Monday, 23 May 2016

Why lighting two cigarettes at once in the style of Paul Henreid is a really daft thing to attempt

Please don't try this at home, children.
In a comment on my recent post about the EU's new anti-vaping directive, SDG had this to say:
"At the end of the 1942 film "Now, Voyager" Paul Henreid whips out a couple of cigarettes, lights them at the same time and offers one to Bette Davis. She says: "Don't let's ask for the moon when we have the stars". To-day, he would whip out his vaping apparatus probably and ask "Banana or Bubblemint?" and after much palaver hand her a stick. It's not the same."
I admit it's not quite the same. But there's far less danger of ending up looking like a total prat with a bleeding lip and a burning carpet.

I've tried the old lighting-two-cigarettes-at-the-same-time ploy several times, and the drawbacks are numerous:

Sticking two round objects side-by-side in one's mouth (settle down, now) inevitably results in an air passage between them, so you have to suck in vast quantities of air to get them alight, usually resulting in a coughing fit that leaves one red-faced and wheezing. Not cool.

Lighting a solitary cigarette is simple - we've had years of practice. Lighting two at once is a bit like trying to write left-handed. You might get one alight, but firing up both simultaneously is decidedly tricky: unless you're Paul Henreid, you end up peering at the ends of the cigarettes cross-eyed, while waving the flame about in an exaggerated fashion about two feet in front of you, or so close it singes your eyebrows. This is not a good look, unless you actually want to come across as utterly deranged and incompetent.

In order to avoid this embarrassing scenario, you might try flattening the cigarette filter tips by compressing your lips into a taut, thin line. This works, but it invariably leads to very dry lips, so when you try to nonchalantly remove the cigarettes while maintaining sultry eye contact with the female you're desperate to impress, you'll either rip some skin off your lips (which hurts like buggery), or, because the cigarettes are essentially clamped in place by your vice-like mouth muscles, your fingers will slide down the length of the immovable objects, inadvertently detaching the lit ends from the rest of the cigarette, and spraying sparks over yourself and your partner, burning your fingers, and leaving two lumps of smouldering tobacco on the carpet. It's true that, instead of an attempted two-fingered sliding removal, you could, as it were, pluck the cigarettes from your mouth (the technique employed by Henreid) - but one of them's bound to stick to your bone-dry lips and end up on your shirt-front.

You can try to seal the air pocket by completely relaxing your mouth muscles and pushing your lips out, thus making them unnaturally soft and plashy and ensuring they ooze into any spaces between the cigarettes. As your lips are moist, removing the cigarettes will definitely prove easier - but you end up handing over a lit cigarette with drool on the tip, and nobody's a fan of that. Also, there's always the danger of over-relaxing the mouth muscles, causing one or both cigarettes to slither from between your lips into your lap.

As it's only in rom-coms that women fall in love with cack-handed morons, it's easier to offer your partner a cigarette from a packet and then, when she has put it in her mouth, light it, allowing her to tenderly cup the outside of your lighter-bearing hand and stare invitingly into your eyes as you do so (but don't stare back for too long, or you're liable to miss your mark and either burn the middle of her cigarette or set fire to her hair).

Or go the vaping route: surely there isn't a heterosexual woman on the face of the planet who could resist the invitation to try some Unicorn Puke, Vampire Breath or - better still - Energy Orgy. And she'll be incredibly impressed (and possibly even aroused) by the skilful way in which you handle your equipment.

1 comment:

  1. Or just adopt the obvious multidrop networking solution, the four-way henreid.