Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Macho Turkish Man

It is no surprise that Turkish women coo and cluck over my pregnant belly, ask the same questions (when is it due? will it be a boy or a girl? what??? what do you mean you don't know???), and then close the conversation with a string of blessings and prayers uttered too quickly for me to make out more than the word Allah repeated several times.

What has completely floored me, though, is the response from men. When I first moved to Turkey three years ago, I immediately noticed the uninhibited displays of affection men showed children. What a shame, what a loss to our society, that no one touches anyone anymore for fear of making someone 'uncomfortable.' But in Turkey, people unabashedly show their (platonic) affection for one another, especially children.

The security guards and custodians at my place of work melt into smiley girly-men when they see me coming, stop for a quick chat (when is it due? will it be a boy or a girl? oh, how nice, a surprise.), and walk away, eyes moist.

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