By: Sean P. O’Driscoll- Navy Spouse
I was scrolling through Facebook shortly after my wife and I had PCS’d to the Washington DC area in 2014, when I came across a local military spouse club’s advertisement regarding an event that was being held on an installation near-by. The guest speaker was to be Admiral Jonathan Greenert. I had the opportunity to see his words via the US Navy Facebook page, as well as other publications in the past, and I was excited to have the chance to hear him speak.
Maybe I would even ask him a question myself! “How cool would that be?” I thought.
I contacted the spouse group, paid the suggested donation, and later found myself at the installation for this event.
I already knew what was behind those doors, even before entering the building.
I have been in this type of situation before. When I walked in, I found what I had predicted was in fact, true.
I was the only male spouse.
Upon entering, I was immediately greeted with “the look.”
The “look” I’m referring to is the look that says “what is HE doing here?”
After making my way to the check-in table and picking up my name tag, I strolled into the main area to see what else was going on. As usual, it was mostly tables set up with female-oriented items that only women would want to purchase.
It took about 30 minutes before someone from the board of the spouse’s club introduced themselves to me and chatted for a bit.
No one introduced themselves to me.
No one thanked me for supporting their group or even for representing the male military spouse. I even wore my Macho Spouse polo; still, nothing.
When it was time for the Admiral to speak, I found myself at a table in the back of the room where four female spouses were sitting. Upon making conversation with them, I learned that not only had I found the only open table, I had also found that all four of these spouses were brand new to the area themselves!
Come to find out, I wasn’t the only one who felt left out at this event.
“Congratulations!” I thought to myself, “This spouse’s group has not only made the only male military spouse feel unwelcome, but four other new spouses as well!”
I listened to the remainder of the Admiral’s remarks, was able to ask my question and promptly left; never to return to another spouse function for that organization again.