Sunday, 6 February 2011

20. Turks don't wear Pink

Separated at birth?  My 20 month year-old daughter Magpie just before she throws my 1970s toy phone across the room and below, a Turkish warrior

Once upon a time, Turks were considered by Anglo-Saxons as being similar to Vikings, as they were known for their fearful, warrior-like traits.  To call a non-Turk a Turk was definitely an insult.  And as a word, it's somewhat punchier to call someone a Turk than a Viking, just as f**k is more satisfying than bugger - it's just a syllable thing.

This week, Top Gear is in trouble again.  Richard Hammond, comparing Mexicans to a sports car, called them 'lazy, feckless and flatulent.'  The BBC's response was to say that jokes based on national stereotyping are part of British humour.

My mother uses the word 'Turk' to mean somebody who's naughty or silly.  This is very un-PC, but it's very my mother.  She is a septuagenarian child of the Empire (she grew up in wartime Hong Kong), and as blogging is as much an on-line diary as it is a vehicle for discussion, this post is logging a moment in time.  Last night my mother called Magpie a 'Turk.'  In fact, when either of my daughters are naughty, that's what she calls them.  They are either 'Turks,' or their behaviour is very 'Turkish.'  Perhaps very young children and pretty old ladies can be forgiven for being non-PC?  But Richard Hammond is neither.

When my sister and I misbehaved as children, we were also 'Turks.'   So much so, that it has become an affectionate if non-PC family term for any mild misdemeanour.  I do not in any way mean to denigrate any peace-loving Turks.  In our family parlance, Magpie has become the Turk of the Week.

In fact, the Tank (my tomboy twin) and Magpie (the girly girl) have recently swapped roles.  The former is calming down (although she remains Herculean in strength), and Magpie is going up the gears - particularly in the tantrum department.  In our household we have a Tantrometer scale.  Magpie is currently teetering between 8 and 9.  Whilst The Tank now grasps her crotch, Michael Jackson-style when she needs her nappy changed (suggesting readiness for potty training?), Magpie contorts her body into a floppy spiral, and thrusts her head back in demonic fashion.  She does NOT want to have her nappy changed.  It's that simple.

There are many other ways in which Magpie demonstrates her 'Turkishness' (grabbing her sister's hair when she's in the back of the tandem buggy), but that's not the point of this post.  It's for me to affectionately recall my mother's phraseology which is a throwback to pre-PC times.

I haven't explained the title of this post, but I'm sure you can now guess.  Generally, whoever is being more angelic of the two girls gets to wear pink (angelic being a relative term), even though I'm not mad on it.  It is so ingrained in our society that girls wear pink (sugar and spice and all things nice), that I use it like a school 'gold star:' it's my own colour/behaviour code.  I'm sure I'll grow out of it.


  1. We always got called gannets or peasants when we were little and I can't help but call my children the same.

  2. I think we just got called "little buggers" great blog, have really enjoyed having a look round, found you via Penny (above)she is a source of my good finds. Ps. I love that phone! and I really like the colour/behaviour idea

  3. Am I being slow but why is a gannet an insult? It's a diving bird isn't it? I bet I'm missing something!

  4. Oh and Gemma, thanks for finding me here. I'll pop over to you asap. Glad I now know Penny's name1

  5. My mother called us "smelly pig" if we were naughty. "Turk" sounds positively delightful by comparison!