Topless in Turkey

I thought that would get your attention!

Europeans seem to have much different feelings about body image than Americans do. (I realize I’m generalizing here.) People of all ages, shapes and sizes seem more carefree at the beach and other places where one lets it all hang out. I’m wondering how that affects their dating, especially in midlife.

Let me explain how I’ve come to this inquiry.

Dating after 40Today I had a Turkish bath or hamam — a real one for the locals, not tourists! A 24-year-old friend took me — and I’m glad she did. I wouldn’t have figured out the system without her!

There were 2 rooms for ladies with a large, raised slab of marble in the middle of each. Around the perimeter of each room a marble lip filled with nearly naked women sitting and every 5 or 6 feet a fountain with hot and cold always-running water. While waiting our turn for a scrub and massage on the slabs, we warmed or cooled ourselves by dipping bowls in the water and pouring them on ourselves.

After an hour, my turn came. I laid face down on the marble slab which doesn’t sound comfortable, but it was. The middle-aged bikini-clad attendant (keseci) scrubbed vigorously to clean my skin, front and back. Then she rinsed me, then applied lotion and gave me a speed-massage. It was very good, but the whole thing, scrubbing and lotion massage, took about 20 minutes.

As we waited, I marveled at the body shapes and sizes of the women of all ages. No one seemed particularly self-conscious, although some choose to wear bathing suits instead of the more common undies only. I wish young American woman could experience something like this to see that women of all ages, sizes and shapes are comfortable with their bodies.

I wondered how their comfort with their bodies, no matter what shape and size, affected their dating, especially those in midlife. I have no way of knowing who was dating, or what their experience was. After all, I speak no Turkish!

But I know how self-conscious many of my midlife dating friends are about their body’s shape — or lack of being in shape. They feel less than appealing and I think that affects how they draw others to them.

Next time I’ll have to learn some Turkish to ask my topless bath companions!


Want to explore other aspects of datinDating after 40: Assessing Your Assets: Why You’re A Great Catchg? Get Assessing Your Assets: Why You’re A Great Catch.


3 responses to “Topless in Turkey”

  1. roxie Avatar

    I completely agree. That was my experience with Turkish baths as well as a European/Asian style spa here in the US. It really is a freeing, accepting experience. I second your recommendation that women try it.

  2. DS Avatar

    I don’t think the Turkish baths in Thailand are the same! 🙂

  3. Goomena Avatar

    I think that in America people are more conscious about their body than other parts of the world. I think people should love themselves how they are. If you do not like something about your body then try making it better through healthy ways. If this fails then you just have to learn to appreciate yourself in your current state.