Please note that the following is not a how-to guide. For most it is a humorous account of oddity; for a select few it serves as a warning. All of the following examples come from my long experience hanging out in better cigar lounges. There, in those, better (not best) behavior is required. Usually it comes with the territory, good fellows smoking good sticks. Sometimes things go awry.
I’ve recounted the great benefits of smoking a healthy cigar. And I’ve described the process of selecting the right cigar shop. Once you’ve found the right place, enjoy it. Just don’t commit the following sins of the cigar:
Imagine a man with more money than sense – and virtually no manners or couth. He’s used to getting his way merely because he can generally buy his way out of most situation.s Years of experience have also left him with the ability to talk his way out of trouble. In general, he’s very uninterested in others and rather uninteresting himself. He loud, rude, and crude.
He enters the sacred cigar environment. He doesn’t fit in so he actually tries to buy some friends. Cigars for everyone! He’s got some decent tastes in sticks, if in nothing else. People tolerate his odd ways – for a time. After a while it becomes obvious he’s merely trying to carry on his own agenda of … whatever it is. No one likes him or wants him around. And those are the regular customers.
He treats the staff (owner aside) like trash. These service workers, he thinks, are below him. Being of low self-worth, he takes out his aggressions on the those he perceives as second-rate. These happen to be trusted advisers and friends of the regulars.
Eventually this maltreatment, coupled with his usually abrasive demeanor, lead to his expulsion. His money only goes so far. Now, as an aside, this type is used to being ultimately dismissed. And he’s ready for it. Against all odds, he admits his faults and (for once) comports himself like a gentleman. He excuses himself and is never seen again.
There’s a usually “type” that frequents the better establishments. Old, young, black, white, blue or white-collar, rich or poor – there’s an appearance, a demeanor. The above character didn’t have it – too high-strung. On the opposite end of the scale we find a creature of zero drive, couth, and character.
He doesn’t necessarily have to be on drugs but he probably is. He wanders in one day dressed for the opposite season. He perches on the nearest piece of soft furniture and stays there for hours or days, a listless, dozing personality.
For a short time he keeps his welcome by purchasing the cheapest product offered. He often partakes of any free water or coffee offered. (The pills don’t pop themselves…). He, while harmless, is of little value. No valuable communications nor camaraderie.
After a short time his coffee pilfering weirdness is too much. Accordingly, he is dismissed. And he drifts away in search of quaaludes. No one misses him.
The Self-Banning Self-Righteous
The guy who is missed, by some and for a short time, is a most interesting study.
He’s a good guy. Middle class, hard-working, appropriately talkative – he’s got it all. And his taste in smokes is pretty good too. He seems to fit right in. And he does … until that day.
On the wrong day at the wrong time something will set this character off. He’ll get his usual smoke. Something will go wrong – bad burn, cracking, etc. It happens to even the best sticks. This deformity he brings to the attention of the shop-keep. Now the fun starts.
While going to retrieve a replacement, the clerk or manager will, per the business, crack a sarcastic comment. “Something’s wrong with the user!” Something like that. It’s just ribbing and it’s meant to build on the relationship. And, if the fellow waits a second, will result in another cigar – free of charge.
He doesn’t see it that way. All he hears is the comment. And he’s gone. Forever. Later attempts to track him down and reel him back will fail. He’s too indignant. “I shall not spend my money where I’m not wanted!’
He has effectively banned himself over nothing. For a while his lose is mourned by others. He was a good guy. Or, so it seemed. Then, one by one they all realize what a thin-skinned crybaby they had been dealing with. In actuality, he did not fit in. In the end, he was destined to go.
These personality disorders are more prevalent than most care to admit. The tendencies may be masked for a long time but, ultimately, they emerge. When they do, these types can get dangerous fast.
Usually they are associated with someone and not a general customer themselves. It could be a friend, a neighbor, or a spouse.
Inevitably something always happens that frees the crazy up to be herself. If the spouse, a good, ordinary customer dies, then the freak will begin to terrorize the shop. The assault starts with hanging around and making a nuisance. After this activity is quashed, she moves on to more aggressive, if clandestine, activity. Nightly visits and vandalism commence. The police are involved.
After what seems like an eternity, the horrors cease. Jail, injury, or something else breaks the pattern. Thank God.
The Mumbling Annoyance
This one is a little pitiful. But pity only goes so far.
This little character may take the form of an older man, short, lonely, and … slow. He seems to genuinely want decent company. Life has been hard and friends make things a little better.
The problem is his approach and lack of any social filter. His talk is non-stop, incoherent, and revolves around a subject no one can keep track of. His ceaseless conversation is impossible to understand to or to understand. It sounds like mumbling, like an air-conditioner humming in and out of key.
It gets to be too much. Most are too polite to outright shun his presence. The staff is concerned but slow to act. Finally something gives. It’s usually a mutual agreement. The disagreeable drifter finally accepts he isn’t needed or wanted. What results is more of an truce rather than a ban. Sometimes he’ll pop back in.
Most don’t notice. Or, they pretend not too. It’s a sad situation but not something any cigar can cure.
Another disorder that can’t be cured by retail measures is thievery. No one likes a thief. They don’t like freaks either. Sometimes these come in the same, strange package.
Picture, if you will, a young hipster. He has little to say. He dresses in pajamas – literally. He knows he has nothing in common with the regular crowd so he doesn’t hang out. Except in the humidor. There he stays for half an hour at a time. Yet he always emerges with the same small grouping of mid-priced sticks. He leaves.
This seems odd but harmless. His visits provide a little comedy relief. That is until the shrinkage becomes noticeable. A few sticks here, a box there – the losses begin to mount. After some sleuthing it becomes obvious the pajama boy is a master thief. His prolonged shopping excursions are primarily of the five-fingered variety.
Unless he’s caught in the act it is nearly impossible to press charges. And it’s best not to wait. It’s better to cut the loses and ban this fool before he does more damage. At least there’s something to laugh about after the fact.
The Drooling Harasser
Some cigar joints include a bar with alcohol. The two go together pretty well. Some fewer establishments manage a general, night-time clientage. If the vibe is right, then attractive young ladies may stop by. This is a general benefit to be appreciated.
A few don’t get the value. And they do what they can to disrupt everyone else’s enjoyment.
Pick the worst traits of the foregoing monstrosities and roll them into one staggering, drunken loser. He (always a “he”) serves too purposes. First, he will stumble about sexually harassing all of the young lovelies. They leave. People get annoyed. Second, he engages everyone else in pointless conversation. He further annoys the crowd. And he spits on them too – not out of malice, but from a lack of oral control.
The sooner he’s shown the door the better. This one is a potential shop-killer.
The Hard-luck Loser
There’s one other type that can fault commercial success like few others. It’s a loser of unusual proportions and unusual traits. This one is usually a woman.
She’s down and out. Aging. Disabled. Unhappily married. Mentally ill or drugged out of her mind – or both. She has nothing to do all day. And she craves attention.
Then she discovers a place where kindly, better-off men congregate. She sees this as a happy hunting ground. In she comes, quietly at first, explosive in the end.
Her visits progressively become more bizarre. She spends little money but much time. The time is spent talking pure craziness and seeking sexual favors from the regulars. These men are 100% red-blooded heterosexuals. Still, all but the most desperate or inexperienced rebuff the advances. Most recoil in sheer terror. Some depart.
Things come to a head after some over-the-top event. She will pull some calamitous caper. This event will clear the shop and leave everyone scratching their heads. They’ll all be glad when it’s over. But it’s not…
She’ll come back with a false claim that someone did something to her. She’ll make threats. She’ll expect a payoff or something. The best payment is a straight banning. A problem is bad enough. A problem that potentially creates more and worse problems is intolerable. She can take it all somewhere else.
I’m aware of a few more select stories. However, I think the foregoing get the point across. Some people just don’t belong in better company and society. Others just can’t last.
Cigars are meant to be enjoyed – by everyone. Whatever you do, don’t emulate the above examples of misbehavior. The last thing you want to hear is: “We don’t need your business. Get out.”