I’d like to preface the following with the important fact that most of the Navy wives I have met here are damn cool ladies. They are smart and funny and independent and generally awesome people. They are women I would want to be friends with, whether or not our husbands shared an occupation, and for that I am very grateful.
That said, what’s the deal with some of these other Navy wives? Have I somehow stumbled into a Lifetime original series?
On the one hand, it can be comforting to talk to women who know exactly what you are going through– excruciatingly long deployments, bureaucratic red tape, ridiculous difficulty planning anything further than two weeks in advance. On the other hand, that can’t be all we have to talk about.
I’ve been a little unsettled by the Navy wives I’ve met here who don’t seem to have an identity outside of being a Navy wife. Instead of asking what I do for a living or what my interests are, they ask what my husband does on the ship and where we have been stationed in the past. They sign emails “Have a great Navy day!” and drop acronyms I don’t understand into normal conversation. They form hierarchies based on the rank of their husbands instead of on any merits of their own. I kind of want to shake them and scream, “We are not in the Navy!” If Brian talked this much to his friends about my job, I would be seriously concerned about him.
Honestly, I find it a little insulting. The Navy may play a large role in my life right now, whether I like it or not, but it is not actually my life. I do not work on a ship; therefore, I find talking incessantly about what happens on a ship strange and annoying. Bottom line: I don’t really care what your husband does; I want to know who you are. What do you like to do? What do we have in common? I was a complete person before I married into this role, and I plan to remain that way. I have a job, I have hobbies, I have dreams… and believe it or not, all these things are not wrapped up in my “hubby’s” job (related note: the word “hubby” makes my skin crawl; don’t do it).
It’s funny because the possibility that I might someday become a Navy wife has been a running joke with our friends since Brian and I started dating back in college. Haha, the barefoot NorCal feminist is going to have to learn to be a proper lady and not say outlandish things at dinner with the admiral. Kind of like “Pretty Woman,” except for the minor detail that I am not a hooker.
We all joked about the Navy wife stereotype, but I didn’t actually expect it to be true in real life. I don’t know how to cope with it aside from what I’m already doing: bitching/laughing about it, hanging out with people I like and avoiding the others like the plague. Other suggestions are welcome.