“Please pass the cundum…”

There is one way to test whether a nation-state has a future, and that is by gauging its comfort level with condom ads. Flagrant unapologetic advertisements asking people (men, actually) to use condoms, as opposed to the 'coy' ones that hide their product either behind intertwined bodies (promoted by the private sector manufacturers of rubbers) or the message of government-backed red-triangled (in the case of India, two kids or one, basss) population control campaigns, usually indicate a country that has a bright future. Such as Nepal, believe you me.

What I refer to is a society's ability to stomach brazen reference in public to the use of the condom, including having the word 'condom' in common employ in mass media. This means much more than simply that the messages of family planning, child spacing and AIDS/STD prevention are being conveyed with directness. It shows that a society is flexible and healthily 'modern' in its response to changing times and mores. It indicates that prudery and middle-class morality has been kept at bay. It also reveals that such a society, despite all present-day evidence to the contrary, will surge ahead of others less inclined to shout, "Look, condom!" in public.

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Himal Southasian
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