Why I love the Turks

by Jacinta Nandi

Everyone in Berlin hates the Turks.
Even the Turks hate the Turks.
They have orange skin and they wear gold jewellery and plus they poison the drinking water and stuff.

Except for me: I love the Turks.

I love them, because, when they see you with your baby, they do not ask:
“And. Is he sleeping through the night yet?”

Instead, they grab him off you, rub his head, dangle him about by the ankle and throw him exuberantly into the air.

“Your baby is so delicious!” They cry. “Mmmmm!”
He’s so gorgeous!
He’s so perfect!
He’s so tiny!
He’s so cute!
He’s so wonderful!
He’s so tasty!

The thing is, it would be a bit rude just to say, yeah, I know, so you have to slag your baby off a bit.
“He’s not sleeping through the night,” you say.

They look at you blankly.
Why should this baby sleep?

Well, you know, so I could, you know, get a bit more sleep myself…

They snort.
Sleep? HA! Sleep!
What do you wanna sleep for?
Look, they explain to you carefully, when you’re asleep, your eyes are shut.
When your eyes are shut, you can’t see how gorgeous your baby is!

What do you wanna sleep for?

Actually…they’ve got a point.
What do I need to sleep for?

That’s why I love the Turks.


© Jacinta Nandi

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*

I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.

Share your thoughts

* Gloria Steinem