Stirring Jordan's overwhelmingly conservative society are their tantalizing names and provocative contents.

With names such as Layalina (Arabic for Our Nights) and Yahala (Welcome) and pictures of women in strapless dresses and elitist parties, these magazines have set tongues wagging.

Some view them as a welcome change. Others say they will only widen the gulf between Western-educated people and the traditional sections of society.

"It is shocking for Jordan to have such magazines because this is a conservative society that is not used to splash its life in public," insisted Jana, a university student.

"Controversy is good. It gives flavour to the magazine"

Rania Omeish,               Layalina chief editor  

"But I also think that people will buy them because they want to dream, particularly those who cannot afford rich outings. They want to see how the wealthy live," she said.

But her friend, Rawan had much stronger views, dismissing the magazines as "unnatural and scandalous."

Many have been offended by the advertisements for scotch whisky in the magazines.

But those behind the magazines stand firm and say their publications are relevant.

"There should be a magazine like this. People love it and it is needed in Jordan because we provide a full coverage of important social happenings, nightlife as well as celebrity news and interviews," Layalina chief editor Rania Omeish said.

Jordanian readers seemingly agree since copies of Layalina and other glossies such as Living Well and Yahala are selling well.

"Controversy is good. It gives flavour to the magazine," the Layalina editor said.

Jordanian sociologists like Serri Nasser says the impact of the magazines could be evaluated only later.

But he says many could be reading the magazines to drown their own disappointments and to seek easy escape routes.