The Prostitute Bar

(transcribed from my lesson planning  notebook.)I had great luck last time I went somewhere by myself after work, Monday evening, when I sat for a solitary hour over a cup of tea and wound up meeting and having the loveliest conversation with a rather famous director of films and his rather less lovely Turkish guide. I thought I’d repeat the exercise, but Istiklal was rather overwhelming, so I came here to a bar behind work whose neon sign I can see from the teacher’s lounge. I walked through the dining room, (table cloths and clumps of men watching football on big screen teevees) and let myself into the bar and knew I’d made a misstep.

There’s one old blowsy woman with bleached blonde hair, chainsmoking on a stool behind the bar. The madame? The bartender is dressed as I haven’t seen women dress since I left the states- in a sparkly tube top and a tiny denim skirt. One girl in a lowcut micro-mini sits at the end of the bar. On the other side of the room there’s another bar with one lone girl standing behind it. She looks all of fifteen and also isn’t wearing enough clothes. A d.j. is playing late ’90’s club music, loudly. I am the only paying customer here.

Everyone looked at me when I walked in. Watched me as I appraised the place. If there can be a pregnant pause in a very loud room, there was one. An elderly gentleman materialized at my side when I took off my coat. The girls exchanged looks when I sat down, eyebrows raised.

The bartender has spent the last five minutes applying make-up in the mirror behind the bar. She would look far prettier without it. All the girls here are thin but unhealthy looking.

The elderly gentleman took my order and disappeared permanently.

The girls keep looking at me and smiling warily. I suppose if I stay here too long I’ll interfere.

Of course, I might be reading this situation wrong. It’s so hard to tell, here. I don’t know all the social cues. If I were in America I would be certain that this is a prostitute bar, but I suppose this could just be a Turkish take on a really low-rent Eastern European discoteque.

Whatever it is, it’s depressing me.

A man just walked in and was shuffled off to the 15 year old’s bar. She switched her face from sullen and bored to flirty in less than a second. She’s gotten him a drink and is having one of the same. They are deeply engrossed in conversation and she keeps touching her hair and thrusting her chest over the bar.

Madame just came over and checked on the level of my drink. She smiled with, if not outright hostility, strained friendliness.

It might be time to go home.

Posted by Sarah Perrich at 9:23 

1 Comment

Filed under Daily Life

One response to “The Prostitute Bar

  1. Pingback: Where the Sidewalk Never Starts | wasconstantinople

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