Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stereotypes or not?

 I still had a day before the wedding. The first order of business was to go into Bodrum to buy a gold coin as  wedding present for Onur.

I hadn't a clue what I was doing so I asked Metin  what was the procedure. He kindly offered to come with me......he will endure a shopping trip if it means he gets a chance to drive the car. We would also go and get his caricature framed.

We went straight to Bodrum and headed for the jewellers. Metin must have had practice at this because he knew exactly where we were going Had I known where to go, I would have managed on my own. . There were rows of coins on display, each one attached to a small red ribbon and a safety pin,  all ready for pinning to the bride or groom. The coin was incredibly small and light so I asked to see a bigger one but at double the price it was out of my budget. The deal done, the coin placed safely in my bag - with dire warnings from Metin to be careful with it (he has seen me in action, looking for phone purse and keys)- we decided to head downtown.

I wanted to do some early Christmas shopping, No.2 daughter wanted knitted socks, a hoodie  and earrings and No.4 daughter wants a new handbag. The sun was shining and it was much to beautiful to go shopping so we decided to stop and have coffee instead. What can be more relaxing than sitting in the sun , looking out to sea knowing the weather is wet and miserable at home.

Our view while drinking was raining heavily at home in Ireland :-)

The Castle of St. Peter Bodrum

There is only one thing that makes me uncomfortable.  Stereotyping.  In Turkey  middle aged women have a terrible reputation for falling for young handsome Turks. They are reputed to park their brains.....and pants..... at the  airport.

 So here I am sitting in the sun with "my young Turk" enjoying the sunshine while at the same time wondering is everyone thinking I'm just another foolish "Big Bertha." Metin, on the other side of the table is wondering if everyone is thinking, here is another young Turk milking another stupid woman for all she is worth. It also makes him uncomfortable.

Coffee time!
For me, the feeling is a hangover from my primary school years, when a group of girls tried, and succeeded,  to make my life miserable. They would talk behind their hands, looking at me and laughing. In retrospect, they were probably talking about something totally different but their intent was definitely to wind me up. This left me very uncomfortable around people for a long time, wondering were they talking about me, and of course, finding me wanting. It took me a long time to realise they had better things to do with their time. But now and then I still have to battle with the feeling that everyone is talking about me.

For Metin, Turkey is the original "valley of the squinting windows" There are so many unwritten rules. One example is he will never stay in my house beyond 11p.m. if I am on my own. This would be totally "ayıp - disgraceful" It is probably ayıp that he visits in the first place. The ridiculousness of this is that you could get up to whatever you want at 10am if you wanted.

Why do we insist on labelling people? Why do we try to fit people into boxes? Why should we care what other people think about us or for that matter why should we speculate about others? Why should we rent headspace to people we don't really know and who don't matter.

For me it is important,  that while having respect for the customs of an area, not to let idle speculation ruin an honest and valuable  friendship.

With this in mind, we ate outside that evening, where we were in plain view of those who might wish to speculate.  Who knows does this add to or mitigate from the gossip :-)))))

mmm......Barbie in November!


  1. Battling stereo types is always difficult. I can understand the wanting to respect the customs, at the same time you know the truth of you and need not worry what other contrive. Enjoy your friendship. <3

  2. This is a fascinating post -- I don't know much about Turkey or its customs. But it certainly is lovely, and frankly, I'd be delighted to be sitting with someone so handsome as your "young Turk" Metin!

    Where I live in Michigan we recently passed a law to prohibit bullying in the schools. I'm not sure where teasing crosses the line into bullying, but I do know it can make a huge impact on one's life and bring with it bits and pieces that carry into the future, even when the people who teased or bullied are long past. I was glad to see that law come through. The man who was the aggressive advocate of the bill had a son die (suicide) because of bullying. I came to know the family when they brought their daughter to the grief center where I worked. Wonderful people who have fought a long time.

    Thanks for teaching me something new.


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