Any of you who have been to my book signings know I tend to move back and forth between reading my stuff and doing Q&A.
I do this partly to break up the potential monotony of an hour of straight reading, and partly because I really like to answer questions. Any sort of question, really. That's part of the reason I became a teacher, I think. And it probably factored into my decision to keep writing my College Survival Guide for about 10 years.
I even, believe it or not, wrote a sex advice column for a while. Under an assumed name.
When I do Q&A at a reading, there are some things that get asked a lot. Things like, "Where do you get your ideas?" or "Do you base your characters on real people?"
Then there are the questions that don't get asked very often. Like, "Do you like cats?" or "How do you feel about circumcision?"
This last question got asked when I was down in Lexington. Strangely, wasn't the first time I'd been asked. I actually wrote an column on it back when I was doing the Survival Guide. As luck would have it, I had a copy of that column with me. So I read it.
After the reading when I was signing books, someone said, "You should post that one up on line."
"I probably should," I said.
So here it is...
I'm in a weird situation. Normally I pride myself in minding my own business. I keep my nose out of my friends affairs (literally) and generally keep my opinions to myself.
But recently I ended up doing some research into circumcision. Not female circumcision, which everyone in their right mind generally admits it barbaric and creepy, but good old fashioned guy circumcision. The type that's done to almost all newborn boys here in the good old U S of A.
I found out not only is it totally unnecessary, but it's generally bad for the little kids. Despite the fact that it's the standard thing here in the US, where almost 90% of guys are circumcised.
My problem is, I have a friend who is about to give birth. Maybe to a little boy. Now that I know all the horrible things that can result from Circumcision, I feel like I should try to tell her about it so she won't do it.
But isn't this kinda sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong? I can't think of a good way to approach her. I mean, I don't have a penis myself, so I can't really speak from experience. I have been with guys both cut and uncut, and I was surprised to find out how much I liked the unedited penis. But again, I doubt that's the right way to approach things with my friend.
How can I mention this to her without offending her for getting in her business?
Student Not Into Penis Slicing.
Your College Survival Guide, the place to go when you really need to learn the finer points of dick discussion etiquette. I'm like Miss Manners with tourettes.
Alright, SNIPS, I'm going to glide right by a few too-obvious jokes about your nose, and get right to the business of answering your question. Back when I was younger I would have taken this as a golden opportunity to make a lot of wang jokes.
But I've matured since then. So, instead, I'm going to slide as many innuendo-laden puns into the column as humanly possible. Also, just to make it a challenge, I'm going to use a new euphemism for the male member each time I refer to it.
First I feel like I need to correct one of the statements you made in your letter. Uncircumcised fellas are more common than you make them out to be. Back in the 1960's about 90 percent of baby boys got the chop, but the circumcision rate these days is closer to 60%, as more and more people get clued in to the situation by helpful folks like you and me.
Secondly, the proper slang term for an gent's uncircumcised dangle-bob isn't "unedited," it's "director's cut." Occasionally it's even a "special edition director's cut," but that's very rare.
Hmmm. You're right though. This is a touchy subject. But there's a big difference between being pushy, and just giving your friend some valuable information. Still, it should be handled delicately. Here are some opening lines you might want to avoid:
"Jenny, lately I've been thinking a lot about your baby's penis."
"Have you ever thought that hacking a chunk off the end of your newborn's wing-wang might not be the best way to welcome him into the world?"
"Y'know, if I was going to have sex with your son, I'd prefer him to be uncircumcised."
The more I think about it, maybe you don't want to try to get a rise out of her. Instead maybe you could just try to bring it up casually instead.
Maybe quoting a few facts would be the way to go. Don't be accusatory, just point out why, exactly, chopping someone's fireman off isn't cool. Point out that since the foreskin actually has about a third of the penis' nerve endings on it, cutting it off it pretty much the same as a partial clitorectomy. In plainer terms, it's like cutting off a good chunk of a little girl's clit. As you said in your letter: barbaric and creepy.
Think of it guys. You know how you think your Johnson is pretty awesome now? Imagine if it was 33% more awesome. Yeah. I know. It boggles the mind. I expect some manner of radiant light would constantly be emanating from my pants. Most of us would never leave the house. The fact that a piece of my winkie was torn off without my approval leaves me feeling a little bent out of shape. Figuratively speaking.
You could also direct your friend to a good website or two, so she can gather her own facts. www.notjustskin.org has a remarkably well-researched and easy to read FAQ on the subject. Including some information about how the surgery might be seriously traumatic for the newborns involved.
In closing, for all my fellow fellows out there, if your parents gave your special purpose the snip, don't hold it against them. Because, y'know, that would be pretty weird.
It's interesting to note that I wrote this a couple years before I became a dad. It was nice, actually, having done this research ahead of time. Because I knew from the beginning that I didn't want to circumcise the baby if it was a boy.
But even if I hadn't done the research, I probably would have been convinced when I saw The Circumstraint:
That's really what it's called. It's the plastic thing they strap your baby down onto so he doesn't struggle around too much while they're trying to cut off a piece of his dick. The nurses thought I was kinda weird for wanting to take a picture of it.
While part of me, the scientific part, can acknowledge the fact that something like this helps keep the baby safe during the procedure. The rest of me is filled with a mute horror at the thought of someone tying my baby down onto this thing so they can cut him. Not because he *needs* it. Just, y'know, because. Tradition. And stuff.
A lot of times when people meet Oot, they say things like, "He's such a happy baby." Or "He's so friendly and trusting."
Sometimes I want to reply, "Well, we got things off on the right foot by not cutting off a piece of his dick."
Can you imagine what sort of an introduction that must be to the world? There's a big, long squeeze, then suddenly everything is really bright and cold. Maybe you get a bit of a cuddle and a taste of breast. Then you're strapped down and someone cuts off a piece off one of the most sensitive areas of your body. Welcome to being alive, little guy.
That's all for now, folks.