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Dick in a Box

August 15, 2012

DIB….Dick In a Box…an homage to the Andy Samburg/Justin Timberlake SNL skit, appropriated by Liz and Marie to have a new meaning. Put your dick in a box or putting his dick in a box means to classify a man as unavailable or out of reach……or whose attentions one should ignore. PTDIB

That summer, a strange dynamic developed within the Splat Pack. Liz loved to dance. Joseph was a great cajun/zydeco dancer, found dancing just about anywhere live cajun or zydeco music was playing on any given day of the week. Inevitably, Liz and Joseph got to know each other and started hanging out, sometimes with the other pack members, sometimes just the two of them. As it turned out, Joseph met the qualifications as a potential splat packer. He was in recovery from a recent, heart-breaking divorce. He was falling, like the rest of them. So, by royal decree King Splatrick accepted him into the pack as an intern.

One evening Liz and Joe were out together. Liz texted Marie updates as they were want to do. “It’s okay to have sex with Joe,” Marie texted Liz, half joking. Marie and Liz had similar pasts with men, which is to say they had not had much variety by way of sexual partners in thier lives. Two and one other partners, respectively. Having been separated from their husbands for many months, they both had the feeling that they needed to get one under the belt. Liz laughed at the absurdity of Marie’s text.

The next morning, the usual debrief phone call had Marie asking impatiently, “And did you sleep with him?”

“Yes,” was the answer at the other end and they both laughed out loud. Marie was riding her bike downtown. Upon hearing this news she rang her little bike bell and cried out, “Yeah, an angel gets its wings. An angel gets its wings,” as they both giggled at their own silliness.

This pairing however was short-lived and a couple of weeks later Joe expressed misgivings about a potential relationship with Liz. She was not yet divorced. Papers had not been filed. To his credit, Joe decided he didn’t want to continue along the path they were headed until things were more settled with Liz’s marital status. Fair enough. So, a friends-with-but-without-benefits situation. Ok. Weird. But Ok.

Liz, remarkably was able to pick up the friendship without skipping a beat. She continued to spend time with Joe. They went out dancing. They talked on the phone and texted each other daily. She often slept on the sofa in his apartment after a night out, since she lived a good thirty-minute drive away. Liz playfully teased Joe about their brief sexual encounters. They enjoyed each other’s company and their friendship allowed Liz to discover Joe’s flaws without the burden of being romantically vested. She could see him for the whole of who he was without evaluating his potential as a mate. And Joe had his flaws. Deal breaker flaws.

At first Marie seemed a bit puzzled by this post-sex friendship situation. “How are you able to just be friends with him?” she asked Liz.

“He’s in a box.” Liz told Marie as she made the shape of a box in the air with her hands.

This ability of Liz’s to put Joe, “in a box,” puzzled Marie even more after the weekend at the guest house with the purple room. [see Screenplay] She and Sam had hooked up that weekend and in the weeks that followed Marie had a hard time catagorizing and processing her feelings about him. She knew these feelings were biological, evolutionary and even irrational. She had sex with a man. There had been affection and kissing and all the actions people engage in when they’re falling in love. But she wasn’t in love with Sam and had not really looked at him in a romantic way until a few weeks before. And only then because he had flirted so heavily and smoothly with her. She had found herself surprisingly susceptible to the idea of being more than just his friend. That idea found its fruition during the now-infamous weekend at the guest house.

So in the aftermath of this fairly romantic weekend, Marie’s brain worked in overdrive to make up for the discrepancy between the actions they had engaged in and Sam’s assertion that it was “just a weekend thing.” Sex and affection = love, Marie’s brain chemistry told her. And when Sam resumed the playful attention he was so good at, it fueled the fire of Marie’s irrational imagination and the possibiltiy that he had feelings for her was something she found herself clinging to, despite continued evidence to the contrary. Why can’t I put him in a box, Marie wondered.

“Put him in a box,” Liz said…..”Put that Dick in a Box,” she added and they laughed at the SNL reference. And the acronym, PTDIB was born and added to the Splat Pack manefesto. [see Splat Pack]

Marie’s struggles continued. Sam didn’t help. He continued to play with her. Whether he did so consciously or not wasn’t clear. They talked in some way everyday. Sometimes it was all day facebook-chat sessions. Often it was well into the night. Sometimes he called when he was driving home. When she posted a request for phone calls while she was walking in the park, he took her up on it and talked with her while she managed her three laps. Personal experiences were shared. Occasionally his walls seemed to come down and he would open up to her with personal stories. But most of his communications, especially written ones were shrouded in double-speak and quotes. He spoke in parables and sent links to songs that may or may not have been messages to her. Half the time Maire didn’t know what the hell he was referring to or trying to say. A link to a love song had Marie wondering is he was trying to tell her something. Then she found out he sent the same link to Liz. Another link was accompanied by the claim,”This is my theme song.”

He was sad and beautiful and funny and more than a bit melodramatic. And like Joe, he had flaws. My God did he have flaws. This was not an easy man. He was broken like the rest of them. The walls around him were thick, despite his happy and highly social persona. He was impossible to understand, but claimed transparancy. “I am.” he wrote to her. “Everyone thinks I’m complicated because they don’t think they can take me at face value. But I just am.”

Bullshit, Marie thought. It’s because you give mixed messages and send mixed signals. He was either blind to his influence on her and naive about how a woman might feel when showered with such pleasing attentions (thank you Jane Austen) or he was downright cruel. Cruel or blind seemed to be the only rational options. Either way, Marie wondered why she would want to continue this kind of torture.

“You’re getting something out of it or you wouldn’t be doing it,” Liz told her.

Marie was rational enough to know that her feelings were based on her brain’s trickery but this did not leave her with wisdom enough to prevent the crush she had developed on Sam. And Liz was right. She was getting a lot out of it. She genuinely liked Sam. She loved  him, she decided. They way she loved Liz and her brothers and sisters. He was special. He was unique. He was a gift to her life like so many others had been before, were then and would be in the future. He made her laugh every day. She liked the sound of his laugh on the other end of the telephone when she provoked it from him. She felt less lonely with him in her life. She was entertained.

Then something changed. Sam announced to the pack his plan to come into town, two weeks out. Marie both looked forward to and dreaded this visit. This would be the first time they would be in each other’s prescence since that weekend, the purple room, and the awkward hug goodbye that had bruised Marie’s heart just a little. How would he behave around her, she wondered.  Would he even try to spend time with her? Would he try to kiss her again? Or would he just go back to the way things were before? And how would any of those actions make Marie feel?

Then Marie got a bat-signal call from her daughter. She was having a hard time and needed her mommy. So Marie decided to plan a trip to see her daugther beginning the weekend Sam would be in town. Be unavailable, she told herself. With her absence she could avoid the awkwardness altogether and not have to face the variety of consequences that could happen that weekend.

Liz, consulted with this plan, admitted to her that she had tried to suss out Sam’s feelings through an e-mail exchange with him. Liz and Marie had let the PTDIB acronym slip in a group chat and Sam was quizzing Liz on what it meant. “I figured it out,” he claimed.

“I had to have a way to keep Marie from falling for you,” Liz wrote him. Classically Sam-ish, he replied with only a smiley face emoticon. Typically and purposely vague. Where Marie would have let that stand, holding onto the vague gesture with hope and not wanting to know what she feared was the truth, Liz didn’t let him get away with just that. “Are you falling for my Marie or are you just playing,” she insisted.

“I’m just playing,” Sam wrote back.

Damn. PTDIB!

Marie put out one last feeler. She decided to offer Sam her apartment to stay in when he was in town and she was out traveling. If he had any hopes of being with her that weekend, if his plans had been a subversive way of seeing her without having to actually ask her out, then surely his response would show his intentions. “What? You’re not going to be there when your King is in town,” he might have teased. No such response. Without skipping a beat, within seconds of Marie’s offer, he replied simply with “Thanks!”

Well, shit. PTDIB.

That was the death knell for Marie’s hopes for any kind of romantic intentions. She told her brain chemistry to go suck it and PTDIB!

Marie was upset over this for a couple of hours. She thought she might be heart broken. She thought she might be depressed about it for a few days. But, she went for her usual walk and replaced those other stupid chemicals with exercise-enduced endorphins and as the beautiful evening light streaked through the moss-covered oak trees she got over it. DIB!

She remembered that she can still love him. He can still be special to her. She can still flirt and talk with him and hopefully she can keep him in her life. She can give to him all she wants to with the pure love and affection that friendship allows. She can see his flaws without the burden of weighing them in her mind as potential deal breakers. She can just enjoy him. Dick safely in Box.

That night Marie texted back and forth with Sam as she unpacked books and artwork and placed them in her apartment. Most of the time she didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. But she laughed often. She did this knowing that it didn’t mean anything more than just entertainment to get through the evening for both of them. And she was okay with that. For now.


So that summer, the Splat Pack consisted of two, strong women navigating the waters of extreme and rapid change. Processing loss and challenges. Filling in the blanks and fighting for the future. Holding each other up and playing together. Along with them on this ride were two men, each in their own phase of recovery and with whom Liz and Marie had paired off with on one or two occasions. A foursome of friends with- and-without-benefits.

What could possibly go wrong?


From → Rantings

  1. ditchthemarriage permalink

    You know how much I love your blog! I have nominated you for an award, please follow this link:

    • nicolebellpeppers permalink

      Wow. Thanks. Flattering. I will endeavor to follow your instructions. Merci Beaucoup.

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