"When on occasion I'm asked by groups of aspiring writers what they should do to get on, my advice is always, emphatically, smoke. It's a little-known, indeed little-researched fact of literature and journalism that no nonsmoker is worth reading." A.A. Gill, Sunday Times-1999.
Today we return, and turn to The Man's Book for advice on the subject of smoking.
Smoking gets a bad rap these days, particularly in such self-righteous places as California. But a true man will not be swayed by the opinions and disapproving stares of others. He will make up his own mind about the toxins he will take into his body. As the Man's book states, "everyone knows how to quit smoking…here are some points on why and how to pick up the habit."
Advantages of smoking
- "…it's tempting to think that there is no worse time to start (smoking). In truth it may be as good a time as ever. When a morally neutral act is banned, more people often turn to it than would have otherwise….a persecuted minority mixes more freely among itself, and a ban does nothing if not add to social cohesion…"
- "Smoking can be an effective method of weight control, as Lucky Strike cigarettes put to profitable effect with their famous slogan, 'reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.'"
- It appeals to man's fascination with fire.
- It brings reflection, and with reflection more considered judgment, if not wisdom.
Advice for Beginners
- Always be in possession of the tools of your trade; e.g. your smoking kit
- Practice the rituals; lighting, packing, how to offer a cigarette (do not hand him/her a cigarette, but partially remove one from the pack and extend said pack to would be smoker)
- "You will invariably receive pressure from others to either not take up smoking or refrain from smoking in their presence…" "The best response is a defensive one: surround yourself with other smokers, which makes taking up smoking more enjoyable. Two or three smokers together at a party are a social attraction."
Who doesn't want to be part of a social attraction?
The Man's Book goes into more detail re: cigars vs. cigarettes, the advantages and disadvantages of chewing tobacco vs. nasal snuff, and the strange decline in popularity of the pipe, but what I found fascinating is that there's an actual listing of different cigarette "grips."
"A person's first impression of a smoker depends not so much on his choice of cigarette as on the way he holds it."
I had no idea that cigarette grips were actually cataloged. How fascinating and… futile. None the less, let's review a few, shall we?
Twee: "This affected hold is a quick giveaway of a) a new smoker hoping to impress or b) a man who bats for the other team." So if you don't want to look like a fembot, don't twee your fag. I guess that would also go for the "woman's" if you're not.
Comfort: "This ingenious hold can be used for cigarettes and cigars. The middle finger acts as a natural rest for one's heavier smokes." "Heavier smokes"? How much does a cigarette weigh? I think the man's book is calling smokers wienies, but maybe I'm just blowing smoke.
Chap: Who the hell holds a cig like this? "What this hold suffers from in functionality it makes up for in aesthetics. Note, the cigarette must not be held too close to the butt." Not unless you're looking to burn your ass.
Gentry: "A variation on the classic grip that conveys gravitas (or pomposity). It need only be used momentarily to produce the desired effect." Assuming that the effect you want is look like a twee.
Bounder: I like this one. "Apart from damaging the cigarette, this unusual hold enables any smoking ruffian to throw a punch at a moment's notice."
So there you have it - all the basics you need to know to take up the fun and rewarding hobby of smoking.
Well, what are you waiting for? Smoke up Johnny!