We have been around and around on this, but while we’re waiting for the 8 miserable recycled female survivors (and some dozens of their male peers) to reflow into the Camp Darby phase of Ranger Class 7-15 after bouncing out of 6-15, we have a few other relevant things, things we should have covered previously but haven’t.
Today, Life Sucks for the Women of Class 6-15. And the Men.
For the moment, spare a thought for the unhappy recycles, who must survive the Gulag’s daily harassment (“reinforcement training”) until their inject date to 7-15 comes up. (One suspects that the presence of the 31 Observer Advisors and whatever rump media are still following the surviving gals moderates it some, in the case of the women). One of the biggest things tormenting them is the self-doubt in every heart, and the knowledge that a second chance at a single phase is probably all you get. (There may be an exception for the women, as there have been so many exceptions made already, but we’re sure no one has told them that). And each one knows, in his or her heart, that they’ve already blown it, already failed, once.
Somewhere in each little would-be Ranger brain is a voice whispering words of failure. Success depends on their ability to suppress that voice, to strangle the little doubtnik speaking those words. That is a highly individual thing, in a class where you’re graded individually, but also graded, by your instructors and your similarly stressed peers, on your teamwork.
The Army has studied for years the candidates and graduates of this program, hoping that something in personality inventories and psychometrics can predict who will fail and who will pass. They have never really succeeded, and one of the reasons is that in each man (and now, woman), the war of self against self, of doubt against determination, is fought anew each day.
For two months.
Unless you recycle, then the battle lasts longer.
Right now, the recycles are being smoked by Ranger instructors. (“Smoked” is a Ranger verb, that, like the Ranger cry “Hooah!”, has spread across the Army and on into culture. A couple years ago we had a household contractor say, “This is how we’re going to fix that, hooah?” Knew he was one of Our People. Fixing old rickety stuff on Hog Manor had him smoked).
Tom Kratman Actually Called the 6-15 Results Before it Started
We have missed some developments and some materials about the whole Rangerette thing that are still worth sharing. We’ll get in a moment to the often-cited Israeli experience (which is more mixed than either “side” in America wants to admit), but first, we have to doff berets (the real, earned kind) to Hugo-nominated Novelist Tom Kratman, who in a column at EveryJoe.com called the outcome for the women in Class 6-15 before the first one signed in to the RTB.
So now what’s going to happen? I am not sure how far along the Army is in coming up with those hopeful three-score. They’ve got their Zampolits, the female political commissars tasked with ensuring the doubleplussungood, gender-cisnormative, evilwickednaughtybadbadbad males running the school can’t be too hard on the women going through it. I have it on pretty good authority that, on being told they’d have to cut their hair very short,3 the Zampolits either became upset, or freaked out, or came totally unglued. Allegedly, too, the women were extremely interested in what types of birth control would be allowed.
As we know now, the Ranger head shave was relaxed for the women, who received about a 3/8 or 7/16 inch buzz.
One can almost sympathize. The amount of hair a male soldier finds comfortable and flattering for himself will come back in a few weeks. For women, it’s a matter of years. And the hair’s more important to them, generally, too, early rock musicals notwithstanding.
Exercise for the reader (heteronormative trigger alert, heh). If we were to go into your master bathroom, and count hair care items, what would the F/M ratio be? We’ve never tried to add it up. Hognose here owns one bottle of shampoo at a time, and might use soap for a week before remembering to buy another bottle.
I can’t imagine the Army giving a rat’s patootie about what kind of birth control the Zampolits use. If any actual female ranger students are going to worry about it I’d suggest they’ll be very, very optimistic. More on that, and related factors, later in this column.
One subject of discussion back in the dawn of time in Class 1-83, long about Florida phase, was (crudity coming) “Does anybody remember when he last had a woody?” This caused a momentary panic, and worry about whether this capability would ever return to these men, aged 19-33 with a few outliers high and low, for whom the said biological reaction was a frequent fact in daily life. You’re way, way past sexual fantasies at that point. The most common subject of discussion was what you’re going to eat afterwards. These food fantasies would be appalling to normal, well-fed Americans (our recollection follows):
“I’m going to the McDonalds drive through and order one of everything.”
“I’m gonna eat a whole lobster. Shell and all. With two pounds of butter.”
“Hey, think of this, guys…. just imagine the smell. I’m going to go to a bakery.”
(Chorus): “Mmmmmmm, a bakery.”
The faces light with religious fervor. If only they knew the direction of this bakery, they’s shoot a azimuth to it and prostrate themselves.
(Continued after the break).