“You’ve come a long way, baby” by
(26 Stories)

Prompted By Good Riddance

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If you don’t remember that slogan, lucky you.

Growing up with smoking is the best deterrent.

Growing up, every adult I knew smoked. In the house, in the car, in restaurants, and remarkably, on planes. It astonished me that people were allowed to light fires in a contained space at 30,000 feet, but there wouldn’t have been any passengers otherwise. I can only imagine what we smelled like then. Years later, as smoking waned, we’d come home from an event where it was allowed and have to air out our clothes and wash our hair.

So, in perfect Madison Avenue fashion, smoking was marketed to women as being liberating and cool: “You have your own cigarette now, baby.” Wow, lucky us. And what distinguished this puppy: it was longer and slimmer than regular ones. Yup, because a woman could never be too slim or too sexy. That’s the progress we fought for!

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Patricia is a co-founder of Retrospect, and generally can be found two standard deviations from the mean on most issues. Lover of chef's tasting menus, cute shoes, and the music of Brahms.

Characterizations: been there, right on!, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    We HAVE come a long way, baby, and thank goodness we don’t need to smoke any more to prove it! The one good thing that Virginia Slims did was to sponsor the Women’s Tennis Association tour. I smoked in HS, but my brand was Tareyton — you know, “Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!” Poor grammar, but at least it wasn’t patronizing.

    So good riddance to smoking, and good riddance to sexist marketing. Although we are not yet entirely free from either one, unfortunately.

  2. Susan says:

    Isn’t it nice that we’ve come a long way from being a smoking society.

  3. Blech. Blech. Blech.

    And, awesome ironic use of “waned” — a word long associated with that great female goddess of the night, the moon. Smoking waned, the better to see the moon.

  4. gfaules44 says:

    I read a bumper sticker years ago that said, “Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray.” That said, I smoked for 20 years and quiting was without a doubt my single most rewarding accomplishment bar none and there have been many.

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    As a singer and (former) contact lens wearer, I could not STAND being any where near smoke! I agree, GOOD RIDDANCE. Proud to say, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. But I do remember the bad old days when the smoke was everywhere, and even my non-smoking mother had to borrow cigarettes from her sister to put out for parties.

  6. I remember when we all co-opted that phrase and reduced it to ashes with the fervor that you conjured up, Patricia… baby 😉

  7. Risa Nye says:

    Yes, I remember smoking. Many of my high school friends smoked and I did too–whatever my boyfriend at the time was smoking since I didn’t dare buy my own! And once I got to college, kids were smoking in class! And so was the TA! We all had ashtrays in our apartments too. One of my college roommates and I bought cartons of cigarettes with our groceries. One day, I no longer liked the way my hands and my hair smelled, and just quit. Don’t miss any of it.

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