- Istanbul Turkey First Impressions
- Grand Bazaar of Istanbul Turkey
- Travel to Istanbul: The men’s bathroom
- Travel to Istanbul: Restaurants in Istanbul Turkey
- Travel to Istanbul: Mistaken for Beyonce
- “Men of Istanbul love black women”: my thoughts on random men I met
- Call to Prayer in Istanbul Turkey
- Istanbul Turkey Dancing in the streets
- Istanbul Turkey Why you will love this city!
(disclaimer: I am only referring to men I met in the touristy areas. I met some wonderful Turkish men outside of the touristy areas that I will not include in this post:)
Before I went to Istanbul many people warned me that Turkish men love black women. Be careful they said. It was confirmed. Many men came up to me specifically to let me know that they loved African women. lol I’ve had really interesting experiences in Italy and Istanbul was no different. I think that in any country, men like new, unique, exotic looks. Yes it can be a great confidence builder when random men propose to you in the streets in front of alot of people! (happened to me last year in Venice,Italy) But, I also believe that at the core of men, they are all looking for the same thing, cross culturally.. It’s their different approaches that makes travelling solo as a woman so fascinating and sometimes challenging.
EVERYONE KEPT ASKING ME WHY I DIDN’T HAVE A TURKISH BOYFRIEND YET… DAY 1 and 2. I was trying really really hard NOT to come back to the U.S with a Turkish boyfriend!
I think as a seasoned traveler I come with a wealth of common sense and experiences that I picked up along the way. In Istanbul I could definitely see how a young inexperienced naive girl could get into a lot of trouble. When I was alone in the touristy areas I ran into all sorts of charming, passionate, witty, Turkish seducers. These were beautiful men! They don’t just come up to you and ask you for their number. I had men coming up to me, reciting poetry, making me laugh, telling me how painfully beautiful I was, bowing to me, yearning for me, just doing the most romantic things you read of in books and say.. “That doesn’t happen in Chicago”. The passion was overwhelming. Half of them swear they fell in love at first sight. I had one guy who was so insistent and said such beautiful things to me and made such a show in the street that people stopped to look. At the end after my insistence that I had to go he invited me to his restaurant and said ” Be careful out there, there are a lot of bad men out there who will try to talk to you….just be very very careful…until you see me again”. I started cracking up as I walked away. He was so truthful:) Its all part of the fun, just be careful.
Otherwise, I also met many very respectful men. Who were very very sweet. Gentlemanly.. I had people pay for my lunch, free dinners at restaurants, give me extra Turkish delights, buy me coffee, open my doors, hail me taxi’s, let me skip lines,give me their wifi codes!!, give me directions by taking me.. I had one guy that I met on the ferry, basically carry all my luggage and help me find my friends house and it was 30 minutes out of his way… Just really, really nice men. I learned a lot from these men. They may have approached me because of an initial attraction, but when we would speak, they realized that I was a lot deeper than my looks. I was always able to receive and share valuable information. Countless deep conversations about their lives, philosophy, money, religion, politics. I learned so much about Muslim religion! Very valuable conversations for me.
Words of Advice:
First it starts with the stare… be ready for the stares. When I was in Vienna I let the stares get to me but now I’m used to them. People stare and men stare especially hard. In Istanbul there is no difference. I got onto the ferry and I really am not joking when I say that every person I could see on that ferry was staring at me, for the whole 15 minute ride…It sounds egotistical I know but trust me…People stare that openly when you happen to be the only black person in a 10 maybe 50 mile radius.
American ways/British ways : I think as Americans/British:we are too polite. I always have to remind myself of this when I am in a new city, but old habits die hard. For those that know me, I paid a lot of money for my smile and I smile a lot. Unfortunately in some countries smiling is an invitation even as you say no. By the end of my first night alone I had reminders on why I shouldn’t smile too much, but sometimes growl in tourist sections. Men were following me…trying to sell me something or take me to their stores…no matter how much I said no. I realized I was being way too polite. When men would approach me to get my number or tell me I was beautiful…same principle. When you smile and say no I don’t want your number you might be sending mixed messages.
Well that’s it for now….share with me what you think!!!? Comment below.