JUST OUTSIDE THE MAIN GATE – The ongoing proliferation of negative stereotyping aimed at military spouses shows the widening disconnect in the perception of the modern military family. This hurtful divide is often felt within the military spouse community itself. More often than not, spouses of service members are their own worst enemy.
That was the consensus among military wives at this year's annual Military Spouse Summit on Anti-Stereotyping, held at Lickety Splits, a local strip club just outside the main gate. Wives hoped that by identifying and addressing common misconceptions they could begin to heal the wounds caused by gossip and bigotry.
"These stereotypes totally suck," said Riki, an exotic dancer married to a corporal. She continued to rant while performing a challenging double allegra, backwards showgirl technique. "Some of these bitter skanks perpetuate this type of thing just to feel better about their own dull existence," she concluded, deftly transitioning into ceiling box splits.
Riki isn't alone in her assessment, Debra, a bartender, agrees. "I've been married to four different guys from two branches of the military," she said around a mouthful of hot pocket slathered in mayonnaise.
"I can tell you those Key Wives or whatever they're calling it now are some catty bitches. One of the times I was pregnant I stopped by the Class Six. I could just feel those judgemental sluts whispering about me. I mean, pajama bottoms and a tube top aren't always my preferred maternity wear but I needed some smokes."
Riki and the other spouses have long lamented the whole cycle of loathsome cliches perpetuated about military families as a whole. There are a number of false impressions surrounding their community as military wives they say, and scandalous rumors surrounding their daily lives are just hurtful nonsense. They decided to hold the meeting in an effort to clear the air and address the issue directly.
"Not all of us are transsexuals who practice Zumba Tuesday nights and roofie naive young PFCs," breathed Carlita Peligroso, a hostess at Lickety Splits. "We have to purge this meanness from within our community."
Buxom eighteen year old Amber is newly-wed to a PFC. She just started working at the club and is astonished how often she is propositioned by her military patrons. "You make your first amateur porn film and it's like open season," she complained. "I mean really, my husband isn't even deployed yet."
Younger exotic dancing spouses aren't the only victims of negative stereotyping claimed 32-year-old Sprinkles. Older stripper moms are also subject to hateful labels.
"We didn't all marry a service member several years younger than us to feed five children we already had from three other fathers," she complained.
"Yeah," agreed Debra in a spray of Hot Pocket flakes. "Not all of our kids have different dads, we have twins too."
As the meeting progressed, the litany of misconceptions continued and the conversation intensified. Some of the stereotypes addressed struck deep rooted emotional issues or reopened old wounds.
"We are not all from the most poverty stricken areas of Korea, the Phillipines, or Kentucky," bounced Amber. "Seriously, I grew up in the best trailer park in the county."
Strained or otherwise-doomed relationships with their husbands were a touchy subject.
"I hate it when they act like we slept our way through the barracks until we met our virgin husbands," Riki remarked. "Trust me, my husband was a virgin way before I ever met him."
Sprinkles railed against rumors of infidelity. "I hate the insinuation our husbands are returning from deployment the next day and we haven't kicked our E-3 boyfriends out of the house yet," she said. "I mean, do they really think we're that stupid?"
"And we are so not jealous of the skinny, CrossFit whores living in base housing," added Debra.
"I did not marry a service member to break into the porn industry," asserted Amber as she unloaded a box of her new DVD, Firewatch Follies.
The ladies also took issue with the hackneyed concept of the lazy, stay-at-home wife. They contend they are much more than efficient, competent baggers at the commissary and didn't wed a service member to escape financial ruin back home.
"It's not like I married a soldier to fund a cocaine habit," sniffed Riki as she peeled dollar bills off a filthy roll of cash. "I make plenty of money and could have any guy I wanted. I'm that hot."
"We don't all have daddy issues either," commented Amber. "I have no problem calling customers that during a lap dance."
The group's successful first meeting was marked by the noticeable absence of officer wives. Attendees were not shy in their remarks concerning this.
"Stereotypes are a bitch, but not as bitchy as an uppity officer's wife who's appointed herself empress over us unwashed enlisted spouses," observed Carlita.
"They were probably too busy sleeping their way up the chain of command," noted Debra.
"Yeah," agreed Amber. "And didn't Paula Broadwell win that one already?"
Riki's thoughts on officers wives were somewhat more caustic. "Those twats have like the 829th hardest job in the military, just below vehicle drip pan."
Despite the small setback, the group is determined to move past all the negativity in the face of intolerance and gossip. In an effort to raise social awareness of the damaging impact stereotyping has on the military spouse community, Lickety Splits is hosting a pole dancing competition and clam bake later this year. Military spouses from all branches of service are encouraged to compete.
What myths surrounding military spouses bother you the most? How should this ongoing problem be addressed? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!