March 8, 2013

"I’ll be the man smoking two cigarettes.”

That's today's sentence from "The Great Gatsby," taken out of context, and it's a sentence that you can and should memorize. Next time you're planning to meet somebody somewhere and they want to know how they can recognize you, say: "I’ll be the man smoking two cigarettes."

It's especially appropriate if you're not a man

47 comments:

rcommal said...

LOL.

edutcher said...

Said Paul Henreid to Bette Davis.

Do Meade and Ann recreate that scene with their e-cigs?

Meade said...

"Do Meade and Ann recreate that scene with their e-cigs?"

betamax3000 said...

Damp Underwear Snake Sentence.

betamax3000 said...

Those Who Smoke Behind Walls say:

I will be smoking a cigarette, and smoking a second cigarette in the time frame of five seconds in the future.

They burn at equal rates, but not equally.

The ashes gather in figure eights superimposed on a hypothetical circle.

betamax3000 said...

I am smoking two cigarettes: one is waiting for you. It has the intricacies of my lips, which hope to meet yours.

Dante said...

What the hell is that supposed to mean? I recall, from "Look Homeward, Angel," 1929, by Thomas Wolfe, a description of his brother smoking a cigarette "It was as if he were [in the control of some deep narcotic]," (his brother died), I don't think it was widely recognized at the time that cigarettes were massively unhealthy. So, I suppose, he was merely ready to give one of the cigarettes to the suffragette.

Check out this enlightening video.

betamax3000 said...

The filter was not a concern then. The paper remembered the lips.

betamax3000 said...

When we smoke together we settle into a symmetrical rhythm. I inhale - five seconds - you inhale.

betamax3000 said...

When you light two cigarettes there is expectation: will you accept the second cigarette from my lips?

If so, you have accomplished more than the most ornate conversation.

betamax3000 said...

When you are both smoking a cigarette there is something to do with your hands: they are not awkward. You are not doing pointless gestures to excuse the fact that there is nothing to do with your hands.

Correction: you cannot yet do with your hands what you would wish to do.

There is a shared activity,

edutcher said...

Meade said...

Do Meade and Ann recreate that scene with their e-cigs?

I'm told women still swoon for that scene.

betamax3000 said...

Smoking in tandem functions as unspoken conversation.

Short punctuated exhale: you are losing her.

Long slow exhale: this is a moment with the expectation of a following moment.

betamax3000 said...

Are the cigarettes held above the waist? Expectation.

Cigarettes held below the waist: I was expecting more.

betamax3000 said...

Light the cigarette and pass it to her without a pause before lighting your own.

This is how its done.

""He lit Daisy’s cigarette from a trembling hand...": lighting her cigarette has too may variables. Will she move her head? Will the flame flicker? Will she have to lean in more than once?

Variables = your time is running out.

betamax3000 said...

Smoke slower than her.

This lets her speak, and lets you show you can Listen.

When she finishes before you, you can then offer her the last drag of your cigarette, if she is so inclined. Gentleman.

betamax3000 said...

After smoking two cigarettes you MUST hold open the door for her: otherwise all is lost.

betamax3000 said...

When you hold the door open for her you can also take a gentlemanly peak at her ass as she passes by your outstretched arm.

betamax3000 said...

At the table watch her hands. Her fingers will let you know when to offer another cigarette.

Women appreciate those who pay attention.

betamax3000 said...

She will not be the one to suggest another cigarette. Her hand will be your only cue.

Explain her unspoken urge by where you are in your meal:

"A good glass of wine always makes me want a cigarette."

"A wonderful dessert demands a celebratory smoke."

Wrong.


Never say smoke as a noun. You are not a hippie. Smoking, yes: smoke, no.

betamax3000 said...

Do not let the ash grow long: it is like unattended fingernails.

Do not overtap the ash: this is observed as impatient and insecure.

betamax3000 said...

If a woman chooses to light her own cigarette you should cup your hands around hers.

You are protecting the flame.

The flame now belongs to both of you.

betamax3000 said...

When she finishes her cigarette linger upon it a moment as it lays in the ashtray.

You are enamored by the color of her lipstick on the end of the cigarette.

Compliment the color of her lipstick -- notice the shade, the hue, the richness -- and now make eye contact.

betamax3000 said...

Those who smoke are now outcasts. She is sensitive to this: let her know that you are there with her.

When the non-smokers walk by and do the passive-aggressive cough comment on their Soul: empty, it is darker than your lungs could ever be.

betamax3000 said...

If you are lucky a little particle of ash will affix to a strand of her hair: lightly brush it away, then run your hand again along that same strand.

You are looking out for her, but she know you want more, but are patient.

betamax3000 said...

Do not ask about when she started smoking: whatever fondness she has of the moment must wait for later.

The pensive moment Will Not Help You Here.

betamax3000 said...

As she smokes her cigarette take notice of her fingernails. Dark red? Pale blue?

The color of a woman's fingernails is insight into the Sky she Desires at this moment.

Picture yourself beneath this Sky.

betamax3000 said...

When you are smoking together you are conscious of not exhaling directly at one another: you are already in tandem, looking at each others' needs with a Protective Manner.

Is this not the start of Intimacy?

betamax3000 said...

Do NOT attempt to blow smoke rings. This is Trying Too Hard.

You will be discounted.

It is not a competition; you are not a Trick Pony.

rcommal said...

Good old scenes... .

rcommal said...

?

betamax3000 said...

A gentleman Who Knows will always start the evening with an odd number of cigarettes in his pack.

You share, two by two.

If you are lucky enough to be there when it comes down to the last cigarette you light it and pass it to her.

If she shares this last cigarette with you then you now have a Moment few will understand.

rcommal said...

Betamax: There was a time (however anachronistic it, at that time) that I could blow a smoke ring **through** a smoke ring. And you know what? It actually **wasn't** too obvious. Rather the opposite (maybe because it was anachronistic?). But that was a really, really long time ago. Even way before I met my husband, a life-long nonsmoker.

betamax3000 said...

Great Things Can Happen when you walk, together, at 1:00 am down to the little corner mini-shop to buy another pack.

Now is the time to hold her hand.

rcommal said...

I've been so enjoying the imagery, betamax3000, make no mistake about that. Obviously, I even found it inspiring, and I thank you.

betamax3000 said...

Re: "rcommal said...

Betamax: There was a time (however anachronistic it, at that time) that I could blow a smoke ring **through** a smoke ring. And you know what? It actually **wasn't** too obvious."

A woman blowing smoke rings is entrancing; a man blowing smoke rings in front of a woman is painfully obvious in his Need to Be Noticed.

betamax3000 said...

Thank you, rcommal!

betamax3000 said...

(and thank you, Ann, for humoring my indulgences)

Lem said...

It's especially appropriate if you're not a man.

betamax3000 said...

(I admit I hope this Gatsby passage has prompted Ann and Meade to reach for the E-cig together. They will smile at each other, taking turns: smiling, laughing, it is their own private joke. Good night)

rcommal said...

My lord, Lem, that surely inspires me to work harder toward learning Spanish. Because while I appreciated the subtitles, it would be better if I could just focus on the subtleties.

Thank you!

chickelit said...

@r,l: Smoke and onion rings

Largo said...

Betamax, I always enjoy these posts of yours. You are a master.

Chip Ahoy said...

I knew a guy who could blow a bubble on his tongue and then blow it off his tongue.

I insisted he teach how to perform this marvelous productive activity and his only instruction was, "I get them from underneath my tongue."

He left out you must build up a mouthful of gooey spit. Dryish, unrobust stingy spit will not do.

On a gusty day and with a wet mouth, you can blow successive bubbles that swirl around before they pop, say downtown waiting for the light to change, and cause people to curiously look around for the source.

But he smoked! And he filled the bubbles with smoke, released them, and they'd go )pop( and a tiny explosive puff of smoke would be released.

St. George said...

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

betamax3000 said...

In the morning a Gentleman quietly empties all of the ashtrays, taking care to dust underneath.

betamax3000 said...

I Think Ann should take several long, slow drags off her E-Cig before selecting the next Gatsby sentence.

Perhaps it will Inspire.