The other day I went with a friend to Carturesti, supposedly the best book store in Bucharest, to check some stuff, I ended with a nice vintage photography book, since I am fascinated by the topic and plan trying some, and she with several titles.
The funny (IMO) part started when after seeing some cards and magnet toys she thought some old art may be interesting, so we started to find Kama Sutra, as such a big book store must have it. So we looked everywhere and were not able to find it, nether something related. She was embarassed to ask for help and we headed for the exit when a clerk asked if we need anything so we said we search for a book. The clerk, a woman, asked us to wait for a bit until she’s done with another customer, so we returned to the aisles, waiting while looking at more books. Then my friend got even more embarassed, as there was no way out and she had to talk with the clerk.
A few minutes later we went to the clerk and my friend asked “where do you keep books like Kama Sutra, yoga and other things like that?” (see, a question as indirect as possible!) and we were pointed to a small part of an aisle, well hidden in the Psychology section, almost impossible to spot, because “very few customers look for such books” (this is a quote from memory). The books selection was weak, but we managed to find what we wanted: a copy of the original version, with ancient drawings, real traditional art. While we were searching the aisle I couldn’t stop expressing my disappointment for the book store not having a space publicly dedicated to sexual education, as I expect to happen in a civilised country.
In our way out when passing by the clerk my friend thanked for the help but couldn’t stop pointing her about how useful would be for the section to be labelled, just like all the others sections in the store so people can search what they need. We bot in response the same explanation about how those are hidden because very people are looking for them but this time I noticed the expression on the clerk’s face: she had something like half a smile and half a grimace and was acting like she was at the same time ready to laugh at our questions and being embarassed by the topic, all while still trying to be polite. And she was young and probably literate.
So much for the modern Romania!
PS: in a related story, a couple of days before this incident, another friend of mine told me how she had some images from Kama Sutra, lost them and want again. As she was unable to, I pointed her to TPB, with plenty of resources, both traditional and modern.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.