On Women Who Smoke

The Painting

This is a quick charcoal sketch I made using watercolors, willow charcoal, and a compressed charcoal stick.

painting-of-woman-smoking- charcoal-watercolor
I like how it turned out!

My Probably Unrealistic Fascination with Women Who Smoke

The Illusion

I cannot decisively explain why I like women who smoke. It must be my love for mid-20th-century films and modern movies that are set in that time. (Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is my favorite film ever, do watch it if you love literature and the good old times.)

The nostalgic person that I am, I have for countless times imagined what it would be like to live in a different era in a different country. If given the opportunity, I would prefer living in the 1920s or 1950s in a western European country – among those medieval cities, Mediterranean beaches and alpine villages – or in the United States where I could experience first-hand, the life I have seen in Classical Hollywood cinema. Classical Hollywood Cinema is indeed a subject of vast study and in my opinion, a significantly important part of that era. I am captivated by everything about it. The fashion, the way of life, the way of speaking, the buildings, the art, the artists, you name it.

Greta Garbo, Portrait by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1931

And the actors from the films. The women have those distinctive characteristics and are portrayed in a way that distinguishes them so much from the women of today. The clothes, the hats, the shoes, the hairstyles, the acting and all the grace that surrounds them. And; the cigarette. I feel it adds to the attractiveness. Consider Greta Garbo or Marilyn Monroe. No doubt, totally lovely always and forever, even without the cigarette.

Greta Garbo in Anna Christie (1930)

But with the cig in hand, they look so much more charming and authoritative.

A woman who smokes is alluring because she’s rebellious. She is a risk-taker. I am not talking about a woman of this day and age who gets carried away easily, smokes recklessly and wears short skirts and gets stoned to show off. No. I am talking about a strong, independent woman who knows her pleasures, appreciates them, but isn’t ashamed of them and is in control. These are the kind of women from the Classical Hollywood films who I admire and appreciate, and who I am attracted to.

Maybe they went extinct.

The Reality

In a real-life scenario, I probably may never be able to love a woman who smokes of this era. She doesn’t take care of herself, doesn’t realize that smoking is unhealthy, and she may end up looking like this after self-annihilation if she is not able to control herself-

credit goes to whoever the photographer is

She may not even be able to go on treks with me or go for long walks in the beautiful silence of the night because she doesn’t take care of her health. How could she keep up with me when I want to travel the world?

So why all that blabbering above, about women who smoke being sexy, you ask? Well, I sure do find them alluring, but it can only ever be a fling. I’d rather prefer someone who is responsible and loving, over someone who is always getting into trouble, ruining themselves in pursuits of destructive pleasures in the name of leading a different and adventurous life.

Phew! So much for a painting!

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