While this post isn’t really about the south, it is about a little bit of culture shock and an overall shock to my brain when confronted with morals.
For those of you who do not know, I married an active duty enlisted man who is enlisted in the Air Force. What that means is that he’s not an officer, he’s a grunt man. From what I can tell, he doesn’t hate his job too terribly, and from what I’ve been told, he’s damn good at it.
When we were first married, I had to learn about an entirely new culture: The Military Life.
The military life surrounds the military wife. Through the military, I have met women who have said to me “You can’t say that to me! I’m an officer’s wife!” or “How dare you! I’m a staff sergeants wife!”
My husband once told me a joke. “A woman walks up to a pilot and says ‘You have to respect me, I’m a fighter pilot’s wife.’ To which the pilot responds, ‘I am a fighter pilot.’ The woman responds with ‘Pfft, who cares about a pilot?” That joke, while to me is hilarious, gives a very adept example of how some wives are. While I have met my fair share of military wives who are an absolute ball to hang out with, there is a percentage that are conceited like that. Hence why I avoid going on base, it’s easier to just avoid the high school drama.
Anyways, when I was first married, one thing I noticed quite a bit at our last base. There were pink flamingos in people’s yard. Almost half of the yards had pink flamingos. Some of you may think that a lot of people like flamingos, but considering I was living in Alaska where it snowed 9 months of the year, almost nobody had pink flamingos in their yard, at least in this area, unless they were military.
Curious, I asked my coworker who had been married to the military for 28 years. She was a plethora of knowledge for a naïve girl like me and was able to explain every strange phenomenon I encountered.
“Oh, the pink flamingos means that they’re swingers.”
Confused, considering I thought that “swinger” meant someone who went swing dancing, I responded with “I love swinging!”
She looked at me with a very concerned look and said, “What do you think swinging is?”
“Swing dancing?” I ask, suddenly realizing that I answered incorrectly. She laughed.
“No sweetie, swinging means changing sex partners.”
This blew my mind. Mostly because swinging is illegal for military members, especially cheating. Technically, a military member can’t live with a boyfriend or girlfriend before getting married. Military is very traditional like that.
“Also, if you notice an upside down broom on a porch or a garage door that’s open about six inches from the bottom, that’s also a sign of a swinger. The pink flamingo usually throws people off more though. Go ahead, drive around base. See how many houses match that description.”
So that night I tell my husband about the pink flamingo theory, to which he decides to leave it alone. And by leave it alone, I mean drive around base with me to see how many people are swingers.
Found out that there were a lot more swingers than I first realized.
Being in the south, I have not seen any houses that match those descriptions, so I think each base is different. When I ask different people about swinging, they say “Ew! Nobody does that here! That’s just weird and gross!”
I think mum’s the word.
UPDATE: So I have been informed that pink flamingos are universal for swingers. Thanks to a couple friends of mine who know about the subject (though I don’t know how). Apparently also having a red brick in your yard? Something about a red brick. And according to this, a pineapple door knocker in some areas means that your neighbors share their spouses.
I might have to do some more research.