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  • Ben Balliro

Level the Playing Field

Updated: Oct 20, 2019



I know I’ve written about this topic before, but as I was driving home today I realized I missed a valuable point. One time several years ago I was attending one of my aforementioned Chattanooga Tweetup events in Chattanooga, TN. On the last night of the event we got to sit in an audience and have a Q&A with some of the boutique cigar brand makers. One of them was Fred Rewey of Nomad Cigars. Btw, if you haven’t tried Nomad cigars, you are missing out. His smokes are incredible and very reasonably priced. I got the opportunity to try some of his new releases when I attended that event, they were amazing. Anyway, during the Q&A a woman proudly stood up to be counted, and her question to Fred was, and I’m paraphrasing this just a bit, “How come you don’t have more woman in your cigar lounges and shops?”. That’s a fair question...

So, Fred responded to the tune of, “Well we do invite woman, woman are more than welcome, but you gals never show up!”. Now that is correct, but I keep thinking about that question, because i feel it’s both a valid question AND a valid response. But, it doesn’t really address the issue of “why”. Yes it’s true woman are more than welcome in cigar lounges, and yes it is true most of the time it’s men who predominately show up. No one, however, has asked why that is. Both sides are arguing and both sides are right, but how do we equalize the playing field? I have a theory, but I think it holds some water.

I believe, one reason most cigar smoking women don’t show up, is because they feel ostracized and discriminated against. Some mutual customers and even some shop owners isolate the woman with a cigar and create an aura of self awareness. Men say stupid things like, “Ooooh you smoke cigars?? I never knew that, do you know how to smoke a cigar? Is that cigar flavored? Do you need help cutting or lighting it?” And she immediately feels unwelcome, therefore they don’t show up and we are back to square one with the original argument. In this day and age it is repugnant to assume that a women shopping in a cigar lounge is automatically a shy and timid being who is ignorant to the world of premium tobacco. I have news for you “hardcore cigar smoking fellas”; the majority of cigars that you smoke, are created and rolled by women. That’s right, your machismo effect is thanks to the women that you would so easily try to intimidate. Those female torcedors in Latin countries all over the world know more about premium tobacco than you or I will ever know. They work with premium tobacco every day and could easily smoke most of you men under the table. In case most of you men have forgotten, there was a time you didn’t know shit about premium tobacco either, just saying.

So how do we address this issue? I think it’s a two step process. One of the first steps is for men to lower your pride and make women feel just as welcome, if not more welcome, when they finally summon up the courage to sit in a cigar lounge. The second step is for women, to actually show up. Change only comes to those who show up. If more women who are interested in cigars want to sit in our precious “man cave” environment, you should absolutely do so. Likewise, men who might be experienced in the premium tobacco world should treat women like equal human beings. If men lowered their pride and women raised theirs I think it would help level the paying field. Just my opinion, have a different one, shoot us a message on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Mark and I will be happy to discuss it with you. Thanks for reading.


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