March 28, 2012

Just Throwing This Out There

I don’t watch Army Wives. On the one hand, I don’t really have to. Every Sunday night, facebook and twitter explode so that I don’t have much trouble keeping up with the latest drama.

So, I didn’t watch this this week’s episode. But my word, have I gotten an earful of it.

Apparently there was some FRG brouhaha on Sunday’s episode. Now, I may have gotten my wires crossed, but apparently the episode either stated or gave the impression that the FRG is just an activity for the O wives. And there was also some (apparently very divisive) commentary in regards to FRG leadership dress code.

I say “apparently” because, like I said, I didn’t watch it myself. But I was meeting with two people today for very different reasons and this episode came up in both conversations. So it obviously struck a nerve.

I don’t know if any new or aspiring milspouses read this blog or will read this post, but just in case, as an FRG co-leader, I’d like to address both of those topics.

First of all, yes, generally, officer wives take leadership roles in FRGs. The reason for this is pragmatic. If I am the FRG leader, it’s much simpler to get information from our unit commander if I also happen to be married to him.

However, that’s not a rule, by any means. Anyone, no matter their soldier’s rank, is welcome to hold any position in an FRG. (Dear Lord, PLEASE!) Officer spouses and senior NCO spouses do tend to hold FRG leadership positions due to their greater experience as an Army spouse – or, in my case, a severe shortage of volunteers when the FRG was formed.

But even if you’re a brand new Army wife, husband just out of AIT, and you want to be a Key Caller, a Secretary, or Treasurer as a way to learn the ropes, you can. All you have to do is step up. I’ve yet to meet a single FRG volunteer – of any rank – who would deny a willing volunteer an opportunity to be involved.

The other thing people had strong but very different opinions about had to do with how the FRG leader was dressed, or was corrected for dressing, or something. It had to do with miniskirts, I think.

Anyway, no, there’s no dress code for the FRG. Even when I go to the Squadron (Battalion)-level FRG meetings, with the general’s and colonel’s wives, people are wearing jeans and t-shirts. That may be because we’re in the Wild, Wild West out here and people live in jeans and boots. My kind of people.

But even still, no, you don’t have to dress a certain way or wear “business casual” to every FRG meeting just because you’re an FRG volunteer, of any level.

Personally, whenever I go on post, unless I’m going to the gym or just over to a friend’s house for coffee, I do try and dress at least a little nicer than I do when I’m going to Walmart. At least mascara. Nothing too dumpy. Even odds as to whether my hair is actually fixed, but still.

The reason for this – and I’m only speaking for myself here, not directing this toward anyone – but when I go on post, I don’t do it under the power of my own name. I do it using my husband’s name, and everything I do reflects on him, directly or indirectly. So, no, I’m not going to show up to an FRG meeting unbathed, in raggedy anns, with bed-head – neither am I going to show up in clothes where body parts are visible normally only seen in bikinis. This has never been an issue at any of our meetings, of course. Our spouses are better than that.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.

5 comments:

  1. I love absolutely EVERYTHING about this post. I tuned in for the first time this season and watched the episode and was immediately annoyed. It made Officer spouses seem pushy, snotty and overbearing. I am so thankful that in our Battery FRG we don't have to deal with issues that were depicted in this episode. While yes as an Officers wife I make sure I look presentable (because as you said it reflects on our husbands) I also do not judge others.

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  2. I don't think you got a good picture of the episode from reading this. It was about an FRG group that was being poorly run & had a bunch of women who were lazy & selfish in it. Roxy (kind of a pistol) was pressured into taking over leadership since her husband just became an officer. Roxy owns a bar and is known for dressing a little slutty- short skirts, high heels & midriff bare. Basically she was schooled on what you said- that she is a reflection of her husband and that she does have the ability to help or hurt his career. It sounds to me like the people who were upset are maybe too close to the issue to see it objectively. I saw it as she kind of whipped a crappy FRG into shape. You should watch the episode. It's on mylifetime.com

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  3. I gave up Army Wives over a year ago, after I became an Army wife, and not just a girlfriend. It dawned on me that they treated the Army as the "enemy" on the show.

    Now you're making me want to watch it again. *angry fist*

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  4. One thing I will add, since you didn't see the episode, is that while it is certainly a good idea to dress in a way that presents yourself and your husband in a positive way that does not mean that you have to stop wearing mini skirts in order to be an effective leader OR a good reflection of your husband.

    I think that was the problem I had with the message on Sunday - not that dressing appropriately is a bad idea, but that when the other wives basically corner you and tell you that you dress like a hoochie and therefore need to change your entire look in order to run the FRG. Stupid.

    Other than that, your observations were spot on. And as an enlisted/NCO wife, I can say that FRG's are VERY open to having you hold positions and help! And sometimes you have ideas/perspectives/time that they do not and would like to utilize.

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  5. As the wife of a retired military man, I find these military wife blogs fascinating and I'm learning a lot about today's military (our son is presently in the Air Force). How I wish we had internet and blogging when I was a military wife. BTW, what is a FRG?

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