The First Cut Is The Deepest: A Guide To Circumcision
Parents are by their very nature a competitive tribe. Wealthy families seek out the healthiest food, best schools and most emasculating clothes for their children. Blue collar parents, on the other hand, do their best to ensure their spawn drive the pickup truck lifted the farthest off the ground.
Every generation finds their new litmus test for childhood superiority. Not inflicting something on your children that your parents forced you to do is always a great way to set your young ones apart from the pack. For a time, not getting kids vaccinated was all the rage in the hipper Montessori schools of America. Of course, then your little guy or gal contracted polio and it was back to the old drawing board.
The latest battleground of parental superiority is “south of the border,” aka “the penis.” Babies have been getting circumcised for decades now. The general consensus is that it’s cleaner and is more aesthetically pleasing. Now, I’m no scientist, so I can’t say if it’s really more sanitary, but I also refuse to argue with fashion. I’m not going to deny the attractiveness of a circumcised penis any more than I would deny the sartorial splendor that is the “rolled up pant leg.” In both cases, it seems impractical at first glance, but it just works. Also, in both cases, the look is a tad less useful during the winter. Probably time to “roll those pant legs down,” chaps; metaphorically and literally.
The physical beauty of the male member doesn’t even factor into the thought process of the anti-circumcision crowd. To them, it’s mutilation. These same people often have piercings and tattoos in a variety of indiscreet locations on their bodies. These tattoos and piercings were a choice made by a free-thinking adult, but deciding to get a circumcision at 24 hurts a lot more than getting your favorite Ghostface Killah lyrics tattooed on your forearm. It’s like comparing apples to penises.
The no-snip set also claims that sexual pleasure is decreased after circumcision. Allow me for the moment to directly address the parents out there:
If you are concerned about your child’s level of sexual pleasure, please reconsider where you place your worries. “How sex feels” should be fairly low on your list of child-rearing priorities. It’s a slippery slope to helping your son find the G-Spot, so please cease and desist this course of action immediately. Go buy your kid a copy of Madagascar on DVD and start saving for his college tuition.
As a Jew, I will never have to worry about this question, lest I want a frantic 3 a.m. phone call from my mother asking me why I “hate her so much.” Being a part of a harshly restrictive, draconian culture can be quite freeing. Much like the Russians who so longed for the “bad old days” of Soviet repression that they basically let Vladimir Putin install himself as Supreme Overlord, I’m kind of glad that I don’t have a choice here. As soon as I am given a series of options, I’m prone to doing rash, bizarre things like not giving kids vital vaccinations out of an unfounded fear of autism or not having those same kids circumcised so that their coitus is more enjoyable in 20 years.
For the love of God, just tell me what to do. There’s a reason political parties and voter guides exist. Some stuffy English guy invented manners to prevent you from blowing your nose on the tablecloth or cutting in line at the DMV. Now, don’t assume that I advocate blindly following every rule, nor am I even carrying water for the circumcision lobby. Female circumcision in the Middle East is blatantly denying a person the ability to feel pleasure in sex for that explicit purpose, which I staunchly oppose. Some traditions are officious and obscene, like the legacy of segregation in the American South or putting cheddar cheese on apple pie. I mean, come on. Really? Cheese on pie?
I’m only advocating for me being lazy. I don’t have a surplus of time to develop a personal code of ethics. Give me a tutorial, a manual or an “Idiot’s Guide” and I can comfortably return to my daily routine of obsessively refreshing Facebook to see how many people have RSVP’d to my Winter Solstice party. The Bible, or as I like to call it, “Loving Thy Neighbor for Dummies,” fills that role for a significant portion of the world’s population. It does happen to strongly suggest stoning people for various social transgressions, but everyone makes mistakes sometimes.
Enough of this neverending debate as to what is “good” or “advantageous” in the child-rearing world. Spanking, vaccinations, red meat, milk, eggs, fresh air and RL Stein books have come in and out of fashion. Let’s all agree to stop arguing and stop thinking about it all so much. I beg of all experts in this field to pick something and stick to it, so that I don’t have to do anything resembling research. Write one book, mail it to me in a brown paper bag and call it a day. Please title that book Circumcised Penises are More Aesthetically Pleasing & Other Unavoidable Facts. Until that happens, I refuse to have a child, because I assure you that I will accidentally feed it steak for every meal and force it to read nothing but Goosebumps.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”