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Blogger 35 degrees writes about changing social norms in Iranian society, where sexual matters are generally taboo.

The girl behind the counter seems to be quite young, young even when compared to me, probably 21 or 22 at the most, and so she can’t be a pharmacist herself. I was guessing they hired a new cashier, but the way she had set herself up, she looked more like the daughter of a doctor there or something.

I finally let go of all my assumptions, hand in my prescription and begin to wait when the girl calls me and says: “Are you interested in learning anything about the condoms of this particular manufacturer?”

Although God knows that I am not one of those people who is afraid to go up and ask for condoms, I was still unprepared for anything like this while I was buying medicine.

I lose the power to think for a moment when I give her a look and say: “Excuse me!” With a smile like those of the new workers, she lifts a brochure in her left hand and a pack of condoms in her right from behind the counter and starts elaborating the features of these particular condoms: the variety of flavors, dots, lengths, thicknesses, colors, and sensitivities.

She keeps on going and I gain control of myself again, take the brochure from her, have a look and ask her where they are made. She says Singapore, or something like that, I can’t recall. I really want to find out whether it's really not an issue for her.

I ask if they’re new and she says they aren’t. I ask if they produce any supersized ones. She gets confused and embarrassed and starts going through the pages of the brochure, but it seemed that she didn’t know anything about it.

In the midst of all this the doctor returns with my medicine but doesn’t even come near us when she sees we’re busy with the condoms and the brochures. She leaves them where I can get them when I’m done.

I was surprised by the fact that someone without a moustache would campaign for a condom in broad daylight in a drugstore. In my view this can be considered a phenomenon or significant social progress. In the drugstore in our neighborhood where I’ve had numerous interesting condom-related experiences.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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