Monday, February 26, 2007
One of my favorite things to be introduced to when we came to Turkey was lemon cologne. This product is a multi-purpose wonder! Our first encounter with lemon cologne came our first week in Turkey, March 2002. We were leaving a furniture store after shopping all day for beds, couches, tables, chairs, etc. We were tired. We were cold. And evidently our hands needed refreshment. The store clerk held out the bottle to us, and thankfully, we had a friend with us so that we could follow his lead. He cupped his hands and let the man pour a small puddle of lemon cologne into his hand. He proceeded to "wash" his hands in the cologne letting the excess drip out of his hands and down his arm or onto the floor. Okay then. My turn. Cup my hands. Smile at the nice man pouring the cologne into my hands...all the while thinking that several people could wash their hands in the amount of cologne he is pouring into my hands. Begin "washing" my hands. Continue smiling even though my hands are now on fire because they are really dry and someone just poured what seems to be alcohol on them. Glance at Brian who is "washing" his hands and seems to have a genuine smile on his face...he must love this stuff. Let my hands fall to my sides and drip dry.
Later we found out that lemon cologne is basically alcohol with a lemon scent. People here use it for a multitude of things. It is offered to guests when they visit. I have often wondered if it is because the people being visited think that the people doing the visiting need to be disinfected from outside germs when they enter the house. Who knows? Why would we be given lemon cologne after furniture shopping? I don't know. After eating at restaurants they either offer lemon cologne to the people at the table or pass out packaged wet wipes that have lemon cologne on them. I understand that after eating one might feel the need to wash his hands. That makes sense to me. I have been asked by repairmen if I have lemon cologne which they then used to clean pipe fittings. Interesting. Erica sometimes uses it as an astringent after washing her face. I have squirted some on the bathroom counter and toilet seat and had a kid wipe it off with a paper towel for an instant clean when we were expecting last minute guests. I've also collected the wipes from the restaurants and carry some in my purse at all times. I use them after grocery shopping, because the stores are very dusty here. I always feel the need to wash my hands after grocery shopping. When we have had sick kids they have been used to wipe doorknobs and light switches with the hopes of killing some of the germs involved. I love this stuff. It does everything! I'm sure there are long forgotten reasons for the tradition of lemon cologne. It was probably originally used for hand washing when there was no running water in houses. Now that people have bathrooms and both liquid and bar soap in their homes it might not be as necessary. But I say, "Long live lemon cologne!"