When A Girl Starts Smoking

(by anonymous, 25 May 1996)

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When a girl starts smoking....

Isn't that the most beautiful time?  When the gorgeous, pure-looking (to borrow 
a thought from an earlier thread) girl you had always known as a non-smoker now 
starts to smoke? 

For me, that is just the biggest thrill.  That beautiful face is now exhaling 
smoke.  Her lovely fingers are now adorned with a cigarette.  She's a complete 
woman now - she has added the final touch that completes her perfect image of 
all around class.

It was a long time ago.  I was 14 years old.  Back then, everyone smoked.  You 
could do it without being a social pariah.  I had been drafted for a bit part 
in a local amateur production of Romeo & Juliet.  I only had to go to one 
rehearsal.  At the rehearsal, acting in the role of prompter was one of the 
most sexy girls I had ever seen.  On top of being beautiful (blonde, blue 
eyes), she positively exuded the female sex.  She looked about 17 or 18 years 
old.  A girl for a gauche 14 year old guy to be in total awe over.

She just had this incredible aura.  And she looked like a smoker.  (You guys 
out there probably know what I mean.  Back in the 60s and 70s when a lot of 
people smoked, you could often tell enough about someone's personality, just 
from the way they looked and carried themselves, to make a pretty good guess at 
whether they smoked or not.  It doesn't work any more, because girls who look 
like they should smoke, don't, in these "enlightened" 90s.  But I'm digressing 
rather seriously).  Back in the 60s, I used to notice that almost all the 
really beautiful girls did in fact smoke.  (Man, those were the days!).  But 
she didn't.  I went through the entire rehearsal sending will-power waves over 
to her telling her to have a cigarette.  Almost everyone in the cast was 
smoking up a storm.  But not Tessa.

A couple of weeks passed and it was time for the tech and dress rehearsals, 
which occupied most of a Sunday.  Tess was there helping out doing this and 
that, not smoking, in spite of all the people around her smoking and in spite 
of my "please, please, PLEASE have a cigarette" thought waves.  As I was 
leaving the rehearsal, after a hard day of hanging around and watching Tess not 
smoking, I made a detour around the building to catch one last glimpse of her, 
and ......... she had a cigarette in her hand!  Just the butt, really - she had 
nearly finished it.  So I didnít get to see her drag.  But I was elated.

The performances ran for the next 6 evenings.  During the first performance, 
Tess had one cigarette at intermission.  She looked a little clumsy.  She was 
having trouble with the smoke getting into her eyes, so I knew that she really 
had just started.  That, and the fact that she drank coffee without an 
accompanying cigarette.  Well, she improved her smoking technique in a hurry.  
She smoked more and more cigarettes each night.  By Wednesday she arrived with 
her own pack.  Expensive luxury king-size too.  She also lit up with her 

She was acting as call boy.  (Just to emphasize how gauche I was back then, I 
couldnít for the life of me figure out why people referred to her function as 
"call boy", when she was so obviously a girl!).  On the Wednesday, she came 
looking for me to do my walk-on, and she had a freshly-lit cigarette in her 
left hand, carried at elbow height so as to show it off.  I thought I was going 
to faint.  I guess the blood was rushing from my head in response to the urgent 
summons from below.  And I was wearing those dopey tights that you have to wear 
when performing Shakespeare.  The bulge must have been obvious to anybody.

The next night, before the performance, she lit a cigarette and stood there 
inhaling, standing all by herself.  I was hanging around, and trying to drink 
in this wonderful sight without being too obvious.  Well, she caught me ogling 
her, and came over to talk.  She couldnít think of anything much to say, so 
said something lame about when I should be ready to do my entrance and blah, 
blah, blah.  I was too young, dumb, and stupid to realize what was going on, 
and wondered why she thought she needed to tell me that.  (By this time there 
had been 3 performances - obviously I knew what to do).  Anyway, she soon ran 
for cover in the face of my staggering social ineptitude.  But throughout the 
week, she gave me gorgeous smiles every time our paths crossed.  I think she 
really found me attractive, but I was so young and inexperienced that I knew 
Iíd screw up big time if I tried to open my mouth for more than "hi".

By the final performance, she looked like an experienced smoker.  She had 10 
cigarettes that night.  Yes, I counted them.  After the performance, we all sat 
down to watch the film that someone had made of it.  I sat behind and to the 
side of Tess, so I could watch her.  She pulled her freshly-lit cigarette to 
her lips and took the most beautiful long drag, cigarette in the middle of her 
lips, at a perfect horizontal angle.  That sight is indelibly etched into my 
memory.  Just beautiful.

I have a hunch that her parents were involved with the play.  I donít know for 
sure, since, maddeningly, I never knew her last name.  She wasnít even listed 
in the program.  Iím guessing she started to smoke when she turned 16 years 
old, which was the legal age in that time and place.  So she was younger than 
she looked.

Looking back, it just kills me that I was too awkward to ask her for a date.  
She very probably would have said yes.  And I very probably would have screwed 
it up in short order.  But for me, at age 14, to have had a beautiful, sexy, 
smoking, 16 year old girlfriend, however briefly, would have been an 
indescribable experience.  It would have been a heck of memory to replay 

After the play ended, I saw her one more time, about 4 months later.  It was at 
a Jazz Festival, a terrific, 2-day affair in tents.  I was with my girlfriend, 
and Tess was with........NOBODY!  (Did you see Four Weddings and a Funeral, 
where Hugh Grant goes and bangs his head on the church altar and yells "bugger, 
bugger, bugger, bugger,...."  over and over again?  Thatís what I felt like).  
We sat near Tess, but either she didnít remember me or the girlfriend had the 
effect of making her "not recognize" me.  (Naturally, my ego prefers the latter 
theory).  She was totally engrossed in the music, but after the song ended, she 
lit a cigarette.  And she looked wonderful.  Then she was joined by some 
girlfriends.  Then either she moved or we moved, I donít remember.  I never saw 
her again.  Ever.

Thank you Tess for a beautiful memory.  Iím sorry I didnít have the guts to try 
to make it even better.

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