Marines and Their Balls

You’ll have to pardon the title, my sense of humor is on par with an 8 year old and I simply couldn’t resist the temptation for a well placed pun that could easily be followed by, “That’s what she said.”

Picture from view the original at
Picture from view the original at

It’s ball season.  Not only is it military ball season, but it’s also military ball blog post season.  It seems that everyone and their mom is writing a list (and does every year) about the do’s and don’ts of military ball.  I love this time of year because I get to learn exactly how boring ball is for most people.

We’ll start with clothes.  I’m not telling you to dress like a hooker.  I’m telling you that if you do, I will take pictures and then post them on Facebook with arrows pointing at you that say “look at this girl dressed like a hooker.”  And really, that is one of my favorite parts of ball, so I guess I am telling you to dress like a hooker.  It makes my night more interesting.

But, in all honesty, I see a lot of don’t wear a big fancy ball gown, don’t take your shoes off, re-wear a dress if you can so you save money… And by all means, I’m sure that is really good advice, but when you are married to a Reservist, you can’t wear the same dress very often.  In fact, I haven’t been able to re-wear one at all.  Our spouses don’t hop from unit to unit every few years, so we are with the same people each year, which means re-wearing a dress is harder to do.

And keeping my shoes on?  No thank you!  And really, maybe it’s just my husband’s unit, but our balls are more formal in dress and less formal in manners.  We don’t have a different ball for NCO’s VS Officers VS Enlisted.  We have one ball for the entire unit.  And that, by it’s very nature, makes our balls a little different and thus means that some of the more traditional rules don’t apply.

I take my shoes off every year, I have worn a full fledged ball gown to more than half of the balls I’ve attended and I get plowed every year, along with everyone else.  It’s what we do.  It’s how we’ve done it since the first ball I ever attended.  So, when I start to see the “mind your manners at ball” posts I can’t help but laugh.  We just don’t live by those same rules.

And friends I know in other branches often don’t even attend.  Our attendance is compulsory.  This might be a Reserve thing, or USMC wide, I’ve honestly never asked, but we have to go.  Or, at least, my husband has to go.  And a two drink limit?  Oh, no!  No wonder other branches don’t want to go to ball. How dull!  My husband jokes that drinking and the Marine Corps go hand in hand.  He says that what else would anyone expect from a branch founded in a tavern?  And he has a good point.

So, y’all can read your lists of do’s and don’ts, you can pick a dress fit for Michelle Obama.  You can watch how much you drink and make sure to pick attractive, yet sensible shoes so you aren’t tempted to take them off.  Me?

I’ll be the one who went back to her hotel room to grab her slippers halfway through ball because her feet hurt.  Or who is barefoot because she’s drunk and lost her shoes all together.  And you can wear your sensible and lovely but charming and sophisticated dress.  I’ll be the girl in the full skirted ball gown, with a beaded bodes fit for prom.

And I invite you to dress like a hooker.  The shorter the dress, the more booby you show, and the more likely your ass is to be seen when walking the better.  Why?  Because the ceremony is boring sometimes, and I could use the entertainment of watching you try to stand for the color guard without your goodies popping out for the world to see.

Ball is fun.  Marine Corps Ball with a bunch of Reservists and their spouse is even more fun.  It is more often than not the only time we spouses get to see each other.  It is more often than not the only time we get to see our Marines dressed up and looking sexy in their Blues.  We don’t get to attend pinning ceremonies, we rarely have family days (and it’s ever more rare that anyone can attend them) and most of us live across the state from each other, or even in different states.  Ball is that one time of year we all, spouses and Marines collectively, get to spend time together.  So why not make it a damn fine time?