1. Is there a more heinous magazine on the planet than Cigar Aficionado? If there is, I haven't read it. There's just something deeply wrong about a magazine that seems to exist solely as an apologia for conspicuous consumption. Page after page, you see
More than that, though, is the subtext that seems to imply that if you make enough money, you can do whatever the hell you want to do; after all, having money implies good moral standing.
2. Monica Lewinsky and the time-honored tradition of wetting your cigar end in a vagina before smoking it. Now, don't get me wrong: a vagina is a beautiful thing. However, the insertion of a cigar into one strikes me as a particularly transparent display of ownership. Just as OJ once reportedly grabbed his wife, covered her mons pubis with one hand, and said 'This is mine. This is where babies come from,' there's something about shoving something up your girlfriend's twat that suggests all she is to you is an especially expensive humidor.
3. Cigar smoking as antisocial behavior: Coming from a state where smoking is generally not tolerated in public, it has always struck me that smoking a cigar is perhaps the best way to claim as much space as possible in an enclosed area. Cigarettes, I seem to be able to ignore, but not cigars. Light one up, and everyone in the room knows there's a cigar smoker there. If you're not especially noticeable - maybe you're physically unexceptional or have no conversational skills to speak of - there's no better way to say Look at me! than to raise a stench.
4. Cigar smoking as a low rent intimidation method. Yeah, you've all seen movies where the big bad man blows smoke into the face of the 98 pound weakling, right? Similarly, I've seen my share of faux leathermen who think that a cigar in one hand will somehow compensate for their heavily producted hair and stale whiff of Polo. It's not intimidating or masculine, it's just lame.
5. The fetishization of the completely useless, or, rather, fetishization in general. I imagine I'd be able to draw a chart of different types of fetishes and stack rank them into a continuum of absurdity. At one end, I'd have entirely understandable fetishes: ones so esoteric that they could only be explained by a kind of pathology [e.g. baked beans in women's stockings]. Next up on the list would be the so-called cliché fetishes - you know, women's shoes, cigars, lingerie. Stuff that is so common as to be really boring [and therefore harmless]. And, of course, the least ridiculous fetishes are the ones I have myself [beards, spectacles] - I guess it goes full circle.
I suppose this is merely me being snobby - the whole idea that if you're going to have a fetish, it had better be original or at least interesting. How ridiculous.
6. Cigars as ah, ahem, clique with a low barrier to entry. If you don't particularly mind cigars, it seems that you too can become a cigarman just by spending $5 on a stogie and lighting up. For those with a bigger budget, you too can get some delightful accessories [preferably in masculine stainless steel] for just a few dollars more: a Zippo lighter, one of those things that looks like you stole it from a mohel, and maybe a tasteful leather cigar case [perhaps with tasteful Harley logo].
On second thought, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Camaraderie is good, and it's stupid of me to suggest that we all need to be more exclusionary in our social circles. That's a load of crap.
7. "Let's be blue collar!" Similar to Beardom, there's a definite aspect of class drag going on here; what's interesting about cigars is that it appears to head towards both ends of the spectrum. Bears are playing at being blue collar; suburban yuppies are playing at being wealthy. Both are equally absurd: I'm solidly middle class, so why should I pretend to be a robber baron or a waste disposal technician?
8. That whole cancer thing. At least baked beans are't particularly bad for you.
Finally, I don't like the smell at all. OK, there was that one wussy Davidoff panatelo I enjoyed in high school, but otherwise... yuck. I will admit to still being friends with men who reek of cigars, though; I can definitely work around it. I just don't want to have sex with them, though.