May 22nd, 2002


Military wives are insane

So I went to a souless chain restaurant after work because I was hungry and it was 9:30 and I wanted a sit down meal (try getting that at a non-chain place in Tacoma on a weekday, as we are sadly lacking the Blue Danube.). So I have a glass of wine, and open the book I'm reading (currently "Nickel and dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich.)

Reading over a late dinner is good for many reasons: it's quiet; the server will generally not try to engage you in idle chit chat; it gives you something constructive to do while you're waiting for food. I'm reading maybe 5 minutes before a good looking hispanic woman walks over and starts chatting with me. Wants to know what I'm reading, and why I'm so engrossed in a book while in a bar. I explain that to me, this is a restuarant, not a bar, and I'm waiting on food and not merely drinking.

Dahlia (that will be her name to protect the insane) starts telling me her life story. She's married to a military man (there's a big army base here), she's from NYC, she used to be a nurse but her husband made her stop working, she's having a midlife crisis....ugh. I dunno what it is about me that makes strangers think I'm an appropriate sounding board to hear about their domestic difficulties, but I guess it was somehow in effect and acting on Dahlia. I try to be sympathetic and polite, since it's kinda fascinating in a train-wreck sorta way, but I'm wondering where this is going and why she's trying to bond with me. I have no kids, no husband, and have a general disdain for the military as a career, so I'm having a difficult time relating. I generally don't like the idea of making friends with strangers who come up to me in bars, especially soulless chain restuarants where people like Dahlia drink alone on a tuesday night. The best I can do is relate to the "new to the area" phenomenon, and I tell her that I'm long distance dating someone far away, so I can sorta understand how she's sad about her husband's constant transfers/training exercises.

Dahlia seems a little surprised to find out that the person I'm dating is a man. I'm not insulted or anything, but it seems odd, since most folks don't "read" me that way. Whatever. More agony aunting from Dahlia: She's a traditional person, so she sorta expected to have a guy taking care of her, but she wants to get an RN degree and the husband doesn't like the idea of her working. Her sister thinks she spoils her daughter. Her mother was alcoholic. She LOVES Oprah. She's been married 12 years (She's between 35 and 40). She's lonely since her husband is always off doing military stuff. He's in Special Forces. The other military wives are much younger and don't "get" her.

Dahlia -really- wants to give me her phone number. I tell her I can't promise I'll call her, but okay, I'll take her number and who knows? (well, I do, but I'm trying to be polite). And then the topper- I get the "I'm not gay, but...." line from her, suggesting we should hang out sometime {AHEM}. Uh-huh. I politely decline this idea and silently curse my new haircut, which is obviously at fault for screwing up her gaydar.

Future tips for lonely military wives:

1) Don't try to pick up bookworms. That can't go well.
2) If you insist on going for bookworms instead of butch chicks, maybe you might want to leave out the part about your husband being a traditional kind of guy who's in the Special Forces. If I was ever inclined to fuck someone's spouse (of any gender), I would want to avoid fucking the spouse of anyone who could kill me with his bare hands.
3) Join a book club. Or the PTA. Or something.

Future tips for lara7:
1) learn to cook and avoid eating out alone.
2) especially at chain restuarants