It would figure that the one hour I spent alone in Istanbul would land me in the front seat of a cab with a sleazy driver. With barely a word of language in common, he’d managed to cover all the hot topics of conversation: I was American, unmarried, vaguely his age. My typical warnings about large brothers dropped somewhere into the language gap between his seat and mine. He turned the heater full blast and encouraged me to take off my heavy coat, and I pretended I was still cold, as beads of perspiration condensed on my forehead. He pointed to the little dots on the back of my hand, the only skin I had left showing, and arched an eyebrow.
“Freckles,” I told him.
“Fleckels,” he said. I could tell he was not sold on them.
“In America,” I said, “freckles are beautiful.” I drew the last word out emphatically, knowing it was one of those ones that transcends cultures. But I wasn’t speaking to him anymore, I was preaching to to my own spirit. The sermon was the same that time a man in India said his uncle could get me a cream that would rid me of them. “What! These? They’re beautiful!”
I reacted like he’d offered me a lotion that could erase my skin. And, in a way, he had . . .
Read about My Own Beauty Campaign on the IndiAanya blog.