Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Fine Art of DIBS! In a Deployed Military Setting.

Authors note: I have started and stopped this blog entry several times over the last few weeks, for the fear coming off like a Pig. Please understand that this is my attempt to show that even supposed professionals can act like immature 14 year olds. Please read this for the light-hearted fun that it is intended.

When I was younger my friends and I would play version of a game called Dibs. Which basically was that if one friend showed up somewhere with more of something, generally candy, than he needed or at least we thought he needed someone would call ‘Dibs.’ Which meant that after he was done enjoying whatever the item of interest was, or if he decided to share said item the first person who made a verbal declaration of ‘Dibs’ on said item had first choice on that item. Similar to when people will call ‘shotgun’ for coveted front seat in a car. If someone else calls Dibs or Shotgun first you are honor bound to let them have that first option. It is part of an unwritten man-code, which was understood even at a young age.
A few weeks ago a new female civilian contractor arrived on our small little base. Within a couple days of noticing her, I decided that at least my small group of friends I would make a public profession of ‘Dibs’ on this young lady.
Calling ‘Dibs’ on somebody, especially in a military setting, is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. ‘Dibs’ is no way to be confused with or considered stalking. It does not give me the right to follow or generally act creepy around this young woman. The only way that I would ever be able to use my ‘Dibs’ rights were if she were to some how profess a desire for male companionship. At that point, ideally, the honor amongst men clause would be observed amongst my friends. However I know that this base is 85% male, it would be a more apt description of honor amongst thieves.
I can try and attempt to make the first strike and actually go up talk to her. It should be noted though that there is no rule that says that I have to invoke my ’Dibs’ rights, just because I have called ‘Dibs’ on someone doesn't mean that I actually have to talk to her. Getting the courage to actually talk to a Dibs girl, can be like mustering the strength to climb Mount Everest. You can’t expect to be able to climb Everest in one shot, this is something that has to be worked up and will probably have several false starts and stumbles.
If I were to try to use my ’Dibs’ rights the honor I would be given is the right to have a have conversations with her in public areas. Which basically means I could have a meal in our dinning facility, talk outside of most buildings, or if I was feeling real adventurous go for a walk in a well lit open area.
Being in the military and deployed presents additional, almost insurmountable obstacles when it comes to meeting members of the opposite sex. First there is the issue of fraternization; as an officer I can not have an improper relationship with enlisted females. An improper relationship could be interpreted as doing nothing wrong other than talking with an enlisted female more than would seem normal under work circumstances. While frowned upon in civilian life, and it would violate my own morals, an improper relationship with a married woman in the military is considered adultery and can carry a significant punishment. Additionally it is possible to have an improper relationship with a female officer, all dependant upon her rank or position of authority. So about the only persons that I could have a relationship that does not automatically qualify as being an improper relationship with an unmarried civilian contractor.
In a deployed setting there are more issues to complicate a situation. Because I am always on duty, public displays of affection are an absolute no-no. Next General Order 1A strictly prohibits males and females from cohabiting in the same building or room. Which basically says that it is violation of an order from a General Officer to be in a room together for anything other than work.
There is one small advantage for women who become ‘Dibs’ girls while in a combat zone. Behind their backs, they will have a new name. Consider the fact that most civilian contractors do wear a uniform with their name on it. At least amongst the men that I made the public ‘Dibs’ proclamation they will have a name to call her other than the blond haired girl or something. For example I was by the gym this afternoon and saw Rassler’s ’Dibs’ girl walk by.
I am also under no illusion that I am the only person on this base who as called Dibs on her. Considering once again that with a population of over 1000 people, and 85% or more of whom are male, other males not in my group of friends and co-workers have probably called ‘Dibs’ on her. I am guessing that my ‘Dibs’ code of ethics is probably higher than the average soldier her on base, so the challenge would be, if I found another Dibber on base to convince him that my ‘Dibs’ time and date stamp is earlier than his. Thus my Dibs would take precedence over his, or hers since this is about to become the post Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Army. That is a topic for another day.

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