Santa smokes Turkish

(There will be plain talk, in street language, about sexual acts, so this posting is not for kids or the sexually modest.)

From Richard Hershberger (passed on to me by David Kathman), this 1920 magazine ad:


(#1) Hershberger’s comment: Run a Google image search on “Santa Claus cigarette” and a startling number of results pop up. This one is my favorite, as Santa clearly is taking a smoke while in the afterglow.

Things to talk about: postorgasmic afterglow; Turkish tobacco; Murad cigarettes; the ad campaign for the cigarettes by Rea Irvin; graphic artist Rea Irvin. First the sex, then the smokes — starting with the tobacco, in a chain of topics where each leads to the next.

Postorgasmic afterglow. From my 6/16/22 posting “prone, doggy, intimate, intense”:

there will be ample opportunity for smiling and kissing in sexual afterglow, the pleasurable postcoital moments of languorously lying in one another’s arms and talking softy to one another and just enjoying the surfaces of one another’s bodies

This passage is about the emotional pleasures of after-fuck intimacy. But there are substantial physical pleasures in these moments as well: deep relaxation induced by oxytocin released by intimacy and by the blast of hormones provided by orgasm (which is entirely capable of clearing your sinuses, temporarily, and making your breathing easy — my god does it feel great!) These latter physical effects are, strictly speaking, postorgasmic (not just postcoital), and can be triggered by masturbation to climax, without any partner being involved.

All this is relevant to #1, because Santa’s afterglow — enjoyed in the antique (#1 is from 1920, remember) convention of smoking a cigarette — would appear to be postorgasmic but not postcoital; this is a relaxed smoke after a Santa jack (or wank), not a Santa fuck. In a jack-off break fueled by the image of the odalisque on the Murad package, presumably. After which the jolly old elf will continue on his gift-delivering rounds.

A sad side note. Googling on “postcoital” pulls up a pile of stuff on postcoital dysphoria / tristesse, with advice about treating this disfunction, which is apparently widespread. The things you learn about on the net! I have never experienced this emotion, or had sex with anyone (any form of sex, with male or female) who reported having this emotion, but it seems to be common, and that’s a very sad thought.

Eventually, though, googling brought me to some afterglow discussions. Well, it’s cheering that afterglow seems to be so much the default case that it doesn’t get a lot of press — though it is the source of lots of humor (as in #1).

Turkish tobacco. From Wikipedia:

Turkish tobacco, or Oriental tobacco, is a highly aromatic, small-leafed variety of tobacco which is sun-cured. Turkish tobacco plants usually have a greater number and smaller size leaves. These differences can be attributed to climate, soil, cultivation and treatment methods. Historically, it was cultivated primarily in Thrace and Macedonia, now divided among Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia and Turkey, but it is now also grown on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, in Egypt, in South Africa and elsewhere.

The name “Turkish” refers to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the historic production areas until the late 19th/early 20th century.

… In the early 1900s, manufactures of Turkish and Egyptian cigarettes tripled their sales and became legitimate competitors to leading brands. The New York-based Greek tobacconist Soterios Anargyros produced the hand-rolled Murad cigarettes, made of pure Turkish tobacco. [AZ: the Liggett & Myers brand Fatima was another]

One of the most over-the-top ad campaigns for any cigarette was the long-running series for Murad brand made by Rea Irvin.

Side note on Gauoises (and Gitanes). These are strongly flavored French brands (with significant Turkish tobacco in them) that have become part of the stereotype of the Frenchman. On the cigarettes, from Wikipedia:

Traditional Gauloises were short, wide, unfiltered and made with dark tobaccos from Syria and Turkey which produced a strong and distinctive aroma. The brand is most famous for its cigarettes’ strength, especially in its original unfiltered version.

And on the stereotype of the Frenchman (including smoking Gauloises or something similar), see my 10/5/22 posting “Zhock jocks at play”.

Murad cigarettes. Lorillard acquired the Murad brand in 1911, and the  inventive and playful advertising continued for some years afterwards. Eventually, tastes in the U.S. and Europe shifted away from the strongly flavored Turkish tobaccos to mellower Virginia tobacco, and the Murad brand was discontinued.

The ads. I’ve been unable to discover who the artist was for the ad in #1, or for the Murad Santa ads in 1915 and 1919:


(#2) The happy Murad Santa of 1915


(#3) The mischievous Murad Santa of 1919 (with cigarette holder)

But the Murad Santa for 1918 is the work of Rea Irvin, who did a long series of Murad ads:


(#4) A military Murad Santa for the war effort

Rea Irvin. Two more Murad magazine ads by Irvin, both from 1918, both with an Orientalist theme:


(#5) For Life, a harem scene, with the pasha, a blackamoor servant, and two odalisques


(#6) For Leslies, a garden scene among the palm trees. with the pasha — rivaled in his magnificence by a peacock — and his woman

The graphic artist and cartoonist Rea Irvin has already appeared on this blog, in my 11/7/22 posting “Centennial moments in NYC”, as the creator of the very first cover for The New Yorker (which appeared in early 1925): the famous portrait of the fictitious Eustace Tilley, used as the magazine’s cover every year on the issue closest to the anniversary date of February 21, though often a newly drawn variation replaces it:


(#7) The very first time that Eustace fixed his monocle on a butterfly

Irvin went on to serve as the unofficial graphic arts editor for the magazine, doing a lot to set its appearance, while contributing many covers and cartoons over the years. Just one cartoon:


(#8) Published 6/6/1925: William Jennings Bryan, on the occasion of the Scopes trial

And one cover, for Christmas 1926:


(#9) Which brings us back to Santa Claus, as in #1

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