8 Responses

  1. Judith
    Judith at |

    Dear Catherine, As far as I’m concerned Turkish men don’t need defense. To me your essay speaks of trust in yourself. Trust in your intuition, trust in knowing what’s real and what’s not, trust in knowing what it is you want in and of a partner. If anything your essay is in defense of all the above and of willingness to see beyond skin deep, beyond the outward, beyond the stereotype. Ah, writing this last word, I see why you chose that title. Well done my sister. Still, looking at the photograph of you and your Turkish family, there’s nothing that needs any defense at all. Love, Judith

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  2. Catherine
    Catherine at |

    Thank you Judith! I think as women travelers, we are all ‘suspect’ of a place and people we do not know. Before we arrive, we can only rely on what others say, on travel sites such as Pink Pangea, or what the guide books say. I hope that women will never drop their defenses when they travel, but will trust their instincts to see beyond stereotypes, as you say. XO!

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  3. rachellb
    rachellb at |

    Nice article, Catherine! Can’t wait until your book comes out! You are such a wonderful story teller! I’ve really come to believe in the village analogy. When friends start going on and on about people from this country or that are better or worse because of this or that, I harp in with the “Every village has its idiot, its priest, its hooker, its saint and its gossip.” There are cultural things that definitely define any community and unemployment anywhere will lead to congregations of men looking for action. Growing up in Brazil, my father said, “Never marry a Brazilian. They are saints before marriage and devils afterward.” It was common among the elite of our city for men to have their wives and legal children and then support at least one mistress and the bastard children in separate houses. I also had a cross cultural marriage with a Moroccan and assumed that many of the problems we had in our marriage were cultural. But, when he got his citizenship and dumped me, I realized that the problems were based on his ability to lie. The statistics I’ve read about love marriages and arranged marriages are a 50-50 percent chance of happiness. You were fortunate to find a good man and I wasn’t. It doesn’t matter where they come from, it has to do with their hearts and their ethical code.

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  4. Catherine
    Catherine at |

    Thanks Rachel – well, it was my second try! ;-D You are so right – it’s all about their hearts and ethics. I love that village idiot quote and will have to use it, if you don’t mind. It’s interesting how some cultures deal with situations like you describe in Brazil – to have everyone know it goes on. Here in Turkey, they used to do that legally a very long time ago, but the wives had to have exactly the same houses, money, etc. so few men could pull that off. How the Sultans dealt with all the women in the Harem – and vice versa – is beyond me! I’m looking forward to getting the book completed as well (not this year). Meanwhile, the stories just keep piling up….XO

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  5. Emmaculate at |

    Hello Catherine,
    I read your article with great enthusiasm. Most of the things I have read and (heard) about Turkish men were mostly bad. However, thanks to you my perception has changed. I plan to travel to Turkey next year in the summer to visit a friend…..am African from East Africa. Any tips about what to expect? Thanks so much and hope to hear from you.

    Reply
    1. Catherine at |

      Thanks, Emmaculate! Like anywhere you travel, solo or with a friend, use your street smarts and common sense, don’t wear skimpy beach clothing in the city or town center, walk with purpose. But know that, in general, Turks like to stare – the more foreign you look, the more likely they will. Just ignore it or any comments you may get, knowing you’re temporary entertainment and they’re most likely not threatening, just annoying. It will be easier since you know someone living here. Enjoy your trip!

      Reply
      1. Emmaculate at |

        Thanks Catherine,appreciate the information very much,especially about the dress code. You have been very helpfull.

        Reply
  6. linda@adventuresinexpatland.com at |

    Well written piece Catherine, personal and instructive at the same time. We all have these cultural overlays (some accurate, others not so much) that we bring to our interactions. It takes time and effort to dig deeper. Your story could be played out in cultures all across the globe.

    Reply

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