Then, Blonde-thoughts not being held for long, she had a cheering realization on a topic that has gained in prominence as the years passed: “Being found dead and naked in the rubble of an earthquake in a small Turkish town would at least make for an eye-catching and thought-provoking obituary headline.”
Blonde lacks the introspection and maturity to fear those things that other post-bloom women fear. Husband running off with some adolescent stripper. No problem. Threw him back decades ago. Don’t care if he’s living with an underage goat. Or even living. Becoming a bag woman. It’d suck but Blonde would have designer bags. Dying alone. Whatever. At least no one would witness a potentially unattractive moment.
Dying buying kitty litter at Target? Sheer terror! The unbearable humiliation of that obituary headline enduring as Blonde’s last gasp legacy. This entirely rational fear has the advantage of causing Blonde to be happy in the midst of any weird danger, ideally in a foreign country. It’s a can’t lose proposition. Survive? Great. Die. Fabulous obituary headline. Win win!
Back to the villagers of Fethiye. It was in that location where Blonde and Brunette, using some faulty assumptions (could be a pun related to the earthquake but isn’t) chose to get “authentic” Turkish baths at Hillside resort. It was a “when in Rome” moment, except it was in Turkey.
A Turkish friend we were traveling with had a good friend who worked in Guest Relations at Hillside Beach Club. (Blonde would think that job meant sleeping with the guests, but it apparently did not.) We docked our boat at Hillside for the day. The (obviously closet American-hater) resort employee kindly/viciously secured Turkish bath appointments for B&B. No doubt she got a good chuckle once the dopey duo was out of range of hearing (for us about 7 inches).
This was 2002 and Americans weren’t exactly stampeding to visit Muslim countries. The patriotic ones were still out at the mall frantically shopping in an attempt to foil terrorism. Maybe a few adventuresome souls took a bus trip to Branson, MO. But no one, especially two flourescent white women who may as well have had “Unaccompanied Probable-Christian American Harlots” signs over their heads, was going to Muslim countries.
That Turkey was secular, an American ally and not known to have any terrorist leanings was irrelevant. Only those as sophisticated (clueless) as B&B saw the opportunity where lesser beings imagined nonexistent threats.
Back to the baths. Blonde has been seen naked by about as many men as make up, for the purposes of an indication of magnitude, one of the smaller branches of the military service. Like the Army (not including The Reserves).
Brunette claims a less “impressive” record but written records weren’t even invented back in her day.
But nude in front of each other. I don’t think so.
Nude in excruciatingly close proximity to strangers in a strange land? Oh yeah, we’re in. Or were in theory.
After removing all of our clothes and donning robes we were quite unceremoniously marched into the Hamam of Humiliation. A quick review of the options made it apparent that one of us was going to be bathed by a man and the other a woman. Blonde feared Brunette’s death from horror if she drew the man, so Blonde selflessly went with him. That sacrifice did little to protect either Brunette’s real or Blonde’s fake modesty.
Not only were we going to be bathed in all our decaying glory face-up naked on large marble slabs by two gruff businesslike strangers, but we were going to be the stage act for a group of four pre-scrubbed, lounging, loose-fleshed, chattering Germans.
The man “doing” Blonde was thorough to a point bordering on assault/exhilaration. There we were, naked and being scrubbed with what felt like wire brushes, having things that resembled pillowcases full of bubbles swung over us and then being thoroughly (trust me on this) rinsed.
The entire process seemed to take approximately 17 hours. Someone had to entertain the Germans. They were probably thinking “WTF? How did a country full of idiots like these two come from ever manage to kick our asses in World War II?” (Answer: it was a vastly different caliber of American than B&B who pulled off that feat.)
Back in the austere locker room we panicked at the apparent disappearance of our clothing. Fortunately it had merely been stashed elsewhere and was promptly returned to its anguished, raw, slippery owners.
A Turkish bath will not only leave you clean but will also remove approximately one clothing size’s worth of skin. It turns out that you can live fine without your epidermis. Also, you don’t need another bath for months or at least until the next time a vaguely ominous-looking stranger appears with a pillowcase and wire brush.
When they finished with us we should have gone on a crime spree. All of our skin flakes, fingernails, hair, DNA-identifying features of any kind had been completely scrapped off. Another wasted opportunity.
Be sure to recommend a Turkish bath to anyone you don’t like and who is traveling to Turkey.
(Secret note: Blonde promised to never tell this story about Brunette. Too bad Blonde has a bad memory and very little conscience.)