Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – Love and Pride

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

By: Carol Rood

When I met my lovely partner, we were both in the Military, and it was during the time of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT).  I never really understood DADT.  I mean, I worked in a squadron.  A squadron of 700 sailors.  Many more men than women.  People tossed around the word “fa-” and “gay” all the time.  The guys would “pretend” to be “homo” in the work centers.  It was a favorite game of many of the guys to walk up to someone sitting in a chair and push their crotch into a dude’s face.  That always got lots of laughs followed by calling someone the “f” word.  It was a joke. They joked about it all the time, so wasn’t that asking and telling?

Nope, I guess not.  Not in a REAL way anyway.  Most of us knew who each other were, most of us “in the life”.  It was never really spoken about, but we knew.  Sometimes if you knew someone VERY well, you might let it “slip” that you had a “roommate”, but not always.  Or if you brought your “roommate” or “best friend” to the holiday party or any other command function, that could be a giveaway, but nobody ever really asked, and NOBODY told…

So anyway, K and I were stationed in the same squadron when we met.  I worked on the second deck and she worked in an office on the first deck. She worked in Quality Assurance, so she had to inspect the aircraft, make sure it was safe for flight, check any repairs etc.  She was actually a bigwig in the squadron, and was very well known and respected.  Everyone sought her out, and she was very noticeable.  What they didn’t notice was the winks, or nods of the head she had for me as she walked across the squadron and would see me standing outside my office door, just “looking around”.

People started saying, “If you want to find AM1, look for HM1”, and vice versa.  She would come “visit” me in my office.  We became inseparable at work.  It was easy, and was probably made easier due to the fact that we were women.  It was easier to accept two women becoming BFF’s than two men hanging out together all the time.

We would meet for lunch in the First Class Mess (basically a room where we held our meetings) and have lunch together.  We could usually sneak in a kiss or two.  No windows, and the door locked automatically.  Someone coming in would have to enter the code in the cipher lock, and you could hear them before they entered…whew…

So this went on for some time.  We started being involved in April, although we knew we were in love with each other in February.  We just hadn’t admitted it to each other yet.  We were ready to commit to each other.  There was just one hitch…K had orders to move in August.  Thank goodness she had fallen in love before she took her orders.  She chose to move to Pennsylvania because it was only a 6-hour drive from where I lived in Virginia.  Just think where she could have ended up if she had chosen orders before we met?  It could have been a much worse situation.  As it was, we decided we could do a 6-hour commute.  So that summer was filled with clandestine get-aways, and “car pooling” to work (the man she was involved with had not yet moved out). We spent the summer driving around in my car with the moon roof open, soaking up the sun and listening to Keith Urban cd’s.  Our “first date” was to a Keith Urban concert, and we had a ball!  Oh Keith, you amazing man…to this day whenever I hear Keith Urban singing “I Want to Love Somebody Like You”, it takes me right back to that summer.  That was “our” song…sigh…

So we spent as much time as possible together, hanging out whenever we could, trying not to think about the fact that K and her kids were moving at the end of the summer.  That day did eventually come, and it was with tears and much sadness, that I waved goodbye and watched her drive away to live in Pennsylvania for three years!

We had only been “together” for 4 months, and weren’t even really “together” because she had still lived with someone until July.  So as she left to live somewhere 6 hours away as we were just entering a relationship, I was nervous things weren’t going to work out.  We hadn’t even really dealt with the issue of our kids, and how they might react to us being together…

It was all a mystery, and one I was dreading, but we were in the Navy. She had orders.  There was no way around the separation.

Would we make it??  Only time would tell…



[Photo Credit: Lunchbox LP]

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