Saturday, February 21, 2015

How I accidentally ended up at the Turkish equivalent of bachelorette party

Here was the information I found posted on a public Facebook events page:

Ladies, up for a henna tattoo? read the comment attached.

"Oh cool," I thought. "I don't know much about Turkish culture and I've never tried henna. It sounds fun and casual. Why not?" I went stag, as is so often my custom, figuring that I would be one of many strangers mingling and enjoying a lovely ritual together.

The Awkward started as soon as I arrived. I tried to enter through the wrong door, then realized everyone inside (who I could see) was wearing headscarves. I felt strangely naked and wondered whether I should leave; I didn't want to offend anyone with my ignorance and disrespect. To my relief, several other young women were also bareheaded. I summoned my most social, courageous self and found an open seat at a table.

It quickly became apparent that not only was this not a typical community event, I was literally the only person there who didn't know anyone else - and who didn't know that there was an actual bride for whom the party was thrown. As I introduced myself to the women who visited my table, they asked me who I knew, and I was forced to admit that I was apparently the one weird stranger who had found the event through Facebook. They welcomed me graciously, but with puzzled expressions.

I wondered whether I should go, but everyone seemed genuinely friendly and there was the promise of an mouthwatering buffet of Turkish food... so I decided to lean into it. I made a couple of friends, ate a ton of fantastic food, and danced with a bunch of beautiful, stylish Turkish women. I felt like I was in a SIFF film.

Eventually feeling like the odd man out overwhelmed my bravery, so I left before the henna - the only part of the event that had actually been advertised. But at least I had an adventure!

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