Cigarette bummers are, arguably, the lowest of life-forms to be found on the club smoking deck.
But there is an art to the shamelessness of coming up to a random stranger and asking them for one of their hard-earned cancer sticks. Trust me — I’m a pro.
This is self-evident and, unfortunately, incredibly sexist. But if men are happy to ogle at these bubbas the rest of the time, why not use them to your advantage?
Victoria’s Secret push-up bra + top so tight you’re gasping like a newborn collie = tenner saved on a stupid pack of fags you only ever buy when you’re smashed and invariably polish off in one night.
Waking up with a throat as rusty as that bike I left outside the Union for five months last year is so not very Raven. Free fags, on the other hand, are.
If your tits are out, it actually doesn’t matter how you phrase your request for a cig, because the dude’s not even listening. He probably hasn’t even looked at your face once. You could be asking him for a kidney and he’d hand it over smilingly.
Maybe one time out of 10 they try and put an arm around you, or make some kind of vaguely derogatory remark. I tend to handle these situs by either robbing their lighter or responding with “Thanks! My boyfriend’s been gagging for this smoke all night” before victoriously withdrawing.
NOT other favours, mind, darling — that’s what separates us patriarchy-exploiters from the actual sex-solicitors.
But it wouldn’t be “bumming” if it involved financial transaction — and this is where cultural differences come in. British people are inherently programmed to profusely reject anything remotely profitable and/or beneficial to themselves in the name of politeness.
9 times of 10, the offer of a quid for a cig which you both know is worth about 45p (or 25p if you’re bumming a rollie) is enough to make the mark practically have an aneurysm as they profusely wave away your money and thrust multiple fags in your direction.
Result? They walk away feeling like they’re Gandhi for rejecting abhorrent bribes, you walk away knowing you’ve played them AND made them feel good about it. Everyone wins.
The tip here is not to approach anyone non-English. Anyone who wasn’t brought up with “excuse me” and “awfully sorry” punctuating every sentence is gonna pocket your pound quicker than you can say “there goes tomorrow’s lunch fund”.
‘I’m having a shit night’ sob story
Best accompanied by actual sobs, and/or an angry “ex” (friend with thespian ambitions) shouting at you in the background.
Some variants on this technique include:
• “I’ve just had the biggest argument/fight with my friend/boyfriend”
• “I promised myself I’d quit but I just can’t help it when I get this emotional, it’s my coping mechanism”
• “I got kicked out of the club for slapping a guy for sexually harassing my mate”
Particularly effective on girls — we are psychologically programmed to be more empathetic and caring. Then again, men tend to have a protector complex, and/or think maybe they stand a shot of being a rebound for drunk, emotional you.
Not a good one for those who can’t lie good. Requests for details as you roll your ciggie may require long-winded, increasingly elaborate storytelling. If you catch a bear, baby dying in a fire, or intrusive raccoon coming up in your tale, it’s best to give up and scarper.
Learn to roll
This is a painfully obvious one, but four out of five times when you approach a mark to ask for a cig, they ask “Can you roll?” If that’s a “no”, they’re well within their right to tell you that you shouldn’t be smoking, or that they can’t be bothered to roll for you, usually accompanied by the sarky remark “D’you want me to smoke it for you, too?”
Most rollie-smokers tend to have an automatic level of respect for anyone else who can roll, primarily because they think they’re really cool and edgy and their ability to roll is a marker of absolute superiority and God’s gift to the blessed smoker community.
You’ll need some baccy and a very patient smoker friend to actually learn how to roll well. I mean, it is kind of God’s gift to us chosen ones. Not sure you’re edgy enough though, mate.
If all of the above do fail… bite the bullet, buy your own bloody cigarettes and finally acknowledge you are, actually, a nicotine fiend. And stop snaking other fiends for their sweet, cancerous nectar.
Now go forth, young grasshoppers, and try these ingenious methods out.*
*I take no responsibility for your early disease-ridden deaths.