A woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke


What’s the meaning of the phrase ‘A woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke’?

You can get more enjoyment from a cigar than from a woman.

What’s the origin of the phrase ‘A woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke’?

The phrase ‘A woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke’ is a line from the poem Betrothed, written by Rudyard Kipling and published in Department Ditties in 1886.

In the poem, Kipling compares his favourite cigars to his betrothed, Maggie. The couple had been arguing because Maggie wanted Kipling to give up his smoking habit and gave him an ultimatum – cigars, or her.

In the poem, Kipling considers his options, comparing his love of smoking to committing to loving only one woman, who is sure to lose her youthful looks over time.

He muses that it’s cigars that he first swore his commitment to, before he had ever met Maggie. The poem concludes:

“A woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke.
Light me another Cuba — I hold to my first-sworn vows.
If Maggie will have no rival, I’ll have no Maggie for Spouse!”

What are some notable uses of the phrase?

The sentiment, but not the exact phrase, is echoed in the works of author Mark Twain, a contemporary of Kipling, who often referenced his penchant for smoking and who made similar observations on human nature.

In more recent times, the phrase has also been alluded to in the TV show “Mad Men” which tells the story of cigar advertisers.

The phrase and sentiment is considered distasteful in modern times, owing to its’ misogynistic tone, and reverence for tobacco.

Cari Mayhew - Author at Phrase Finder

Cari Mayhew

Lifelong learner, phrase fanatic, and lover of literature across multiple genres. Cari Mayhew has a passion for expression, and a keen curiosity for how phrases begin and how their use transforms over time. She is often found looking for the ideal idiom to convey her thoughts and musings.