1. Wait—you’re in the Army? Are you a lesbian?
“I thought all women in the Army were supposed to be butch lesbians.” Why is that always the first assumption? I’ve met a million people that have asked me the same thing upon meeting me—even those who are now my closest friends.
Why would the Army be deemed the place to meet future female partners? Around 9% of the British Forces are made up of women, leaving 91% for the men. Pretty slim pickings on the female front.
2. But you’re not a proper soldier.
Yes, I’m a proper soldier, not a toy one. We go outside the fences, we do patrols and exercises, and we do it fully armed. We don’t sit inside making tea and powdering our noses.
3. You’re too short to be a soldier.
What’s my height got to do with it? Soldiers aren’t all seven-foot Goliaths! In fact they come in all shapes and sizes; males and females. The slightest, smallest guys and girls tend to be the swiftest on their feet and have surprising strength.
4. But you’re not strong enough to be a soldier.
In order to pass basic training you have to be physically strong enough to carry and lift certain weights, but you don’t have to be the world’s strongest man with a mustache and tight speedos to be able to carry out the job sufficiently. As long as we can carry our backpacks, weapons, and provisions, we are good to GO.
5. Can you fire a weapon?
No, the Army issues all women special camouflaged handbags. They use these by running around hitting the enemy upside the head with it or throwing it like a grenade. Duh—of course we can fire weapons! We’re all trained as soldiers first and foremost.
6. Do you have to wear boys’ clothes every day?
Well, it’s, um, called a UNIFORM; it’s actually more practical to be dressed like this than trying to totter along in high heels and a tight skirt while carrying out your daily equipment check in the back of the truck.
7. Honestly—khaki isn’t the most flattering color, is it?
No, it isn’t. But we don’t have much choice, do we? Don’t worry; it will come back in fashion at some point, then we’ll be right on trend.
8. I’ll bet you have a great time with all those super-fit male soldiers.
Well, we don’t sleep around if that’s what you mean. Yes, there are lots of men around, but if you start sleeping around with them all and it goes tits up, it makes for an uncomfortable work atmosphere. I’m not sure whether it was my regiment, but there seemed to be a great lack or attractive male soldiers. I’ve no idea where the Army is hiding all their buff men.
9. Are you going to sleep with my husband?
Army wives are a little insecure about female soldiers. One thing that’s continually irritating is that upon meeting them for the first time is they automatically think you’re out to sleep with their husbands. Forget that you are work colleagues and you build working relationships and have a laugh with them, just like the boys do.
10. Where do you go to the bathroom?
In a ditch, behind a bush, in a Portaloo—wherever we can. You mean you haven’t ever been behind a tree at a festival or caught short on a road trip? Come on, it’s not the end of the world.
11. Oooh—they didn’t have soldiers like you in my day!
Said a sweet old ex-soldier as he spanked my friend on the bum after she told him what she did for a living. Great.