Jim Webb, our junior Senator was pilloried by his Republican opponent for criticism he made a little over 20 years ago regarding admitting women into the Naval Academy. One of the things he called that institution was "a horny woman's dream." He then went on to say how the different standards and sexual tensions would injure morale and readiness.
USA Today now has this story about a female graduate of the Naval Academy who left that institution about 20 years ago. According to the story (which I'm sure cable must be going insane over) she is a navy Captain infatuated with fellow astronaut and Lt. Commander. I wonder what the effects on morale are going to be in the shuttle program from this little epic?
Now what does NASA say? "Her status is unchanged" and they want to help her get through this. A woman has just driven 900 miles, using diapers so she did not have to take bathroom breaks, in order to kidnap, threaten or off her perceived romantic rival. But NASA doesn't want to hurt her feelings. Her son in high school and her husband's feelings are not discussed. The effect on the other members of the astronaut corps is unmentioned.
She and the other folks in this story are the creme-de-la-creme of the military. They are all in their 40's. How many other disruptive relationships are likely occurring among 20 somethings in a mixed sex, and shortly, mixed sexual orientation military?
I was stunned some years ago at the pregnancy rate of female sailors after a deployment. Of course the media will not do a story reflecting the permanent problems of mixed sex armed forces but every now and then, like in this delicious story, Old Adam (and Eve) can not be hidden. From the nature of things this sort of jealously and disfunction is likely greater than we are aware, but neither I nor Jim Webb could hope for a more spectacular example of what he was talking about.
Operation Petticoate is a failure. But boy does it serve up juicy stories.
Finally, I am in no way against female astronauts and have seen Barbarella on numerous occasions. It is the military aspect of fraternization that caught my eye.