It is really hard to hate a cigar lounge. From the beginning of the experience (saying hello and picking out a cigar) to the final puff and the stroll back outside, the experience is meant to help us relax and enjoy the art and elegance of the leaf. That doesn’t mean that this thoughtfully designed experience is always a sanctuary from stress. Most veteran cigar smokers have seen the experience soiled by loud and idiotic patrons, rude shop owners, and a whole slew of other distractions. So, what exactly is it that pisses us off?
In order to come up with the list below, I took to our social networks, particularly our Facebook page, and asked our audience what their biggest lounge pet peeves are. I also dropped by Twitter and the Reddit cigar community (r/cigars) and was given some great insight.
If you are a new cigar smoker heading to a lounge or just hoping to get through the cigar bar experience without alienating your boss and his heavy-hitting friends, this might be a helpful list of things NOT to do next time you are out at a lounge.
Here’s the summarized version first:
13 Ways to Make Everyone at a Cigar Lounge Hate You
1. Lick the wrapper of your cigar before having it cut.
This tradition of licking the wrapper before lighting is really a vestige of a forgotten past when cigars were not humidified properly by importers and shops. 99% of the cigars you see, touch, and smoke in a shop are humidified perfectly, so go easy on the slobber – it really won’t make you look like an aficionado.
2. Criticize or belittle someone’s cigar choice.
Don’t do it. It doesn’t matter if their cigar costs $2 or $25. If it isn’t your flavor profile, don’t ruin it for someone else (yes, complaining about a cigar will taint their perception of it even if it’s a great stick).
3. Tell everyone how that Cuban you had the other day was better than every other cigar ever.
This is the other side of the cigar criticism coin. No one gives a damn if you smoked a Cuban. You don’t sound cool by repeating that you did. And yet every 5 minutes someone on this planet has the urge to affirm themselves by touting their Cuban cigar experience.
Want to know the likely truth? That Cuban you had in Puerto Rico on your business trip was probably a fake. It was probably made of some generic Dominican tobaccos and given a fake Cohiba wrapper.
And even if it was a real Cuban, this is typically how the conversation goes, and this is how dumb you will likely sound:
Cigar smoker 1: “Dude yeah I love cigars. I was smoking this cuban the other day it was so good.”
Cigar smoker 2: “Yeah? What was it?”
Cigar smoker 1: ”A Cuban, it was so good, so much better than anything here.”
Cigar smoker 2: “I heard you. I asked which Cuban.”
Cigar smoker 1: ”Uh a churchill I think. It was so good.”
Be prepared to receive an annoyed expression.
4. Interject into another conversation and quickly begin talking about yourself and your opinions.
This really is common sense, but it deserves repeating because of the way that cigars tend to bring out the egos of those who only smoke to stroke their ego: stop talking about yourself so much. Chances are, you are much less interesting than you think you are, and you might just find that those around you are interesting themselves.
5. Start a heated debate on politics and religion.
As much as you might love talking about the importance of metaphysical realism to the development of Western rights theory, or your most hated politicians, etc., there are just some topics that, unless you really know the person you are speaking to (one on one), you should avoid.
Cigars draw all sorts of individuals together, and that means people with wildly varying political and religious sensibilities. So before you go bashing Obama as a Muslim socialist or talking about how dumb you think conservatives are, take a moment to check yourself, and perhaps instead ask your friends if they have any special plans for the season or what their favorite spirit to pair is.
6. Blow smoke in someone’s face.
I’ll admit, I’ve done this a few times back when I first started smoking. But the truth is, it really isn’t funny. Enjoy your own cigar and let your fellow cigar smokers enjoy theirs.
7. Light up a cigarette.
How would you like it if I poured some kool-aid into that nice $40 bottle of wine you are drinking? Oh, you wouldn’t? Then please don’t pollute everyone’s smoking experience by blowing cigarette smoke everywhere, because it is the same thing. Aroma makes up 80% of the taste for many cigar smokers (myself included), and I can smell cigarette smoke immediately, even across the room.
It will ruin everyone’s smoking experience, and you will not be making any friends.
8. Puff another person’s cigar.
Don’t do it. As Aguilar7 on r/cigars put it, “It’s like asking to kiss someone’s spouse, to see what it’s like; get your own.”
9. Mooch cigars off of other cigar smokers.
When you’re sitting down, relaxing with a nice cigar, the last thing you want to hear is someone all-too-politely beating around the bush about how much they want to try the cigar that you just bought five of. Even if you know that there is a particularly generous cigar smoker that might bless you with a free stick, don’t be a cigar bum. Save your own money, buy your own cigars.
If you really want to, ask another BOTL if he’ll trade some cigars with you so it is a fair deal.
10. Give yourself generous amounts of other people’s liquor without supplying any.
Cigar smokers are some of the most consistently generous people you will ever meet. But don’t take advantage of that fact. If someone brings a bottle to share and offers you some, accept it graciously. But if you didn’t bring any to share, be polite and forgo pouring yourself more glasses of their hard-earned money.
11. Walk away with someone else’s cutter or lighter.
I can’t even count the amount of torch lighters and cutters I’ve lost because I let some forgetful person borrow them only to have my tools vanish. It’s normal to borrow cutters or a lighter – just be sure you don’t walk off and enter a deep conversation while your friend is forced to now borrow another cutter or lighter.
12. Stamp out your cigar when you’re finished with it.
Cigars are not cigarettes – don’t treat them the same. It is considered bad manners to smash a cigar against an ash tray when you are done smoking.
13. Get drunk and smoke too many cigars – throw up everywhere.
Yeah, this happens. No, your boss won’t be impressed. But your friends will laugh – at you. Not only that, you’ll smell like cigar smoke and puke. And that’s disgusting.
Head spinning from so many rules? Well, don’t be discouraged. The common thread running through all of these rules is common sense, civility, and thoughtfulness. Don’t show off – just show up prepared to relax and enjoy the company of others.
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