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Respect our Rank - The Worst Places to Flex Your Spouse

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June 9, 2024
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On the roster of terrible ways to be a human, flexing your partner’s military rank might just top the list. Sure, a military rank is a symbol of honor, authority, and a testament to hard work and dedication… for the person who earned it, but there are certain places where dropping that rank can backfire. These are the worst places to flex your partner’s rank, guaranteed to get you the wrong kind of attention.

On Base Stores

Outside of a few exceedingly rare scenarios the people who work in the PX or the commissary are the same civilians who work in similar off post locations. Rank doesn’t really mean much to them, since as you are the customer it’s their job to treat you like a priority anyway. Karen deciding to throw a fit because her husband being an officer means she should be able to use expired coupons? Nobody cares, and nobody there gets paid enough to care. The cashier, the elderly woman remembering her first time in a line, and the teenage bagger are all equally unimpressed. Flexing that butter bar won’t get you faster service or a discount on your avocados.

Off Base Bars

This one always seemed strange but happens to an alarming degree. Out at the club or a local bar near base on a weeknight, there will inevitably be a confrontation. The reason it starts varies, but at some point, people start dropping their partner’s rank as some sort of street cred for how much you should respect them. When this happens, the person inflicting themselves on you is a few too many adult sodas past their limit, so the best way to handle them is to make a distraction and then bounce. This type of spouse is spoiling for a fight, and nothing you say in that moment will convince her to get relationship counseling.

Base Support Activities

There are times when being the Colonel’s wife on base matters, and those times are typically when there is a military function occurring where spouses are present, like a mess night. The times when it doesn’t matter? Most other times. When in line at base housing to put in a maintenance request, over at personnel updating family records, or at the ID office because the dog chewed your CAC card, there is already enough going on that your partner’s collar shines aren’t relevant to anyone’s day. As there is no joy or time at the DMV, the same is true about government offices; perhaps throwing in the live weasel at a dinner party of your personality can take a backseat to basic humanity. 

While it’s understandable to be proud of your partner’s military achievements, there’s a time and place for everything. The local grocery store, a child’s birthday party, at the cookout are definitely not those places. Next time you’re tempted to flex, take a deep breath, and remember that humility is often the best policy. Plus, it saves you from becoming the next anecdote in someone else’s story every NCO in the battalion has heard.

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