I’m not a fan of Hollywood, their glorification of seemingly anyone for no particular reason, and I don’t like a good deal of their values. So forgive me for the tenuous link to the Marine Corps, which to me is represented by Camp Pendleton, approximately 70 miles South of Hollywood. Unfortunately, geography is not the link here either.

I was in a grunt unit for most of my time. A few of us referred to our part of camp as “Gruntland,” simply because we had fairly few support staff and approximately zero females in our area of camp. For the better part of four and a half years, that was my existence: lots of dudes, lots of guns, females were things we talked about like people from another country. They weren’t where we were, so one’s interactions with them could never be verified until selfies became a thing.

We roamed around off base frequently in groups no smaller than five. That often leads to one or two girls surrounded by dudes. A few of us were absolutely blown away to meet Scarlett Johansson in Kuwait; a fairly dainty gal who was very nice to us, again surrounded by dudes.

I didn’t wash that hand for about a week.

The effect that this had on our relationships with women probably wasn’t great. Mine was the generation to start sharing illicit photos of cheating ex’s via text with the caption, “Make her famous boys!” It was the idea of talking about someone as if they or their friends weren’t there, and sometimes it just amplified to the point of absurdity. Some level of consideration that the other person is actually a person with feelings gets eroded away, and eventually you end up with Marines United.