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Teenage Guys on Why We Smoke


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Old 12-05-2015, 10:19 PM
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Default Teenage Guys on Why We Smoke

So I read a post masklofumanto made on another thread where he argued that an association of smoking with masculinity was a reason that a lot of teenage boys. I thought a lot about this (I call this my philosopher mode) and then I decided who better to ask than a bunch of teenage guys who smoke? IDK if I've posted this here before but I have a group message with 8 of us who smoke at my school that we use to let each other know when we're going out for a smoke. Here's what they said [unhelpful responses edited out, each guy gets his own number]:

me: "So guys let's do philosopher mode. Why did we start smoking? Not doing a bullshit guilt trip thing, I really wanna know. Is it an adult thing? Masculine? Badass? Riff."

1: "definitely badass. all about sticking it to the man."

2: "I guess I just always wanted to try it when I was a kid. I started as soon as I realized no one gave a shit about smoking at [our school]. Liked it. End of story. Also lets smoke."

3: "I think it's an adult thing. For me I liked the idea of having something I could do here that my parents can't control."

3: "And that they fucking hate. BAM"

4: "no no no. you know the answer to this. we smoke to be free. like when do you feel more relaxed than when you're having a square? i just like going out there just to be and not to stress or any of that."

5: "Because I'm a grown ass fucking man"

6: "you guys are all wrong. we all started smoking because [2] smoked. like I'm sure you all had your own reasons, but none of us would do it if we were gonna be doing it alone. also, squares? please?"

2: "yw"

4: "actually no. started because my brother did. 8th fucking grade. look it up. and yeah bro let's do squares"

[fight for a few minutes]

6: "Connor to answer your actual question I think it's masculine too. like I said before I think it's trashy when girls do it. total double standard but whatever."

3: "yeah he's right. guys who smoke look mature. girls who smoke look desparate."

1: "ehhhh they look hot"

[then we get into a long thing about feminism until 7 shows up and I re-ask the question]

7: "connor I think you have it wrong. I started because it looked fun and I think most people did too. Like I was thinking about how I liked the image and the smell and how it was fun to smoke with people, not with broader stuff like that."

That was pretty much the end of the productive stuff. Sorry for all the profanity

Last edited by teen_smoker; 12-05-2015 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:56 PM
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A few questions:
(1) What does "having a square" or "doing squares" mean?
(2) What does "yw" mean?
If the answers are too profane, send me a PM.

As for the rest, it seems not much has changed. Masculinity, "bad ass," rebellion, freedom, adulthood and controlling your own life ... even the "double standard" towards girls smoking (if anything, you guys seem even more chauvinistic than we were back in the day). Only two, if I counted right, references to peer influences. Interesting.

About #7 at the end: he may not realize it, but he contradicts himself. He says you got it wrong, but then he talks about "liking the image." What "image" is that, do you think? Is it being a "real man," the "bad ass" who controls his own life and actions? The reason people philosophize is because it is reflecting on life and reality ... human beings just don't simply go mindlessly through life without a thought about the reasons things are as they are. Or they ought not to ... a thoughtless life is fit for an oyster, not for a man (to paraphrase Socrates).

Last edited by masklofumanto; 12-05-2015 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:01 PM
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Squares are cigarettes. YW is you're welcome. Sorry, I forgot to translate the slang and text speak!
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by teen_smoker View Post
Squares are cigarettes. YW is you're welcome. Sorry, I forgot to translate the slang and text speak!
You're giving me an education! Cigarettes are 'squares'?! Where did that come from? Oh well, I suppose it's better than the British slang for cigarettes, which has a very different, and nasty, meaning here in North America.

Yeah, I don't do text speak ... would you believe that, although I've had cellphones for at least 15 years, and I finally just got a smartphone two months ago, I have never sent a text message, and don't welcome receiving them. Isn't it just easier to speak on the phone? I don't really get it.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:17 PM
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Yeah, I agree 7 is kinda contradicting itself. He means that he started more to look like a smoker generally and less to look adult-like or masculine, but you have a point--what do we think a smoker looks like? For me it's someone who looks like he's in control of his own decisions, so yeah, it all kind of circles right back.

I have NO idea where squares comes from. Predates me at least.

And calling is invasive! Texting lets the person respond on their own time and gives you time to think before you reply. You can be texting while you do something else but you have to stop doing other things to call. Also easier to do in class and other places where you can't talk, and you can text a group of people at once. So pretty much no one my age calls.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:22 PM
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Squares, gentlemen, originated as a reference to the shape of a cigarette pack.

OK, I had to google that. But it's a pretty common term, lots of college kids say either that or stoges. I prefer to just say smokes or cigs.

Connor, this is fascinating. 2 sounds like your ringleader, 4 is your existential guy, 1, 3 and 5 are your rebels and 6 and 7 are your straight up follower-types. Where do you think you fit in?
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by teen_smoker View Post
Yeah, I agree 7 is kinda contradicting itself. He means that he started more to look like a smoker generally and less to look adult-like or masculine, but you have a point--what do we think a smoker looks like? For me it's someone who looks like he's in control of his own decisions, so yeah, it all kind of circles right back.

I have NO idea where squares comes from. Predates me at least.

And calling is invasive! Texting lets the person respond on their own time and gives you time to think before you reply. You can be texting while you do something else but you have to stop doing other things to call. Also easier to do in class and other places where you can't talk, and you can text a group of people at once. So pretty much no one my age calls.
Now you shouldn't be texting while in class. You are supposed to be paying attention to the lesson! I can't help the reprimand (though it's intended mildly); after all, I teach at a university.

Last edited by masklofumanto; 12-05-2015 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:26 PM
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Hahaha it's all good bro. It's kind of like smoking, if teachers didn't hate so much that we did it we probably wouldn't do it as much!

Also I just noticed this but masklo and Kyle are your avatars supposed to be the same person?
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by kyle93 View Post
Squares, gentlemen, originated as a reference to the shape of a cigarette pack.

OK, I had to google that. But it's a pretty common term, lots of college kids say either that or stoges. I prefer to just say smokes or cigs.
I never heard that on campus, and ours is NOT a smoke-free campus (though smoking was banned indoors about 15 years ago).

Originally Posted by kyle93 View Post
Connor, this is fascinating. 2 sounds like your ringleader, 4 is your existential guy, 1, 3 and 5 are your rebels and 6 and 7 are your straight up follower-types. Where do you think you fit in?
Kyle,
You really analyzed his "survey." I also would like to know where Connor fits in.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:35 PM
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Back in high school (graduated 1991) the African Americans called cigarettes "squares"

That term has been around a long time I guess.

Deck=pack of smokes

Here's my opinions about a few of the answers you got:

My guess for #7 is that smoking is a guilty pleasure.

#4 doesn't like responsibility.... I.e. Blame the other guy

#2 is probably the most mature out of the bunch... Smokes because he likes it... No other reason like "sticking it to the man"
#5 comes in a close second to #2, although it's as if he has something to prove

I really don't understand what #6 is talking about... Desperate for what?
Pretty interesting stuff, I have to say. Great post
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