*Warning – ranting!!*
I am beginning to hate the British newspapers. For some reason, we always buy The Sunday Times and I think I am going to have to change my paper – maybe buy The Guardian or The Telegraph. I have no doubt that they will still piss me off. The London bourgeois elite media blowing sunshine up their art-directed, London-centric arses and perpetuating the future of the smug, minted, beautiful and the wealthy. I can’t bear the nepotism.
So while I was ranting about how much I hate the papers, Hagar drew my attention to an article in The Daily Mail, written by an-ex RAF wife, that he had seen being slated on one of the forums he frequents.
The forums have been a buzz on the outrage bus – how very dare she? It’s not like that really:
Note to self -The Daily Mail is an abomination but as the majority of the media are all ill informed, bullshitters (20 years in PR – man and a boy – you would be amazed!!) it’s hard to be so discerning, therefore, I now read all of it with a pinch of salt.
So I have been an RAF wife for 10 years and have lived on three married patches and marched out 4 times. The question is this. Is what she is saying true? I think on the whole it is true maybe some poetic licence and also a bit of a time differentiater.
Does the behaviour of the wife effect her husbands career? Yes, it does. Recently confirmed to me yet again. It’s bollocks but it’s true. (I must take this opportunity to apologise to Hagar once again. The universe will provide – she say’s hopefully:) )
Do officer’s wives and other rank wives mix socially?
Yes, they do sometimes but they are the minority. I have heard officer’s wives whose kids are friends with non-officer’s kids complain because the divide exists and they want the freedom to be friends with who they want.
There is, IMHO, inter-rank snobbery on both sides. Also, the reality is that officers and non-officers find it awkward because the rank system is heirarchial. They can go out on the lash together but are not so keen to inter-rank mix on the domestic front. This is what I have been told. The military is an old draconian beast. It has never been a problem for me as I am anti-social and misanthropic on the whole anyway, and mostly busy running my business, so only had so much time to socialise.
Do you have to keep your oven sparkling clean?
Yes, you do. It costs about £80 to get it cleaned professionally, or you can do it yourself. Oven cleaning products nowadays are fairly robust and will do a good job, but it is a shit job to do.
Is marching out a nightmare?
Yes, it is. I have had various experiences including one jobsworth with white gloves, running her fingers through the inside of the window frame. It can cost around £300 on average to pass the quarter (maybe that is because I am a filthy hoe and raised in the gutter) and blood, sweat and tears!!
Is everyone in uniform all of the time?
I think there is a uniform, even in civilian dress. Hagar and I often laugh about it. The guys pitch up in the same shirts, jeans and boots before a night out. I have seen a gaggle of wives talking in the street all dressed in variations of the same clothing. There is a keeping up with the Jones’ culture. It can’t be helped but it’s true. The secret, and expectation, is to blend in and not stand out.
Is it as uptight as the article suggests?
No, it’s not. The majority of wives that I met are either juggling kids or jobs, or kids and jobs, often flying solo. The officer’s messes that I have been into are not sniping and strict. I don’t recall folk getting competitive over gardens. Most people just are getting on with their lives and trying to get through it.
Are children affected by absent fathers?
I would say that Hagar was away so much for the first three year of The Grenade’s life that yes, he craved male attention. We would joke if one of Hagar’s male pals would come over and say ‘ah yes that is what a daddy looks like.’ It was things like potty training and teaching him how to pee standing up. I could only get him so far and then we would have to wait until Hagar returned so that he could perfect the pee finish. Children need their daddies, especially boys. IMHO.
In summary, I found living in the military community very supportive and enjoyable. The quarters were often in disrepair, the curtains are not to be desired but the people were friendly. I had many hours of great merriment. Life is what you make of it. There are behaviour patterns that are delivered by the majority but who cares if you adhere to them. It only matters if you care and you are looking for consensus. I wasn’t ever looking for consensus I was just looking for some fun. Nothing has changed for me, I am still living life to the full. One life. One shot. Live it.
But like all the things sometimes you need a change and enough is enough so I am done with patch living.
Many wives have tales to tell. Some of them are old wives tales, made of legend and lore but sometimes not. If I had a pound for every military wife that told me they had a book in them…..and that includes me!!!!