If there’s someone in your life who is, for lack of a better term, a total dick, you’ve probably struggled with deciding how to confront them. You could talk to them in person. You could write a sharply worded email enumerating all your grievances against them. Or you could send them a package that lets them know, in no uncertain terms, exactly how you feel. And by package, we literally mean a package.
Enter Shipadick.com, which is exactly what it sounds like: a website that allows you to ship a two-and-a-half-foot cardboard erect penis to anyone in the world.
For $9.99, you can send a standard 29-inch dick; for $14.99, you can also add a customizable message or one from the site’s drop-down menu, filled with such Algonquin Round Table nuggets as “SLAP!”, “I love you,” “Mine bends where yours ends,” “Congrats! You’ve got Herpes!” or just an elegant, concise “You’re a dick.” There are also holiday versions available, such as a heart with a dick going through it for Valentine’s Day, and a dick with a crown of thorns around the head for Easter this month.
Ship A Dick is the brainchild of Marshall and Chester, two longtime BFFs who met while working as valets at a Portland hotel. (The two run a laser-cutter engraving company together in the area and don’t want to reveal their last names for fear of alienating prospective clients.) Back in 2012, they were emailing back and forth in preparation for a trade convention in Marshall’s home state of California when the idea took root.
“Marshall’s older brother is sort of a dick, so he said, ‘Cut a giant dick out of cardboard just in case my brother shows up,” Chester recalled. “So I read the email and pretty much instantly said, ‘Dude, we should probably make a website where people order giant cardboard dicks and mail them to each other.”
“We just want to make the world a better place,” Marshall added.
The dicks themselves are 29-inch erect cardboard monstrosities that are generally brown on one side and white on the other. With the exception of a one-balled “charity dick” version made to honor a friend of Chester’s who was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer, the dicks don’t reflect any of the anatomical variations usually found in dick nature. There are no veiny dicks, for example, or dicks that curve to the left or right.
For reasons better left unprinted, we sent one to our intrepid Daily Dot managing editor. It arrived just in time for his birthday on April Fools’ Day (no joke), and was addressed from one “Hugh Johnson.” (Cue Simpsons prank call.) He opened it at dinner, much to the apparent horror of the child sitting beside him. Needless to say, it was a worthwhile expenditure, if only for the resulting photo.
Since 2012, when Ship A Dick first launched, the website has been slowly growing, with Marshall and Chester fielding requests for at least five dicks a day; during holiday seasons like Valentine’s Day and Christmas, they’ll get up to 10 to 15 orders a day. Unsurprisingly, they often ship to New York City’s Financial District.
That raises the question: Exactly what kind of people are willing to spend $15.00 on a customizable cardboard dick (other than Daily Dot reporters emotionally scarring American youth)?
Marshall and Chester don’t know, but they’ve gotten some tantalizing hints in the form of the customized messages people ask them to put on their dicks.
“One of my favorites was ‘Stop fucking blacking out, you dick,’ all in capitals,” Marshall said.
“My favorite simply said ‘I’m pregnant’ on it,” Chester added.
“Some girl—we’re assuming she was drunk—ordered 7 or 8 in one night,” noted Marshall. “It said ‘Hello Grandma, Satan loves you.'”
While one would assume that many of the dick receipients would be victims of a prank or an act of vengeance—think tyrannical bosses, or estranged exes—Marshall and Chester say 90 percent of the messages are lighthearted inside jokes. “We’ve definitely worded the site in such a way to stay away from the revenge-style, get back at your enemy thing,” Chester said. “We try to make it seem like a funny goofy thing and like ‘Here’s a giant penis, you can send it to your friends and say whatever you want on it.’”
But that doesn’t mean that the two don’t sometimes get complaints from recipients, particularly those who receive blank dicks, who sometimes have no idea who sent them the dick and why.
“We’ve only gotten three complaints this year so far, from people offended enough to demand where the dicks came from, and they were all blank dicks,” said Marshall, noting that Ship A Dick has a strict policy of anonymity. “In a way, the blank dick is more offensive because you don’t know what it means. You don’t know how to take it if it doesn’t have some message.”
Eventually, Marshall and Chester plan to expland Ship A Dick so it can become a “one-stop shop for all your dick novelty needs,” floating around ideas for T-shirts, dick ice cube trays, and “those capsules that expand when you put them in water, but, like, in six-inch dick form.” (They’ve also floated around the idea of making a vagina version for the ladies, having registered the domain names for Ship A Clit and Ship A Vag, though they acknowledge that comes with its own unique design problems. “It’s harder to cartoonize a vagina,” Chester said. “Where would you put the message? That keeps us awake at night.”)
For now, though, they’re content with sticking to cardboard dicks. In a hyper-digitized world where you’re about as likely to receive a letter in the mail as you are to stumble on a Blockbuster in your neighborhood, there’s something almost poignant and quaint about receiving a giant cardboard dick in the mail. Whether it contains a message of vengeance or a message of love, or even a message that makes no sense at all, shipping a dick shows the recipient that you’re thinking of them, for good or for ill.
“One of the reasons why people like shipping giant cardboard dicks to a friend in the mail is it’s personal in a way,” Marshall said. “If you get a surprise dick in the mail, that’s gonna have a pretty big impact on your day, one way or another.”
Plus, Chester said, there’s just something about the dick itself that just tickles the funny bone[r]. “They’re this weird, goofy part of the body that serves almost no purpose, unless you’re in the middle of sex or something,” he says. “They’re just this hilarious appendage.”