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Merih 06 May 2010


Dear All,


After a long time, today I felt like I was living in Turkey, but before starting my story, please allow me to enlighten you wih a Turkish concept so that you may understand my feeling.


Laf atmak means:

__ atmak
1. /a/ to make a rude remark about (someone) within his hearing.
2. /a/ to make an improper innuendo or suggestion to (a woman one doesn´t know), proposition.
3. to have a chat.


I think it only exist in Turkey, because I have never seen it elsewhere, and that´s why there is no one to one translation of this expression.  As you can read from the meaning - by the way, I have never heard of it as in to have a chat - it is to make an improper remark -  about (mostly) a woman loudly.


To explain it better, I would like to give an example:  Think of a girl or a woman, of any age, of any social background, of any educational background, walking down the street.  She doesn´t necessarily have to be beautiful, or have to wear a very attractive or inviting dress  A boy or a man comes from the opposite direction, looks at the girl / woman, like he has never seen one before, and says (a bit loudly so that the girl / woman can hear him) something from "Oh, babe, you are so beautiful - oh, yavrum, ne kadar guzelsin" to "Does your father own a sugar factory?  - babanin seker fabrikasi mi var? "to another thing I can´t quite pronounce.


This is sooooo Turkish... I hope, I won´t offend our male friends here, but frankly, I think every Turkish man must have done something similar at least once in their lives.  This habit of Turkish males starts just before puberty and it may continue until they become really really old.  Though, I should say that, with education and time, this habit dissappears in most of the cases.  Still you can´t be very sure, as once they are out of the country borders, it may rapidly come back.


Anyway, we Turkish girls / women grow up getting used to it.  I actually never noticed this until I moved to Australia.  Nobody ever looks at anyone, leave aside making a rude remark.  Initially I felt a bit insecure.  Was I not beautiful anymore?  No matter what I wear, no matter how I look.  Nobody ever looked at me.  Eventually I´ve learnt that this is a social concept that belongs to us only and since then I am used to living without it.


So, let´s come to my story now.   Today, I was at a newly opened, highly luxurious shopping center - what I mean to say is that I was walking in an ordinary street.  I just finished my shopping, so I was walking towards the parking area and checking the shop windows on the way.  Suddenly I felt like I heard somebody talking in Turkish.  I looked up and saw two young man - in their early thirties -, well dressed and looking educated.  The moment our eyes met, one of them gave a huge smile - which was not so offending at the moment - and the other man said the known words :

"Oh, yavrum, ne kadar guzelsin" meaning ´ Oh, babe, you are so beautiful"


I was shocked!!! So I moved on, pretending I didn´t understand any of it - as they thought I can´t be Turkish, and I had a laughing fit on the way to my car. 

There are millions of people who live in Dubai, and only approximately 5000 of them are Turkish, and I still can´t believe these two guys found me to do it.  I am still giggling when I am writing about it.  Am I flattered or what?




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