I grew up near a U.S. Air Force base, and as an adult, many of the eligible dating candidates would be in the military. Many military men, especially enlisted ones, would really like to get married, because they get a slew of benefits that single service members don’t.
My friends and I had a joke imitation of the military men that you’d meet out at the bar:
Military guy (turning to look at you): Will you marry me?
Military guy (turning to look at your friend): Will YOU marry me?
Of course, I have to stipulate that NOT ALL military men act this way. Just a lot of them. And I have some experience.
My sophomore year of college, I lived in a sweet apartment on campus with three other women. Early in the year, I was single and ready to mingle. The Saturday before classes were back in session, after most of us had moved in, I went out to all the parties and reveled in the fact that I knew so many wonderful people I could hang out with. The weather was awesome and I was having a fabulous time.
At one point in the evening, when I was more than slightly inebriated, I ran into a guy who was lost. He didn’t go to our college but was visiting a friend, whom he couldn’t find, and who wasn’t answering his cell phone.
“You can come home with me!” I declared, and we started the walk back to my apartment.
I discovered his name was Tom and he was also starting his sophomore year, but at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. He and a few buddies had come to my school for the weekend and were supposed to head back to Annapolis the next morning.
We got to my apartment and I introduced him to my roommates and went about preparing some food. As I set about making tuna fish quesadillas (it was college), I chatted freely with Tom and my roommates.
According to my roommates, I was very straightforward in telling Tom that we were not going to have sex that evening.
The catchphrase I repeated a few times was, apparently, “No sex for you!” Possibly including pointing the spatula at him while I flipped the quesadillas in the pan.
And I held to my word. While I let Tom sleep in my bed (my roommate hadn’t yet arrived from Tokyo), I slapped his hand away anytime he reached for anything. We both slept fully clothed.
In the morning, we both awoke hungover and he got in touch with his friend. I remember him being sullen and quiet. He hurried out the door without breakfast and without giving me his phone number. My friends laughed about my antics the night before. I was proud for standing my ground.
(For the record, I am the queen of the non-sexual sleepover. Still.)
At the time, I had a huge crush on a boy back home in Albuquerque who had been a good friend of mine. We’d had conversations about being together over the summer, with the biggest impediment being the distance between us. But I was forever hopeful he’d come around.
So when I got a flower delivery the next week with three red roses, I thought for sure it was from my crush.
No, it was from Tom. He’d sent them to say thank you and included his phone number.
Verdict: I called him to thank him for the flowers. And that was it. I never saw him again. He texted a few times but I wasn’t interested. I hope he’s happily married and enjoying all the benefits the Navy has to offer.