I Don’t Speak Turkish, But I Can If You Like

Turkey is considered as one of the dangerous regions in the world which is kind of surprising since the girl sitting next to me in Starbucks does not seem to be afraid of anything in her super-mini skirt and Kim Kardashian makeup. I overheard her phone conversation and the 30-minute talk revolved around a guy she “absolutely has to date”. Hey, good news is apparently boys and dating are global problems, even in the areas that are in danger of terrorist attacks.

There are many differences between that girl and me, like how I am there for WiFi in my sweatpants and she is wearing her disco leggings and rocking those heels. To be honest ‘Murica brough out the lazy girl in me, however, I am not ashamed. Like I said, for me, Starbucks is an internet cafe with good coffee whereas for this girl – and many others – it is a place to start conversations with young white-collar men with MacBooks in front of them. I wish the best of luck to those girls.

Interesting enough, in the midst of these fashonistas and businessmen, I just spotted a relatively old lady, perhaps in her late 60’s- early 70’s. She approached me with a cup of Turkish coffee in her hands and asked me if she could sit next to me. It was obvious that she was a part of Istanbul elite – yet she was not a snob. Let’s call her Ayse. Mrs. Ayse sat next to me and started to stare at me with a smile on her face. Then she started to sip her coffee while I was chugging down a venti sized, extra hot, non-fat macchiato with an extra shot. Life has been very generous to me but I still like pushing my luck with extras, even with my coffee.

Mmm, also, forgot to mention, she was speaking in English to me.

We started talking and she said she was convinced that I am a foreigner since I didn’t seem too interested in how I look. Granted, I was not wearing makeup and maybe I did look like I just got back from a jog but I was curious… Why did I look American?

As I am looking around, I see many different profiles of girls; but one thing they have in common is that they are all occupied with something. Even the girl I mentioned above turned on her MacBook to scroll down a zillion of data sheets that only had numbers on them. Istanbul girls seem to have it together more than an average American college student.

That is something I realized that I have been missing as a young woman. America seems to get me to think that you don’t need to look good to feel successful or empowered but Istanbul reminded me that they might go hand in hand and how you appear might play critical roles in your life… Which, as a feminist, might be kind of a repulsive thought but still, it is what it is.

Just because you are busy or have a lot going on does not mean you should look like a hot mess. At Hope College, many girls tried to tell me that while I was perfectly fine in my sweats, thinking they are exaggerating. Well, apparently they weren’t. Looking good has nothing to do with how much make up you put on or how expensive your blouse is; it is just a part of being assertive as a successful woman.

So words to live by, by Mrs. Ayse: Always take care of yourself; the better you look, the better you will feel about yourself. Just because your work or school life is a hot mess, doesn’t excuse you looking like one. In a nutshell:

I agree, except when you are home when you are cuddling your soulmate, Netflix. Then you should feel free to hang out in whatever you want.

Edit: This post still doesn’t excuse wearing disco pants and Kim Kardashian make up in your teens. I mean, seriously.

Published by Idil Ozer

Senior at Hope. International Studies major, Political Science minor. The Anchor, World News Co-editor. Blogger for the Odyssey and Thought Catalog. Feeds on news, politics and donuts.

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