The UES WASP Guide to Smoking

3368725 The UES WASP Guide to Smoking

Vile habit, that.

New York is pretty much a no-smoking zone right now, one in which all of us puffers are living in our own private Joseph Heller — a world where it’s legal to buy cigarettes and sometimes even smoke them, but where one finds themselves increasingly admonished and ostracized for doing so. Katie Couric, for instance, will tell you that you’re not attractive if you stink of tobacco. Our dream woman, gone forever because we can’t kick our nicotine fix.

And yes, we understand that it’s a nasty, smelly habit. But you know what else is? Taking it upon yourself to be the self-righteous Thought Police for the “Smell Flowers Not Smoke” campaign, as UES blogger Reggie Darling has done.

At first, we were pretty sure that Reggie Darling’s entire persona was a joke. There’s his profile (on Blogspot!) that reads like an Awl satire:  “Saint Grottlesex/Ivy League somewhat-observant Episcopalian WASP living on Manhattan’s UES during the week with a career in finance,” before going on to talk about the Federal house he’s restoring up the Hudson River Valley with his pug Pompey and spouse Boy Fenwick. (Or do we have that backwards?)

But the sometimes-New York Social Diary writer was not joking around with his 1,262-word Miss Manners missive on where it is and isn’t appropriate to smoke in NYC. If you don’t have a spare hour to be lectured, we’ve broken Reggie’s Rules down into some basic points:

1.) Don’t smoke indoors (even in your own home).

2.) Don’t smoke in your own car.

3.) Don’t smoke while walking outdoors.

4.) Don’t smoke outdoors while standing near a building.

5.) “Confine your smoking only to areas and places where it is explicitly allowed,” which limits you to outer space or New Jersey, since indoor and outdoor smoking is both  illegal and déclassé.

6.) Before lighting up, ask everyone in your immediate vicinity if this is okay with them.

a) If they say no, don’t get “shirty” about it. Instead, grovel for their forgiveness, as  “their rights trump yours.”

And most of all, remember: All animals are equal, but some animals that don’t  smoke are more equal than others.


  1. Audrey SIlk says:

    Drew, I have one bone to pick with you.  Who is this “we”?  Don’t lump me in with the semi-unrepentant smokers who think some concession toward appeasement is called for as a prelude to any defense.  In this case, it’s the “we understand it’s a nasty… habit,” I object to.  Says who?  The ones who crafted the blueprint to infringe on informed choice to smoke?  Who’ve been so brilliant in beating that into people’s heads a la Madison Ave. style ad campaigns that to dare to think otherwise is like saying there IS a Santa Claus?  Well, **I** say there’s nothing “nasty” about it!    It’s been going on for centuries.  It’s a form of pleasure (and I don’t mean nicotine) and enjoyment for many.  Other people don’t have to like/do it but to pass that sort of judgement on someone else’s choice is pure propaganda to effect forced change (through shaming) on that choice.  I am neither ashamed nor apologetic for my choice.  I am surely not part of “we.”

    Founder, NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.)

  2. Reggie Darling says:

    Hello Drew,
    Thanks for the shout out and linkages here, I’m genuinely flattered.  However, I think something may have been lost in the shuffle.  If you re-read my introduction to the “rules” I posted, you will learn that I have been known to smoke in my own house on occasion, even though I gave up regular smoking years ago, and I state that I believe the whole anti-smoking thing has gone too far here in the US and more recently Europe.  In fact, I am a proponent of allowing smoking in bars, clubs, and restaurants!  My rules are merely ones for courteous behavior…

    Reginald Ambrose Darling