For years, the art of cigar smoking has fallen under the category of a male activity, like rebuilding carburetors or prostate exams. But, time has a way of changing things; it is the ultimate makeover. While decades ago women were consumed with burning their bras, they are now becoming intrigued by burning something else: cigars.
This may seem like an odd concept. Cigars maintain a certain masculinity that eludes women: the female gender has always been equated with more feminine smokes, mainly cigarettes. Even old Hollywood films are filled with women smoking cigarettes. From the Bacalls to the Hepburns, women were portrayed in sensual manners, their lusting voices coming through a crowd of cigarette smoke. Men, on the other hand, were portrayed as powerful, smoking their cigars and plotting to take over the world.
Now, women are taking the bull by the horns and the cigar by the head, throwing away their Virginia Slims for something that demands more presence. It may seem like an odd concept, this women and cigars thing. But the reason females everywhere are turning to stogies is the same reason men turn to them: a cigar gives the smoker a sense of power, of freedom, and the ability to show off without coming across as arrogant: there is no such thing as an unconfident cigar smoker.
But, there's more. Because women have become major players in the corporate world, climbing the corporate ladder with speed and eloquence, they have also become major players of the amenities that come along with the corporate world: the company cars, the jetting off to Paris, and the business meetings at cigar bars.
With theses advances in the corporate world, women have found themselves with more disposable income. While they certainly treat themselves to mainstream female activities - going to spas, getting a pedicure, dying their hair at the first sight of a gray strand - they've also adopted activities once reserved only for men, including cigar smoking. A cigar has long been held as a luxury of the businessman - a way to celebrate a promotion or a successful merger - and women are grabbing on to that luxury, using cigars as a way to celebrate their own successes.
But, the advances in the corporate world aren't always good. Along with professional advancement comes stress, a lot of it. It's always included, as if part of some sort of anti-benefits package. With the accumulation of stress, women have searched for a way to relieve tension and unrest, a way to grip a sense of control. A cigar facilitates this grip, calming the nerves and providing an outlet for release.
While all the above are solid reasons women are having a love affair with cigars, leading a Smoking Renaissance, the art of tradition adds another major component. Cigars are about camaraderie with coworkers and friends, celebration of accomplishment, and traditions of intellect and sophistication. They are all about things in which women deserve to have a hand.
When it comes down to it, cigars are also about power and prestige. And now, so are women.
Friday, August 22, 2008