Blogishness, Quote

Thought for the Day – Mary Louise Roberts (sex & war)

“During their time in France, the GIs bought an extraordinary amount of sex. Prostitution became a widespread phenomenon during the years 1944-45 because sex was the one good not available at the local military store.” – Mary Louise Roberts 

This quote is from Mary Louise Roberts’ book, What Soldier’s Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France. The book is about, well… exactly what you’d expect from the subtitle. It’s about all the sexing that GI’s were doing after liberating France from the Germans. And oh man, was there a LOT of sex!

What I loved about this book is that it takes on an interesting/controversial topic. Many people, who’ve never served their country and/or fought in a war, have a type of mythos surrounding war and the military. As though soldiers stop being people when fighting and merely become “soldiers.” But the truth is that a soldier is still just a person, and guess what, people like sex.

[pullquote]”Comprised of the contact of flesh and the exchange of bodily fluids, the sexual encounter between soldier and prostitute could not have been more intimate. At the same time, however, such intimacy became deeply politicized as it crossed national borders.”[/pullquote]Anyone who’s served in the military, or who enjoys history, knows the stories… it happened in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and even Iraq. I had one friend tell me that “If you’re ever in Baghdad … just go to the drycleaners on base and tell them you lost a red sweater, then a few minutes later they’ll send a girl to your room.”

Now, with me sharing that red-sweater story, and Roberts’ sharing her stories, a lot of people will become upset that these stories, no matter how truthful, shouldn’t be told because of the light in which they present soldiers. That’s a bunch of bullarky. No soldier fights and risks his life just to have history whitewashed. Interesting stories should be told, no matter how they make someone/something look. And a story about the liberation of France, told from the POV of prostitutes, is definitely an interesting story that needs to be told.

Here’s the beginning of Chapter 5: The Silver Foxhole, to give you an idea of what you’re in for:

“The liberation of Paris was a precarious time for prostitutes like Marie-Therese Cointre, who had plied her trade with the Germans. In August 1944, a neighbor invited her to go out to welcome Charles de Gaulle. “If you want to get a punch in the mouth, that’s fine, but I’m not going!” she replied. Cointre knew all too well that the French Resistance of FFI was publicly shaving the heads of women who had slept with Germans during the occupation. In the turbulence of the Liberation, the FFI sometimes failed to make the distinction between a professional prostitute and a French woman guilty of “horizontal collaboration.”

If you’re interested in history, sex, and prostitution, pick up a copy of the book (but be forewarned, the author does a bit of political proselyting–just keep that in mind.)


Thought For The Day

I’m not sure when/where I first came across this quote, or who to attribute it to, but it’s been one of those quotes that have stuck with me ever since I first heard it. I think it really speaks to the idea of living the type of life that makes us feel fulfilled when we die; the goal, I believe, is that when we die, there is no one to meet, in the sense of “the person you could have become,” because we already are the person we “could have” become.


Thought For The Day – P.G. Wodenhouse

I love this quote because I think it’s so true for most writers. Once we first picked up that pen and paper and realized this is who I am, it’s as though your life before was just a blur. Think of it as B.C. and A.D. “Before Christ,” was this part of history, and then after Christ is this other part of history. It’s true for most of us, whatever our profession. Before we became a writer/artist/entrepreneur/ life was this, but after, now it’s this.


Thought For The Day – Richard Jadick

Every veteran has at least one story that revolves solely around music. For me, it was seeing Toby Keith sing American Soldier while deployed to Iraq (for the concert he renamed the song to American Warrior since there were Marines and Airmen on the base and not just soldiers).  I don’t consider myself a fan of country music, but that was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to in my life.

Toby Keith put on an amazing show and when he sang American Soldier, the experience of actually seeing American Soldiers singing along to the song, while at war, it was surreal. Something I’ll never forget.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for Toby Keith and all the other entertainers who trek overseas to perform for our troops. It’s an experience most of them will never forget.