Resisting a man in uniform

Doug Hite

He was standing confidently outside a department store in the mall, his hair closely cropped and gelled. A friend stood behind him, slightly shorter and slightly less vocal. Their matching tan suits stood out against the contrast of the rest of the crowd.

Who can resist a man in uniform?

Sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise to arrive at the same humdrum places, such as your local shopping mall, and find other activities going on. In my case, this week it was a job fair.

The local radio station blared classic southern rock as part of its gallivanting recruit; a phone center bribed unemployed admirers with candy and a Frisbee with the company’s logo on it; and delivery companies advocated the bright future and job security they could offer through delivering packages.

But none of them could hold a candle to the catcalls of the man in the tan suit.

“Son, how old are you?” he yelled in my direction.

My mind began to spin and I felt his eyes penetrating me, almost undressing me to my very core: “I’m 20.”

The suited man’s reply was filled with eagerness and the excitement of a newly opened door to opportunity. “Good deal! Are you going to school?”

“Yes, sir, I am.”

With my response, his eyes lit up even more. He could offer me something that no one else could. He confidently asked, “Want us to pay for it?”

I had found my sugar-daddy, and his name was the Army National Guard.

A few of my friends told me about him before; they were in relationships with him as well. He’s a charmer, and could get someone to go to the ends of the Earth for him – or at least as far as Iraq.

But I was told that he was two-faced. And while he could give almost anything I could ever want, he was heavily abusive. My friends who’d known him before had shown how hurtful – physically and emotionally – he could be. They had the scars to prove it.

I knew that, while he could never lie to me, he could definitely sugarcoat the prospect of being in a relationship. National Guard and I had to call it quits before we even started.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t do this type of commitment right now. There are other places I should be.”

His eyes grew larger, as if I had closed a door and opened a window into my future. “It’s a big commitment to be in college for four years. It’s not any different than being in the Guard, is it?”

The recruiter could never understand me. He could never understand what college and I have gone through. I love college, and I wasn’t about to be with another future. Besides, the recruiter surely had plenty of suitors.

I dropped the bomb: “I don’t think you understand. I’m going to Kent State, and this can never work out.”

I almost felt bad after telling the recruiter that I couldn’t be with him. Almost.

In walking away, I looked back to see if his eyes were still following me – they were not. Instead, he had already begun propositioning another young man.

He didn’t love me. He just wanted another notch on his belt.

Doug Hite is a junior English major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].