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At Davidoff we discover that two symbols of Femininity in the absolute sense smoked Havana cigars. But have you ever seen a picture of Grace Kelly or Liz Taylor with a Havana between her lips? It is also true that I am talking about women who lived, still, in a period when there were significant differences in tastes and habits between males and females. But as I have already written, Western society today is moving toward the flattening of roles and the homogenization of tastes and habits. Not yielding, for the time being, are the Eastern and Arab worlds, which still remain somewhat faithful to their traditions. Back to the ladies and the Havana: is it really worth giving up one’s femininity in order to follow a fashion phenomenon? Havana is a strong smoke. Flavor, aroma and strength have been calibrated, for centuries, to male palates accustomed, by habit, to fatty and savory dishes, full-bodied and tannic red wines, spirits, etc. etc. Female palates should be educated to more delicate flavors and aromas. There is also, from a purely aesthetic perspective, a not insignificant problem for the female smoker related to gesture, choice of size, the size of her fingers, and, most importantly, context.

A careful, elegant woman with a bit of a “pin-up” spirit who has accrued the pleasure of Havana, but who fears looking like a George Sand simulacrum with a cigar between her lips and a swaggering, masculine attitude, must be very careful about how and what she smokes.

In this regard, I recall an incident that happened to me a few years ago during the Festival de la Habano at “El Ajive” restaurant in La Habana. I was sitting at the head of the table with a group of my smoking friends, several tables away I could see a large Havana, perhaps a Doble Corona or a Churchill, moving oddly. But the friend who sat across from me obscured my full view of the bizarre smoker. This cigar was moved with great sensuality, I could vaguely see the half-hidden profile of the smoker, but I perfectly observed the cigar being smoked held in the mouth for a few seconds, completely facing upward with the foot, almost vertical to the table. It is hard to explain how much grace and elegance that hand wielding the cigar had. I became convinced that the smoker could only be a woman. So I was left with the curiosity to find out its identity when dinner was over; but while at our table the diners were still engaged in their desinare, the smoker’s party left the restaurant, so for a few moments the incredible creature appeared to me, revealing herself in all her beauty and elegance: a blond woman, resembling Sharon Stone, perhaps even more beautiful! “My God!” I exclaimed, and engaging my table of only men, I added, “So there are still Women?!” I had the honor of meeting this Olympian goddess a few days later at the Festival’s gala dinner. I will only add that she was wearing a very simple silk dress, guess what color? Tobacco color! The divine creature accompanied my friend Frank Nisemboim, another great interpreter, not surprisingly, of the noble art of “Elegant Living.”

If our Divines want to approach cigars, they should know that for them the rules of savoir faire are much more rigid and difficult to follow. Only to women endowed with great femininity and style can smoking a cigar add to their charm, but again, it is not easy!

Undoubtedly for female hands, small-gauge or panatela sizes are more suitable. Moreover, we cannot overlook the fact that the cigar is in fact a strongly phallic symbol, this brings an additional handicap for the woman who does not want to appear ridiculous or worse vulgar. No hand or mouth gesture should ever, even remotely, remind us of its strong symbolism. The cigar will be held between the index finger and thumb, and depending on its length, the fingertips of the other fingers should be rested on it. Another form of cigar smoking, which is very feminine, is to hold the cigar still, however with the thumb and other fingers opposed, but with the hand upside down. The latter form undoubtedly possesses a more sensual value. Ladies should avoid the more masculine way of smoking that holds the cigar between forefinger, thumb and middle finger.

However, it is always appreciable when women take an interest in the male universe. There are many women to whom I have taught how to cut and light a Havana well to hand, then, to their lucky love, accompanied by that expression of satisfaction, typical of women, when they are happy to take care of their man. Since my teenage years, I have been inspired in my choice of female companionship by the words of Nietzsche, who perhaps provided the best model of the female role, undoubtedly from an exquisitely masculine perspective-the great philosopher called them “the warrior’s rest.”

I think it is readily apparent from my writing that I am not particularly in favor of seeing women smoke Havana, much less a pipe. But we know that they have been the favorite victims of advertising and fads for centuries, so it is not easy to dissuade them. It seems, today, that the majority of Western women have become convinced that in order to achieve sexual equality with men, lipstick and guepiere must be sacrificed. What a pity! Fortunately, there are minorities who do not give up their prototypical role! And if the latter derive pleasure from cigar smoking, it would be good if they were inspired in their smoking by those splendid figures who were the women of the 1920s, such as Marlene Dietrich, who inhaled cigarettes by dabbing long mouthpieces.