I went to a kına gecesi - henna night - the other day. This is a pre-marriage traditional hen-night sort of effort, for the bride and her friends and family, whereby they do traditional things, for interesting reasons, including but not limited to something-or-other with henna, and attempting to make the bride-to-be cry. Anyway I would tell you more about it if I could, but I'm really not that sort of amateur cultural anthropologist ex-pat, and anyway this really is not that sort of blog.
It was the sister of the family that runs one of the key cafes on the island, held in and outside the cafe, so basically half the town was invited or otherwise flitting in and out. (Think an engagement party at the Queen Vic for one of the Mitchells; only with less screeching.) It was a relatively modern/relaxed version I think, which means mixed sexes and DJs - and dancing.
Which is what I wanted to tell you about.
There is A LOT of dancing here. Given a dancefloor, or not as the case may be, people will quite happily break out into spontaneous dancing.
And not just any dancing, it's a proper set of dances to which everybody knows the steps. Check out the co-ordinated blurs of the bride to be and her brothers below, for example. (Crikey that's some unintentional alliteration for you.)
It struck me as slightly bizarre the first few times I saw it, but more than a little charming. I haven't actually asked anyone where this knowledge comes from (being not that sort of ex-pat...) but I assume it's something that is just picked up in childhood. Which, ok, but we would have been taught the English equivalent when we were wee. But can you imagine a set of us on a night out stopping for a bit of country dancng? Not likely.
Anyway. The other thing about this habit that struck me, is that very often it's the boys who get up and shake their bootys, not the girls. Plus, girls don't really seem to come into why they're doing it either - it seems very much to be for the simple joy of dancing, or sometimes for impressing their mates. I hesitate about saying this, but, well, that part does come across a little bit gay. (I mean that as a compliment, by the way - again, can you imagine Ben Sherman Shirt Man getting together with his mates, holding hands, and dancing in perfect co-ordination?)
Anyway. I don't usually partake, having three left feet at the best of times and without the requisite childhood training. Instead I usually skulk about the edges, on this night drinking beer shiftily out of a plastic cup like the cultureless reprobate I am.
At least I had company in wallflower status - the chap on the right is one of the island stalwarts and unofficial convener of the Friday Night Commuter Boat Al Fresco Drinking Society. A good bloke, and likewise not one of life's born dancers.
Anyway, whatever. In other news, I'm probably going to quit my job in April, spend May doing another qualification before they strip me of all my geek points, with a view to finding something a bit less evil and hopefully actually groooooovy, man, towards the end of June. Which a) frees me up to attend the glut of weddings which are being held in the countries of the participants rather than in turkey (the inconsiderate bastards) and b) also means I could be available for hosting duty should it be required.
So who fancies a holiday to Turkey in May then?