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Cigar smoking by women
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    A woman’s guide to cigar smoking: everything you need to know to be the ultimate cigar aficionada. Rhona Kasper. New York: St Martin’s Press, 1998. ISBN 0-31218-230-9, pp 128, US$13.95.

    “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”—Sigmund Freud

    But not often in this book.

    A woman’s guide serves as a vehicle for a lot of double entendre, and very little else. The book joins a recent spate of publications timed and designed to capitalise on the suddenly rising popularity of cigars. But it offers conspicuously little information. It seems, in the end, not intended at all to make the reader an expert in cigar consumption, but simply to arm her with enough glibness and posturing to “pass” as a bonne vivante.

    The book offers all the props for a superficial show, completely unencumbered by substance. In the section on “Licking Your Cigar?!” for example, Ms Kasper concedes there is no practical reason to engage in this behaviour, and then advises: “It’s a real head turner when a woman coyly licks her cigar from end to end. And I am definitely not one to waste a chance to turn some heads. So go ahead. Make a statement, turn some heads, cause a stampede. And those uptight cigar experts who soundly denounce licking a cigar. . . . I’ll bet my Opus X they’d fight to trade places with the lucky men mesmerized by you, your tongue, …

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