Quit now, Niki: I enjoyed your "Up in Smoke" article (Niki D'Andrea, July 19). I also enjoyed cigarettes, etc. many, many years ago. I don't mean to sound like Niki's mother (although I may be old enough), but smoking does really suck for your health. When she sees someone die from emphysema, her viewpoint could possibly change.
When I had first encountered a hookah lounge, it reminded me of some old '60s movie, except it was not jasmine, honey, or flavored tobacco they were interested in back then. The hookah atmosphere does have an ethereal feel to it, and if that's what people want, so be it. They aren't hurting anyone or breaking any "real" laws.
As for Niki's Arabic friend, she sounds like quite the liberated young woman. Good for her!
Carol D'Andrea (no relation to Niki), Tempe
Thanks for reading, but youre creepy: This will likely sound weird, but here goes nothing. First of all, I am a man. I read, with great interest, your smoking article. I also am a smoking enthusiast, even though I do not smoke. You see, I have a smoking fetish, which means that women who smoke, like Niki D'Andrea ("I was born with a pack of Camel Filters in one hand" and "I'd walk in to restaurants and ask to be seated in the chain-smoking section") are a huge turn-on.
The no-smoking law to which you referred was a great disappointment to me. Might you happen to know places around the Valley where I can go to watch women smoke?
Stu Rodriguez, via the Internet
OL' BOYS CLUB
Male members are tools: Country clubs! What kind of effete snob would belong to one in this day and time? I just don't get it. It's hard to believe that a bunch of cigar-chomping men would want to get together at the Phoenix Country Club's Men's Grill without any women around ("Men Behaving Badly," Sarah Fenske, July 19).
And when Logan and Barbara Van Sittert, two longtime members of the club, asked that women be allowed in this (arrgh!) rarefied chamber, you'd think the country club would suddenly realize it's the 21st century now and rescind its dumb policy. But no! Some of its male members instead called Barbara a "bitch" and a "whore" in graffiti on the golf course.
You read stories like this about country clubs in small towns in the South, but you'd think Phoenix's would have big-city standards nowadays. Well, wait a minute, Phoenix is the biggest small town in America, so why should I think it would be any different than, say, Selma, Alabama?
Carol Walker, Phoenix
Ditching the ball and chain: I just don't get it. Why would guys want to exclude women from a bar? The only reason I go to a bar is to see women. The last place I'd want to go is a place where I had to look at fat-assed old men all evening.
Oh, wait a minute, maybe it's because these dudes are forced to take their wives to the country club, and the last thing they want to do is sit around with the ball and chain when they're out and about? Now I get it.
Jack Woods, Phoenix
Keep fighting The Man: Go Barbara and Logan from Francine, Sam, and Chelsea. We all knew each other in the '60s and '70s, when John Hardaway and I belonged to the club. I tried to do this in the '70s and got my ass kicked out of the club. Keep fighting! I'm so sorry John isn't alive to see this.
Francine Hardaway, Phoenix
Rich bitches and hairy backs: Isn't it just perfect that the Men's Grill is so much nicer and well-equipped than the women's version at the Phoenix Country Club? Women have always been treated as second-class citizens at such places.
Yet I've got to admit that it's hard to feel sorry for rich bitches who'd even be members of a stupid country club, or be married to men who'd want to hang out in a bar at one with only their rich, balding, hairy-backed buds.
Jean Roberts, Phoenix
A man needs his space: Here we go with another woman pooh-poohing another "guys group." Anytime men have something exclusive to them and want to keep it that way, the ladies just can't wait to jump in and make them all seem like a bunch of immature, sexist cavemen.
Everywhere you go nowadays there are female-only clubs, groups, organizations. And I don't see the guys clamoring to get in. Even the gym I go to has a "women only" workout room, and you don't see me crying at the front desk because I'm not welcome in there.