Hand-holding, smooches and inter-gender chitchat between strangers are prohibited in Saudi Arabia, as are all public demonstrations of amor. So passionate Saudis stymied by morality laws are turning to their cars to show some love.
The lowly bumper sticker is emerging as an improbable social network, silent labels slapped on cars give steadfast voice to love and emotional frustrations. Some guys cut to the chase by simply pasting up their phone numbers. All the Saudi ladies, put your hands up – does this stuff really work?
Green Prophet was tipped off to the trend by Dr. Abdulrahman Al Lily, the blogger behind the provocatively titled website Sex and Beyond: Saudi Arabia. He collected snapshots of stickers (images above and below) which he translates as,
“All what I wish for is to become as we were when we first met,” and “May God bless her and protect her from herself.”
Some stickers express a sense of nationalism and belonging to the kingdom and its culture. Others show fidelity towards religion, declaring, “I believe that there is no God except Allah and Mohammed is his prophet”, and, “May Allah protect the car from the evil eye.”
Bumper stickers are ubiquitous in America. On my last trip home I spotted “Korea’s Got Seoul” and “Smoking Cures Ham”. There, stickers are largely divided between general comedy and tiresome promotion of drivers’ religious and political beliefs. Too, too much information! Who cares if your child is an honor student, you love your rifle or dachshund or would rather be dancing the polka?
Yet in the miles of US highways under my belt, I never saw a poetic expression of marital love, or a blackberry number posted in stealthy hopes that a dream girl would dial it.
Images of Saudi car art from Sex and Beyond: Saudi Arabia