Rose and I were having a nice picnic lunch on one of Boston’s Harbor Islands at the end of the summer.
“So what are we going to do about circumcision?” I casually asked Rose.
She practically spit out her bite of mozzarella and tomato sandwich. “OH, SHIT!” she said.
We hadn’t really thought about it.
What started out as a shrug and “I guess we’ll get him circumcised” has turned into a slow and lengthy query.
I’ll be honest. I have a lot of experience with penises. I thought I had a pretty strong preference for circumcised penises simply because that’s what I’ve had the most experience with. The only “boyfriend” I’ve had who wasn’t cut was in Central America, where very few boys are circumcised. I was fine with it (and I’ll be honest, sorry for the TMI, but it was much easier to give a handjob, and I think I know what the “no-circ” folks are talking about when they say uncut means more sexual pleasure for the man), but it was an adjustment. To me, it was and is about cultural context – mainly, I want my son to feel confident about his – you know – MANHOOD. Him feeling “normal” and confident is more important to me than Rose’s and my political feelings or ideals, which tell us we should NOT have him circumcised. But the more research I do and the more friends I talk to, it seems there is a shift happening in the US right now away from circumcision. Of the three friends who are having or just had boys, two of them are not snipping. So perhaps this “normal” thing is becoming a moot point.
It feels like a pretty enormous decision. It’s not like we can wait til he’s 15 and let him decide when he has the proper knowledge to do so. This either happens when he’s a newborn, when it’s the least traumatic, or it most likely doesn’t happen.
After being awake all of Saturday night with horrifying indigestion due to the incredibly wise decision to go out for Mexican food at 11pm and then go straight to bed, and thinking about it until the sun came up, I thought I’d made peace with the idea of my son being uncircumcised. Rose is definitely in the nay camp. (She may have had a couple of martinis and a heated conversation at my high school reunion that knocked the indecision out of her.)
Then I had a long dream last night in which two men I respect gave me a nice long lecture about why we should choose circumcision. And I woke up uneasy again.
I’m so impressionable.
So there’s where we’re at: leaning strongly against circumcision, but not totally sure…