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Month: July 2011

Gays in Istanbul??!!

Gays in Istanbul??!!

This is a blog post I wrote for Emre’s blog for exchange students at Bogazici. I decided to post it here also to recap my study abroad experience. Enjoy!

When I decided to study abroad, that’s pretty much all I had decided: that I WANTED to study abroad, not where. I had some ideas, but nothing concrete. Initially, I wanted to go somewhere really exotic and experience things that I never had before. But after listening to my friends who had studied abroad before talk about the amazing parties they went to, I thought that maybe I wanted to go to a more western country, where I could get sloshed seven days a week and not give a care about learning a new language, culture, etc. My roommate once talked about her time in Buenos Aires and told me “it’s a shame because all the cute boys were gay.” What a shame indeed! So that also contributed to my thoughts (and made me really want to go to Argentina!) In the end, I chose to study in Turkey because it was unlike any place I had been to before. I had my reservations about my “sloshing” potential in a Muslim country and whether or not I would find a single other gay person in a city with a population of 15 million, but I’m happy to say that my study abroad experience as an American homo in Istanbul was one of the best times of my life.

Coming from a conservative area of the United States, like Oklahoma, society, along with religion, teaches you that most topics relevant to sexuality should be kept hush hush. Now! Try being GAY!!! How fun do you think that is? You’d assume that there are very few people who are comfortably “out” and that most gays either “move to the city” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeahDax24Dg) or use Craig’s List/Adam4Adam/Man Hunt to post pics of their man parts/solicit sexy times…This is pretty much true. And because I never felt comfortable in any of these categories, I became what I call, “a non-active member of the gay community.” So, at parties, when my hetero friends were on the prowl looking for their next hook-up, I was busy being the fat girl, knocking shit over and then passing out alone in my own bed.

Like I said before, I was terrified of being gay in Turkey. I thought I would get stoned or something if anyone found out. All the websites about gay Turkey made me think of dark rooms and chains and lots of sweat and STDs and…and…and I don’t even know what! But I realized that if I could survive being gay in Oklahoma, I could be gay in pretty much any country in the world (except maybe Iran, because they don’t have gays).

Once I arrived in Istanbul, I decided to keep my sexuality on the DL for the first few weeks, at least until I got to know people better. That didn’t really work it. After two beers at the first mixer for exchange students, I was “whispering” to everyone how I like boys! But after coming out in the open with it, things went surprisingly well for me. I found out one of my friends lived with three gay Turks and a few weeks later, one of them took me to a gay club. There, I was introduced to the Istanbul scene. AND. IT. WAS. AWESOME. (in comparison to Oklahoma)

After spending a year in Istanbul and getting to know a variety of places and people (not to brag), I will break down the gay scene and give you some advice on how to work that scene to your advantage.

Internet. Turks and most Europeans like to use Gay Romeo. Like any other gay dating site, it’s pretty much porn. “Show me yours, I’ll show you mine” “What positions do you like?” “Active?/Passive?” that sort of thing. If you’re into that, you’re in luck. Just be careful and if you decide to meet up with someone, do it in public the first time.

Bars and Clubs. There are probably more than a dozen of these in the Taksim district of Istanbul alone, but not all of them are worthwhile. They’re usually expensive and a lot of them just plain suck so no one important is there. My fav is a place called “Tek Yon” and it’s really close to Taksim Square in Cihangir. Ask any gay person and they’ll know it. It plays pretty good club/dance music and there are always lots o’ guys there on the weekends. But! Don’t buy any drinks there and don’t check your coat. Get drunk beforehand if you want and either carry your coat around or stuff it in some corner if you want to have money for a cab ride home.

Peter’s tips to reach your gay potential:
1. Don’t go to gay clubs with girls. I know that in most countries, gays have a token “fag hag” who like totally loves to go gaying, but most G clubs hardly let girls in. Turks like to get right to the point. It may sound strange at first, but you get used to it.
2. Because of tip #1, you’re going to need to some gay friends to go out with you. Try to befriend Turks. They are usually very friendly and their language skills may come in handy. DO NOT make friends with Americans. They are bitches and can go straight back to their pretentious gay commune a.k.a New York City. And Germans are just assholes from MY experience.
3. Say you’re foreign as much as possible. Having brown hair, I sometimes was mistaken for being Turkish. But once I said I was American, BINGO! All eyes were on me, the former fatty from Oklahoma. If you’re blond, you’re in luck. If you have a blond friend, bring him as bait when you go out. Turks will love it!
4. Do not go to a gay club during the week. You will look desperate and it will be EMPTY.
5. Before you go out, know your sexual limits. Turks will only stop if you tell them to. Otherwise, they will run laps around the bases (if you get my drift). Only go home with someone if you want to and use protection as needed. #maternal instinct

I hope my experience and advice will be helpful to you in the future if you’re planning to spend time in Istanbul. Besides being a haven for gays from Turkey and elsewhere, it is an absolutely amazing city full of history and excitement. I cannot imagine having studied abroad anywhere else and hope that you have the time of your life while your there!

iyi şanslar,
Gaymerican Boy

Mid-Summer/Visit to the Grandparents/Rhianna

Mid-Summer/Visit to the Grandparents/Rhianna

I decided that since I’ve been back to the good ol’ US of A for almost a month, it’s time to give a little briefing on how things are going (for doz of u who is interested).

My internship is going well. Things seem to be kind of picking up and I’m getting used to my commute from hell. One of my favs, Noa (like the ark, but without an “h”), no longer works with us which sucks some major ass, but I know that she is deeply regretting her decision to leave. She misses all our faces, especially mine and Sara’s. WE HAVE SO MUCH FUN WITHOUT YOU NOA!!!!…(sometimes). But yeah, my drive+train+metro still pisses me off. Cannot get over why my parents chose to live in Front Royal, 1) because it’s hella far away from DC and 2) because it’s called Front Royal. Still, don’t even know what that means. You can’t just put two words together and call it a town. “Behind Queen”, “Below King”: do you want those town names on your job application? I think not! Might as well go live on Breezy Lane in Castle Rock, Colorado. So, FroRo, take my advice, and change the name.
P.S. There are some uber hotties on the metro. Makes me want to work in DC ALL DUH TIME!

Jersey (not the shore)

So, my older sister was in town for a couple of weeks. She just left today 🙁 and I miss her already. My mom decided that since we were both here, she would take us up to visit her parents (our gparents) for the 4th of July weekend. Awesome! I love Gma and Pop pop and I haven’t seen them since before I went to Turkey. But, my family is pretty conservez if you haven’t heard. My gparents were still freaked out 2 YEARS AFTER i dyed my hair black and grew my stubble out. AND! last summer they almost didn’t want to see me because I had gotten my nose pierced. FTW?! Keep that in mind as I tell you some of the things that I experienced over the course of two days.

1. I had to listen to how the immigrants were taking over the country (and the Catholic churches!) over dinner.
2. My grandpa was surprised when I told him I didn’t go to church every Sunday/or at all while I was in Turkey.
3. My grandma announced pretty loudly in church that my grandpa, “can’t hold his corn.” ???
4. I went to see “Bad Teacher” with my Gma and older sister which was awkward because the language was surprisingly vulgar, even for me. Imagine being in a movie theater with your grandma and one of the lines is “Dry f#$% the f#$% out of me”
5. I keep getting lectured on what type of girl I should bring home to my mom/gma…Don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that advice.

But, it was a lot of fun and I’m glad I got to see everyone.

FUNNY STORY!
Look at this picture first.

This is someone receiving communion in a Catholic church. My family is Catholic and my grandparents and my mom especially are REALLY Catholic. My mom goes to church every week and I…don’t. She gets up so early and I don’t like organized religion so I choose not to go. A couple of weekends ago after mass, my mom told us this story about how she went to receive communion. Notice in the picture how the nun is receiving the wafer/body of X in her mouth and the pope’s assistant is holding the metal thing that looks like a ping-pong paddle underneath in case the wafer falls. Well, my mom went to do this (because her church is really old-fashioned) and the alter boy who was holding the ping-pong paddle accidentally whacked my mom in the throat.
When she told us this, I LAUGHED MY ASS OFF FOR LIKE FIVE MINUTES. I think it is so damn funny! I know some people might take offense to this because it’s about religious matters so sorry. My mom will even try not to laugh about it because she thinks its a mortal sin or whatever, but I will continue to tell this story to anyone who will listen.

Rihanna’s new song: “California King Bed”
I like your voice, but who the eff wrote these lyrics?
You cannot sing about the size of your bed. Twin, double, queen, nope, she goes for the CALIFORNIA KING!!!

“In this California king bed
We’re ten thousand miles apart
I’ve been California wishing on these stars
For your heart for me
My California king”

You can also not just put a state in front of a verb and call it good. “California wishing” does not make sense. “California dreaming” well, that’s a famous song so it’s immune to this rule. But Princess Rhi Rhi, you cannot be “Montana frolicking” or “Maryland sashaying.” I don’t know what they taught you in Barbados, but we do NOT talk like that. Keep the voice. Change the lyrics. Kthanx

Peace out,
Consuela