Lesson 23: Let's Cut Your Penis Off. Or Not. Whatever.
To circumcise, or not to circumcise? It’s one of the most debated and controversial questions a parent will ever be confronted with, and regardless of what you decide, you’ll probably be judged harshly. It sucks, but it’s good practice for the rest of your life as a parent, because strangers will forever be giving you shit for things that are none of their damn business, and this is a good practice for ignoring them.
Still, you’ll always remember this moment, because it’s one of the first decisions you’ll ever make about trimming your child’s sexual organs. Luckily, it’s probably also the last.
Some people will say that I’m not qualified to talk about circumcision since I don’t have a son, but I would point out that I’m not qualified to talk about any of the topics I’ve given advice about in the last year, and that hasn’t stopped me yet. In truth, though, I was very relieved that I had a girl and didn't have to make a decision about circumcision. Frankly, I don't have enough creative vision to make solid design choices about a living room, much less a penis.
Some people will say that they want their son’s penis circumcised (or uncircumcised) because otherwise "they’ll look weird" depending on whatever the parents are used to themselves. Newsflash: They all look weird. Because they're penises. And there's no amount of trimming, bedazzling, and tea-cozying that will change that.
Here’s the thing about circumcision: Uncircumcised penises look like they’re wearing little hoodies. If you gave them moustaches, they’d all look like tiny hipsters. Circumcised penises are naked and can’t pull off moustaches, but look fine with beards. It’s like skins vs. shirts, but with penises.
Some people worry that their friends will judge their decision when they see them changing their kid’s diaper, and to that I'd say, "You probably shouldn't be friends with people who are checking out your baby’s penis." And also, it doesn't even matter because baby's ballsacks are so damn freaky that no one even looks at the penis. Why the hell are they so huge? What are they hiding in there? Those things are disconcerting.
I have some Jewish friends who consider themselves lucky, because a bris (and complimentary circumcision) is considered traditional, so they don't really have to make the decision. They just call over their friends and have a party while some religious dude performs genital surgery on their dining room table. My Christian friends often gawk at the strangeness of this, but I think that 1) if you're going to have to make the decision to cut off a piece of your baby's penis, you should probably be drunk and have a lot of friends around to distract you, and that 2) maybe you shouldn't be so judgy if you come from a religion that believes that your priest just turned perfectly good wine into blood so you can drink it every week. All religions sound kind of fucked up from the outside, and genital mutilation parties seem like small potatoes compared to forced vampirism.
Remember when everyone and their sister started getting Brazilian waxes, and for a while almost no one had '70s bush? I bet the people from Brazil were all "What? Americans are just now hearing about this? My God, they're so behind." Point being? Find out what they're doing to penises in Brazil, because those people set a standard regarding painful genital fads. Or you could simply realize that you probably shouldn't really care about what women are doing to their pubic hair in Brazil, or what anyone else is doing to their baby's genitals. You don't have to give your kid a circumcision any more than I ever have to pay someone to wax my butthole. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean you have to do it, too. Do it, or don't do it. It’s up to you.
(But if you do decide to do it, I suggest saving his foreskin in a jar so that you can give it back to him if he hassles you about it later. Then you have all your bases covered. Plus, it’s like keeping his first lock of hair in his baby book. Except it’s foreskin in a mason jar. It’s almost exactly the same thing. Except way grosser. I’m going to stop writing now.)
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