I went to a small-town private college in rural Iowa at the nexus of the late 90s youth smoking boom and the beginning of the end of college campus smoking freedom, particularly indoors. I was a freshman in 1996, and missed out on a smoking section at the college dining hall by only one year. College was someplace I really didn’t want to be at age 18 and that freshman year was the most miserable year of my life, but the one upside was that young coeds were walking around campus with cigarettes in hand. I was still a few years away from fully coming to terms with my smoking fetish, but my interest in smoking girls was escalating and getting a spattering of sightings among girls I saw regularly on campus helped trigger that escalation. With that said, I never got any truly life-altering sightings at this campus in four years. Even the group of smoker girls, most of whom I interacted with, in one of my political science classes who stood together puffing outside class, never captivated me the way they probably would today. I wasn’t emotionally ready for a university setting at the time, but from a smoking fetish standpoint I suspect I would have done much better there considering how high the smoking rates were among college girls at this time. But when I look back at my time at this college, there was still one sighting that left the biggest impression on me even though it was fairly limited.
Winter came early and stuck around late in my freshman year of college, and by mid-November 1996 we were already mired in wintry conditions. I was walking out of the college dining hall and down a hallway that led to a relatively obscure exit that led to my doorway. Before I even opened the door, I saw this adorable light brunette in a winter jacket and blue jeans standing there smoking a cigarette. She was the exact sort of girl I dreamed of seeing smoking a cigarette when I left for college…a wholesome and attractive girl-next-door type with an upscale, honor-roll sort of look about her. I saw a few such girls smoking at college, but none quite like this. My eyes were locked on her as I approached the door and watched the cigarette exit her mouth followed by the expulsion of smoke into the bitter late autumn air. I was also taking in the middle-aged female dining services worker at the top of the flight of steps I was about to ascend who was also smoking because she was conversing with my smoker girl. All these distractions made me fail to notice that winter was upon me and as I took my first step outside my foot slid on the pavement and I almost lost my balance, which made my favorite smoker girl aware of my presence.
“Oh careful!”, she said in the sweetest possible voice…a voice that perfectly matched the adorable face. Gah! The cutest smoker girl on campus just spoke to me and was concerned with my welfare. I was way too bashful to take advantage of this opening and instead looked down as I walked past her towards the steps, partially out of shyness and partially so I’d be less likely to step onto another icy patch. Either way, I didn’t see any more close-up smoking from her, but there were more treasures to glean from this encounter as I ascended the steps and heard two generations of female smokers interact. The dining services worker atop the flight of cement stairs was grumbling about the smoking ban inside, saying “There should be a place inside out of the wind where we can smoke!”. The college girl behind me said, “Well, there’s this one place….” she continued with location details in the most perfect feminine voice that gave me more goosebumps than the cold weather, and the dining services gal added that she was aware of the place, which elicited a giggle from my smoker girl that will go down as one of the sweetest giggles I’ve ever heard before. I turned left atop the stairs heading back to my dorm room and stole one more glance at my smoker girl who was at the bottom of the steps. What a cutie! She didn’t quite make my freshman year worthwhile but she at least made that autumn day worthwhile!
I suspect she was an upper-classman, quite possibly a senior, and I always looked for her smoking for the rest of that school year, but never found her. Would have been hard to believe that in spending four years on campus, I’d get my best sighting in the first two months, but I did.