No, I'm not talking about seducing sweet little teenage girlies.
I'm talking about nice young men.
Over thirty five years ago, back when I was a nice young man - instead of the mean old fart I am now - I walked into a pipestore and bought my first briar. The arrogant snob behind the counter was so displeased at my spending money in his pristine establishment that it was several more months before I purchased any tobacco.
I cannot remember the name of that shop, and in any case I soon discovered a corner tobacconist run by a retired colonial military gentleman, where until I left Valkenswaard I would buy my weekly tin of Balkan Sobranie.
He knew more about cigars than about pipe-tobacco, but he was courteous and full of encouragement. That counts for a lot, as I'm sure you will understand.
Today, while I was smoking a bowlful at the local tobacconist, a young gentleman came in and shyly asked about pipes. Seeing as the owner had his hands full, I helped the virgin.
I showed him various examples (Savinelli, Peterson). We discussed relative qualities, smoking characteristics, keeping one's equipment clean, and packing the bowl. He bought his first pipe and his first pouch of tobacco, and I showed him how to pack it, light it, smoke it, and clean it.
He was positively beaming when I left.
Now, that's what your first pipe should be about: comforting words and a welcome to a new realm of experiences. You have the desire to engage in a delicious filthy habit. How splendid! Let us lure you in! We'll explain what fun awaits!
Those of us who are more experienced must guide you, gently, with encouraging tones.
We are keen to see how you develop; with the right prompting you will happily go through a variety of sultry Oriental mixtures or maidenly Virginias before settling on a particular mistress. Perhaps, like some of us, you will keep a few different blends on your desk, for those occasional lighthearted dalliances. And even, if you have the perverse tendencies that must be kept secret, an aromatic or two - for when you wish a little fragrant depravity.
For your information, this morning I was smoking Three Oaks, manufactured according to Tad Gage's recipe by McClelland Tobacco Company in Kansas City. It was delightful - smoky, resinous, variegated, with a delicate sweetness.
A vibrant mixture with a reek that reminded me of younger years.
I left the store with a smile on my face. Every morning should be so sunny.
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Labels: Pipes and tobacco