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Commentary: The Brotherhood of Cigars

7 Jan 2014

I had multiple people send me this article from the National Review. In it, conservative write Jonah Goldberg describes his fondness for cigars and the democratic nature of cigars and cigar smokers:

NR-cigarshopI can often be found on the twelfth-floor balcony of the American Enterprise Institute, also with stogie in hand. A friend and former colleague and I gave this balcony a nickname, “The Remnant,” in homage to Albert Jay Nock’s notion of an irreducible sliver of right-thinking humanity separate and apart from the “Neolithic” masses.

Nock’s was a thoroughly elitist conception, which is ironic, since smoking cigars may be the most democratic thing I do. At the cigar shop, the clientele is mixed in nearly every way, though you wouldn’t say it “looks like America.” A large proportion of the African-American regulars are D.C. cops. In terms of professions, the crowd leans a bit too heavily toward lawyers (as does the nation’s capital). But there’s no shortage of contractors, manual laborers, college students, and retirees.

Politically, there are all types. As far as I can tell, the most ideologically conservative regular (me included) is a federal employee. The gender mix is thoroughly lopsided, of course. Women do occasionally come into the shop, but when they do, all eyes go up as if a unicorn had sauntered into a library. Dennis Prager, another gentleman of the leaf, has written that cigar shops may be the last place in America where men can congregate and talk as men.

It’s worth a full read, even though I’m sure there are aspects – especially the political parts – that some readers will disagree with. (Personally, I’m not sure I’d agree his opinion on who is “the capital’s best tobacconist” but that’s really besides the point.)

The quoted passage above characterizes one of the best parts of cigar smoking. It’s not simply the enjoyment of the cigar, there’s much more to being a cigar smoker than that.

Quite simply, cigar smokers are a community. Even if you smoke alone, you’re flying a flag that says other cigar smokers are welcome to stop by for a chat.

Cigar smokers regularly approach other cigar smokers they’ve never met before to strike up a conversation. That doesn’t happen anywhere else these days. I may be a NY Giants fan, but I wouldn’t walk up to someone wearing a Giants jersey and strike up a conversation, unless he was also smoking E.P. Carrillo.

And that brotherhood of cigar smokers is one of the reasons we enjoy cigars so much.

-Patrick S

photo credit: National Review

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