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)!