I had to walk away from this for awhile because I was going to have one hell of a rant. I might still rant, but we’ll see. Suffice it to say that over the past couple of months, I’ve cut a lot of whining, needy little Army wives and girlfriends out of my online and real-time lives. Nope, no one in my husband’s Battalion or my Family Readiness Group (FRG). They were simply stragglers that I picked up along the way as I investigated various military wife/Army wife pages on Facebook (FB) or through various social meet-ups held here on post.
I don’t mean to sound too terribly rude or as if I’m not supportive but let’s face a fact of military life: If you are only a girlfriend, you mean nothing to the military – any branch. You get no benefits, you’re not entitled to be named as legal next-of-kin or even an official point of contact, and please do not try to tell me that you know how I feel while my husband is gone. As my FRG leader once said to me, “There are girlfriends and then there are place-holders”. Girlfriends usually go on to be fiancées who then go on to be wives. Place-holders do not. Most of these girls are still in their last year of high school or newly graduated, and they think that military life is all white picket fences at on-post housing, traveling to see the world, and living high. Surprise! They also can’t understand why their boyfriends go on a deployment and come home “just not the same as before he left”. Let me tell ya why: They’ve been in a war zone. They grew up while you remained a high school sweetie. They might have watched friends die. They might have heard of friends in other units who were killed. They may even have killed the enemy themselves. Yeah, they’re not the same high school boy you got involved with who was swaggering around town after Basic Training and then shipped out to Iraq or A-stan. The swagger is gone. They aged about 10 years in that 1 year they were gone. That is something most girlfriends and all place-holders will not ever understand. That is why not every girlfriend and absolutely zero place-holders go on to be fiancées. So, girls, stow it when you tell me that you understand what I’m going through. No, you do not. When you become a military wife, then you can tell me that you understand – not before. Don’t even get me started on the girlfriends who pretend that they’re wives, passing themselves off as military wives when they don’t even have so much as a promise ring that was bought for them by their alleged sweethearts.
I do belong to some military wife pages on Facebook and lately, I’ve left a good many of them. I cannot stand classless Army wives. What other branches of the military pass off as classy wives is their business, but a trashy Army wife – no thanks. I can’t stand that at all! Pst’ng on FB lk u r txting & ur not pst’ng frm a cell …. that only makes them look ignorant. Wait, no, what was it Steve Harvey once said? Oh yes, “ig’nant…not ignorant. Ig’nant!” Honestly, do these women not know how to spell or construct a sentence? Are they that ig’nant?! Here’s the 411 on that kind of stuff: On Facebook, we can actually see if someone is posting from a cell phone or not ’cause there’s a little sentence under the post that will say if a person is posting with a Blackberry, a Droid, or an iPhone. So really, if you can’t even spell a word, don’t try to have a conversation with me because it’s obvious that your level of intelligence is so far below mine that I’ll suspect your IQ might be in the negative range. Trashy is also bragging about your latest drunken spree with your girlfriends. Really? Imagine how your husband feels when he – half a world away – gets to read that. Maybe he doesn’t care, but mine sure would, and he’d be hella embarrassed to read that on my FB wall! Trashy is also whining about how the Army doesn’t pay your husband enough to keep you in the latest fashion rages, your false nails, your hair extensions or expensive hair cuts, or your horrid choice of hair color (magenta, anyone?) along with making sure there’s enough money to put food in your kids’ mouths. Guess what? You married into the Army! The Army – and the military in general – is notorious for not paying well. Why do you think so many get out after their first enlistment and go into civilian jobs? Because civilian jobs pay more! Trashy is also dressing like you just finished a night working on the nearest civilian street corner and then complaining about the Garrison dress code policy when you get kicked out of the PX, the Commissary, the Shopettes, or the post library. Really? Your husband might think you look like a hot little number, but guess what? The ARMY expects you to have a little bit of decorum and comport yourself more like a lady and less like a 5-cent street whore.
And while I’m on the subject of Army wives… I realize we don’t wear our husband’s rank. I really don’t have time for the ones that try to do so. I will give the wives of NCOs or senior NCOs the respect that I would give to their husbands, but if they try to play the rank game with me, they’ll find out exactly what the definition of the word “bitch” is and why my picture is next to it in the dictionary. I don’t seem to have that problem in my husband’s Battalion, however, because the senior wives and the officer’s wives that I have met are the classy ladies that I expect to see. Like it or not, ladies, we do represent our husbands. Those of you who fit the definition of “trashy Army wife” need to learn that fact and learn it well. You trashy little girlfriends might want to remember that fact, also, even though you’re not an Army wife.
For anyone who cares, I’m 47 years of age. Therefore, I get more than a bit testy when 18-22-year-old wives try to tell me how life works, how the world works, or that I shouldn’t “be so hard” on them when they’re acting ig’nant. I may have only married my soldier 10 months ago but I learn fast, I can find my own information when I need to do so, and I know where to go and who to ask when I can’t find an answer. I do not need some snooty little girl preaching to me as if I’m some stupid child. You want to see my sarcasm come out? Be one of those 18-year-old trashy loud-mouthed wives on a FB page trying to “set (me) straight” about an issue upon which we may not agree. I’ll show you how it feels to be made a fool of quicksmart. You do not know how life – or the world – works. None of us do, but those of use who’ve been around a few decades more than you have most of it figured out, thanks.
Another pet peeve: Getting bashed by some snooty lil girl who feels that those of us who do not have children should be ostracized for wanting to have meet-n-greets with other wives who do not have children (or who can leave their kids with a babysitter and come out for coffee)’. How dare we! Grow the fuck up, “ladies”. Those of us without children, whether by choice or by the inability to conceive, don’t always want to talk about your kids, ya know? We, too, have lives. Ours just don’t revolve around the latest school project, ear ache, upset stomach, well-baby visit, or how tired we are because our kids ran us ragged. Some military wives have even gone as far as to state that those of us without children are not and should never be considered a military family. Why? Because we don’t have kids. We’re “couples”, not “families”. That extends to any offer that’s available for military families. How dare we be so “selfish” (yes, that comes straight off of one particular trashy-sounding military wife page) to enroll in a program meant for families. We “have enough money” that we don’t need to be “taking away from those of us with kids”! Seriously?!? Are these women that petty? There’s a good many things that I would love to be able to send to my husband while he’s away, but on one income, frivolous doesn’t cut it; therefore, he goes without the things with which I would love to spoil him. How dare these women diminish the fact that my husband and I are not a family simply because we don’t have children.
When I was single, I willingly worked Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because I did not have family at home with whom I could share the holiday. I have not been home to see my family in NJ over the holidays for the past 5-6 years because I was always working so those with kids could have the Christmas holidays at home. However, I got to where I started resenting being counseled at work for excessive absences when I would come down with pneumonia or I would have such a bad asthma attack that walking and breathing were totally incompatible. Yet those mommies who called out sick because their kid had a tummy ache, or who were running a fever got all kinds of sympathy from supervisors because…OMG!…a KID is sick! The world comes to an end, we work short-staffed, and everyone feels sorry for MOMMY – yet single folks who call out sick are endlessly asked if we were really sick, or did we just not feel like coming to work *wink wink*. Now that I am married, I should be able to spend holidays with my husband regardless of the fact that we don’t have children. If he’s sick enough that he needs to call out from work (actually, he’d have to go to sick call, but you get the point), and sick enough that I feel I may need to take him to the ER at some point in the day, then I should not be questioned for calling out to take care of my husband simply because he’s not a child. I should not be told (and yes, in a recent job I held in TX, I had this said to me) that “holidays don’t really mean as much to you…I mean, it’s not like you have a family or anything,” simply because I don’t have children. I should be entitled to asking for my wedding anniversary off just as much as any other staff member with kids who gets that night off because “they have kids, it’s not like they get to go out by themselves much”. Wait. My anniversary is somehow not as important because my husband and I don’t have kids and “can have lots of date nights”?! No, I’m not a kid-hater. I have a Battle Buddy who has two kids that I absolutely adore. I adore my niece, who is now in college. I have two neighbors whose children I like as well – I’d adore them, but I don’t know them all that well as to call them Battle Buddies. I simply chose to not have children, and I should not be punished for that choice by all those Mommies out there who feel that I’m somehow less of a woman for my choice.
Being an Army wife has been an eye-opener, and not always a good eye-opener. Being a wife without children is turning out to be an eye-opener, too, and not in a good way. I guess this just means that I’ll start being more and more selective in choosing those with whom I choose to associate.