Army Asks St. Pat’s Day Revelers to Stop Kissing Soldiers
Officials are asking that a decades-old tradition of women planting red-lipstick kisses on army men walking in a St. Patrick’s Day parade, be put to rest.
Women who used to dart out from the crowd to smooch members of the 3rd Infantry Division from nearby Ft. Stewart as they walk by in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade are being asked to refrain from doing so.
“This is mainly about professionalism for us,” said Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson, as reported by Savannah Morning News.
“We understand the parade traditions, but our soldiers are on duty and in uniform and, frankly, red lipstick is not part of our uniform.”
Brian Counihan, chairman of the parade committee, told the paper he remembers the kissing tradition as far back as the 1970s, but the incidences of women rushing into the parade and planting a bright red one on the cheek of a Benedictine Military School cadet or military member was rather rare.
Over the years, Counihan said, it has become excessive.
“It was sporadic, a few of your girlfriends and your moms would run out,” Counihan said, according to the paper. “In the last six or eight years, it’s come to a point where the military’s almost halted. … It’s a fun thing, but it’s gotten out of hand.”
Counihan also pointed out that the practice raises safety and security concerns.
Organizers reportedly also want to avoid any semblance of sexual misconduct.
“People can take it the wrong way,” Counihan said. “Somebody could run up and grab an individual and it could be considered sexual harassment if it’s done improperly.”
The 2018 parade is scheduled for March 17.