I was on fire until she lit up

When: lunch, a couple of days ago
Where: picnic table, the park, near the bike bridge at Valley River Center
Why… Does damn near every attractive woman in this town have to sport either 1) a baby, 2) a cigarette, or 3) both?

Gorgeous blonde bikes to a picnic table about 20 feet away from where I’m reading National Geographic and eating pasta with chicken, chillis, thyme, feta, savory, broccoli and mushrooms. She’s cute. A glance here, a perhaps glance back there.

She takes off her top.

Nice bikini.

She lays down a blanket, sits, rummages through her backpack, has a
snack. She makes a couple of phone calls. A few more glances may have passed between us (but it could’ve just been my wishful thinking).

I’m considering walking over and saying hello. She’s cute. She’s reading. Did I mention she’s cute? That’s a nice bikini top. And a really nice tummy. I’m such a sucker for tummies —

She lights a cigarette.


A little disappointed, I finish lunch and reading, and wander back to the office.

I don’t date smokers (as in habitually smoking cigarettes, not to be confused with the occasional cigar, cigarillo or pipe). Cigarette smoking is one of the few things I genuinely, truly, absolutely detest. It stinks, it literally is burning your money, and I’ve watched people die from smoking-related diseases. I hate cigarette smoking.


Why do people think smoking is worth their time and energy and money? Why do so many attractive women have to maintain such an ugly, smelly habit? Why?

10 thoughts on “I was on fire until she lit up”

  1. I feel exactly the same way. I don’t know how many times I walked into a restaurant and walked right out seconds after that because of the stinky smell (many many times). But since 1st June 2004 smoking is banned in restaurants in Norway. I guess I am happy about the ban and I do go to restaurants now more aften than before. However when the ban was first implemented there were a lot of complaints from the smokers (about how unfair the ban was). But I thought how about all the years when they ruined my chances of having a nice meal in a chosen restaurant, if we want to talk about being fair.
    Although I am not so fussy when it comes to a lot of things this is one thing that I am quite adamant about. I too cannot imagine living with or dating a smoker. You have expressed quite exactly my own opinions on this.

  2. I hate how you can’t go see a decent band in a club without reeking of smoke for hours afterward.
    Let me explain: the concert starts at 10 pm. If you’re lucky, the headliner will start before midnight. You get home about 2 am, ears ringing, tired, smelling like a chimney, wife asleep in bed. Are you going to take a shower at 2 am? No, you go straight to bed. Now your pillow and probably the rest of your linens smell like smoke too. Sheesh.
    We have a good smoke-free coffeehouse in town, and they have music a couple times a week, but it’s usually, well, coffeehouse music. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you need some electric guitar.

  3. Being in Portland this weekend was quite the reminder. In Eugene, you can’t smoke indoors. Period. Not even in bars. There are more and more cities taking up similar policies, but Portland hasn’t enacted one yet. Going out for beers with friends? Wow – it’s been ages since I smelled like smoke.
    I guess it’s a reminder of one of the little things I like about my quirky hippie hometown.
    Lisa – ugh, the smoking in European joints was, of course, always hellish. Much as I love Scotland and Irish, and love heading doon da’ pub, damn did I get sick of choking on all the smoke. Ick.
    JV – one thing I have to give the smoking ban in Eugene, is that bars and restaurants and such can have designated outdoor areas where smoking is permitted. Sometimes I’ll sit out there with my friends, when they need a smoke, sometimes we’re just out there all evening. But since it’s open-air, the smoky smell doesn’t get nearly as bad in your clothes and hair.
    Kara – Amen. Nuff said

  4. they’re trying to ban smoking indoors in Seattle too. I even jumped the signature collector before he could give the pitch — I saw him across a crowd and made my way over. I really hope Seattle follows Eugene, b/c I’d be a lot more likely to go out for a night with friends if I knew I could come home and not be required to take a shower before sleeping. Seriously, cigarette stench can keep me awake. Talk about yuck. I also won’t date anyone who smokes (even on a casual basis) — just not my thing.

  5. Really? Oh, chalk up another reason I love Seattle. You know a measure’s hot when people are *approaching* the sig collector about it!
    The worst thing about cig stench is when you get in the shower the next morning – when the water hits your hair and the smell erupts. Ugh.

  6. see, that’s why I shower while still happily tipsy. then, it’s all gone.
    do you go to bed with the stench? I hate that, b/c then you have to wash your sheets too. Honestly, everything I touch ends up stinking 🙁 I find, too, that it’s worse in the US than in Europe, b/c even the European bars that allow smoking don’t have as thick a cloud as the US.
    Oh, here’s a tip too — in Portland, Kell’s (a great Irish bar downtown) doesn’t allow smoking in the main bar area, just downstairs, so you don’t really smell after going there. I’m sure there are more places too.
    Also, Ireland no longer allows smoking in bars (but I think you knew this). It was so great to be there and not have to air my clothes out every night.

  7. Fair : Going to an establishment that meets your standards, or not going to one that doesn’t.
    Not Fair : Passing a law forcing all establishments to meet your standards.
    It’s really that simple.
    Let the bar/restraunt/club owner decided to allow smoking or not. Market forces will take care of the rest.
    It’s not at all unfair to a non smoker that they can’t eat in a restraunt because other people are smoking in it. If it’s allowed in that particular restraunt, and you don’t like it, then you don’t really like that restraunt do you? I, being a smoker, might like it a lot. The owner may be a smoker too, and he might like it a lot as well. Somewhere, there will be a restraunt that non-smoker and it’s non-smoking owner will like just as much, but then I wouldn’t like it because I couldn’t smoke. And you would never see me signing a petition, or lobbying the government to force all establishments to allow me to smoke, because thats, well, stupid. And it’s just as stupid the other way around.
    It’s real simple.

  8. kcidx: I do patronize bars that don’t allow smoking. I wish there were *more* bars that didn’t allow smoking; so far, I only know one in the PDX area. I try to avoid places where people smoke in general.
    what frustrates me about allowing smoking in public places are a few things:
    1. some bars and restaurants are reluctant to ban smoking for fear of reducing revenue. I think it’s rubbish, but they apparently don’t.
    2. people who work in these places have no choice but to put up with the smoke. yes, it’s true that the workers also have a choice whether or not to work there. but I still think people shouldn’t have to be exposed to smoke as a part of their work environment. accumulated exposure is dangerous.
    3. I’m not in favor of banning smoking outdoors. or, for example, if a bar would have a designated smoking room (as opposed to area — a room would be closed off, or have a separate ventilation system, to prevent smoke from going around the whole bar) then I wouldn’t want to ban indoor smoking. but most bars don’t, and it’s unpleasant to visit these bars. if people want to smoke, they can step outside or on to a patio.
    I don’t want draconian, heavy handed laws passed that make smoking the most difficult thing to do after public sex. But I am in favor of legislation that creates compulsory non-smoking areas, since it rarely happens voluntarily. I enjoy going out for a drink, and it’s not very much fun when I have to wash all my clothes and take a shower every time do go out.
    If the voters, aka the majority, decide that smoking indoors should be okay, I’ll abide by that. But if there’s an opportunity to make my opinion heard, I’m going to voice it. However, I disagree that it’s stupid to hold a vote. It might be nicer if the vote could be held purely among the bar/restaurant going set, but a general vote is the closest we get to that.
    My main issue with smoking in bars is the fact that, in cities that allow it, smoking occurs almost universally. There isn’t another option for me. If there were other options, that might be another story. But I have nowhere else to go, and market forces (for unknown reasons, and I’m not willing to say the market forces will work things out correctly) have not forced owners to ban smoking. Therefore, I’m in a favor of a law to ban smoking indoors.
    You have options. You can go outside and smoke if a place doesn’t allow smoking indoors. However, I can’t get my drink outdoors if the bar I’m at allows smoking. If I want to avoid smoke, I have to stay home entirely. And just like you think banning smoking is unfair to you, I think having to stay home in order to avoid smoke is unfair to me.

  9. Here in Eugene, worker health was the biggest factor behind the indoor smoking ban. Yes, you’re always free to find another job – but in the mean time, that doesn’t mean you should have to be sucking down smoke.
    The ban also set out that setting up designated outdoor areas was fine, and Eugene’s done well with it, and there are plenty of covered, sometimes even heated, decks.
    Cid, I totally see your point, but it’s also not always as simple as whether or not you *really* like the restaurant. There have been places I liked, but wouldn’t go there because after an hour of sitting there I’d have trouble breathing because of people’s smoking. I like restaurants. I like breathing more.
    If the bans were going to be made a bit more fair, then perhaps it would be options based on size of restaurant. Under a certain square footage of table space, no smoking; over a certain size, choice of smoking/non-smoking, with designated areas for each (that always worked pretty well in the South, anyway).


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: