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Dear Marvin,
I just had to write after having read your latest issue. I love your magazine (my boyfriend has the subscription) for many reasons, and I always look forward to its arrival.
When this month's issue arrived, I of course breezed quickly through it, looking for those articles I would find of interest. As I was flipping through, my attention was quickly drawn to the layout on the Playmate of the Year. I thought, "Hey! There's a naked woman in the cigar magazine!"
I have always appreciated your publication for the level of sophistication it achieves in each issue, so I was relieved when I was able to quell my first impression. The photos were tasteful as was the article about this interesting and successful woman.
Great job!
Patricia E. Gilliland
Tarrytown, New York

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Dear Marvin,
I am a 25-year-old professional who has enjoyed the unmatched pleasure of cigar smoking since age 19. For years I have considered myself to be in the minority among my peers when it comes to being a "cigar aficionado." However, I am now discovering that I am not entirely alone among the Generation-X crowd. There was one incident recently where I met a fellow cigar enthusiast in the most unlikely of places.
It was well past midnight on a Saturday when I found myself at a rave in downtown Detroit. For those of your readers unfamiliar with this term, a "rave" is an underground dance party frequented by rather exotic people. It is customary to dress in outlandish clothing, dance and party until dawn. Among this subculture one would not expect to see many conservative-types puffing on cigars, but there I was.
I was standing at the bar enjoying a smoke when I was tapped on the shoulder. Fully expecting a confrontation of some sort because of my cigar smoking, I turned around with great hesitancy. To my delight, there stood a beautiful 23-year-old woman, dressed in blue bell-bottom pants and a red polka dot shirt draped by a large pink boa. To my even greater delight she asked what kind of cigar I was smoking. I admit I was a little surprised by her line of questioning. I told her I was enjoying an Hoyo De Monterrey No. IV. She seemed impressed by my choice and asked if she could try the cigar.
Next thing I know, we're talking all about the world of cigars. The most amazing thing about the conversation was her revelation that she is not a cigar smoker. I asked her how she knows so much about cigars. She replied, "I read Cigar Aficionado."
That cinched it. I knew this had to be a dream. A beautiful woman who appreciates cigar smoking and reads Cigar Aficionado--not what I expected at a rave. It did, however, seem odd to me that she would read a magazine for cigar smokers, yet not be a cigar smoker herself. She said that she enjoyed the articles and was always fascinated by cigars because of her late father's indulgence in them.
The rest of the night, or should I say morning, we spent dancing and recalling past articles of your fine magazine. The best part was her insistence that I continue to smoke cigars for the duration of the evening. She herself did no more tasting, but revealed that she loved the second-hand aroma from my cigars. She said it reminded her of when she was a child sitting on her father's lap while he smoked one of his favorite Churchills.
The only bad news about this story is its ending. Having found what I considered to be the perfect woman, I was disheartened to learn that she was only visiting Detroit for a short period of time, and was planning to return to her hometown of Seattle the next day. That night was the first and last time we saw each other. But if I'm ever in Seattle, I'll be sure to visit as many raves as I can in hopes of finding her again.
Nils Kuehn
Adrian, Michigan

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Dear Marvin,
I am writing to you from 33,000 feet, in the the final two hours of my nonstop 11 hour flight from Los Angeles to Milan. I don't know why I do this to myself, but I always pack the most recent issue of Cigar Aficionado in my carry-on (no matter how many times I've read it before) and proceed to read it cover to cover. This self-imposed sentence of "cigar deprivation" is only exacerbated by the fact that I am having to read about these precious pieces of God's great creation but I can't "light up" on the plane, even though I am subjected to the stench of second-hand cigarette smoke the entire flight.
To help ease the pain and also to get my mind off of my obsession, I decided to write to you. I have had a couple of instances of cigar smoking on international flights that I wanted to share with you.
First, the good. A couple of years go, on one of my many flights to Tokyo, I was upgraded from business class to first class on All Nippon Airlines (ANA). The chief cabin steward was a gem. He was a very dignified man, worthy of his position. The food was incredible and the wine list was surprisingly well rounded. I started off with a half a bottle of 1982 Dom Perignon. I had a lovely beef Wellington done to perfection with a full-bodied Cabernet. Dinner was finished with a 20-year-old tawny Port. I felt that familiar urge to light up one of my Cohiba robustos that I always have with me in my travel humidor. I motioned to the steward and explained my predicament. He said, "Wait here--I'll see what I can do." He came back in a few moments and said, "Follow me." He slid me into the crew's sleeping area behind floor-to-ceiling curtains, and said, "Please be my guest. Enjoy yourself." He even came by twice to fill my Port glass. I was in heaven.
The bad. My wife accompanied me on one of my trips to London on American Airlines. We were about four hours into our flight, after dinner, when my wife went to the last row of business class and lit up a cigarette. I was thinking to myself, "How unfair!!"
We had previously had a minor tiff with our flight attendant, and I had consumed a few glasses of mediocre wine. All of these things made me a little cranky, to say the least. At that time I decided, "Well, I'll show them," and proceeded to light up. I no sooner got that sucker lit but to look up and see this battle-ax hovering over me. Man, she was nasty! She told me that if I didn't extinguish that "thing" immediately that I would be met by some of London's finest upon arrival at Heathrow.
I took two more puffs and watched her face turn red with rage. In less than 30 seconds, she had me surrounded with four flight attendants. Hell, I was only smoking a cigar! I hadn't threatened to blow up the plane or anything like that!! Anyhow, I decided that this moose was serious and complied. Upon leaving the plane, one of the flight crew just smiled and shook his head at me and said, "Tough, ain't she?" We both laughed and headed up the jetway. It's nice to see that some people still have a sense of humor.
Mike Johnson
Dana Point, California

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Dear Marvin,
I am a bartender at a popular busy restaurant/bar in a suburb of Milwaukee. There are many nights during a busy dinner that I find myself maxed-out to the point of being (as we say it) "in the weeds." One huge side-effect is stress. I have recently found the ultimate antidote. During all the hoopla, I need only look in the drawer where I left my "cigar of the night" to receive a second wind. Then, after the waitresses punch out, the dinner crowd departs, the glasses are washed, the tickets are rung into the register and I have a chance to catch my breath, I open that drawer and pull out my "bone," my reward for being a good dog.
As I light it, I usually notice three different reactions from people: The first reaction is amusement at "the bartender smoking a cigar." (Little do they know how relaxed and separated I feel from the simple yet subtly complex act of lighting up.) The second is disgust, but I take true pleasure in pointing to the "Smokeeter" we've installed and from knowing that, sorry, there is nothing they can do about it. The third reaction is the most prominent. It is the look of jealousy. These people ask earnestly if we sell cigars or where I bought it from or what kind it is, and they always remark on how much they love cigars, all the time saying this with their eyes on mine.
Because of this, I enjoy it all the more! I'd also like to note that my girlfriend loves cigars, too. This seems like a great set-up for me, and it is, until midway through my cigar, she begs to try it, and I soon find lipstick all over it! Oh well, nothing's perfect, I guess. So to all you cigar-loving bartenders out there--cheers!
David "Mertz" Moertl
Centennial Bar & Grille
Mequon, Wisconsin

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Dear Marvin,
My daughter is sleeping, my husband is downstairs. I have my bubbles, perfume and candles, soft music is playing, and I'm sipping Grand Marnier and smoking the sweetest Cuban Cohiba there is.
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