Lingerie Beneath the Sea

by Bob 'Dex' Armstrong

I guess I should stay the hell out of this 'women on the boats' stuff. I have a God-given talent for stepping in the gumbo strictly by accident without intentionally seeking out cobra pits to jump into... But, I figured that I had better come out of the closet before some Requin shipmate pinned the tail on my donkey.

First, I'm an old fashioned Cro-Magnon bluejacket... Love women... Loved 'em so much that when I went north and learned about homosexuality, I thought it was great... Figured it would favorably adjust the odds of a broke E-3 getting laid. I later learned that there were actually two homosexuals in East Tennessee but they never came out in the daytime so nobody had actually seen them.

In the late fifties, early sixties, women were the best they've ever been. If you were lucky enough to capture one and freeze her attitude against evolutionary change known as progress, you got a real keeper.

They were soft and fluffy, and smelled great... Jergens lotion... Palmolive soap... Radio Girl perfume... Painted toenails packaged in lace and protected by Houdini-tested bra hooks. They were real women... Those little darlings could tie you in knots or make you feel like Paul Bunyan on dope.

In the late 60's when insanity ruled, women became shaggy, raggedy-ass creatures for some reason that was never made clear to me. I missed the relevant connection between poor personal hygiene and the advancement of a political conviction. But then, I was still pulling for some kind of Hail Mary, fourth quarter long bomb when the North Vietnamese regulars were pole vaulting over the Saigon embassy wall. I had this wonderful plan to drop six or eight megaton nuclear devices in North Vietnam so all the soldiers would come home to see if their folks were still around... So much for 'Why I will never be president'... Make that reason number 2,463.

Back to women... They never recovered from the sixties. Take a high school kid today... Takes Mary Lou to the prom... On the way home, they drop anchor at the local goody bush... When the poor kid finally gets the package unwrapped, his main squeeze is wearing women's gray cotton jockey underwear. For crissakes, who came up with that 'best forgotten' idea? And what genius invented panty hose? Makes romance appear a lot like skinning a water moccasin. Give me an old fashioned girl... Bright red Doris Day lipstick and a black lace garter belt and I would chew my way through the pressure hull to lay alongside.

Women today are really different... Have no idea why... Why a female journalist would go to court and sue for the right to go into a major league locker room to interview ball players with their tallywackers hanging out... Never got a handle on that one... Often wondered if her successful verdict meant that if I was having a slow day, I had the right to wander into the ladies room and shoot the Tampax machine until I ran out of dimes.

Can't figure out feminists, either. Why in the hell would a good lookin', A-number-one dream goddess want to rush hell-bent into boxing or professional wrestling? I'm not so damn sure the world really needs roller derby queens. I got the idea that this whole generation of screwball females won't be happy until they are shaving their mustaches off everyday and peeing standing up. For what? Just to establish they have the right to do it? Hell, we all have the right to shove a beer can up our gahdam nose... But who in the hell thinks it's a good idea? Just because you have the right to do something, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

I missed the turn in the road where motherhood, sweet gentleness and lace panties became a bad idea.

Now here is where I do the swan dive into the soup…

War is bad enough... Horrid enough... Nasty, stinking and bloody enough without:

(1) Adding to the frigging stupidity of men having to witness the destruction of what they should have been taught by caring mothers, is that most dear thing in life, womanhood... And:

(2) Taking away from a lad engaged in combat, the vision of being the protector of goodness, defender of home and hearth and champion of fair ladies.

And last, what heavy-duty combat man wants to include in his mental album of combat memories, the vision of a female messmate with her chest blown open or having unwanted gang sex in a POW camp where he is powerless to intercede? Why would any woman rush headlong to hang those possibilities around a good man's neck?

There are things that men should not do... You shouldn't peek under a nun's habit... And there are a couple of things you shouldn't do if you are the primary tenant in the White House. Sure you can do it, but it simply isn't a good idea. Women on subs, no matter how tame they have become... No matter how gentlemanly, sensitive and considerate the crews have become... No matter the level of self-control mastery... Women on submarines is a jacked-up stupid idea, condoned and supported by cringing sheep that man the highest positions in our Navy... Men with birdshot-size testicles who should don paperbags on their heads when passing the oil painting of Arleigh Burke in the CNOs corridor in the pentagon. You could boil the entire admiral corps in today's navy and you wouldn't get a good bowl of soup for a sick man.

Having said that, you men have no idea what kind of heat I have generated for myself. Only Stone and Hemming have a clear picture of the future level of armor-piercing incoming I face.

Why? Because I am the extremely proud father of a daughter who is a high-performance paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division... Master parachutist wings... Wears in addition, Australian Airborne qualification wings... Current jumpmaster regularly discharging that responsibility... Went into Iraq on Attack 1991... Bad jump on return compression fracture L-1 vertebrae... Recovered... C.O. of division sends her for O.C.S. selection... Attends O.C.S. at infantry school, Benning... Is awarded Jess Wall's saber on graduation... Distinction reserved for 'Demonstration of exceptional academic and leadership during course'... Very big juju in Army.

Currently commanding the Headquarters Company of the aviation brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division... Green Tab Captain.

The young lady has been convinced for years that her old man's opinion has a very low par value... So that's nothing new... And I don't think she reads the stuff I write. That's probably a good thing.

However, in the off-chance she might get hold of a copy, I can be contacted in East Bubblegum, South Dakota... Living with the snorkel gang under the assumed name of Henry R. Manifold... Either that or I'll be bunking with Jimmy Hoffa.