Most of the time, I try to stick to copywriting related posts. But occasionally, I like to show a bit of my own style by writing anecdotes from my daily life. So if you fancy a laugh, here’s my experience of a Turkish bath!
Jetting off to Turkey
Well before lockdown was even a concept, we’d booked a holiday to Turkey. My mum had booked to take the kids to Disneyland, Paris. So we were looking forward to a long overdue week to ourselves and decided to book a holiday.
Many anxious months passed, wondering whether or not it would go ahead. We even had our hotel cancelled with only a week to go, and had to book a new one!
Finally, the day came when we were allowed to go, and I could hardly believe it until we got on the plane. Mask-clad, of course.
Fast forward a few days of ridiculously hot weather and an equally ridiculous amount of food and drink, and we decided to try a Turkish bath.
The fella in our hotel pointed out that it was probably a good idea to book our bath with them. He demonstrated this by pretending to be a ‘big, sweaty Turkish man feeling me up’ – his words, which he assured us would be the case if we went elsewhere. Terrified, we decided he was right and we would go ahead and booked the Turkish bath with the hotel!
Off with your clothes
We arrived for our appointment and were greeted by the same bloke, and two Turkish ladies, neither of whom spoke a word of the Queen’s.
No issue with that, we were in Turkey and if anything I believe we should have been expected to learn Turkish, and not vice versa. However, on this occasion it did cause a few issues! Still with me? Great, bear with me, we’re getting there…
We were told to go to separate changing rooms, mostly via mild pushing in that general direction, and a package was thrust into my hands. It contained a robe, some slippers, and what might have been a flannel, but who knows?
With limited instructions, I was unsure how exactly to proceed. Was I supposed to remove all my clothing, or to leave my underwear on? I popped my head back out of the door to ask, but there was no one there.
Better safe than sorry
I decided it would be better to be safe than sorry and left on my bra and knicks, popping my robe on over the top and jamming my feet into the weird little paper slippers. After stuffing everything else in the locker, I tentatively stepped outside.
I was immediately ushered into a large room with what I can only describe as a very large ceramic table in the centre. Billy (my husband) was nowhere to be seen.
The dark-haired lady told me to remove my robe. I did.
No love, not pregnant, just fat
She then began to point at my torso and chatter away in Turkish. I assumed she meant I had to take off my underwear. I asked if this was the case. She replied, “No, no. No sauna.”
I was confused. This was not a sauna.
I said, “Sorry, what? You want me to go to the sauna?”
“No, no! No sauna. Pregnant! Baby!“ All whilst moving her hand in an arc over her belly, so I could be under no illusion. She thought I was up the duff.
Sadly, this happens regularly. I just have unfortunate weight distribution. It’s usually in shops or whatever. It’s a whole heap more embarrassing when it happens when you’re almost naked though!
I came back with my usual retort. “No, love. Not pregnant, just fat.”
She shook her head violently and went to get her mate. On her return, she repeated her concerns. Her colleague joined in! They both stood there, telling (not asking) me, that I was, in fact, pregnant.
For some time, I repeated, “Not pregnant. Fat. No baby.” All whilst shaking my head, puffing my cheeks out and doing a bit of a ‘fat waddle’ to demonstrate.
They finally got it, and attempted to apologise. At least I think that’s what they said. They looked suitably embarrassed anyway.
Walk of shame to the sauna
Once we were all thoroughly mortified, the second lady pointed towards the door and said, “Sauna.” I was still stood there in my bra and knickers, and to get to the sauna, would have had to walk through reception, where the man from earlier was clearly stood.
I tried to make her understand that I didn’t want to walk through reception in my undies, and that I needed my robe back. She just kept telling me I didn’t need my robe for the sauna (I think she thought I was going to keep it on in there!)
I was having a right old wobble by this point and just kept asking where Billy was. She kept replying, “Sauna, sauna,” and pushing me towards the door.
Finally, I realised that Billy must be in the sauna, and the only way to get myself back to him was to walk through reception in front of several people, whilst clearly looking heavily pregnant. Needs must. Mortifying, but apparently necessary!
Walked very quickly to the sauna with my head down. Practically fell through the door and told Billy everything that had happened so far. They’d let him keep his bloody robe!
Sat in there for all of about two minutes whilst Billy complained how much he hated saunas and how ridiculously hot it was. Fun.
Time for the Turkish bath
The ladies came back to get us. Again I had to do the walk of shame through reception in my undies, to get back to the room with the massive ceramic table that I’d just come from. Billy popped his robe back on for the journey. He could have given it to me, he had knee length swim shorts on!
We were asked to lie down on our stomachs on the table thing, me on one side and Billy on the other. They then proceeded to vigorously rub what I can only think may have been wet sand mixed with coffee grounds all over our bodies. Billy had sunburn the colour of beetroot all over his shoulders and upper back. I can only imagine how much that stung!
Following this, the ladies started swinging large bags of bubbles around their heads and covered us in the contents. After this had been rubbed into all our crevices, we had buckets of hot water chucked at us to wash it all off.
Nothing like a good old boob scrub
My lady then asked me to turn over, which I did. Now in England, my experience is that any treatments you need where you’re lying on your stomach, they unhook your bra. I have never been asked to remove my bra for anything. And certainly not when lying on my back. Anyhow, Turkish bath lady asked me to remove my bra. I clarified a couple of times, just to make sure we weren’t getting lost in translation. I obliged, as, “No, thank you,” didn’t seem like an option here. Also Billy was with me, and they were both women. Once I’d removed my bra, she proceeded to lift my boobs up one by one and give them a good scrub!
She then started scrubbing at my face with her loofah. I have pretty bad rosacea (a bit like acne for grown-ups) and scrubbing is a massive no-no. After attempting the word, “No,” a few times I realised she really wasn’t getting it, and my skin was getting angrier by the second, so I just had to move her hand in the end.
I was then asked to sit on the edge of the table, and she chucked more water at me and washed my hair, which was unexpected. I felt like a small child. Still not sure whether it was enjoyable or not. I think it might have been if I’d known what to expect from a Turkish bath, but the whole thing was just a bit weird!
She followed the hair washing up with hoiking my boobs up again and throwing more water at me. Say what you like about the Turkish, but they don’t do things by halves.
Naughty dirty children
Once that ordeal was over, I was finally handed my robe. God knows what she’d done with my bra.
We were led to some sofas in another room where we drank Turkish tea (tastes like a cross between Tetley’s and chamomile without milk or sugar) and we both had some kind of green slimey stuff slathered onto our faces.
Twenty or so minutes later, the ladies came back and told us rather sternly to wash our faces. We joked later that we felt like naughty children who had got dirty on purpose!
Faces clean, we both had a lovely massage. One of the best, and longest massages I’d ever had, these women really knew what they were doing. She was putting so much pressure onto the knots in my shoulders that I could see her little feet sliding back across the tiled floor. I was amazed that such a tiny woman could give such a strong massage. She even started climbing on me at one point! I’ve absolutely no idea what she was doing but it was amazing.
Once they’d finished clambering all over us, dragging our arms and legs into weird contortions and cracking every bone in our bodies, we were done! The guy who had booked us in for the massage then came in and started nattering away to us. I still hadn’t been given my bra back so I was just sat there clutching my towel, waiting for him to leave.
Summary of my Turkish bath experience
An amazing, but absolutely bloody mental experience. I’d definitely have the massage again, but I’m not really sure about the rest of it. If you ever go to Turkey, it’s definitely something you should try, but be aware that it’s not for the faint of heart!
And if you’ve got this far, I’m taking it you hopefully like my writing. So whilst I’ve got you, if you need a copywriter for your business or know someone who does, give me a shout! Call me on 07821 873861 or send me a message and I’ll get back to you shortly.