I’m slightly baffled as to why Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler would take to Facebook, of all places, for input on changes to the Army grooming standards. Maybe he thought his Facebook pals were the best people to solicit advice on the Army’s consideration of a ban on French manicures, earrings and ponytails?
I understand the eradication of earrings from Army standards. Studs should remain acceptable, as they’re unobtrusive; hoops and danglers are another thing. I’m definitely not in the Army, but I never wear dangly earrings on the basis that I’m wont to get my hair caught in them. A pulled earring is also one of the most unpleasant feelings in the universe, not to mention it threatens to stretch your earlobe. Long earrings are just cumbersome, plain and simple.
That brings me to the state of fingernails. Should French manicures be allowed in the army? If it were up to me, they would be illegal everywhere, and punishable by death. Nothing says “Jersey Shore” like French manicures (except for maybe a velour tracksuit and a bleach blonde weave with the tracks showing. But I digress). But this particular proposed ban for the Army is perplexing: French-manicured nails aren’t really different from regularly manicured nails in the long run. Is it because they’re French? Je ne sais pas.
What makes the least sense to me is the fact that the Army is questioning whether ponytails should be verboten. Huh? So every woman in the army would have her hair down? Ponytails are functional, serving to keep your hair out of your face and generally out of the way. I can’t see them being any more hazardous than, well, a dangling earring. Perhaps a tight bun tucked beneath the hat would be a better option. However, we all know that buns sometimes fall apart and become … ponytails.
With that said, it is intriguing the Army staff is asking these questions — it is definitely a sign that more and more women are becoming visible within the military. However, I really think grooming matters should be directed towards the women who are affected by these decisions, not Raymond Chandler’s Facebook friends.