Cigar Aficionado

Lighting Up Your Man Room

Who’s your matchbook guy? Who’s your cocktail napkin guy?

These are probably not questions you put much thought into. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t either—that is until by wonderful wife, in one fell swoop, cherried out my man room and enlightened me to the joys of customized matches and cocktail napkins.

A little background: A couple of years ago we went through a house renovation that seemed to last longer than a drum solo, and even then it wasn’t quite complete. Phase Triple Z in the plan was to finish a room in a newly created basement that would be my bar and smoking room. The whole thing had gone on so long that I myself had forsaken the possibility of its happening and was wondering how the whole house had become so girlified.

Then the lovely Ellen suddenly sprung into action. She called back the contractor, had him trick the place out to a fare thee well with a built in wood bar, bottom-lit glasses shelves and—glory of all glories—an icemaker. (This is an appliance that all it ever does is think of me: “I wonder if Jack needs some ice. Oh, he does. I better make him some. I wonder if Jack needs some more ice. No. I’ll just wait here until he does.”) Then the centerpiece arrived: a billiards table. What a great man room.

But, now I was feeling a bit embarrassed—I’d been thinking all these sullen thoughts about how I never get what I want and then the wife comes through like this. What I didn’t know was she had one more trick up her sleeve: the crowning piece.

Last week, they arrived: customized matchbooks and cocktail napkins emblazoned with the words “Chez Buzzy,” a family nickname. What more could I ask for? Well, a well-made Manhattan and a Montecristo No. 2, but I can take care of that myself.

Beyond the obvious pluses—I now have plenty of matches and can determine that I’m at home just by reading the napkin stuck to my forehead when I wake up—I also have a subtle way to rein in my philistine friends before they put water rings all over the furniture by ignoring such new culture as coasters. I simply pull out a Chez Buzzy napkin and say, “Hey, Cadwalader, look what Ellen gave me. Wanna see how it works?”

Oh, and by the way, my matchbook/napkin guy is

"Dear Colonel, Interesting. This must be what passes for an ideal "man room" in Connecticut. Matches? BevNaps? What about the voice-recognition dialing for the pizza delivery? Your wife is a saint. Of course, now we're all going to descend on your sanctuary for a billiards tournament. Get the cocktail shaker ready and tell that ice machine there's some overtime in its future. All the best, AB" —July 16, 2010 11:39 AM