Something for the Weekend, Sir?

Hairdressing, like undertaking, is a steady trade which never goes out of fashion. Having sampled a few establishments in the village, we have settled on a high street barbershop run by a delightful father and son combo. Our number two cut requires only a few minutes with a hair trimmer. However, this cannot be said of the average young Turk. Generally blessed with abundant tresses, even the humblest waiter vainly adorns his head with elaborate, gravity defying sculptures held aloft by a vat of gel. Armpits though, are not always so well groomed.

Barbers

Our genteel Yalıkavak barber is a far cry from Liam’s first skirmish with a Turkish coiffeur. The fun began on the final full day of our gloriously romantic honeymoon in splendid Kaş. I persuaded Liam to join me in the exotic pleasure of a Turkish shave, an indulgence I have enjoyed many times on previous visits to Asia Minor. The barbershop boys saw us coming, and we were mobbed by eager young bucks queuing up to service us. The routine began innocently enough – an efficient double shave with a cut throat razor followed by ear and nose fuzz skilfully dispatched with a flaming cotton bud soaked in petrol. I thought it unusual to find that we were stripped of our tops for the neck and shoulder rub. My young man asked if I would prefer a full body massage in the little room at the back of the shop. I naïvely accepted thinking nothing untoward could occur in a busy barbershop on a main thoroughfare.

He led me into the room and lay me face down on the padded table. His expert hands kneaded and pounded my torso into rapturous submission, and my mind wandered into semi-trance. The spell was rudely broken by a tug of my shorts, which were expertly and unceremoniously whipped off in a single movement. I had gone commando that day which rather startled my young masseur but which only added to his vigour. His pummelling went into overdrive. I opened my eyes fleetingly to find him standing to my side inches from my face, shirtless, scarlet-faced and sweating like a dray horse and obviously aroused. For the remainder of the rubdown, I kept my eyes firmly shut and my arms religiously tucked to my side for fear of displaying the slightest encouragement. It was my honeymoon, after all.

Meanwhile, Liam was relishing an upper body rub. However, he became alarmed when the crimper’s fingers started to walk south towards the small of Liam’s back, playfully plucking the waistband of his shorts and continuing their passage into the abyss. Liam grabbed the boy’s wrist firmly giving a whole new meaning to the word hayır.

It is not hard to imagine what raced through Liam’s mind as he endured the grunting, murmuring and bed squeaking that emanated from the back room. Shortly afterwards, my tellak and I emerged into the light, me shaking uncontrollably, he drenched in sweat. We concluded our business with a quasi-post-coital cigarette.

Pimp and Circumstance

Splash it all over

I received an exploratory email from an old work colleague in London whom I affectionately call Vera. Clearly contemplating the changing circumstances of his looming dotage and having stumbled across my sexpat post, he asked me about the going rate for securing the regular services of a young Turk. ‘Why do you want to know?’ I quizzed. He replied bluntly, ‘Fat, 55, single and desperate.’ What am I now, a pimp?

Cappuccinos and Rent Boys

IzmirOur hotel is equidistant between the city centre proper and a trendy, Sohoesque district called Alsancak. No one would describe Izmir as beautiful. Much of it was burned to the ground in 1922 during the Greco-Turkish War, and the city was unsympathically rebuilt with block upon block of mediocre concrete box architecture that surely wouldn’t withstand even the slightest tremor. However, the place does have a certain appeal and Alsancak, in particular, has a real buzz, all trendy shops and pavement cafés.
We decided on a trip to the Roman agora, the largest market place ever excavated from the period. We strolled through the modern pazar and delighted in confounding the catcalling hawkers by responding in German, French, Spanish, and a little Turkish, anything but English. We found the agora remains on the wrong side of the tracks and gazed through the railings. Having been spoilt by the glory of Ephesus, I’m afraid an enormous hole on the ground with a few old stones randomly scattered about looking like London after the Blitz really didn’t impress. We didn’t bother going in.

Alsancak is where the few gay bars are to be found. We had done our internet research and went in pursuit of the twilight world of Turkish deviants. It was hopeless. We found only one dismal little bar down some dark alley. It was a tawdry, dirty dive, virtually empty and pounded by deafening techno. The drinks were absurdly expensive and even the ‘free’ bar snacks came at a price with a specially prepared bill. The bar staff were so bored they poured alcohol on the bar and set it alight for a laugh. Taking a leak was a surreal experience as the entrance to the toilet was guarded by a head-scarfed granny in pantaloons demanding a lira to spend a penny. The few punters were rough rent boys in cheap shell suits looking for punters of their own. As they began to circle us like a pack of hyenas, we knew it was time to leave. We sprinted to the entrance fully expecting it to be locked. Thankfully, it wasn’t. That was Izmir.