So this is a post I’ve been sitting on for a few days (read: a little over a week). I’ve read a few of them out there that have been pretty on point, so I figured I’d throw in my two cents, even though I’m still fairly new to the scene. And by fairly I mean I haven’t really honestly ever been in the scene and only been married to a soldier for a little under three weeks now (this coming Tuesday is actually three weeks for us).
“What is this subject?” you might ask. Well, it’s about getting rid of the term “dependapotamus”. As per urbandictionary.com, a dependapotamus is “traditionally a service-members dependent who is a “stay at home mom” that doesn’t do a damn thing all day besides sitting on the couch looking remarkably similar to jabba the hut leaching off of military benefits and eating anything that gets too close.”
Now, I’ll admit to having thrown the term around before in jest with those friends of mine who are in the service, but I have never once called any of their significant others, whether they still be with them or not, a dependapotamus. This primarily stems from the fact that I would never want to be called one. I am anything but that. Now, the UD.com definition paints a very disgusting picture, but from what I have gathered from my various friends in the service, what they call a “dependa” (short for dependapotamus) is really just any woman who is looking to be supported and never have to work a day in her life. I come from a very hard working family with an extremely strong willed and independent mother, so I could never dream of letting a man provide for me for the rest of my life even if he wanted to.
Don’t get me wrong, if Daniel had the means to do so, I’m sure he’d want me to never have to work another day in my life, but I couldn’t (with good conscious) let that happen. But I digress.
Now, like I said, I’ve jokingly thrown this term around. I’ve told my friends to be careful of girls they’re going on dates with and to watch for signs of depends or tag chasers (which is basically a woman, or man, who is ONLY attracted to (wo)men in unform because they’re “hot”). But I’m never serious. They’re grown as men (or women) and can take care of themselves. They like who they like and there’s nothing I can do to change that. If they wanna be with someone who solely wants to be with them because they have some unrealistic fantasy of the military life, good on them. They will be unpleasantly surprised when their S.O. has to pull a 24 hour staff duty on some important date and can’t get out of it. Or if they’re in the field for some big event. Or one of the other thousands of reasons the military takes our S.O.’s away from us at the most inconvenient of times.
But the point of all these blogs I’ve read is that we need to stop throwing around that term. It’s kinda like calling a girl a slut just because she sleeps with several different men a week but doesn’t commit to one. It’s ridiculous and is generally only said in seriousness to make us feel better about ourselves. When I mentioned that I wasn’t “in the scene yet”, I simply meant that I don’t live on post (next week though!!) and I’m not surrounded by the drama that is created in any community setting. But I’m sure once I’m down there I’ll hear all about it.
From what I’ve read, however, is that military significant others/spouses (I’ll probably end up saying “milso” at some point in this so I’m just gonna go ahead and connect the two. milso = military significant other) are the biggest proprietors of this term. If the show “Army Wives” is any kind of look into the life of a milso, then the community I’m moving into is in for a world of truthful hurt because I don’t play those games. I won’t throw around words like “dependa” and “tag chaser” but I will straight up call you a bitch to your face.
I haven’t been a milso long, but so far all the other milsos I’ve met have been the most supportive and understanding women in the world. They get it. Better than your best friend from high school, better than your sorority sisters, better than your actual blood sister… even better than your mother. The other milsos in your husband’s unit all get it. They’ve been through the same shit you have. The 24 hour duties on important dates, the week or more long field visits that happen at the worst possible times… the six to nine month deployments that feel like they’re never going to end. They understand it all better than anyone else you’ll meet, so why would you want to ostracize yourself from that kind of support?
That’s honestly the biggest issue I have with labeling other milsos as “dependa” and what not. Who cares if the benefits are all they’re in it for? Who are you to judge that? Clearly, their husbands/wives love them and that’s all that should fucking matter. Their marriage works for them and that’s all you should care about. The second you start judging their lives, you start blocking them out when they could be the only person you have to turn to at some point in the possibly very near future.
It really all comes back to the phrase “treat others as you would want to be treated”. I try to live by that 150% every day in everything I do. From work to interacting with the clerk at the grocery store or tipping the woman who served me lunch while I was out with my girlfriends. No matter how they treat me, I take a step back and think about how I want them to treat me, and I replicate that. So far, it’s never not worked out in my favor. If the person is rude, they generally realize they’re being an ass and apologize. Or if they don’t, they start getting even more frustrated that I’m not putting up a fight and walk away upset that they didn’t get what they wanted out of the altercation, which is more satisfactory to me than being an ass right back.
I feel like I’ve rambled a lot and honestly gotten no where. So if you’ve read all of this, I thank you greatly. If you’ve skipped all the juicy bits and jumped to the end, shame on you. Everything I said up there is important so go back and read it.