Part of military life involves getting used to acronyms. It also involves living without your spouse while they are deployed or otherwise away. I am not sure YOLO (you only live once) is appropriate to describe going to a military ball without your military counterpart, but humor me for a little bit. The ball is a time to celebrate with your friends and fellow squadron/commands/duty station peers and have a nice evening out. Should you forgo this evening if your military counterpart is away?


My answer is no. This is my second year in a row to attend a military ball solo. Last year my husband was deployed and this year he is on a detachment to the USS Nimitz (SPOILER: I still had a wonderful time). Here is why I think you should strongly consider attending the ball even without your spouse, partner or date:
-It gives you an opportunity to be surrounded by others who are missing their spouse and may even give you a chance to meet someone new who is going through a similar situation. For example, last year I attended 8 months pregnant. I gravitated to the other full bellied women and we were able to talk about the excitement of our upcoming additions as well as unabashedly eat a second helping of cake.


- While I am throwing out ridiculous acronyms, I am also going to say if you do not go you may experience FOMO- the fear of missing out.  This goes for the single ladies and men who are contemplating attending the ball. You do not need a date to have fun. In my experience (so far 6 Balls, or if you count ROTC 10!), the dance floor is not shy of singles shaking a leg.


-Set expectations. Attending a function solo is not the same experience. The bad; you miss your spouse and date, there is no one to dance the slow dances with, to share your cake, and to talk about “you know who’s” ridiculous dress. On the upside, you can avoid the “shop talk” if you want. I did not once have to participate in a conversation about pulling Gs.


-Be on your best behavior. (This is the part where we take YOLO with a grain of salt.) The last thing you want is your absent spouse to hear about any embarrassing behavior second hand. The only thing you should overindulge on this evening is good company and celebratory cake.


Have you attended a function without your spouse or significant other? How did you make the most of it? Would you do it again? Please share your experience in the comments (bonus points if you can use an acronym)!

New Member

As a single officer, I'm frequently "voluntold" to attend these events. I've always gone solo. They can be fun depending on your outlook and the people with whom you surround yourelf. It can be a bit difficult if you are fairly new to the Organization. Leave your phone in the car, start up conversation, have some laughs, and just be comfortable in your own skin.

Briana Hartzell USAA


You have such a great attitude! Thank you for your comment and helpful tips (I agree about leaving your phone in the car). :)

Occasional Visitor
There have been times there are a group of the girls will go together that also do not have dates. We car pool together and sit at the same table if possible. It's definitely what you make it.
Briana Hartzell USAA


I agree it is what you make it! I think it is great that the ladies go together and enjoy each others company! Thank you for commenting!

Occasional Visitor

I buy the "FOMO" aspect a lot.  This is especially true when there is unit history involved.  Sometimes it matters more just to have "been there".  As a retiree and now alumni to two units whose activities i still frequent, it is great to go and see old friends.  But it isn't always as fun for the spouse. Especially if you're are away from the Army (or not in a real "unit" but in a staff section).

Better to go stag than bring along a spouse who doesn't "get it", hates to socialize, or just has a negative/dour opinion of the unit (or people in it).