Solo traveling in Istanbul brought a wave of uninvited men in my direction, which also brought on a large number of compliments. If not for anything else, I do have to hand it to the Turks for laying on the flattery so thick that my ego grew substantially in the 3 days I stayed in the city.
One uninvited male companion lead me to a part of Istanbul I never would have seen otherwise. As we were crossing the middle of an extremely busy road, I half-jokingly said, "don't kill me." A look of shock crossed his face. "What? No," he said, "I would never want that to happen to you. No. Not a nice girl like you. Please be careful. I don't know how I could live with myself."
That was slightly comforting to hear.
Later we were at lunch. I took off my sunglasses for a brief moment to clean them. Another wave of shock crossed over his face. "Wow! Your eyes," he exclaimed. Being slightly self-conscious, I quickly put the sunglasses back on. Before we parted ways an hour or so later he asked "can I see your eyes again?" Never had I heard such a request. I was slightly taken aback and uncomfortable. I quickly lifted up my sunglasses so he could see my eyes, but covered them before feeling completely awkward and embarrassed.
But he wasn't the only one. It seemed as though not a single Turk had seen blue eyes before. One waiter's eyes widened once he saw mine while taking my order. He came back multiple times to ask if I need anything else, bending over slightly to be in my eye line. As I left the restaurant he walked past me and whispered, "lady, lady, so beautiful your eyes... I love you."
Another ego boost came from the last shop owner I visited. I had purchased some items but left it at the store to pick up just before my flight home. When I returned he sang out, "it's so nice to see your beautiful blue eyes again." Used to it by this point, I just smiled. "Now I am jealous of Dutch men," he added. When I mentioned that my eye color is quite common in the Netherlands making it nothing special to Dutch men, he responded, "now I know Dutch men are stupid. Beautiful eyes, beautiful face, beautiful body. They only look, don't do anything about it."
Then there was the tour guide I had in central Turkey who only called me beautiful, as though he was unaware of my given name.
Guess where I'm going when self-deprecation gets the best of me?!