Saudi Silliness

There are a lot of serious things to life when in Saudi Arabia so it is always good to have some Saudi silliness.


When I spent 17 months living and working in Saudi there were various restrictions on life. No alcohol (officially at least) no mixing with people of the opposite sex unless they were family. Limited shopping times due to everywhere closing for prayer five times a day.

You soon became accustomed to this way of life and blended in the best way you can.

However as a bunch of expatriates (expats) we were easily amused by local brandings and things which, shall we say, tickled our fancy.

In much the same way I was amused in France by a bottle of lemonade by the brand name of “Pschit” I couldn’t help (like others) be amused by a brand of after shave in Saudi Arabia.

In fact shortly after my arrival, the more established expats kept telling me that I had to go and get my bottle of Toss!

A bottle of Toss

A bottle of Toss


To a Brit this is along a humouros nature such as phallic symbols in Singapore. To us Brits the term “Toss” has many meanings, it could be “the toss of a coin”, or in the sense of throwing something around. However, growing up as a teenager the term in the UK often referred to a solo male sexual act. So I think you understand why us Brits don’t like the idea of splashing this on our face after a close shave.


In much the same way that something is not right for the Americans when they hear the name of the massive Indian industrial conglomerate called “Tata”; I think you’ll agree “Toss” is not great branding for us.


Who gives a toss?

Who gives a toss?


Who was I to resist this moment of childish, immature humour. I had to acquire my own bottle of Toss Pour Homme and who could blame me?

What have you found on your travels that did not translate well? Did it amuse you in an immature way? For me I certainly did find some Saudi silliness but seriously, who gives a toss?





  1. says

    This made me laugh. I am a big fan of our British sense of humour.
    While I was living in Sydney, I noticed that all the dustbins along the Bondi to Coogee cliff walk came with a sticker from the council which said ‘Don’t be a tosser!’
    You could tell the British backpackers a mile away as they congested the path to stick their face next to the bin for a photo. Nice :)

    • says

      Oh I love that little tale Sara. I’ll be sure to look out for those stickers the next time I’m that way. Must admit that I never saw them before.

  2. says

    Very well described cultural connotations.
    I work with TATA and do believe it sounds funny. In fact, we have a saying here which says ‘Never say Ta Ta to TATA’.

    • says

      Hi Janit,

      Tata is such a massive company that I think the Americans will have to become more use to the term. I can see them being a real industrial giant on a global basis in the next 20 years.

  3. says

    In Denmark the word for motion, speed, etc. is ‘fart’ so in elevators there would be a button with ‘i fart'(in motion) on it and road signs saying ‘fart kontrol'(speed check/control). Needless to say this provided a few laughs and resulted in my Canadian cousins & I pulling over on the side of the road and taking pictures with the sign while my Danish cousins stood there looking slightly embarrassed lol.

    • says

      You are right Phil, we all retain elements of our childhood humour. We just have to be careful with the company we share it with.

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