As the rom-comclassic “A Cinderella Story” with Hilary Duff taught us so eloquently, “Don’t let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.”Because then you could totally miss out on a make out session withChad Michael Murray – or another life changing experience.
Well, in many cases, the fear of striking out is so colossal that the sheer thought of stepping up to that plate gives us anxiety and makes us bite off the overpriced manicure we got last week.
And, as we all know, at least half of the courage it takes to try a new activity is mental. Whether it’s stepping into a new workout class, a new job, or a new social setting, the act of physically stepping into the room is more daunting than actually doing it.
However, if you know exactly what to do when you get into that room: how to do the first yoga pose, whose hand to shake, or just the fact that you feel good in your outfit, it can go a long way.
This only applies if you are smoking in front of an audience. If you are smoking for your own source of personal relaxation, which I highly recommend, you can look however silly or balleryou want.
(Full disclosure: When in the privacy of my own backyard, I smoke cigars in my underwear with an oversized bag of yogurt pretzels by my side. Moving on.)
The first step in gaining confidence is preparation.
1) Cutting It
Before you can light it, you have to cut off part of the cigar – but just the very tip. You basically have to circumcise your cigar before you can light it, and just like circumcision, precision is very important.
A hand-made cigar is held together at the top by the cap. Below the cap is the cigar shoulder. When cutting the cigar, you want to aim above the shoulder. If you accidently cut below the shoulder, there becomes risk of unraveling the wrapper of the cigar, because nothing is holding it together anymore, and this would be a major fail.
Picture your favorite underwear and the band that sits atop it, holding it snug to your waist. The top band is the cap, and the place where the two fabrics meet is the shoulder. You want to make damn sure to cut above the shoulder, because you don’t want your panties to unravel. Get the picture?
Find the point on the cigar where the cap comes over the shoulder, and make sure to cut above that line.
To cut your cigar properly, you must use a pair of cigar cutters. To do so, grab your cigar, and hold it horizontally. Then, bring your cigar cutter a few millimeters down the cigar – above the shoulder – and pull down on the cutters to make a nice, clean cut. Of course, there are different types of cutters to choose from when doing the deed.
Note: If you are smoking a cigar that has a more torpedo-like shape, you want to do the same thing as with a traditionally-shaped cigar, but cut off a quarter of an inch off the tip of the cigar instead of just minding the shoulder.
Types of Cutters:
Guillotine Cutter: You can use any derivative of this type to cut any size or shape cigar. So, when using the guillotine, act unlike they did in the French Revolution, and guillotine with care. Use the cutters in a strong, sturdy fashion when decapitating your cigar.
- Bullet-Punch Cutter: These cutters punch a clean hole in the back of the cigar instead of removing the entire cap, limiting the amount of smoke that you can elicit. This is the smallest and most portable of the cutters: If you want to be prepared to smoke at any time, this is for you. However, this type of cutter cannot be used on all shapes like the guillotine can. Instead of clipping the cigar head off, you hold the cigar horizontally and press the device against the end of it, turning about a quarter turn, making a perfect little hole on the end.
- Cigar Scissor: Like Guillotine cutters, they also decapitate your cigar. They look almost exactly like actual scissors and can range in size greatly; however, size does not matter in this case, because they all do the same thing. Also like the Guillotine, they don’t discriminate with whom they’re decapitating: You can use the scissors to cut any shape or size cigar. You use the scissors the same way as the Guillotine cutters by wrapping the cutter around the end of the cigar and cutting in a firm fashion. Sadly, the scissors tend to be a bit more expensive than guillotine cutters – and I’d prefer to spend my money on clothes rather than cutters, but to each his or her own!
- V-Shaped Cutters: Similar to the Bullet-Punch, these guys cut a V-shaped hole in the back of your cigar, without removing the entire cap. They are more attractive than the bullet-punch cutters – although they both do the job –because they allow a little more draw from the cigar by cutting a bigger hole. V-shaped cutters are also great for small cigars. However, they are not something we can cheap out on: With the bargain V-cutters, their blade is likely not sharp enough to cut the cigar properly, leaving your cigar totally ruined. To use them, bring in your cigar horizontally, of course, and press the V-Cutter firmly on the end of it, and in a swift motion, pull down on the cutter, finishing the job.
After you make the cut, brush off any loose pieces of tobacco that may have been left behind when you made the cut, and you’re ready for step two!
2) Holding It
Grasping it is pretty simple: Whatever you do, don’t hold it like a cigarette. This will be a telltale sign that you are a newb. Just rest the cigar on your middle finger and then wrap your index finger around it, and there you go!
Then comes the question of removing the band. It takes you back to losing your virginity… Should I take off my shirt? Is he taking off his shirt? Will my shirt get in the way if I leave it on? Help!
Just like the shirt-on, shirt-off dilemma, it’s up to you. Whether to take off the band or not is a matter of personal preference. However, if you do want to take it off, smoke it a little bit first. This will allow the adhesive holding the band together to loosen slightly, making it easier to remove.
3) Lighting It
There are several options in sparking it up.
- Wooden Matches: These are just regular old matches, which work just fine.
- Cedar Matches: These smell a little better than wooden matches, and they also a little bit longer – giving you more time to light the cigar if you’re struggling.
- Butane Lighter: Make sure you don’t use a gasoline lighter, because it could change and affect the taste of the actual cigar, which would suck.
- Piece of Cedar: You can find this in the cigar box. It resembles a piece of cardboard placed between layers of cigars in a box, which you just break off a piece of, light the end of and use to light the cigar. Now this is perhaps the most advanced way to light the cigar, and I would probably practice this alone in my room with a fire extinguisher and non-flammable clothing on before you whip out this move in front of a crowd.
Whichever method makes you most comfortable will allow you to be most confident in a cigar smoking session, so choose your method based on comfort.
Additionally, before you light it, you should moisten the end of the cigar. You do this, because if your lips are dry, it can stick your mouth and unravel the wrapper, resulting in a big ol’ mess. To moisten it, put the uncut end in your mouth lightly and rotate it slightly, quickly and naturally.
Now, you are ready to spark up.
Make sure to rotate your cigar while you are lighting it in order to heat it up. Do this until you start seeing a red glow. When the cigar starts to ignite, then you can stop lighting it and bring it in your mouth. After that, bring the lighter or match to the cigar again, while it’s in your mouth, rotating the cigar. Then, puff lightly. BUT DO NOT INHALE. I REPEAT: DO NOT INHALE.
Remember when I threw up on that hot guy’s shoes? You do not want to be that girl, so DO NOTinhale.
Once it’s lit, take the cigar out of your mouth and make sure it is lit evenly. Be forewarned, when you are lighting it, it is going to flame; however, it will die out quickly, making you one step closer to smoking.
4) Smoking It
As I am reminding you again, the most important thing to remember is to not inhale the cigar. This is what will make you nauseous, sick and coughing all night. Ever smoked hookah? Smoke your cigar exactly like that by taking slow, leisurely puffs – and making damn sure not to inhale: Reminiscent of prom night, you’ll be full of regret.
Additionally, take your time when puffing the cigar. Do not rush it: It should take about a full episode of Orange Is the New Black to smoke your cigar properly (a.k.a. give or take 55 minutes).
Unlike what every rapper’s telling you to do, don’t shake your ash: It’s bad form. The better the cigar is made, the longer the ash, so you don’t want to shake the cigar prematurely to make the ash fall, like with a cigarette. But if the ash buildup is too long, you gotta shake ya ash. If you leave it sitting too long, the light’s going to go out.
If it does go out, remain calm. You just lean the cigar on the end of the ashtray and rotate it steadily, allowing the ash to fall off in one big clump. Once you’ve removedthe ash from your cigar, just relight it exactly how you did before, and you’re back in business.
Continue puffing the cigar until there are about two inches left: This is when it will start to leave an aftertaste in your mouth, a telltale sign your smoking session is over.
Now you need to put it out. You don’t put it out like a cigarette: Just let it go out by itself by sitting it inside the ashtray and allowing it to do its thing.