have always brought cigars befitting the occasion. The vast majority of weddings that my wife and I have attended have included cigars as part of the celebration.
As an obstetrician/gynecologist, I have had the privilege to deliver hundreds of babies (and have received exactly two cigars). And when I suggest to parents that giving cigars is still appropriate after the birth, I am met with looks of disgust and amazement.
In our ever more politically correct society, even reading this magazine in public attracts anticigar criticism.
Peter L. Stevenson
Dearborn, Michigan

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Dear Marvin:
I live in Windsor, Ontario, which borders on Detroit. On a recent trip to Toronto, I was given four Cuban cigars purchased by a friend's father on a trip to Cuba. I returned to Windsor with my friend, and we kept the cigars in the trunk of his car.
On the day following my return, we were to visit an old university friend in a nearby town and decided to take the cigars there and have a reunion smoke. Before leaving, we decided to cross over to Detroit and fill up on gas. Halfway across the bridge, I realized we still had the four Cuban cigars in the trunk. We didn't think we'd be pulled over so we went on.
Let me assure you that Murphy's Law is well founded and true, because the guard at the post asked us to pull over and see an immigration official for what turned out to be an inconsequential matter. But once there, we were asked to open the trunk of the car, and upon being questioned about the cigars, my friend spilled the beans. The customs officers looked at each other, practically licking their chops at the harassment opportunity.
In a very authoritative tone and condescending manner, we were informed of several possible actions, none of which could be described as hospitable, that they could decide to take. First, we were to go inside the office and resolve the immigration matter. As mentioned, that was dismissed immediately, and a more courteous customs officer approached us.
Upon hearing the story, he said we could either dump the cigars and go to Detroit or keep them and return to Canada. We chose the former, and upon a little insistence, he even allowed us to smoke two on the spot while the other two would be "destroyed." We were escorted out to the car, where we reluctantly handed over two and clipped and puffed on the other two. While lighting up, we chuckled over the irony of smoking Cubans in the United States with the knowledge and consent of the government.
Well, no more than two puffs later, one of the original customs officers came up to us saying that we were now in big trouble. He made us destroy the cigars and dispose of them. Meanwhile, the immigration officer who had witnessed us getting the consent came out and shamed the customs officer for being ignorant. It was too late--the cigars were destroyed, and being too disgusted to even protest, we left.
I don't mind the idiosyncrasies of government as much as the fact that four pieces of hand crafted ecstasy were destroyed.
Arvind Kumar Kohli
Windsor, Ontario
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