Where there’s smoke…

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Where there’s smoke…

Story by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer

“It’s a great opportunity,” promised Michael Díaz (right), who together with Ariel Ferreira, is hosting a women’s cigar networking event.

“It’s a great opportunity,” promised Michael Díaz (right), who together with Ariel Ferreira, is hosting a women’s cigar networking event.

Step up for a stogie, ladies.

Ariel Ferreira and Michael Díaz will together host No Distractions, a women-only networking event this Thursday night at Papa Juan’s Cigar Room.

They say they understand that some might view the idea skeptically.

“We get that question all the time, ‘Two guys hosting the event?’ But people are taking it seriously,” said Ferreira, a small business consultant and member of Community Board 12.

Over 70 women have already registered for the event—twice the amount of men who registered for the duo’s first all-male No Distractions cigar networking event.

“I didn’t even know that many women smoked cigars,” said Díaz, also a member of Community Board 12, who is known to many as his alter ego Juan Bago.

But he’s been learning a few things about the other gender.

One of Díaz’s most recent projects as Bago was a spoof on the beautiful bottle service girls omnipresent in local lounges and clubs. For the video, Díaz learned what it was like to walk in the shoes – and the undergarments and makeup—of a woman.

The original gentlemen-only cigar networking events were meant to connect strivers and professionals with each other—without the ostensible distractions offered by the presence of the other sex.

The duo has hosted a number of men’s networking events.

The duo has hosted a number of men’s networking events.

The last all-male event was in January. Soon, female friends and colleagues started feeling left out.

“Some of the feedback from the ladies is that they’re professionals, and they smoke cigars as well,” said Ferreira. “So why didn’t we invite them?”

The men took the question to heart, and are now hosting the first women-only event on Thurs., March 13, in honor of Women’s History Month. The event is sponsored by Moet and Hennessey, and everything is free but the cigars.

The event is demographically and ethnically diverse; all women are welcome.

“My grandma is going to come and smoke some hookah,” joked Díaz, to illustrate the point.

They insisted that attendees need not be cigar aficionados to enjoy themselves; still, those who are will have an opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow tobacco devotees.

While the event is meant to help professionals engage with one another, there will be an opportunity to connect on all levels.

“You’re going to have people who can be mentors, people you can meet who can be a guide or an influence,” promised Díaz. “It’s a great opportunity.”

He was less sure about whether his choice of attire for Thursday. As of press time, Díaz had not yet decided whether he’d be sporting his wig and dress to fit into the event.

To register to the event, which is free of charge, contact Ariel Ferreira at arielferreira@gmail.com, or call 917.202.1297.

Papa Juan’s Cigar Room is located at 3456 Broadway. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.