Situation Normal: All Fouled Up (that would be the family friendly version).

The United States Air Force is an amazing institution. We can put a 2,ooolbs bomb within a meter or two of any point on earth, we can read license plates from orbit and we have planes that are all but invisible to radar. So why, when I went to the BX (Base Exchange) yesterday to buy my wife a birthday card, could I not find one? Granted, we’re in the middle of Afghanistan, but this base has been established for about three years now and has one of the nicest BXs in the entire AOR. It’s not even like there is a shortage of cards; the greeting card section takes up an entire isle. The problem is all but one of the birthday cards were under the heading “For Him” or “From Her to Him”, and there were a lot. Let me put this another way; according to the DoD, in 2004 15% of the DoD’s enlisted and officer corps (all services) were women, the percentage of deployed personnel that women make up is even smaller and yet there I stood for ten minutes trying to find one, just one birthday card that didn’t start “To my loving husband…” or “To the world’s best husband…” or have red lipstick “kisses” all over it. Eventually I found one. It was, perhaps, the stupidest card I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t subject my wife to it. I just don’t understand, maybe it has something to do with the old joke about “military intelligence” being an oxymoron, or maybe AAFES just doesn’t have a clue about it’s customer base in the deployed environment (all they’d have to do is look around). I don’t know, maybe I’m being unreasonable, maybe there’s a perfectly logical explanation for why a store with a 95% male customer base would sell, almost exclusively, greeting cards made for purchase by women (it wasn’t just the birthday cards either, I checked), but I really can’t think of one.

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