With T-2 weeks to go on the incubation of the Gadelt, Spousal Unit and I have been having a Very Serious Discussion lately and have come to no good conclusion. So I thought today I’d throw The Discussion open to you, my internets folk and see what the opinions are.
To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise? That is The Question.
Now, as you all know, we do not know the particular arrangement of the Gadlet’s private parts. They are, still, private. However, since we’re having a hospital birth, this kind of question has to be dealt with pretty soon after the Gadlet makes its grand appearance, so we’re trying to be prepared for anything that might appear in that general area of the Gadlet’s body.
For background, there’s no cultural or religious reasons for us to do it. We’re both midwestern American mixed-grill WASPS. So, we can’t really look to cultural or geographic heritage to help us with this decision. Statistics do not help either. In our town, it runs exactly 50-50, so no matter what we do, the He-Gadlet would have cohorts that “look like him.” (Although, really, I mean, does this matter? Do guys look? Do they compare? I suppose they do, especially as little dudes.) And, in the U.S. in general, about 55% of boys are circumcised — again, about half. Not that the “I’m going to do what everyone else does” argument has ever been interesting to me or Spousal Unit.
But here are some arguments that are more interesting. On the one hand, there is some compelling medical evidence in the recent studies indicating that it reduces AIDS transmissions and Cervical Cancer in the circumcised men’s partners. On the other hand, there’s the common sense argument: “Hi Little He-Gadlet, welcome to the world — WHACK! There goes a fair bit of your most sensitive part.” That just cannot make for a nice introduction to life in general.
But there are also plenty of strange arguments that are not so compelling. For example, the whole “matching your dad” argument seems pretty lame. I read a great story once where the uncircumcised son of a circumcised man asked his dad one day why their penises looked different. His dad explained what circumcision was, and that at one time doctors thought it was best for everyone to have it, but that ideas had changed and so they had decided not to do it to him. The little kid looked up at his dad with huge terrified eyes and said “Thanks!” Could be an apocryphal story circulated by those anti-circumcisionites, but it is kind of sweet.
One thing that turns us both off is how those who fall into the anti-camp all seem to resort to some twisted Freudian kind of arguments — it’s like they can’t resist making completely unsubstantiated links between circumcision and human behavior. Like the one that claims the U.S. and Israel are the most war-like countries and also have the highest rates of circumcision. Please. Not only does this smack of anti-Semitism, but it completely ignores all of human history which indicates that humans, no matter what their penises look like, are just really freaking warlike. While it makes a funny joke to think that American men might be less patriarchal assholes if their first few moments in life weren’t spent having their penises snipped, I don’t think that this really counterbalances the medical studies. I mean, who REALLY believes that Dick Cheney would be a nicer guy if his dick was, well, more of a dick?***
But, then again, are these medical studies really persuasive? You can pretty much find medical studies to support almost damn near anything. Particularly if we’re talking big-money business like cancer research. Although unlike all of those studies paid for by the beef industry telling us that beef is the most healthy food on the planet or by the broccoli lobby getting us to eat more broccoli because it ends cancer, I don’t think there’s a foreskin lobby out there pouring merry buckets of cash into the research on circumcision.
So, here we are. Compelling reasons on both sides. Shitty reasons on both sides. I guess this is one of the first difficult decisions of parenthood — one of many that we will make that undoubtedly will have profound consequences for the Rest of Our Child’s Life. But, unlike choosing a name, or deciding on whether to use a pacifier, or which preschool to enroll the kid in, this one is irreversible. And, frankly, I’m just not sure there is a good answer here.
All in all, I think we’re both REALLY hoping that we get a She-Gadlet instead so we can just chicken out of this decision!
Anyway, thoughts? Comments? Opinions?
Don’t ask, not telling. In the infamous words of my beloved Buffy, “I’m taking a vacation from dealing.”
I opted for a middle route: I told them I’d be happy to do it, but not in the next 6 weeks or so, so that if they needed them sooner, they had to ask someone else. All said they didn’t need them until later and were happy to wait, so I postponed that for a bit and will still be able to satisfy my sense of obligation — at a point when I know exactly what I’m dealing with as a new parent.
*** Given his date of birth, and the statistics for the nation at that time (conservative estimates say 60%) I’m making assumptions here. Allow me to reassure you that I have absolutely no personal experience or information about the nature of our Vice President’s private parts.