Where Have All the Women Gone?

Liam’s back from Blighty, exhausted and in need of a little TLC. Naughty Nancy picked him up from Bodrum Airport while I warmed the house with candles, decanted the red and prepared a homecoming meal. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my culinary skills leave a great deal to be desired, but there is one simple dish I can cook without causing an international incident. It’s a one pot number of chicken thighs, tomatoes, peppers, red onions, and spices brewed in red wine. I just bung it all in and hope for the best – a winter warmer on a chilly night.

A winter warmer was needed. Liam brought the dodgy weather back with him – cold, wind and rain. As we sat down to chomp on my juicy thighs, we reminisced about our first winter in Yalıkavak. When we first rambled into the little town on one of those sunny midwinter days, things felt foreign, in more ways than one. ‘Jesus, where are all the women?’ I remember Liam asking. He was right. The scarcity of women in public was a complete shock to the system and a standard feature of Turkish life that we would never fully come to terms with. Okay, during high season, the female population was augmented by foreign bikini babes with their jugs out for the boys, and by the occasional painted lady of the night looking to make a quick rouble. Out of season though, things were a different affair entirely. Yalıkavak became a man’s world. It took us a while to acclimatise. Eventually, we uncovered the fairer sex hidden away in the fields, ringing the tills at supermarkets, dishing out the dosh in Turkish banks or playing happy families on a Sunday stroll. It was a real culture shift for the boys from the Smoke.

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Perking the Pansies – Jack and Liam move to Turkey

19 thoughts on “Where Have All the Women Gone?

  1. Good morning and welcome home Liam.

    I’m sure it didn’t take you long to realise, like me, that Turkish men think they are superior to women and women must know their place, which is out of sight, hard at work. Whlst the men sit in the teahouses all day putting the world to rights.

    It doesn’t sit well with most foreign women married to Turks because they are expected to conform and become the dutiful Turkish wife. Unless you find a man like mine who mostly treats me as an equal. Have you heard of the Turkish word ‘: kılıbık ‘? It’s what men here have called my husband when they see him helping me with housework, washing carpets, etc. It means henpecked. Mr A is not bothered by it. He is confident enough to shrug it off. I guess it’s why we’ve lasted so long.


  2. Female Turkish friends are indeed a rarity and involve lots of “tea parties” – although they seem to have got over the shock of me bringing a bottle of wine with me!


      1. Vey well behaved Turkish ladies who leave my wine for me. But you want to hear what they talk about!! Would make you blush – my incentive to improve my Turkish!!


  3. Despite Fethiye’s main economy still being based around agriculture – with many women tilling the fields, we’ve also got a decent cafe society atmosphere these days so we get glam women sitting by the sea, sipping latte, wine and beer. We also have a lot of female waiting-on staff. That seems to be the new trend here.


  4. I remember when J and I first arrived here, the females wouldn’t even look at us. We persisted with smiles and happy waves and slowly they came out of their cultural shells – these days they greet us like one of the family. J delights in telling me that they sense that I’m not threat to ladies these days – smart arse!


      1. . . age, Jack! Lots of ‘other’ bits got abused in various ways – they say our past will catch up with us in the end. Not that the end is near yet!!


  5. Different culture but at home the woman generally rule so swings and roundabouts as far as I can see. I let my man out of the house sometimes (on his own) he is known as henpecked but does not care. Just noticed you have snow on your blog or am I seeing things ? Glad your all back together again have a great reunion.


  6. First and foremost, welcome home Liam. Second, loved this post and reminded me of the same culture shock I experience upon seeing this phenomenon (outside of cities). This past summer, our 12 y/o niece Sofia visited us on Bozcaada – and here is what she had to say in her blog on this topic “There weren’t very many men working in the fields, it was mostly women who did that (unfair!). Where are all the men you might ask? Most men are at the nearest café drinking çay!” She’s a deadpan speaker, which made this writing even more funny – and oh so true. You can see the whole post here: http://sofiasottomanfootprints.blogspot.com/2011/07/on-drive-from-geyikli-to-canakkale-and.html


  7. I have a friend – English female and married to a Turk. They left Bodrum to 10 or so years ago to better themselves and educate their young kids in Blighty. They still have property here and visit a lot. Their youngest son is now 10 or so. As he became more gender aware, one question he asked on a visit was – ‘Dad, why are there so many men together with one another and no ladies, are they soft?’ Meaning from an English kids perspective – are they gay? Answer that one Dad!


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