Monday, February 20, 2017
"Ever since I turned 50, my nipples have been a source of great erotic excitement," the American leaned forward. "I'd really love it if you could massage them."
Up until then, we'd been having such a lovely chat. Now he wanted me to milk him.
The thing is, I've come on holiday on my own. I hadn't exactly planned it, but my boyfriend suddenly changed jobs, and so here I am, in a hotel in an empty Turkish village built for Russian tourists. I was quietly dreading it, with the thoroughly British approach of planning lots of outings and catching up on work and good deeds. Surely I'd go mad from loneliness, like the guy in the boat in Nostromo?
Actually, no. As soon as I got here I realised it would be marvellous. I can watch German octogenarians drink the bar dry. There are awful Russian men slapping the arses of please-don't-let-them-be-their-daughters-because-that-would-be-worse women. There are even a few Turkish families - the Dads taking manspreading to extremes when confronted by the salad bar, sending their families scampering across the cheesboard like generals ordering their troops into No Man's Land.
Aside from the people-watching, there's the serenity of waking up every morning and walking along the beach, feeding the stray cats, before settling down to a bit of work. It also helps that the village (for reasons which are economically baffling) is home to a branch of the Turkish version of Primark.
It's said the Germans have a focused approach to the all-inclusive holiday (as one tells me "I have paid 300 euros for the week. In addition I will spend a euro at the airport for my luggage trolley"). The Russians are giddily more extravagant (rumours abound of them spending 400 euros each day). Everyone else stomps off to Primark, staggering back with bags full of £2 t-shirts and £4 jumpers. I've abandoned washing any clothes and am just buying new ones.
As well as shopping, occasionally, people will talk to me. Sometimes it's a waiter at the bar ("No, sir, your Turkish is very good. You are studying it? Really? How long for? 20 years? Oh..Well, maybe you will get the hang of it one day. More tea?") and then there is the Old American Tourist with the erotic nipples.
He introduced himself by sitting down next to me and telling me his entire life story. He taught at Turkish universities his entire career. He now lives in Germany where he has a wife and two dogs. He loves to come to Turkey because he has a Special Friend here. At this point he gets even more animated as he tells me about Altun, the security guard. They've known each other for a decade, and arrange to spend a week a year in a Turkish hotel "in mutual physical contemplation - we have laughs and massages and pillow fights...".
It's all very very bizarre. He says Brokeback Mountain is his favourite film, then tells me about the first time that he and Altun became "physically intimate soul mates" ("His wife had just cooked us the most wonderful food and then, while she cleared away the plates, he massaged me most satisfactorily.").
He shifts along the sofa, nearer towards me, and I start mentioning how amazing my boyfriend is. This doesn't stop him. First he tells me about his nipples ("I call them my cum-bullets") and then, with another little shift, he asks me to massage them.
I look across the bar. In the distance some children are chasing one of the hotel cats. I have an urge to shout at them, but then I figure, on polished marble tiles who is going to come out of that chase better? Toddlers or a cat?
I thank the American for the offer but tell him that it would be awkward.
"Awkward? Gee. How so?"
I just repeat that it would be awkward.
He shakes his head. "You're missing out."
He shifts away from me just a little.
"Tomorrow I go home," he says, rubbing his beard. "My wife will be waiting for me at the airport with the dogs. I can't wait to see them. Dear little Lotti and Lupo!"
I never find out what his wife's name is.
In the distance there is a thump and the sound of a toddler screaming. A cat trots casually past, job done.