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Marie Antoinette-guillotined in 1793 for questionable decision-making abilities-said: "Let them eat cake!" And that's exactly what I do every time one of my Jewish friends invites me to a briss; a religious rite of passage; the celebration of the circumcision. Now, I don't know if the spectacle of lopping off the foreskin of a helpless infant should be followed by a buffet (with the tears, the screaming, and the blood) but somehow it doesn't seem to affect any body's appetite- except mine. So while everyone else watches with bated breath as some old Jewish guy (or woman, in some cases) with shaky hands and a few sips of Manischewitz on his lips carves some hapless newborns willy like it was Filet Mignon, I hang out by the sweet table.

What can I say, I'm not squeamish but certain things don't need to be witnessed to be supported. And by supported I mean a parent's individual (or collective) choice to risk their child's future happiness (sexual enjoyment) and ability to shower in front of others without being ridiculed for the sake of tradition, or continuity, or health, or whatever else helps them to sleep through the night. It's a choice, plain and simple. But God knows it shouldn't be an easy one.

As someone who worked for many years in the pet industry, I'm amazed by how many people would never crop a dog's tail, or pin back a puppies ears because they believe it to be barbaric, but these same people have no problem subjecting their infant sons to a similar kind of barbarism in the name of religion, or personal hygiene. It's hypocritical to be against this kind of cruelty towards animals but be accepting of it on the other hand, for 'personal reasons,' to please a need to conform with one's family or peers, or a fear of going against conventional medical practices. Why don't we just take Shirley Jackson's classic short story, The Lottery, to heart and start stoning people... for 'health' reasons? Why don't we just lop off the tip of your pinkie finger and see how it feels? No? But its okay if we do it to kittens when we declaw them, and the equivalent when we emasculate our first born sons, and all our sons thereafter, by shaving a few millimeters off their schmeckles.

Look, I'm not judging anyone here. We all do what we have to do.  We all make our own beds, and usually have no problem sleeping in them. And, maybe we should? If God made Adam and Eve in his own image, why does the Almighty get to keep his foreskin while all the sons of Israel do not? That hardly seems fair. I know God asks for some strange stuff, but sometimes he strikes me as some weird hoarder that has some odd peculiarities. Again, not judging, I'm just questioning an age-old practice that should probably come under review, possibly over a Bacon Cheeseburger or some Back Bacon and Eggs (that's an inside joke). I'm trying to relate here, but it's hard. I'm just the father of a daughter. I've never had to make such a difficult decision, on the fly, that would affect my child for the rest of her life. The hardest decision I've had to make so far is whether to put her in the black dress or the pink one (I like her to look nice when one of her friends is going under the knife, but I'm not sure if she should be dressed to party or dressed to mourn the loss of innocence). Can't decide.

Am I mocking tried and true religious practices? No. And I'm not mocking your resolve to do right by your kids either. I'm just a sounding board; the guy who put to paper the internal monologue every father has when the question of circumcision comes into play. It's a tough one to be sure. But I know you'll make the right decision for you and your family. I support your decision, either way. I just wanted you to mull it over, and educate yourself as best you can before the proverbial Sword of Damocles falls. And, hey, if the Mohel misses the mark, and your son becomes a unic, not to worry... there's always gender re-assignment surgery. And, how much could that hurt?

If you need some dresses, let me know? My daughter has a closet full of them. Until then, here are some links about the pros and cons of circumcision- unless, of course, you've already made up your mind?

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Reader Comments (7)

Oh my gosh, I was rolling at some of your comments! I am completely supportive of any person wishing to practice their own religion on themselves. I draw the line, however, when that practice bleeds over into chopping off parts of children who have no say in the matter!

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNaji Wench

I saw what you did with the word "bleeds" there... Thanks for checking us out. It's a tough debate to be sure... and not any easy choice for dads especially.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Dolgin

I am 100% against circumcision, both male and female. Its genital mutilation and I fail to see how it should be allowed to be practiced under the heading of "religion" or "tradition." Genuine health reasons, maybe. If an older child decides to follow his parent's religious or traditional practices and with an informed mind opts to be circumcised fine, but not babies! I don't understand how it is still a tolerated practice when her in Aus at least you can't even smack a child on the bottom as discipline without some government agency jumping on your back and screaming "abuse!" in your ear (and there's another can of worms in itself, to smack or not to!).

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I know you're just trying to be balanced in your references at the end of the post, but the last site you link to is a blog by and for people with a circumcision fetish. Not exactly accurate (or even sane). Or maybe that was the point?

The Psychology Today article, on the other hand, is very informative. Thanks!

October 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTD

It was put in there to show all points of view. If there is a webiste on circumcision fetishists, don't you think they would have something to say on the subject? I just thought it was an interesting addition - it caught your attention?

October 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFodder 4 Fathers

Circumcision is a ridiculous, horrifying practice, that has no medical benefits whatsoever! If an adult decides to alter his penis, so be it. No one owns another's body, or has the right to decide for that person what to do with his or her body. Please, please, leave your children intact...please.

November 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoulalee

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