Pipe Smoking Among Young Men
Talk to anyone loafing at the local Pipe Shop and before long the conversation will turn to the increasing popularity of pipe smoking; particularly among the 30 and under crowd. You might see them pulling their new Churchwardens, Bulldogs and Billiards out of the cigar box they use to tote their pipe, pipe lighters, tobacco & pipe cleaners. I know that at the local pipe shop and tobacconist I patronize there are a good group of seminary students & 20ish guys that come in regularly to buy pipe tobacco or just hang out and enjoy the conversation.
So, what is it about pipe smoking that the younger crowd finds so appealing amidst the staunch “anti-tobacco” sentiment that is so prevalent in our culture today? Of course, no one can answer for everyone althoughI have noticed what I believe are some of the main reasons why this past time has become so popular.
It’s a Manly Practice
With the rising appeal of all things “manly” (i.e. “The Art of Manliness” aka AoM, Gentlemint, etc.) it is evident that Pipe Smoking is a practice that helps younger guys identify with their masculine side. Pipe smoking is similar to pocket knives, leather boots and shaving in that it seems to help solidify the masculine persona within a young man who is in the process of setting the course of their life and habits.
There is an Immediate Community
There is a camaraderie among pipe smokers; both online as well as in person. As I mentioned above most pipe shops have a smoking area with ashtrays, pipe lighters, leather chairs and usually a few loafers hanging out. Pipe smoking gives the young man access to other men; young & old, who share a common interest. What is particularly beneficial about pipe smoking for young guys is that they are often sitting next to men who are older and have a wealth of experience in life and career. The chances are very good that they can strike up a conversation with doctors, judges, missionaries, accountants, fathers and grandfathers. The local pipe shop community is a gathering place of men from all walks of life who are willing to share from their own experience.
It is Contemplative
When I light up my Peterson and watch the smoke lazily waft out of the bowl it helps me to relax and allows my mind to drift to the things in life that are most important. The simple acts of packing, lighting, relighting and smoking involve my hands and before long the concerns that occupied my mind prior to lighting seem to dissipate. It is makes it easy to pray for my family and friends and to easily talk to God in a uncomplicated, conversational way.
There are many pipe smoking quotes, too numerous to list all of them here, but it is well documented by men of standing about the relaxing and contemplative nature of pipe smoking. In parting I thought I would share a few of them with you.
“If you want to get hold of a man’s deepest confidence, tell him to smoke in your drawing-room. I don’t know how it is, but there seems no trouble in which a man can’t smoke. One who scorns extraneous comfort of every other sort, will yet, in the profoundest sorrow, take kindly to his pipe. This is more wonderful than anything I know about our kind.” -Ethelwyn in The Vicar’s Daughter by George MacDonald (1824-1905)
“A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake–you are undoubtedly a man.” -A. A. Milne
“When you pray with this pipe, you pray for everything in the universe, and everything in the universe prays with you.” -Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglalas
“I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs.” Albert Einstein