Display: Inconspicious Cairo Sex Shop
37, Syria Street
In a country where sex education is dormant and physical intimacy
remains a taboo subject among the larger portion of society, it is both surprising and uplifting
to walk into an adult shop that is boldly, yet carefully, situated on Syria Street in Mohandiseen.
Behind the costume-adorned mannequins posing in its windows,
Display is a single, dimly lit room that sells everything from lingerie and costumes to board games and bedside toys.
According to its extremely helpful saleswoman, they have ‘a
very particular clientele’. Although she
was uncertain about the prices of much of the items on sale, she readily
answered our queries about objects obscured by their Chinese-made packaging.
At first glance, Display seems like a sheepish attempt at a sex
shop; a model on a case parading the ubiquitous naughty nurse outfit, a few bottles
of body oil and furry handcuffs are readily laid out, making us wary of just
how far Display can go.
But a closer
look at the merchandise neatly exhibited in a glass drawer at the centre of the
shop took this reviewer by surprise. A strawberry-flavoured bra and matching underwear (225LE) are folded
into a box in the corner, next to which sits a clap-off bra, which supposedly
snaps open with just a clap of the hands. A pair of pasties is tucked in the
adjacent corner. Pasties, which are sometimes
referred to as breast petals, were made famous by burlesque and the erotic
The drawer also includes vibrators (375LE), mint and
chocolate body paint (130LE), a deck of cards for couples
(110LE), peppermint panties and vibrating rings (375LE). Body oils and gels are also on display, with the
latter being offered in cherry, bubblegum and strawberry flavours.
Aside from this range
of merchandise, Display also offers an extensive set of daring outfits ranging
between 300LE and 1000LE. One such outfit
is themed ‘daisy bug’; a red and black doll-like polka dotted dress with
matching stockings, wings and an antenna-inspired headpiece. ‘Bad kitty’ (890LE)
includes ripped leather pants, a matching bustier with straps that tie around
the stomach, a black mask and a whip.
Less elaborate but equally suggestive attire between 180LE and 375LE is also on display, including a collection by American
lingerie line Dreamgirls.
The second half of the shop is reserved for women’s wear
imported exclusively from France and Turkey, including shoes and a myriad range
of daytime accessories.
While we were surprised at what Display has to offer, the
second section is perhaps a reminder that it is still unsettling for a shop in
Egypt to solely sell sexual apparel, even for its owners.