Sunday, 15 August 2010

Changing mentality

I'm going to try not to generalise, because I don't want to offend any Turkish men who might be reading this, but the Turkish male mentality is at times difficult to live with.

The stereotype is a man who believes he is superior to women, that he is always right...simply because he is a man...and that women should just accept it.  He believes he should make all the decisions.  That he should live his life the way he wants to, and that the women in his life...mother, wife, daughter...are there to enable him to do make his life as comfortable as possible.  And this is more or less how it is in the majority of traditional Turkish homes.

However, one thing I have discovered over the years, is that Turkish women are much cleverer than their men give them credit for.  They know this is the way men are, so they work around it to get what they want.  They are brilliant manipulators.  If they want something done, they manage to convince the man that it was his idea.

Not all men are the same of course.  I've been pretty lucky with Mr Ayak in that our relationship has mostly been equal....which is just as well as I've never been that good at  manipulating.  I tend to just come out and say what I think or want.  But I do accept that there is still a certain amount of this Turkish male mentality in Mr A.  It's's the way males are brought up.  And I am resigned to the fact that I do at times have to adopt the Turkish female mentality if there is no other way to resolve an important issue which will affect us both.

Over the past week or so, Mr A and I have had no opportunity to just sit and talk about our problems.  He is feeling under pressure because he owes money for the rental on the business premises, personnel accommodation, food, and other outgoings.

I went over to the hotel yesterday, and spent almost 3 hours with him, trying to talk things through.  He feels like everyone is making demands on him and he can't escape.  Because I started off by asking him to write down the debts, he mistakenly assumed I was also putting pressure on him and he snapped.   He ranted and raved and shouted...and I was upset.   It developed into a big row...although it was pretty one-sided...once he starts shouting, he is unable to listen.  I was convinced though, that even though I wasn't enjoying this situation, it was important that he got all the pent-up anger and frustration out of his system.  So I just let him rant until he was exhausted....and then I was able to have something resembling a normal conversation with him.

He has the opportunity to start up another business in Milas. I won't go into detail just yet, because I don't have all the facts. He wants to rush into doing this, because he is in a state of panic. He thinks that if he does it quickly, he will start making money which will cover the Hamam debts. But I know that it's unwise to rush into another venture at this point in time....and had to find a way of convincing him to slow down.

The problem is that he can only see the debts as huge amounts of money which are impossible to pay.  This isn't really true but I had to find a way of making him see this.   Mr A asked Mehmet to join us to talk about the possible new business venture.  So now I had two Turkish males to contend with.  I wasn't expecting it to be easy.

I got him to list all the debts, and outgoings for the rest of the season...till the end of October.  He has already negotiated with the General Manager to pay the remainder of the hamam rental in three stages.  One at the end of August, one in the middle of September and the final one at the end of September.

I then added up the amounts and divided the total by the number of days left until the end of the season.  This simple bit of maths showed them that the daily profit they needed to achieve was in fact quite possible.  They both looked suddenly hit them that all was not lost.  I don't know why they hadn't thought of doing this before. Mr A would not discuss the finances with me up till now, he thought it shouldn't be my problem.  After all he is the man and I am just a woman...what do I know?

So somehow, I don't know quite how, I've managed to get them to slow down and take stock.  Mr A was all for rushing off at the end of August and renting premises in Milas, starting up another new business...and as a result just adding to the enormous amount of stress he already has.  Now, however, they can see that they need to stay put.  Do all they can to get customers and earn the money to pay the debts, plus hopefully a bit more which will enable them to open a business in Milas.  I've managed to get them to accept that 1st November would be a suitable opening then they will be able to see whether it's something they can realistically afford to do.

Their spirits have been lifted, by the simple fact that it's not impossible to earn enough money to stay afloat.  And because they are in a better frame of mind, I feel sure it will give them more of an incentive to work at it.  They were both quite depressed about their situation, and this is certainly not conducive to attracting customers.   In fact before I left, they were putting their newfound enthusiasm into action, and had taken a couple of bookings.   One of these was from a lady who was on holiday with a group of 11 people.  I managed to get Mr A to offer her a special price on her treatment, and also the promise of a further treatment free of charge, should she introduce the rest of the group to the hamam experience.

So the ideas are mine...but Mr Ayak thinks they're his.   What does it matter if it produces the desired result in the end.

I'm getting good at this manipulation lark.....I'm becoming more like a Turkish woman every day!


  1. Brilliant. Simple, clear and obvious. And I bet you feel more positive and productive too. It must be so hard for you being alone to just worry. Shame you couldn't have had a rant too but probably better not on this occasion. Well done.

  2. Rosie: Reading through my post again I made it sound so easy didn't I? It really wasn't and I'm shattered by it all today!

  3. I've seen this in other places, like India, the way the women are the manipulators behind their menfolk. Quite often they'll tell you with a twinkle in their eye, that it's really them running things and their men just think they do.

  4. Heiko: Yep...that pretty much sums it up.

  5. What you say about Turkish men is borne out by what I see among Turkish friends, though, a bit like Mr. Ayak I think...if that is not too morphs into wanting to shield their wives from worry, which only makes their wives worry more!

    I wouldn't call you did was more like pulling his head above the water and enabling him to see more clearly.

    You must be exhausted from the mental effort of it all, though...not to speak of just physically hauling yourself over to the hotel to deal with it all.

    You need a session in that hamam. Free.

  6. Fly: Yes in a way you're right...the man wanting to protect the woman thing. The roles of men and women here are clearly men of course!

    Oh yes...when I can actually find the time for me...the full works in the hamam is top of my list!

  7. Oh, my...I just might have to post about your post...

    On one of my walls is this quote: "There is nothing wrong with the world that a sensible woman could not solve in one afternoon."

    Mr. A is missing out on so much by not recognizing that he has a brilliant, strong, loyal partner in this marriage.

    And you...having to go through all this emotional upheaval without so much as a "thank you" because it was HIS idea! Well, let me give you what he can't: "GO, GIRL!! YOU'RE AMAZING!!"

    Thank you for sharing with us. C

  8. You did good girl, why do men always have to be pigheaded and not see the wood for the trees. xx

  9. C: I might just borrow that quote and stick it on Mr A's wall! Seriously...I think he knows deep down that I'm responsible for sorting things but he doesn't want to admit it...sometime in the future he will kind of own up to it, when he's in the right frame of mind. I have changed his mentality a fair bit in 12 years..I just have to let him think he's in control sometimes! If he was like most Turkish men I'd have given up on him years ago!

    Bomb: That's men for you..infuriating isn't it?

  10. It's the same in definitely have the upper hand...or at least they think they do!

    I'm glad that Mr Ayak got the rant and rave out of his system although I can completely understand how upsetting and difficult it must have been for you to sit through! Still, you have achieved a lot and at least he is not off rushing into the next venture!

    You have more than earned a bit of a break so hopefully the next venture will be a roaring success!

    C x

  11. Carol: Yes Mr A's rant was upsetting but he needed to get it out of his system. I wish I was able to do the same sometimes.

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  13. You are too fabulous for words. I hope Mr. Ayak realizes this - Turk or not!

  14. Jan: Thankyou xxx

    'Cross the Pond: What a lovely thing to say...thankyou xxx

  15. Men eh? glad you were able to make him see sense xx

    The hotel next door to us in Turkey also has a Turkish Bath, they leaflet our villa and the surrounding ones offering a discount and lots of my villa guest book with them.

    Can Mr A go outside the hotel to drum up business?

  16. auntiegwen: Well this was one of the issues agreed between Mr A and the General Manager when Mr A set up the business and the GM agreed that he could bring customers from outside...unfortunately the GM has made this difficult for him to do...along with other obstacles the GM has placed in their way, like closing the hotel bar early and encouraging guests to go outside the hotel. This GM has been difficult to deal with...something Mr A didn't foresee. He also lied about the nationalities of the guests booked for the season (which I mentioned in a previous post) and the majority of them are people who just won't spend money. I'm just hoping they can keep afloat till the end of what they owe and get out...having hopefully learned from their mistakes...the most important one being not to trust people so much!

    (Sorry that was a bit of a rant there!)

  17. it is just brilliant and i am happy to see that you sorted things out both for you and for your husband.

    being a turkish man, i am not offended at all, and i totaly agree about the stereotype men mentality. but at this point i can't stop but wonder if this is a turkish thing? i mean, are men really too different than us in the UK or USA, or Hong Kong?

    Now, on the other hand, i feel like things seem to be just the opposite in my family, where my wife participates in every financial decision we make. even though i can't deny that i really benefited from this, there are times i just have to fight for a simple thing such as buying broadband internet connection. i also have some business ventures in my mind, but i know that it will be extremely hard to convince my wife to invest on anything risky.

  18. jedilost: I guess this stereotype may exist in other countries, I can only speak from my own experience, and it's not so common in the UK.

    I'm pleased to hear that you and your wife have an equal partnership, and I think you seem untypical of the usual Turkish maleç What we would call a "new man" I think!

  19. maybe my wife is the new woman because she made it perfectly clear that she will participate. :)

  20. Ah..maybe jedilost. Anyway it sounds like you have a good relationship that works well.


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