(‘Warning’ – those of a delicate disposition should avert their eyes)
‘The koteka, horim, penis gourd or penis sheath is a phallocrypt or phallocarp traditionally worn by native male inhabitants of some (mainly highland) ethnic groups in New Guinea to cover their genitals.’ So says Wikipedia.
‘But, come on!’ I hear you say; ‘Penis gourds, wood preservative; where’s the connection?’ Bare with me (pun intended), and I’ll blow away the phallacy that there is no connection between the upright members of some New Guinea highland tribes and the floppy staff and customers of a hardware shop in Muğla, Turkey. I am also becoming aware of the fact that certain key words can have an amazing effect on ‘hit’ numbers on a blog! As an aside, we will also shed some light on what Scotsmen wear under their kilts – or not!
Anyway, let’s journey back to the days not long after J and I had moved into our house here in Okçular – I had been doing a lot of DIY; making all sorts of things around the garden, mostly from wood as I hadn’t taught myself to weld at that stage. Wooden structures generally need soaking in something or other to protect them from the predations of weather and insects – ‘Ronseal’ or similar.
Off I went to the hardware shop in neighbouring Dalyan, where my pathetic attempts at mime and pidgin Türkçe led to much exasperated huffing and puffing on my part. Eventually I strung together the two words I thought I needed, ‘Ağaç, ağaç!’ (wood) I bellowed, the better for the shop guy to understand me, ‘Preservative! Ağaç preservative!’
There was a stunned, open-mouthed response from everyone present – two conservatively dressed young ladies gasped, turned up the collars of their coats and gripped them firmly between their teeth leaving nothing but two pairs of wide, startled eyes visible as they scurried out of the exit doors. The men present suddenly cracked up, going all floppy and holding on to any available surface as tears of laughter streamed down their cheeks. As I stood, embarrassed, in the midst of all this hilarity I could hear the two young ladies outside and out of sight joining in the fun – was it something I’d said?
Eventually, after the staff had regained their composure (it took a while), they managed to suss out what it was I wanted. ‘Ahşap; dekoratif ahşap koruyucu.’ ‘Thank you’ said I as I crept out followed by more splutters from the ladies who had by then ventured back into the shop.
Back home I was attempting to explain to J what had happened when she too collapsed in giggles. ‘Bloody fool,’ she said ‘no wonder they cracked up. Ağaç is what?’ ‘Wood’ said I. ‘And ‘preservative’? Go and look it up; in Turkish it has a ‘z’ and ends with ‘tif’!’ Mumble, mumble. ‘Oh jeez!’ I couldn’t believe it; ‘prezervatif’ in Turkish is . . .
. . . a CONDOM! No wonder the fellows cracked up and even the ladies were giggling; I’d been waving my arms about, including a very wristy action (to simulate painting, people; come on, behave yourselves), and loudly demanding a wooden condom!
So, there you have the link; tenuous it may be but a link non-the-less.
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü
ps Scotsmen in kilts do not wear penis gourds, but here is evidence that perhaps they should. No wonder the British Army is going downhill when they can’t even afford knickers let alone decorated penis gourds! Discretion advised.