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A Lesson for New Military Spouses

December 12, 2008


A lesson needs to be given today to the men and women who are going to stand next to their loved one as they serve this great country.  There may just be a little lesson in all of this for non-military spouses as well.  This is very important, so pay attention!

1.  When attending a military ball you will dress as an adult, not some floozy who just blew through the racks of the local Priscilla’s leaving your body exposed.  This is serious.  Dress like a lady, not a hussy.

2.  At social hour, when introduced to someone in uniform, you address them as sir or ma’am if you don’t know how to read their rank and last name.  When addressing their spouse, who you will extend the first greeting to, address them as Mrs. Jones or Mr. Jones if you know their last name.  If not, they will be addressed as ma’am or sir.  You will then turn your attention to the person in uniform.  Extend your hand and shake the other person’s.  Give them your name and say, “Pleased to meet you Ma’am or Sir.”  Don’t turn your head and act as if this is the last place on earth you’d like to be.  Believe me, we all feel that way.  Smile.  Be courteous.  Your actions are a reflection on  your service member. 

3.  Just because there is a bar does not give you free reign over alcoholic consumption.  Control yourself.  Two drinks during the social hour is pretty much acceptable.  You are not at a frat party, you are at a Military Ball.  Believe me when I say that those “old people” who have been in for a while do not think it’s cool or funny that you can consume six beers in an hour.

4.  When you are seated at your table for the evening, you will remain standing until the head of the table is present.  This will be the highest ranking person at the table or guest of honor.  A gentleman will seat his lady to left of him at the table, when a lady excuses herself form the table you will stand until she takes her leave and stand when she returns.  

6.  Introduce yourself to the other members at the table.  You are an interesting person, find something to chit-chat about.  Make them feel welcome and comfortable.  

7.  After the host announces a call to the evening, you will stand when asked.  You do not sit until you are ordered to sit by the host.  

8.  When the colors are presented, you will follow them.  The colors usually come from the rear of a room to the front where they will preside over the ceremony.  You will turn your body to the rear of the room when you hear the marching cadence leading them in.  Your head and body will follow the colors as they are brought in and mounted.  

9.  When the National Anthem is played you will continue to hold your hand over your heart.  I realize this might be a new concept to some, but it is of utmost importance.  Don’t slouch, don’t talk, don’t yawn.  Stand tall and strong.  

10.  When the benediction is given bow your head in prayer.  This is not the time to talk to the girl at your table about where she got her dress.

11.  Toasts will be given.  The responses are neatly typed out so you don’t falter.  This is not an opportunity for you to create your own toast.  Also, when we toast to the MIA/POW the response is silence.  That is not for you to say aloud the word “silence.”  Don’t make me call you an idiot, please.

13.  When the guest of honor is speaking, pay attention!  I know that you will not remember what was said 2 hours from then, but for goodness sake, pay attention.  This is not some dude they pulled from the street, this is an experienced and mostly likely, a highly decorated service member sharing lessons and anecdotes with you.

I realize this might be a lot of information for you to take in.  Please, I beg you… just pay attention to your surroundings.  Regardless of what you think, you do not look good with a dress cut to your navel, but thank you for showing your breasts to everyone in the building.  So glad that all 500 of us could enjoy your freak show.   Most importantly, remember that you are there to be respectful of our military customs and courtesies.  The ball is not about you.  

Thanks for listening.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2008 10:29

    Honestly, I would’ve thought all this would be common sense. What happened to manners?

    Of course, my shock did not stop me from giggling through this whole thing – I can just imagine a girl in some hoochie dress shooting tequila at the bar (easy for me, since I’m surrounded by silly college kids!), but it’s still kinda sad.

  2. December 12, 2008 10:31

    OH, and I’ll say it again – y’all are SEXY! I can see why you married him. ;D

  3. Cindy permalink
    December 12, 2008 11:29

    What a couple of cuties! Love the picture!
    We need military husbands & wives like you as roll models for these young men and women. They have a lot to learn! Upholding these traditional military values is of utmost importance. No doubt at least some of them took notice and will behave differently the next time.

  4. December 12, 2008 12:25


  5. December 12, 2008 16:17

    You are as cute as a button! What sexy shoulders you have.
    I have never been good with decorum. Good thing I stay home with the puppies. 😉

  6. December 12, 2008 23:07

    As much as I don’t like the two drink minimum at social hour and would love to look at this as a frat party a non-military girl from south jersey like me could get through this! PS You guys look great!

  7. December 15, 2008 09:42

    Ok, you gorgeous woman, you need to be the next Emily Post. Seriously! Can you write the next one about proper behavior at an office party? I don’t know how many more I can handle in my lifetime!

  8. Ted and Kristin permalink
    December 19, 2008 00:51

    So, what you’re saying is, you had a wonderful time then? ha ha ha! 🙂
    I am very impressed with all the do’s and do not’s by the way…. please, please tell me at least SOME of them were cut and pasted??? You are putting me to SHAME!
    I think I handle myself fairly well at these things… I will say though… I, um, don’t do the sir/ma’am thing…. I’M SORRY!!!! It’s just that I don’t like when people call me ma’am…. so I don’t call other people ma’am… I am very, very nice however…. and since I’m a “padded A cup” well… I don’t need to worry about being too sexy. 🙂

  9. December 19, 2008 17:05

    Sadly, these used to be common rules of decorum that everyone just knew. Showing respect, containing ones enthusiasm until the appropriate moment, social chit chat…it’s all gone by the wayside and is considered to be stuffy and “high and mighty” for the social uppercrust. There was a time not too long ago when EVERYONE used good manners, not just the wealthy.

  10. December 19, 2008 21:09

    You are a beautiful couple! I wish I could have seen the “classy” ladies (oops I mean girls) that inspired this post. In my imagination, they are hilarious. Some of your points have nothing to do with manners, they are just common sense. Maybe you should found an etiquette class on base. 🙂

  11. ~Cara~ permalink
    January 10, 2009 18:17

    Bravo!! As I read through your thoughts, I could only imagine the events as they unfolded. I really miss you!!

  12. January 19, 2009 17:28

    This is hilarious! Wish I could have been there with you to see it all go down, ha! Some people are just so rude and oblivious.

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