Coming clean

A governor in Turkey says he'll remove the beards and mustaches of any men caught with prostitutes.

Published October 16, 2000 7:18PM (EDT)

For years Turkey has had a problem with prostitutes who enter the country from Russia and other former Soviet republics. Despite efforts by the government in Ankara, the so-called Natashas just keep on coming, fleeing their wretched economies for better opportunities. Hooker rings have even set up operations in Turkish hotels. Among government leaders, the message was clear: Something has to be done.

And so they decreed: Shave the clients' faces. Mustafa Tamer, governor of the eastern province of Igdir, recently announced a novel plan to battle the invasion of hookers. Any man caught having sex with a prostitute will get his beard and mustache shaved off, and then be exposed for all to see in the city's main square. For a man living in Turkey, this is apparently a circumstance of horrible shame and cruelty, certain to put him off prostitutes and make him think twice about the young woman with bright lipstick eyeing him on the street corner. A clean-shorn face might look youthful and hygienically sassy in some cultures, but in Igdir, smooth cheeks are the mark of a whoremonger.

"It's time these men came to their senses," Tamer told a public meeting. "Because of these women, marriages are being destroyed and financial ruin is being wrought." According to the Daily Telegraph, Tamer also insists he will shut down any hotel that caters to prostitutes' operations.

It was not reported what fate awaits men who don't already sport facial hair.

By Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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