by Chelsea Morning
I can’t tear my eyes away from the flame. I’ve never seen it more gentle or graceful than when it places hot kisses on the tobacco. I close my eyes and relax into the embrace of vanilla custard as smoke fills the room.
Pack, tamp and the less enjoyed tongue-bite are words that have now become part of my vocabulary. Cake: a birthday staple or the layer of carbon that protects the inside of the bowl? It no longer matters. I’m hooked. You may be wondering how I got into pipe smoking in the first place. I’m a 25-year-old female from the Midwest, not the first image that comes to mind when you think of a pipe smoker. That’s ok. I forgive you.
I was once in your shoes. I believed that pipes were for worldly old men who put on their smoking jackets and retired to the ‘library’ to speak of man things. That reminds me, I need to get a smoking jacket.
The truth is, smoking a pipe is for anyone who enjoys it. Some may give it a try as the next trendy thing and move on while others may find themselves right at home. I fall in the latter category. In my home on any given weekend you can find me and my friends unwinding with a variety of different pipes and tobacco blends. It doesn’t matter if people think I’m a trend seeker or that I have no business smoking a pipe. What matters is how it makes me feel.
People will judge you. It’s in their nature. They’ll put you in a box, label it, and tell you how you’re supposed to act. There’s nothing more satisfying than surprising those people.
I experienced this recently when I decided I needed a Meerschaum pipe (who doesn’t).
My friends and I went to the local pipe shop where the younger workers typically let us have run of the place, ignoring the ‘Employees Only’ signs across the many shelves of invitingly flavored tobacco. On this particular day, however, the older proprietor was behind the counter. He didn’t like us ‘young kids’ coming in and looking at things with our hands. As soon as I realized my faux pas I respectfully kept my distance and allowed him to assist me. I could tell he wanted us to get out of there so he could go back to his real customers. I asked to see the Meerschaum pipe I had been eyeing, and the minute he took it out and placed it in my hands my excitement took over. I forgot that the person standing before me had only moments before been yelling at us. We started to talk shop and as I looked up I saw his face transform into a younger, kinder man as he told me he wouldn’t have pegged me for a pipe smoker, words I have since heard frequently.
In a world of instant gratification it’s nice to put some time and effort into something. You don’t just throw tobacco into a pipe and go to town. It takes patience. It takes care. It’s also a great excuse to bring people together and share ideas and techniques.
Ladies and gentlemen, what’s more exciting than this? Forget your worries, pick up your pipe, and enjoy all the world has to offer.
|In addition to being a pipe smoker, and writer, Chelsea is also a professional model. You can see her photo shoots in the Pipe Babes section. When she is not burning up the camera lens and tobacco, she also works as a paralegal for a Midwestern law firm.
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