Monday, November 20, 2006

VA Health Care

Had an appointment with the VA today--just a check-up. (VA is Veteran's Administration, BTW). It's actually pretty good care--a hell of a lot better than I had when I was in the Army (but then, when I was in the Army, I had a doctor tell me to PRAY TO JESUS to make myself better. Yes, I'm totally serious).

Anyway, I was standing in the hallway talking to a nurse about going to Prague, and this older Veteran told me to be careful and watch out for roadside bombs. I assured him that Prague is a pretty safe destination.

At first I thought this was kind of funny, but then I realized that this was a really, really positive thing. You see, about six or so years ago (pre-Iraq 2), I went to a VA clinic and had this older (male) Veteran basically tell me off for not being a "Veteran." As a result, I'm still wary when I go into VA hospitals or clinics and find myself faced with a waiting room full of old men. Anyway, not only did this guy NOT say anything nasty to me, he showed that he realized that females are sent to dangerous places and are sometimes killed or wounded (even though Prague is not usually one of those places).

Still, I can't see that gender relationships within the military would have changed much over the past ten years. I'm sure it is still basically as my (female) AIT drill sergeant explained it to us: "Women in the Army are either sluts or dykes." I found that to be true when I was in, and I'm sure it is still true today.


At 6:13 PM, Blogger STAG said...

I guess it depends on your definition of "slut". Such a nasty word. By some lights, the vast majority of men in the military would be sluts. Of course the vast majority of men anywhere etc. etc.

I found women I served with to be a little "girls gone wild" for awhile, then they became perfectly a little or a lot....going to church or not....getting knocked up no more than any group of University Students, maybe even a little less than that. Half the time they would leave the military once they found a husband...often they hung in there even though postings to separate bases put a severe strain on relationships.
And there WERE a disproportionate amount of man haters...not necessarily dykes but often women who had really bad experiences with men.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Maybe the band was its own little micro-universe and the rest of the military was different, or maybe the Canadian military was a bit more advanced socially...

When I was in, the guys in the band were so quick to try to put a female into one of the two categories. Her best friend is a female? Dyke. She has male friends? Slut. When I first got to the Army band and I didn't date, everyone decided I was a dyke. Then, after awhile, I formed a good friendship with a couple of guys in the band. Then, the 1st Sergeant called me into his office one day to tell me that I was spending too much time with these guys and that "people were starting to talk." I told him that I didn't care, but around that time, my friends stopped spending time with me (effectively leaving me isolated, but that's a different story).

Anyway, I wasn't the only one. There were about four to five females in the band at any point in time, and I saw all of them identified as one or the other (or both). One woman had a baby with her new husband, and the guys in the band decided that it looked like another guy in her office. Slut. One woman came to the band with her two small children and homemaker husband. She was gung-ho Army, good with weapons and field training exercises. Dyke.

A couple of the girls earned their labels, I'm not denying that. But I wonder how many women were like me--trying to figure out if we belonged with the wives in the kitchen or the Army guys in the TV room.


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