Blogging from Germany: Tulips, Dildoes & Wedding Gowns

Some ideas floating around, formlessly.  I wonder what they mean?

Tulips and wedding gowns, Jeanette Winterson's The PowerBook, Harem stories, Bacha Posh (dressed like a boy)....

Bemused, I decide this evening, to walk to Istanbul.

I take the road to Marktplatz. Not the main road but the parallel lane, in the Turkish Quarter of Mannheim. Rows of wedding gowns like brightly coloured flowers and shops selling equal measures of gold and baklava, halal meat, Asia-Africa shops with palm hearts and masoor dhal...

The shape cannot be a coincidence! Tulip-shaped wedding gowns. Did you know that tulips originated in Persia and Turkey and only arrived in Europe in the 16th century? So much for the Dutch monopoly of tulips. The word 'tulip' is derived from the Turkish word for the gauze used for turbans - tülbend.

The arrival of spring
The tulips on the balcony of Herr Lehmann's flat, where we live.. 
The dark core of a tulip represents a lover's heart, darkened by passion...
In The PowerBook, the tulip is even more potent. Beginning with the import of tulips from Turkey to The Netherlands, the tulip then becomes a dildo of sorts. The penis of the girl who is disguised as a boy, sewn as they are, into her trousers. Memorably, she makes love to her beloved princess, using the tulip in more ways than one.

This is a common device in Harem stories, the girl who dresses as a boy to get away with a lot. Love, passion, experience, life. Fancy that. Having to dress up to claim one's birthright.

We think about this a lot, while we're here in Germany. Where it appears that women don't have to worry about what they wear, how they look, what they say, who they're with. 

We think about it even more these days of horror, when, through the international media frenzy over the Boston bombing, penetrates the news of the 5 year old in Delhi. Last night Andrea said that through the reportage of the Delhi gang rape case, Germans were impressed by the way that Indian rallied together. This is solidarity, they said, this is democracy. But now? This is just exhaustion.

Must we disguise ourselves as men. As boys? Will that stop the hatred? Bacha posh the lot of us, the half that holds the sky up? We'll grow facial hair and Adam's apples. And then will you love us? 

Wedding gowns are a symbol of what? Virginity? Chastity? Purity? 

Oh please.

Give me a tulip dildo any day.

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