What with the wonders of modern travel, I’m writing this on the plane back from Istanbul.

Still trying to digest what happened in Kapadokya.

The last evening we were in Kapadokya, which is a wonderful little area where the people have carved their houses in granite chimneys formed 25 million years ago by volcanic action.

With Tai pan tours, the company we went with, they always try to include a big finale sort of cultural experience. When we went to Shanghai it was a sort of Chinese opera where the stage was a small lake. Really cool!

In Kapadokya it included folkdances and a bellydancer.

The folkdancers were charming.

The bellydancer, not so much.

It was totally ironic that she came out with silvery fabric wings attached to two long sticks. She covered herself with the wings like a sort of cape and then extending her arms she presented the image of an angel.

Yeah right.

An ‘angel’ wearing a white bra and a skirt with a slit up to there, leaving little if anything to the imagination.

A kind of campy Victoria Secret sort of vision.

I felt completely uncomfortable. And I even felt ashamed for her, and then I scolded myself. Why should I be feeling ashamed when she was feeling nothing of the sort?

There had been a belly dancer at one of the hotels we were at but it was well after dinner.

This experience was during dinner, so we had little choice in attending.

Can you imagine how awkward it is, being fully dressed, watching someone perform who is practically naked?

I never would have chosen the experience, and yet here it was presented to me and I thought I’d approach the matter in an analystical frame of mind.

Checking how I felt as the experience wore on.

Okay, she was slim. And I’m definitely not.
And I wondered how many of the women in the audience were measuring themselves against her physique.

And I wondered if they envied her the attention she was receiving.

And I asked myself honestly if I did.


Not at all.

And that made me feel a little better.

Then I watched her perform. She used her body as her props.

At one point she even flexed her pectoral muscles so that her boobs jumped up and down to the rhythm of the music.

I didn’t find it provactive. I found it embarrassing.

Then she even went up to men in the audience who were videotaping her and shoved her breasts right into the lenses of their cameras, again all to the drum beats.

And yet the one thing we both have in common was how she worked the crowd.

At the end she brought up three women and one man and tied belly dancing scarves around their middles and gave them a belly dancing lesson.

Even manhandling them in the process. Going behind the man and lisfting up the points of what would have been his breasts and flailing them around like she did with her own.

And finally when it was over I only felt really embarrassed for her. I don’t think it’s empowering. Not at all.

I thought it was disgusting.

And to think that’s what Middle eastern culture is famous for!

And part of me faced the fact that she probably felt the same way about me, if she gave me a thought at all. Me in my fully covered head to toe garb.

And that reminded me of a scene in American Gangster when the Denzel Washington character said that the person who is the most flamboyantly dressed in any crowd, is always the weakest.

And that would be her.

And it also reminded me of the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs I’d seen and the guide saying that the slaves were always depicted whearing th least clothes. And I still think thatt’s somewhat true.

Women are the ones who admire the belly dancer, the men treat her as a sex object.

It’s not powerful.

And then it made me realize that’s true of any performer. They are working for th audience. The audience is the one with the power.