You'd think after all these years I would be used to the male attitude. Turkish men on the whole do feel they are superior to the female race. They're not likely to change. After all the women here have encouraged them. When a boy is born into a family, he is spoilt rotten. His mother, grandmother, and aunts indulge him and pander to his every whim. Girls, on the other hand, are raised to know their place...their purpose in life is to make sure the men are happy. Of course it's not the same everywhere in Turkey. In the larger towns and cities, women have careers, they have important roles to play and they do their best to be seen as equal to men. In villages, however, time stands still. The old habits still exist, and will probably continue way into the future.
Those foreign women who are married to Turkish men often find it difficult to adjust to the Turkish male mentality. They are swept off their feet with the charm that oozes from Turkish men...oh yes they are very charming....and romantic and so different from the men they perhaps have been used to. But it's at this point in the relationship...before commitment...that groundrules have to be established, or the marriage is doomed to failure. And so many do fail.
A lot depends on the woman really. She may well be the subservient type. In which case she will fit right in. However, if she has a strong character...and heaven forbid...opinions (like me) ...then there's a lot of adjustment to be made.
All marriages need compromise, whether inter-racial or not. There has to be a determination on both sides to want to make it work, but it's not always easy. It's important for the Turkish man to understand the differences in our cultures....and to accept these differences. It's equally important that we as foreign women understand and accept the differences in their culture. But most important in all this is communication..if that breaks down it's inevitably the end of the relationship.
Mr A and I have had our ups and downs over the years...lots of them...but after 13 years together I guess you could say that we've cracked it. Any rows or disagreements we have are generally about money (or lack of it), but can also be down to his Turkish male mentality. Fortunately the latter isn't so much of an issue these days. Many hours of conversations over the years about how different we are, have more or less resolved these issues. It's not been an easy journey..we've split up a couple of times because it had seemed impossible to make it work. Above all...the marriage is based on love. Not the exciting passionate romantic love of the early days, but a deeper love that grows over time. That is why we make the effort to accept and respect our differences, and we do our best to compromise. That's how it works.
I hadn't intended to talk so much about this when I started this post. I was going to talk about the Muhtar and the rubbish, and the man who repaired my oven last night! It's strange how you can start writing about something and your thoughts run away with you!
The rubbish...it's getting on for two months since it's been collected. The temperatures hit 40 degrees yesterday so you can imagine how bad it is. I'm angry with the Muhtar. I saw him yesterday and told him so. Ah...but I'm just a mere woman...he shrugged his shoulders and dismissed me. I asked Mr A to phone him again yesterday. Mr A informs me that the Muhtar can't find anyone with an available tractor and trailer to collect it. Mr A just accepted that. They are men....they don't fall out with each other...they don't make a big deal of it....they're not bothered. I give up!
My oven has been out of order for months now. Before I went to England in April, I found a man in Milas who may have been able to repair it, but it was impossible to explain to him how to find our house. I've been waiting for Mr A to find the time to collect the man and bring him here, but there just hasn't been an opportunity.
Mr A came home on Tuesday night. Before he left early yesterday morning he suddenly told me that he knew a man in the village who worked for Beko. My oven is made by Beko. "How long have you known this man?" I asked. "Oh since we moved here" came the reply. So why hadn't he mentioned this before? He had forgotten! Aaargh! So he called at the man's house before setting off to work, and the man promised to come to fix the oven last night. Which he did. It needed a new element as I suspected and the job took him 15 minutes. All this unnecessary waiting and inconvenience.
Talking about the Turkish male mentality...this is what happens most times when a women attempts to deal with problems, or buy large items in shops, or take out a contract for telephone lines and internet etc. The men can't seem to acknowledge the fact that we mere women are capable of dealing with such things. It's the man's job! The Beko man filled in the invoice. He asked for a name. I gave him mine...but no...he didn't want that...he wanted my husband's name! Years ago, I would have made a fuss about it, and insisted he took my name. But now...who cares? I gave him Mr A's name and shrugged my shoulders. If it enabled him to leave feeling important, having put another woman firmly in her place, then so what? I can live with it!
Today my friend Gwen is coming over to stay for a couple of days. After her embarrassment last time when the inlaws turned up unexpectedly, I intend to spoil her and make this a pleasant stay for her, before her return to England next week.