This week marks the two year anniversary of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declaring the Iraq war virtually hopeless. Coincidentally, so were my dating prospects. One of the best side effects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that there are men worth dating again.
On the battlefield of love, I’m a decorated five-star general, navigating the endless minefield of jerks with the attitude of Patton and the skill of Napoleon (or, some might say, Rommel). I worked my way up in the ranks, took some enemy fire, and have the purple hearts to prove it. But over the course of this journey, I believe that I have figured out why military men make the best dating prospects:
Soldiers know the meaning of commitment. Those who volunteer for service are obligated to sign a contract and stick to it. Chances are that if they managed to resist several years of, “I really don’t want to risk going out and getting my head blown off today, I think I’ll bail,” kind of thinking, they’ll probably be less tempted to cancel on a nice dinner out that doesn’t involve grenades and head shots. This obviously doesn’t apply to deserters who take off to Canada.
They know accountability. If you screw up in the military, someone will care. And there will be consequences. Sometimes even death. What’s up with men nowadays who just do whatever they feel like, at any given moment, and fully expect that everything will be cool? Did they not learn consequences from mommy and daddy? I believe in relationship accountability. If more women held their date-mates accountable for deplorable behavior, the jerk-pool would be much more shallow. How about giving that kick to the curb some strategic direction, ladies? Put some effort into it! Personally, I have drop-kicked a guy still living with his parents back onto their doorstep for further basement incubation. I then returned an intelligence officer who secretly married another woman inside his house half-way through our two year relationship back to her — and handed the classified documents he would leave on my coffee table, presumably because he was too cheap to buy me jewelry, back to his superiors. And perhaps most prominently, I returned the founder of Wikipedia, who announced our breakup on the site, back to the Internet — by auctioning off on eBay the clothes he left behind. Some “men” might find this sort of accountability downright terrifying — but obviously they have never been on a battlefield.
Soldiers don’t need to be taught the meaning of bravery. They can stomach telling the truth in the first place — and not just when forcibly extracted from them because they’re busted in an outright lie. I dated one guy who was sick for a week after I unraveled all his lies in what amounted to an hour-long verbal waterboarding. (I’m not exactly the type to waste my life waiting for the lies and deception to come trickling out over time.) I told him that nausea is common during the turbulent trip from Bull**itville to Realityland, but that he’d survive. The whining about my “torture” persisted, and I soon grew eager for Stockholm Syndrome to kick in. Military men certainly wouldn’t debase themselves in such a manner.
Narcissism doesn’t fly in the military. In the heat of battle, if you’re obsessed with your image and your Twitter account (“LOL OMG TALIBANZ!”), you won’t be reading the enemy and chances are you’ll probably die sooner or later. If only this happened in the dating world, some of us would be much better off.
Military men don’t have inferiority complexes. Most of the war veterans I know say very little about their service. They have nothing to prove. They’re real men, with real accomplishments, and feminism hasn’t rendered them so weak to the point that they attempt to bolster their self-worth by racking up a high-score on the booty circuit.
There are certain codes of behavioral conduct in the military. Granted, I’m sure there are a lot of shenanigans, as well — but that’s to be expected when you’re faced with the very real possibility of death on a daily basis. But what’s the average schmo’s excuse? I find that so many men and their friends are so lacking in values and character that if Charles Manson were to be let out of prison, they’d gladly buy him a beer and laugh at his “antics”. After all, who are we to judge this poor guy with progressive, unconventional values? Plus, he’s, like, soooo funny! It’s like someone has taken a giant magnet to manhood’s collective moral compass. It’s something I wish self-described “progressive” women — both Republican (ahem, Meghan McCain) and Democrat — would give some thought to before they declare all these “old values” to be useless and dated.
So I’m quite looking forward to the boys coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan to rescue us women in this “War On Jerks” quagmire.