Tooth Seekers


Last year, some British pranksters twitted the news media with bogus reports of a practice called "toothing," where urban singles would purportedly use Bluetooth wireless devices to find casual sex partners. Now, via Smart Mobs, it turns out that in conservative parts of the Middle East, it's no joke:

Among UAE nationals—as the minority of the UAE's residents that are not expatriates are called—it is generally considered impolite for a man to speak to a woman he is neither married nor related to in public.

Traditionally, a young man's first amorous approach to a woman is supposed to be a marriage proposal made by his parents to her parents.[…]

Ahmed Bin Desmal's friends joke that he is a "Bluetooth king". The 20-year-old says he has used the technology to send notes to girls he sees in public places.

"In our country it's very rude to go up and talk to them," he says. "I sent some notes, they liked them—they took my number and they called me. I say nice things—I'm into poems."

NEXT: More Prudish Than Ashcroft

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  1. It’s the summer of love, mideast style!

  2. More background on use in the UAE from articles in Gulf News I remember reading when I was there.

    All from 11 June:

    All kinds of goodies for this commenting community in general, too.

    Interesting that the first article focuses almost entirely on ex-pat use of the technology and says nearly nothing about Emirite-national useage.

    Calling the UAE “conservative” is laughable, especially in the context of the region. Even the ~1/4 minority nationals have widely varying levels of “belief” as they say.

    It ain’t Amsterdam among the locals, but it ain’t their south-and-west neighbor either.

  3. I know that muslim women are not supposed to smile at men, but can they use emoticons?

  4. I guess we can file toothing in the same catagory as the supposed mass-migration of blue staters to Canada.

  5. Love will find a way.

  6. Lust will find a way.

  7. This might change the meaning of having the blues.

  8. Reading stuff like this really gives me the warm-fuzzies. I like to see technology applied to increasing freedom (or, at least, avoid oppression).

    It’s doubly good because it fits my theory on how best to eliminate “global extremism”: Give them a steady supply of booze, porn, and Playstations, and the guys will be too preoccupied to blow themselves up. It would seem SMS phones and Britney CDs are in universal demand. And anything that helps either gender get some action will always sell.

    The best way to achieve peace is to exchange crap (paraphrasing Bastiat).

  9. Give them a steady supply of booze, porn, and Playstations, and the guys will be too preoccupied to blow themselves up.

    But the porn will only deepen their disrespect towards women!

    And Grand Theft Auto only encourages them to become even more violent!

  10. I swear there was an episode of CSI: Miami that had a side story about a cop who was a sex-addicted ‘toother.’

  11. CodeMonkeySteve,
    Sex is the paradigm of what brings folks together, so whatever facilitates sex is a good thing.

    Up you, Hillary Clinton.
    And, mona, don’t give us any lip.

  12. I’ve known of toothing and its joys for some time now. It works. In a crowded subway, in a street full of depressed New Yorkers, it works.

    And that, as Sartre would tell us, is the greatest crime of all.

  13. Jumping on the double ententr? bandwagon, I’d have to say that this gives a new meaning to term “working blue.”

  14. Can we say with hope that toothing will lead to:

    (get ready for it)


    That’s it! I’m going out on top! Good-night!

  15. Their [Muttawas-Saudi Religious Police] problem will be the use of subterfuge. In the physical world, you can normally spot a Muttawa at 200 meters, by his bad complexion, straggly beard and thin hairy legs appearing from the bottom of a short and rather dirty thobe. In the virtual world, more guile will be needed. They’ll park their Suburbans outside a suspect restaurant and switch on their Bluetooth devices. Problem is, they won’t have enough guile to use fanciful ID’s, and may just come up with some personal characteristic. But names like “Mr Acne”, “Bad Breath”, or “Black Teeth” might give the game away.
    Bluetooth and Black Teeth

  16. What’s euphemistically referred to as “arranged marriage” is just a cover for slavery. Proposing to actually marry a would-be slave is rude in the UAE.
    Since saying another Hit and Run poster’s right is rude, I’ll say CodeMonkeySteve’s exactly right. Except instead of porn and playstations, they should just plug themselves into the Nintendo.

  17. “The Tooth Is Out There”

  18. Hakluyt,
    That was seriously groan-inducing.

  19. mk,

    Yeah, I know. Don’t make me laugh man; I’ve got broken ribs.

  20. Hak — Really? How the hell did you break your ribs?

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