So I was standing in line to buy Persian bread at the bakery in the local shopping center of my neighborhood in Kuwait. The system is that you bring your own bag to take your bread home in or a newspaper to wrap it in.
I was standing in line with my bag while the person in front was flipping through a newspaper that he would later carry his bread in. I was looking over his shoulder to see what was in the paper, and as he turned the page my eyes fell on what I could not believe I just saw. There before my eyes was an advertisement section with ads, in Arabic, for penis pumps and breast enlargers with pictures of the devices along with the descriptions so that I had no doubt as to what I was reading.
I paused for a moment to reflect on this bizarre and surreal juxtaposition. Here I was in one of the most conservative Arab states where the majority of the citizenry believes it is forbidden in Islam for men and women to shake hands and where the government forbids and makes illegal co-ed university classes. Yet it was allowed to advertise devices with such lewd purposes and without any hint of discretion. Why would co-ed university classes be forbidden while the importation of an obsessive Western cultural trait with large phalluses be tolerated?!?! Such are one of many contradicitions in the Middle East. Yet it didn't seem to raise a glance from the paper's reader in front of me.
When his turn came, he spread his paper, accepted his bread and wrapped it within it, and cheerfully walked home without a thought as to the contents of the paper.