I went to my first Officer’s Spouse Club event, and I won a pink and gold pineapple!
As a male spouse, I went to a girly and very feminine event because I knew that at least one other guy I wanted to meet would be there. Anything else I gleaned was going to be gravy. Honestly, I was concerned that I would be completely out of place. I knew nothing else about what I was walking into, so I put on my best T-shirt and went out the door. I showed up to an elaborately planned and decorated, luau-themed party at the base club, and before I could reach the guy I wanted to meet I was greeted by someone else I had met in line to get into the event.
An interesting conversation began and before I knew it, I was being networked with other people that this person knew had things in common with me. Then I experienced an amazing thing… In conversation with a new person I was being introduced to, a bit of military jargon slipped out that my family and non-military friends wouldn’t understand. However, she responded in kind and knew what I was talking about with no explanation needed, no hiccup in communication, just a smooth conversation. These people get my life as a spouse! I also met other reservists that are married to active duty members, and even though I was in the masculine minority (there were three of us out of about fifty people) I was not made to feel like I did not belong.
Also, I have to take my hat off to the ladies who planned the event. When I attend any sort of masculine function, decorations and décor are non-existent, but the theme of this party was pineapples. There were giant pineapples in the reception area, we ate pineapples in the food, they raffled a watercolor featuring one, and the fruit was even painted and used as a centerpiece on every table. (And I won one of those, in fact.) They know how to decorate, create atmosphere, and community.
If you are a male spouse that is struggling to make connections in your new military context, don’t count spouse groups out before you visit them for yourself. They have a wide array of events and special interest groups that meet more frequently. They are great ways to meet new people and learn more about your new community and the surrounding area. You will meet people that have been doing this military spouse life much longer and can help you along the way, or you may meet someone that could use your help in their journey. You may even be able to volunteer to lead your own interest group. You will easily meet any other men that show up, and over time these events will inevitably become more “man friendly” as word spreads that men are involved in the group.
So get out there! Experience new stuff! Meet people!
Any other male spouses out there? Have you had any surprisingly good experiences like this with the military community?