It was my first time living on a military installation, and as we waited for base housing to open up to us, my husband and I stayed at the hotel on base for about a month. We’d only been at the hotel for about two weeks, when I encountered the sad fact that wives often try and use their husband’s rank for their own evil purposes.
I was using the laundry facilities at the hotel, reading one of my favorite novels while my clothing dried, when a woman came in wanting to use a dryer. There were two dryers in this particular facility and both were full at the time. One was full of someone else’s clothing (they had stepped out while it was drying), while the other contained my laundry. “Are those both full?” she asked.
“Yeah. I just put mine in, and I’m not sure how much time the other dryer has left on it,” I told the woman honestly, returning to my book.
At this point, the woman literally put her hands on her hips and said, “What rank is your husband?”
“Excuse me?” I asked confused.
“Well, MY husband is a Gunny,” the woman said in boast. Since this was my first time living on base, part of me was concerned that her husband’s rank did give her some sort of pull in a situation like this. However, the other part of me likes to stir-the-pot, so to speak.
“Good for your husband,” I answered with a bit of venom in my voice.
“Well, I’m pretty sure my husband outranks yours, so I should be able to use that dryer.” My jaw dropped. Was this woman seriously trying to tell me that her husband’s rank gave her the right to demand that I remove my wet clothing from the dryer so she could use it to fluff her beach towels?
“Well, I’M pretty sure that my clothes are sopping wet, and I was here first. You’re just going to have to wait.” She stormed off all huffy, of course, but, as you can imagine, she had to wait her turn for a dryer.
From talking with other military wives, I’ve found that I’m not the only one who has encountered such pleasant people. Apparently, quite a few of us have had to bump into these women from time to time (think line jumping at the commissary), and the stories never cease to amaze me. So, how does one deal with women like this? Perhaps I should not have been so snooty in my first encounter, or perhaps I should’ve found her husband and tattled. I’m sure Gunny So-and-So would’ve been thrilled to know his wife was trying to use his hard-earned rank in the laundry facilities. I suppose there are a lot of ways to deal with wives (or husbands, in some situations) who try and pull a rank card that is not there own, but what is likely the best way is to simply ignore them. I’m not suggesting you give up your line at the commissary in order to suit Mrs. High-Ranker behind you, but I am merely suggesting that you let their comments and degrading remarks go in one ear and out the other. Just like a bully at school, what they really want is attention, so win the battle by depriving them of it.
Have you ever had this happen to you? How do you feel about spouses wearing their Marine’s rank?