Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Make Over

The men in Istanbul have perfectly coiffed eye brows and beards. My friend Victor said that Turks are hairy and therefore they need to maintain their hair well groomed. While men in Sydney prefer to be hairless, it seems that Turks prefer to style their man hair, particularly on their face. In true Istanbul style, I decided to have a Turkish make over and have my eyebrows and facial hair done. So off we went to a local barber.

He spoke no English and only charged me 2 Turkish Lira but within 10 minutes, my monobrow was gone and my ear hair burned off...literally...he used a lighter to burn it off. I also got a type of wax mask to remove my facial hair - felt like waxing.

Having felt more Turkish, it was our turn to get the rest of our body done with a traditional Turkish bath (Hamam). It involves a lot of sweating and hot water, followed by a heavy duty scrub and massage. This literally removes all of the dead skin and you feel really clean. Turks have been having hamams for thousands of years and in Istanbul it is a bit like having a spa day.

I have never felt so clean. I felt like I had a new layer of skin. The rooms were very hot and the scrub was very rough. The semi naked massage guy was a chunky Turkish guy who did not speak much English. The more my friend and I squealed the more he seemed to enjoy roughing me up. He used a lot of pressure on the massage and I felt a bit sore afterwards. I normally like my massages, nice and relaxing...not hot and hard.

In half a day, I felt brand new...my face had less hair and less skin....I figured I would spend the rest of the day getting to know more about Turkey through date 2 with doctor #2. I refer to him as “the Turk” from now on....just easier.

He was kind enough to pick me up from my hotel in Taksim. In Sydney, I can never get guys to call me back..but in Istanbul after just one day, I had a doctor boy come and pick me up and take me to dinner. We had a traditional Turkish meal and I was able to get to know the Turk much better. We actually had a lot in common. He had his own adventure a few years back when he quit his job and went to the UK to study English for seven months. Like my decision to leave Sydney, it was difficult to make but it ended up being the best thing to happen to him. He ended up changing jobs and focusing on a different area of medicine. He had always wanted to study overseas.

He told me about his family - the fear of coming out but the hopes that one day he will be able to live openly as a gay man. It is even harder to be an openly gay doctor in Turkey. He only has one gay friend in Istanbul, but his passion like me is to travel...and see the world. He loved living in London.

After a check up - we talked about life...decisions....outcomes....the Turk was very passionate. Myra had warned me about how quickly the Turks moved....he was saying all the right things....and this was exactly what I wanted...why I had left Sydney. “I would love to be with your forever. You are not only a sexy man but also a mature friend with a rich brain,” he texted me after I left his place. Total make over - of the guys I attract.

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