Hello, sailor! (Kapow!)

Navy trainees learn that the "damsel in distress" can take care of herself.

By Lynn Harris

Published December 29, 2005 7:58PM (EST)

Is it just me, or is this kinda funny? According to an article in today's Times, the U.S. Coast Guard is working with various Central American navies to help intercept cocaine shipments at sea. One passage describes some Honduran sailors who have boarded a suspicious fishing boat called Chupacabras: "The sailors found a woman hiding in the engine room. They put cuffs on her, but did not close them tight. So she wiggled her hands free, grabbed her gun and shot the sailors."

Actually, it was only an exercise. The guns were fake; the soldiers were fine. But they were so busted.

"The woman always stumps them," their commander said. "They have a hard time learning that women can be just as dangerous as men."

Okay. Never mind real life: If you were doing an EXERCISE like this, of which, you are well aware, the WHOLE POINT is that you are learning to respond to CRIMINALS who might put you in DANGEROUS SITUATIONS, don't you think you'd be equally suspicious of EVERYONE, including -- perhaps especially -- the LADY? I mean, wow, are these things ingrained. The Times reporter (lazily, I'd say) wrote that the sailors were foiled by "feminine wiles." Really? I'd call it masculine assumptions. It just cracks me up to imagine these sailors figuring the woman was -- as she so often is in, say, literature and recorded history -- just some sort of side note to what's really going on. Hilarious. Guess the "damsel in distress" dies hard. Or goes down shooting.

Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

MORE FROM Lynn Harris

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Broadsheet Love And Sex