How To Become A Smoker

Go for coffee with a guy you used to sort of know. Get all the awkward small talk out of the way. Feel unsure if you are interested. Take the cigarette he offers you. It’s a first date. Don’t be rude.

Walk with him to the art show. Sip on wine and discuss the art. Discuss whether or not art should be discussed. Agree that neither of you like people who discuss art. Laugh tipsily, bail on the art show and go smoke a cigarette.

Wander to the bar. Before you start a game of pool, have a drink and smoke a cigarette. Play doubles with another couple and banter wittily about your first date with him. Win the game. Show off your dance moves. Drink too much and walk back to his place.

Listen to him promise he won’t try anything. Feel disappointment. Realize you like him, you love him, you want him. Snuggle into his bed. Try things. Feel comfortable. Marvel at how, over the course of one evening, your feelings have changed so drastically. In a vain attempt to please him, make him like you, make him think you are cool and interesting and sophisticated, smoke another cigarette.

Start seeing him regularly. Learn all the good things about him and show him all the good things about you. Start buying your own cigarettes. Buy him cigarettes to make up for the times you smoked his. While walking his dog, talk politics, talk religion, agree and disagree, be honest, begin to feel a real connection, smoke cigarettes.

When he is out of town, talk to him, on the phone, everyday, while you smoke your cigarettes.

When it comes time to express your feelings toward each other, be nervous. Feel vulnerable. Smoke cigarettes. Have the talk. Acknowledge that you are both having fun. Be afraid to commit. Things are good; you are happy, don’t ruin it. Relieve the tension of defining the relationship by smoking a cigarette.

Go away for a while, don’t talk to him, sleep around. Repress the urge to smoke a cigarette.

Miss him. Come home. Establish contact. Continue spending time together. Continue smoking cigarettes.

Become dependent on him; see him every night. Smoke cigarettes naked in his bed. Let him tell you things. Ask him all the questions you were afraid to ask in the beginning. Let him tell you about his past and tell him all about yours. Let him see your bruises. Prove to him that you have depth and emotion, that you have been hurt. Try to heal each other. Smoke a lot of cigarettes.

Be too loose with your emotions. Become reckless. Cry. Be more intimate than you have with anyone in years. Think that because he shared with you, you can share with him. Think that you both love smoking cigarettes. Think that you are on the same page. Listen when he tells you he could love you. Feel like you could love hum. Feel like you could tell him anything. Appreciate that he doesn’t judge you, even for smoking cigarettes.

Decide that it’s time to commit to him. Decide that this is real. Imagine your future together. Fabricate a life in which the two of you live romantically in a studio apartment that allows smoking and dogs. Be oblivious to his feelings on the subject. Yes, he’s going to be yours. You like him. You like smoking cigarettes. Nothing can hurt you.

On your way to his house, stop to buy a pack of cigarettes. When you arrive, feel confused when he tells you he is no longer smoking. You both love cigarettes.

Lay in bed with him. Confess that you love him. Listen as he tells you he isn’t sure. Begin to panic. Cry. Try to leave. Feel betrayed. Let him convince you to stay. Let him soothe you. Cling to connection you felt with him only minutes earlier. Cling to the idea of the two of you, in love and happy.

Continue seeing him. Continue smoking cigarettes, despite the fact that he has quit. Hear from him less. Sleep with him, only when he is drunk, only when you are drunk, only after you’ve been smoking several cigarettes.

While you wait for him to call, smoke more cigarettes. Ask your friends why he hasn’t called you. Ask yourself what you did wrong. Regret being so open with him. Regret smoking cigarettes. Smoke cigarettes.

Resent him. Smoke cigarettes.

After weeks of feeling sorry for yourself, come to terms with the end of your relationship. Come to terms with your addiction to cigarettes.

Two months later, see him at the drug store, buying cigarettes. TC mark

image – Super Fantastic


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  • brittany

    Brilliant. I remember the exact moment that the person who got me hooked on cigarettes told me they were quitting. I just stared at him like he had told me my whole life was a life. It’s a weird feeling, for sure.

  • brideshead

    Brilliant ‘thought’. This could be a great short story.

  • Patricia Capiral

    This is so beautiful. And so frighteningly accurate. 

  • Aladin Sane

    I’m gonna go cut myself while listening to this Lana Del Rey Song. Cause this sounds like a Lana Del Rey song. I need a smoke.

  • Agesi Pillay

    Great story. This really does happen.

  • Rebecca

    This was amazing, it was exactly how I got hooked on cigarettes. Although he hasn’t quit yet, the scenario was spot on. I’m glad I am not the only one who mixed new relationships and smoking. 

  • Cogitoergosum

    The fucking bastard.

  • Vienna

    I love this. 


    This same piece has been written for TC about 50 times before. See: any “How To ____” piece for a trite, corny story of a doomed relationship, masquerading in the skin of evocative, original prose. Crap city, population: you, Ms. Bradley.

  • Guest

    Come to terms with being a complete fucking moron. Realize how old you are, stop doing things because other people do them, and quit smoking because it’s not actually that hard to do.

    • Guest

      Be judgemental. Have no comprehension of the complex nature of addictions. 

      • mutterhals

        Leave comment in same style as author. Feel superior. Smoke a joint because you don’t smoke cigarettes. Laugh a lot, then go make a sandwich.

  • Vianca Pandit

    The concept may not be original and lets face it, so few are these days, but this is very well written. An eloquent and meaningful piece.

  • Clover

    While this ISN’T the most original thing to fall out of a hipsters ass while cutting themselves, after doing lines of coke, lets just be honest, like 2% of all articles on TC are actually original or can claim the crown to be original, and this does follow a similar …flow, I thought it worked really, really well. This was well written, and showed emotion and heart. keep up the good work :) 

  • Kimmie

    Read this article. Then gonna smoke my cigarette.

  • I'm wonderstruck

    Thanks for putting that sinking feeling in my gut. I realized the majority of things I like or do is because of someone I admire . I’m nothing but an amalgam of unrelated traits I’ve picked up since my early teens. I lost everything that was me and jumped into a feedback loop that constantly gobbles up select bits into the cycle; it’s turned me into a montage on the outside and hollow inside.

    • Maiasaura

      I dunno, I think it’s sort of cool when you realize you’re perpetuating the mannerisms and habits of the people you’ve admired.  It’s like you carry a little piece of the past with you.  We’re all made up of the intersections of our natures and those who nurtured us–why should we be embarrassed about it?

  • hugo

    readin’ this article smoking cigs

  • guest


  • Guestropod

    Smoke at a party when you’re thirteen because you think it makes you look cool.  Never stop.  

  • B.

    You’re a gem kid. Keep on keeping’ on. Your writing is deep & brutally honest, making this
    Article beautifully awesome.

  • Melanie Crutchfield

    Beautifully written.

  • Caleb Hildenbrandt

    This is beautiful, and eloquent.

  • cookiemonster

    Haha, this is me exactly. I like my cigarettes now though, objectively, independently of him.

  • Maya

    This really happens.  Sad but true. . . 

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