Wow, I could write a book on this subject alone. I’ll warn you now that this will be more of a compilation of things that have happened rather than words of advice.
I was lucky enough to live about two hours away from Ft Benning, so during my husband’s training after AIT, I went over and stayed each weekend. I’ve been hanging out with the guys since then. I’ve always been one who had a lot of guy friends so it never bothered me to be the only girl in the group. I went out to eat with a huge group of them during a day off during one weekend. It was about 25 guys and me – I got lots of strange looks that day! Just the other day, one of the guys told me “You think like a guy…sometimes I have to look at you to remind myself that you’re really a girl!” Not sure if that’s a compliment or not – LOL – I just laughed at him. I like the fact that the guys don’t feel funny about “the wife” being around. Of course, I also know other Army wives who would rather sit home alone than to have to hang out with the guys – it’s just not their thing. So it’s up to you what you do.
When I went over to Benning, I had my car and my husband had his truck. His truck comfortably holds two people (although we’ve had four in the cab) and I have a two door sports car that can comfortably hold four people although we routinely had six – seven when he was in training. I remember many occasions when the guys offered to ride in the trunk so long as they could go with us wherever we were going (and on several occasions that was the only “seat” available). It makes for fun stories.
It was very interesting to me to meet people from all over the country. They of course had fun with my VERY southern accent and I had fun introducing them to things they’ve never heard of – boiled peanuts, grits and the fact that cotton does indeed grow out of the ground. I always kid the guys that the reason they let me hang out with them is because they like the accent. “Fixin’ to” is a word in Georgia, which I use on a regular basis (and I do have a college degree!). The guys from up north and California in particular were amazed by this and would ask – what would you say if you are going to make potatoes for dinner? To which I would respond “I’m fixin’ to fix potatoes” – which they thought was hilarious. Of course, I was also able to pick on them for some of their accents and sayings; like the one from Minnesota saying “don’t you know.”
One thing to prepare yourself for if you are hanging out with the guys is their foul mouth. I am used to it now but for the innocent bystander, I sometimes feel sorry for them. The “f” word is a normal part of their vocabulary. I’ve sometimes tried to count how many times they say it during a story and have literally lost count. Now, they aren’t all like this – but just be prepared just in case. They really can’t help it since they hear it at work all the time.
Overall, it is fun. A lot of the guys come to me for advice about their girlfriend or girl of the week, whichever it may be. Just remember to keep you sense of humor in all of it and you’ll be one of the guys in no time.