After class last night, Ayşegül and I saw something we don't usually see at the Boran Gym: another woman. For one hysterically optimistic, naive-American moment, I thought she'd come to learn more about Muay Thai. I even allowed myself to imagine that she had joined us because of something she'd seen on the Women's Self Defense Initiative page. Eager as a puppy, I bounced over to welcome her: "Have you come to take classes?" I asked.
She gave me a puzzled look. I thought it was my Turkish. It usually is.
I said it again in English, making appropriate hand gestures -- "boom? biff?" I pointed hopefully at the punching bags. She still looked puzzled. Finally, one of the guys translated for her. Her boyfriend, as it turns out.
She laughed as if I'd suggested something whimsical but delusional. She didn't just say no, mind you. She laughed as if I'd asked whether she'd like to adopt a pet unicorn. As if I had tried earnestly to persuade her that unicorns are not hard to housebreak and don't shed nearly as much as people imagine.