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Persian Letters

Would You Like A Condom?

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.
'He goes, or I go.'
Blogger Iran Azad (Free Iran) writes about how his friend, a supporter of Mahmud Ahmadinejad, was rejected by a girl he wanted to marry because of his loyalty to the Iranian president.

One of my acquaintances, a supporter of Mahmud Ahmadinejad, ran into me in the neighborhood and wanted to share his problems with me. At first, he complained about my green shirt and my persistent support for Mir Hossein Musavi.

Later on, when he was able to fully open up to me, he spoke of his recent courting ceremonies, one of which is very important. As he is a religious and persistent follower of the supreme leader, he was looking for a girl who would accept his proposal with a dowry of 14 gold coins. I kept on telling him that times have changed and he wouldn’t find anyone of that sort, that he ought to change his perspective… He never listened and argued on the basis of his own beliefs (no offense to his beliefs).

But interestingly he came to an agreement with the daughter of a family on the dowry and marriage arrangements, although he was struck by a strange condition put forth by the girl. The girl, who also was a religious revolutionary girl, and met the expectations of the Basij fellow, puts forth the following conditions: firstly, he ought to forget the clergy (she said she only accepted a couple of them, no names were mentioned) and secondly he ought to forget about Ahmadinejad as well, and not so much as talk about him.

This Basij kid -- who thought he had found the perfect match for himself and the girl who met all his expectations -- was struck to his very insides and asked what Ahmadinejad had to do with their lives....

Poor fellow, you can’t imagine his condition when he told me about this. He had never even thought about it, and one of the most religious and respectable girls he knew put forth “forgetting about Ahmadinejad” as a condition for marriage.

Now it was my turn to try and give him some advice, but when will he listen to it?

But I think the girl has taught him a good lesson; she gave her enough guidance for a whole lifetime. I wish you success, my sister.

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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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