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BLIND SPOT >‘I wash my Turkish husband’s feet’

BELGİN AKALTAN - [email protected]

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These are the words of Dimitra, who has had a Turkish boyfriend for four years. Dimitra has been living in Turkey for the last five months, and she thinks life here is very hard for foreign women – because of Turkish women. Dimitra believes that Turkish women seem to feel they are unique. She also noted that they are very distant and unable to receive a nice compliment from a man. They also pass the “responsibility” of several chores on to other women.

Oh, Dimitra, you have no idea how long it took us to get there.

While Dimitra is walking on the streets, she sees either “princesses” or unhappy ladies, “most of the time looking at me like I was a parasite. I don’t understand yet if they hate me or are jealous of me. I feel unwanted.” You have a point there Dimitra. We do not like each other – let alone foreigners.

In Dimitra’s words, “I wash my husband’s feet now and then; he does my laundry, too.” Yeah, this one I don’t quite understand, Dimitra. Of course he does your laundry. It is just pushing a button, right? Does he also wash your feet now and then?

Martin, on Twitter, implies that many Turkish men fancy other men and need a wife they can control, probably to conceal their homosexuality. It may be true, Martin, in some cases…  

Jennifer S.Y. is an American woman married to a Turkish man. She agrees Turkish men can be demanding at times, but said, “but I think that can be ALL men everywhere, right?”  

Jennifer likes Turkish women: “You are strong and don’t take crap. I think we are similar.”

Jennifer and her girlfriends, when they were single, were frustrated with American men marrying women from Asian, Russia and former Eastern bloc countries, instead of local American women: “We also expect a lot. But it may also be why we all have married international men.”

Tevfik Alp from Connecticut, U.S., said, “Ditto Belgin Hanım.” He also pointed out there was always a brother in the house who made the decision for the young girl, dictating the rules.

S.U. believes that I have a massive inferiority complex and my articles are always inflammatory and insulting. He asked, “So why are you so offended when we marry foreigners? Jealous much?” He advised me to “Please, get over your inferiority complex, seek a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Stop generalizing Turks, Turkish society and Turkey. With kind regards, A Turkish man”  

Oweis A. from Syria thinks I was right about the inferiority complex in Turkish men. He wrote that I, as a journalist, should know better Syrian culture – but I could not understand what he meant.

Kerry Cushing from Florida, U.S., suggested that I now write on how many foreign men have found a great life and love with a Turkish lady. He has been married to Sibel Cushing for 43 years. “My wife is an intelligent and loving person, a most wonderful wife, a most giving person [and] also she is a loving mother…”

Charlotte, my colleague in Seferihisar, İzmir, wrote she also had a big crush on Sawyer from “Lost.” One day after a fight with her Turkish husband, she swapped his picture with Sawyer’s “as a kind of punishment for his stupidity in arguing with me,” she said. ”I wonder if a Turkish wife would do this kind of joke? (and, no, he didn’t laugh too much when he saw it at first, but eventually he did).” She reminded me that I have missed one crucial factor in mixed-culture relationships, and that’s the dreaded mother-in-law.

Paul le G. thinks Turkish women are far more stunning than British women. He has discovered this from his own incontrovertible poll while sipping a drink in a seafront café in a holiday town. “You need to understand that it took several such attempts over a considerable number of days to get the right conclusion.” He also points out the odd habit of 17-year-old Turkish waiters falling in love with 70-year-old British women…

Angela H. was in Adana back in 1984 and 1985. She thought she was married when her Turkish boyfriend Kenan organized a religious ceremony. Her husband started seeing an American girl when Angela was pregnant. She went back to the U.K. and gave birth to a son who is now 28-years-old. His American wife and Angela have become good friends (I love that about Western women – B.). She took her son to Adana every year.  

Jolanda M. has been living in Turkey for almost seven years, and she is still sometimes puzzled about the relationships between men and women here: “Even modern looking women and men behave incredibly traditionally, I just can’t believe their behavior sometimes … especially when a woman says, ‘My husband doesn’t want me to work...’ Mind you, he’s just afraid that she might see other men at work.”

Ron E. McBride wrote that he liked my sense of humor. He wrote: “As a Canadian, I could only laugh at Nick A’s comment … I remember my father helping my mother with the dishes after dinner--not a common practice based on your article.”

Yes, Ron, it was a big deal then when our fathers helped with the dishes… It is these times now in which they do the dishes themselves, and mothers help them occasionally, if they feel like doing so….
I can’t pull my mind away from the story about washing the feet of your husband at the beginning of the article. I wonder if it is considered a prelude to sex, a ritual in place of foreplay, for good angry sex afterwards, slave–sahib role playing? I don’t know. I will try it when I get home tonight. I mean, wash my husband’s feet and tell you how it feels and what happens next. Now, having given it a second thought, I decided not to… Maybe I will try something else… No, I will not tell you about it; it’s none of your business.  

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September/27/2014

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