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Turkish independent women don't need to put a ring on it

The stigma of being an old maid is slowly fading in Turkey.
Brides and bridegrooms leave the stage during their wedding ceremony in Ankara, August 6, 2006. 206 couples married together with an annual ceremony organised by Ankara municipality. REUTERS/Umit Bektas  (TURKEY) - RTR1G5N0

What is the first duty of every proper Turkish girl? “Play hard to get with suitors for her hand in marriage!” The best-selling book “Kocan Kadar Konus" (You are only as good as your husband) has been talked about by women, young and old, since early 2014. The movie version of the book was released March 20. The book advises single women on how to tie the knot with Prince Charming, but the rules are counterintuitive: First and foremost, you do not want to give the impression you are available. Guidelines suggest that “if you want to be caught [by a prospective husband], run away.” Also, “Never reply to his text messages or calls immediately, wait at least 30 minutes. Keep him in suspense.” Teasing the suitor is strongly advised. “Show off how pretty you are, but never let him touch you.” Then come the planned tantrums — “make sure he struggles to please you, don't be easy.”

Indeed, this satirical book of advice for single women may be validated with a recent decree from the official Turkish Language Institute. In the updated Turkish dictionary, the institute defined the word "available, up for it" (musait) as “a woman who is ready to flirt, easy to flirt with.” Who would want to be "musait" after reading this definition? Although the definition caused a stir in Turkey, it seems the book also advises single women not to appear available, but rather appear uninterested in their prospective spouses. The book was criticized for style of prose and being too simplistic. However, it has been dominating social media and newspaper columns since its release. Readers have frequently commented that “the book captures our real life experiences.” 

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