I guess it depends on what you're talking about. I don't think it's manly at all to rely on a substance of any kind. I'm a pipe and cigar smoker and I don't feel the least bit of addiction. That being said, I do think pipe and cigar smoking can be considered manly. There's just something about the relaxation and contemplative mood it creates that does indeed seem manly.
Enjoying a cigar on occasion is manly. Standing outside by yourself in 20-degree weather because you need a cigarette is pathetic.
I hate to admit it but it really is. There was a time when it was considered taboo for women to smoke because the cigarette is the symbol of a penis
Whereas if a man did it, it was manly?
Really? If that's true ... its bizarre. I've never heard the "symbol of a penis" theory. You'd figure it'd be less stereotypically manly, and distinctly more womanly, to have a penis-symbol hanging from your mouth ... particularly in that day-and-age.
I'm sure I've seen pictures of fairly well-renown, and admired, women of the 30-60s smoking ... Marylin Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Deitrich, Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall, Lucille Ball (who smoked on I Love Lucy, during a time when married couples couldn't share a bed on TV, and the word 'pregnant' was banned), etc., etc.
It couldn't have been all that taboo. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
It was longer ago than that, though the sentiment did persist through those decades (and even to today, to some degree, I imagine).
And I think it's safe to say that Alexei didn't mean that smoking a cigarette literally symbolizes sucking on a penis. In my opinion it's easy enough to see it the same way a big gun might be a phallic symbol in a movie (or real life).
The wiki page is exactly what I was talking about. Thanks for the link for everyone to see.
Ask yourself this: If I smoke, do I have more of a manly character then if I do not? You will have your answer.
Note: This does not mean, "do I look more like a man with a cigarette in my mouth?"
"Manly" also refers to activities befitting a man's man. Stuff men do, not necessarily just things that make them men. Its certainly not limited to "character building", or even character-revealing ... so long as it isn't revealing a flaw (like nicotine addiction, for instance).
Steak doesn't build character, either. Or bacon. Or cowboy boots. Or pick-up trucks. Or guns. Or war movies. Or any of a thousand other stereotypically "manly" things.
I realize that. I was just focusing more on the idea of character, rather then activities that men often partake in and find and interest in doing.
Since, as you said, a lot of stereotypically manly things have nothing to do with building a manly character. (and if they have an influence it is rather unrelated to the thing itself, rather then what it teaches, and what it teaches is up to how it is used and percieved)
There is nothing unmanly in enjoying smoking every so often, it just isn't something that defines a man.
Smoking a pipe is definitely manly. Smoking a cigarette is definitely not.