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…with the glint in his eye, the guidebook warned. Their flirting can’t be that drastic, I thought. How wrong I was! A visit to the Spice Bazaar that first day gave me a small taste of it. I had already experienced extreme flirtation earlier in the day but it was manageable. The Spice Bazaar showed an entirely new extreme. The shopkeepers, while charming and clever, flirt to the enth degree. For example, one guy smiled and walked backwards in front of me facing me while I kept walking. “Are you looking for me? Because here I am!” I laughed and smiled and nodded all friendly-like and kept walking. A block or so down he appeared again in front me, “It’s me! I’m here again! Don’t you want to stop and talk with me?” Again I laughed, but kept walking. Down another block or so, there he was. “I am before you again! I just keep being with you! Won’t you marry me?” Never once did I feel scared or nervous, just awkward and at a loss for words and impressed at their tenacity! And honestly, after day three of this, it became tiresome and something I had to build myself up for when thinking of going out. I contemplated a burqa at one point but was told by a man I got to know fairly well one day that a burqa wouldn’t help because of the light eyes – – and that I would just move differently through the market and they’d know I wasn’t Turkish, somehow.

More of what I heard: my angel, come back! “Do you love me? Because I love you!” “I must be in heaven because you are an angel!” “Please, don’t leave me! Come back by dear heart!” And more explicit requests and suggestions, but still never lewd or scary. Except when it was my hotel manager and he kept hounding me to go to my own room with him and to “make coffee for him by my own hand.” !! “You want hotel room coffee?” I asked him. “Hotel coffee sucks,” I said. “Not ours. Ours is very good coffee. Dark and robust,” he argued. (As if that might entice me!) This was my hotel manager! And he didn’t let up. I had roughly 15 minutes before being picked up by the taxi to take me to the airport when he suggested we go to my now-vacant room! It was crazy. That’s the situation that could have been potentially scary considering he’s in charge of my lodging. But even he was charming and sweet – – and incredibly hot.

But how would I like to be involved with men that are doing this every day, I wondered? While it was very fun and flattering and provided fodder for the blog and for my stories to friends (most stories I can’t write about here), I found myself thinking about the subtlety of some American men I know and the fact that you might know them for years and never know if he likes you as more than a friend or not! Ha. (these men shall remain nameless!)