There are probably a thousand cadences about Jody. “Jody,” for the uninitiated, is the nickname for that guy who messes around with someone’s significant other while he’s off on a deployment or on training. It’s a military tradition. That’s why military units love to make up songs about him to sing while they run.
Ain’t no use in goin’ home,
Jody’s got your girl and gone.
Ain’t no use in goin back,
Jody’s got your Cadillac,
Ain’t no use in feeling blue,
Jody’s took your checkbook too.
It’s worth talking about him, and maybe about about her, too. Whoever came up with that term was prescient, because Jody is a unisex name. In days past, it was assumed he would always be some guy. In today’s military, though, it could be anyone. The villain isn’t always some guy trying to steal your girl. Man or woman, straight or gay, in today’s military, no one is immune to the vicious strike of the Jody.
Cheating isn’t unique to the military community, or even likely any more common than among civilians, but there’s something uniquely cold and heartless about someone cheating while someone’s partner is gone, and not just gone, but out fighting half a world away, or floating in the middle of the ocean, or even just out on temporary duty assignment training somewhere. Whether Jody’s real name is Nick or Bryan, or even Jennifer or Tiffany, Jody is a scourge on society, and service members need some field identification tips to identify Jody, wherever he roams.
Just remember, whenever you find Jody, however you find Jody, he actually did you a favor — he let you know that your relationship was not strong enough for the military life, and you need to get yourself a different one. But yes, Jody is still a scumbag.
The Backstabbing Buddy
The Backstabbing Buddy was so helpful getting your family ready for deployment. He helped with putting those planters in the backyard and painting the deck before you left. He’s such a nice fella he even offered to come by once a week to mow the grass. What a great guy! Why, he certainly deserves that cold beer your wife offered after he finished. Unfortunately, the lawn wasn’t the only thing getting some trim in your house that day. He is the literal proof of the cliche that “buddy” is only half a word. If your kids are calling some guy “uncle” when you get back, you might have a problem. “Thanks for mowing the yard while I was gone,” you tell Backstabbing Buddy. “No problem. It was my pleasure … really,” he’ll tell you.
The Base Housing Casanova
Base housing is a lot like “Melrose Place,” if everyone was less attractive and too many of the characters were trapped in ill-considered marriages. The line diagram of the illicit relationships going on there can look like a plate of spaghetti. Patient Zero in this chaos is the Base Housing Casanova. This is an unusual and self-destructive Jody, in that he’s simultaneously cheating on his spouse at the same time he’s picking up someone else’s. He knows the work hours and deployment schedules of every unit on base. His triple Lindy of deceit eventually explodes in his face and everyone else’s. The resulting detonations give some poor family readiness officer, sergeant major, and commanding officer simultaneous heart attacks as they deal with the highly toxic fallout blowing up over two or three units.
There is one saving grace of getting stationed in the god-awful backwaters that are home to many military bases. Service members can hold themselves as better than the slack-jawed yokels that make up a disproportionate share of the population in military towns. Whether you’re a Marine in J-Vegas or a soldier in FayetteNam, you roll into any bar knowing that you’re a badass, and that used car salesman or whatever at the other end of the bar is not. Don’t get too cocky. That guy has a shit ton of time on his hands to get his swerve on, and you’re gone half the time during workups, and then gone for half a year or more at a time after that. Townie Jody has home-field advantage. Townie Jody knows where the deployment widows congregate. Townie Jody is hanging out there like a pressure-plate IED for your relationship. Townie Jody would like nothing better than to get some back-door revenge on that Devil Dog who called him a slack-jawed yokel.
A lot of significant others decide not to hang around the God-forsaken hellhole surrounding a military base while their partners deploy. Many of them decide to go back to their hometowns, back to the welcoming arms of a familiar environment, where many family and friends still live. Enter Hometowner Jody. “It’s got to be so hard with him away all the time. You must be so lonely. Didn’t he volunteer for that deployment?” Hometown Jody whispers into the ear of an unsuspecting high school friend, aka your girlfriend. Jody might even be your significant other’s old flame, or just an old friend, but he sure as hell isn’t your friend, no matter how warmly he shakes your hand at that high school reunion. “Most Likely to Succeed,” indeed.