Gender Inequalities?

For the most part any gender inequalities that exist do not affect the western tourist.  Every once in a while I put on a head scarf to better fit in, but that always seems more of a novelty than a burden.  My experience on the female side of the Turkish bath, however, was quite a disappointment. 

Steve returned from his bath (we took turns so that someone always had the stuff) aglow with stories of saunas, steam rooms, thorough scrubs, and a massage unlike any he’d ever imagined. My back is famously achy and I practically ran to the bath anticipating chiropractic relief.  

The women didn’t seem very happy to see me, but reticently sent me into the bath.  I admit it was wonderfully steamy and beautiful-like a marble tub the size of a small cathedral.   There was no sauna but that I didn’t mind.  A lady finally came in and started scrubbing me all over.  This part was on par with Steve’s description.  She removed dirt I never knew I had.  Seriously, rolls of dirty skin cells were visably falling off.  It was a bit painful–lıke being scrubbed with steal wool–but satisfyıng.  Then she rubbed soap over me ever-so-lightly, scrubbed my hair with hand soap (which later left it feeling like straw and my imagining a bald bride), dumped bucket after bucket of water over my head (some of which I guess I accidently swallowed in my desperate gasps for air because I later had my first real bout of Ataturk’s Revenge), and then proclaimed “Finish!”.    No back cracks, no kneading hands, no revelations. 

At least I was clean! 

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