Behind the börek, are the usual female body issues, yawn. Yes, it bores me too.
What makes it relevant to Turkey is how much of an issue it became there. And, as I keep feeling the need to repeat, I am, and was then, a size 8-10 UK (4-6 US) and have been for about 7 years. Before that I was a size 12. I didn’t know enough to be bothered by that for most of my post university years even though I’d been a size 10 prior to the typical university pasta ‘n’ sauce diet. (Not that students these days seem to live like they’re in anything less than a Michelin starred restaurant.)
Losing weight was the best and worst thing I ever did. I still count it among my biggest achievements which shows how ingrained this is since it jostles with getting books published. As a long serving source of constant pleasure I’m not sure anything has been as consistently satisfying. At my thinnest, most desperately miserable, mid and post Turkish trauma, I was a size 6 and, God, I looked great (I thought). But having seen how I can look and feel at size 8, not being that weight has a whole load of negative impacts. It’s a constant chasing of an ideal that’s all the crueller for having been attained relatively easily before.
SCENE: A few pounds creep back on in Turkey to bring our heroine up to about 52-54 kgs (1.62m tall). She is very sensitive about it.
ENTER TURKISH SOCIETY IN GENERAL
TURKISH SOCIETY IN GENERAL
You’ve gained weight.
CUT to classroom. Heroine is teaching.
ENTER MALE STUDENT
You look good except for your stomach.
CUT to bedroom after sex.
(poking at wobbly areas)
You need to go to the gym.
CUT to phone-call scene. TURKISH BOYFRIEND is calling from the army.
How about your kilos?
It took about a year of him being away for me to convince him it was absolutely not OK with me that he commented on my weight all the time. He had a confessed preference for the Paris Hilton type figure which I never had, not until I was a size 6 during the two year penance and salvage operation and I was barely eating. Then he was worried, genuinely, about me and insisting I eat and not just because I was a bit too thin. After two or three years of the reverse, I never believed there could be a ‘too thin’. And anyway, I just wasn’t hungry. I was too miserable.
It was good though as you can eat as much börek as you want when you’re not really eating anything else during the day and you can’t finish a yarım porsiyon (half portion) because you’ve no appetite.
It didn’t help that he was of a lean build that never had any spare flesh. Truth be told he was a bit thin for my taste. I prefer a more athletic build if you’re going to go for physical perfection. But I never commented on his weight.
The closest I got to commenting was cheating on him with someone for the last 4 months of his military service with someone that was tubby and admiring.
I think I made too much of a statement.
A later article inspired by the börek blog post called Diet and Binge on Turkish food went into Time Out Istanbul in April 2008.