I’m worried. I think I may be a rubbish wife and/or cold hearted cowbag.
I keep seeing, everywhere, stuff about how other WAGs (wives and girlfriends) are proud of their sailor. I see endless posts and gifs and memes and poems and songs ALL stating, without a doubt, that their service person is a hero. that they are noble, brave, honourable gentlemen who makes their partners giddy with pride and ooey gooey rushes of love.
I’m worried because, dear readers this kind of stuff makes me feel sick.
I can’t stand it. It makes me cringe. it makes me reflexively curl my toes up and, sometimes do a fake gag thing and pretend to stick my fingers down my throat.
It’s too much. It’s too corny. It’s too cheesy. It smacks of a fakeness to me that, if I subscribed to it, would be doing my relationship with Popeye a great disservice. Maybe it helps other WAGs get through a deployment, I dunno. It winds me up. I like to remember the real man.
The one who makes me a cup of tea without asking if I want one, the one who always likes to listen to songs that remind him of when we were dating when we go on long car journeys (and sing along at the top of our voices), the one who teases me and always makes a geeky goofy face at me when I talk about my blog, the one who loves his job and hates his job in equal measure.
He is a hero, he has done heroic acts. He has been to war and seen live combat. He was trained for this, I respect him for this but I respect him for everything else he has done too. I respect that he gives money to the homeless, that he opens doors for me, that he loves his mum, that he has strong values and that he actively engages in discussion about how we raise our daughter.
If I jumped aboard the “my hero” train it would be like loving a ghost, or a dream, not Popeye. We argue and nag and have annoying habits that drive each other crazy. We have a real marriage. It takes work. It takes commitment. It takes strength. And it takes 50/50 effort. Building up Popeye into some mythical hero figure skews that balance and implies he is a wonderous god and I am his slavish worshiper. That’s just not how we roll, sorry.
The “my hero” attitude also yanks my feminist chain too, to some extent. It makes me feel that our sailors or soldiers, or (crap! What do you call RAF people?!? Is it pilots! No they can’t all be pilots, surely? *EDIT* it’s airmen! Of course it is! -thanks Jo!-wait, shouldn’t that be “air person”?)
…..or Airmen…..are viewed as swooping in to save us weak and possibly hysterical WAGs who have only just survived a nervous breakdown during a deployment.
I do not need saving.
I do not need saving, and whilst, yes, deployments and moving and hell, the entire navy/military wife thing is reach-for-the-wine-and-dairy-milk hard, it is not going to kill me. It is not going to break me. It won’t. And Popeye coming home is not going to magically fix all the stress in my life either. He is not Superman, even though he is a super man.
And the final thing that gets my goat is that I have other stuff going on. My life does not revolve around Popeyes job. If the roles were reversed, just imagine how strange it would be for him to be posting stuff on Facebook all about my job! How I’m freakin awesome for carrying out my job role. How I’m so good/brave/humble/awesome/totes amazeballs for doing what my contract specifies I do. Aside from it being a huge ego trip it would also be bloody funny.
I’m not saying service persons going into combat situations or natural disasters aren’t brave. They are incredibly brave. I don’t think I would have the steel to do it. I am saying that they are all real people, with faults, idiosyncrasies and morning breath. They can be brave and honourable and still be irritating and sometimes a dickhead. Trust me.
Am I a total cowbag for feeling this way? Is it wrong that all the soppiness makes me squirm uncomfortably? Is it a British thing? I really don’t know.
What I do know is that Popeye is one hell of a man, and I love him and I’m proud of him, warts an all. The fact that he is a sailor is a bonus.
14 thoughts on “WAG guilt.”
So funny, because it’s so true! I’m proud of my Airman husband, but not because he is in the Air Force. It’s not a “British thing” either, we’re American. LOL. I think some people in the service literally make it their life. We don’t, it is simply my husband’s job. It’s good to know there are other couples similar to us in the service! Best wishes! 🙂
Thank you! And I’m so sorry if forgot the word “airman”. I really haven’t had the same brain since having Sweet Pea. Words have actually fallen straight out of my head I swear.
haha! Well if you’re a cowbag I’m your American version of one 😉
Moo moo my Yankee friend, moo moo 😉 x
A lot of that “proud military wife/girlfriend/mom/dad/cousin/neighbor/etc” stuff makes me cringe, too. I think a lot of people wear it to garner attention from others. I’m all for people being proud of their spouse. I am very proud of my husband and all he does for our country and for others, but I don’t own any “proud wife” stuff. It’s just not me.
I sometimes threaten to turn up to homecoming dripping head to toe in “My Hero Merchandise”. The t shirt, flip flops, knickers, banner the works. Hahaha he would be mortified! I can be a proud wife without needing a car sticker telling everyone I am.
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I love this! Your best one yet! I can’t stand all these proud I love my sailor jumpers or navy wag and proud things. …I am not defined by his job, I am me! I dont need saving and can cope just fine without him. And where yes his job takes real commitment he isn’t some Hollywood hero. I am proud of him for the man he is, kind, patient, understanding, intelligent, caring (i could go on) his high morals and the man who would give his last penny to someone in need.
I am me and he is he – neither defined by his job, it’s just a job nothing special.
Really glad you enjoyed it Sharon. I think it’s so important to keep a sense of perspective and balance. We can still be proud and be realistic at the same time after all x
So you aren’t going to write a post titled ‘Seven ways to survive deployment’ Or ’10 ways to keep your navy man happy” 😉 ???
Etc etc, I totally agree! Good post!!
Ha! Not anytime soon!
Good Lord I think I’m in love with you!
I know you wrote this a long while ago, but I’ve just been reading through everything because my other half has just finished basic and will be disappearing off info the distance with all my future plans in tow.
Everywhere I look it’s always the same conservative “my sailor is my life” “god bless my navy man” “navy is life” crap plastered everywhere with hearts and hats and stars making me vomit in my mouth.
Honestly I feel a little better about this whole thing just knowing there ARE normal people out there!
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Thanks Effy! It’s been a while since I wrote this- but it still rings true!
It’s good to know other people feel this was too. When people thank me for my husbands service I feel awkward and don’t know what to say to them in return. In my eyes he is just doing what he’s paid to do. Sometimes that job is pants but at the moment it’s going pretty good on an accompanied overseas deployment; it’s taken 16 years to get to the good stuff though.