Friday, May 13, 2011

It may not be vice, but it sure ain't virtue!

I've been meaning to post this photo for a while. But this week the story has gotten even more intriguing, so it's finally time.

A couple of months ago, I was driving being driven home with a group of friends after a girls' night, and I spied this sign while we were stopped at a red light.

I couldn't even speak I was laughing so hard. Those of you who know me in real life and have witnessed one of my laugh-so-hard-I-can't-breathe episodes know what I mean. At first people were worried about me. Then someone else saw it, and then everyone, and the van erupted in fits of laughter. I mean, this sign would never appear so publicly in the U.S., let alone at multiple stop lights on one of the busiest roads in the city. Even better, the Arabic version roughly translates as "laser cosmetic surgery for women." (Or at least most of the versions do. I can't read the second word in this one closely enough to double-check. This is a friend's photo; I never managed to time my photography well enough.)

In a country where the Committee for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue goes around separating groups of unrelated men and women and forcing women to cover themselves, this advertisement just seemed so incongruous. And yet, it became the biggest joke in the city, delighting residents and visitors alike. Around the same time, at least two electronic billboards in town started prominently displaying ads for a certain personal lubricant.

The plot thickens slightly - yesterday I realized that a number of the English sides of the sign had been replaced with other advertisements. Apparently someone clued in. Disappointing. But, it certainly livened the otherwise humdrum commute while it lasted!


Jen said...

Wow! Signs overseas are always so much better...just boring ads here, but I remember crazy billboards from Iceland and VE...

Misplaced Texan said...

Wow! It's hilarious, but also a little sad that there's a market for it.