• The first cut is the deepest

    by Tom McMasters-Stone

    Circumcision is such a clinical word. It just seems so, I guess, “relaxed” to me. Maybe too similar to circumspect, if you will. So perhaps I can offer some alternative names that are, uh, more to the point: Dick Dock? Pecker Prune? Cock Chop?

    I bring this up now because the movement to ban male circumcisions seems to be picking up a head of steam. As they have been on so many other cutting-edge social issues, our very own San Francisco is at the foreskin of the issue.

    Headed for the ballot there, so to speak, is a measure to ban all elective infant/minor circumcisions, and a dozen or so other government bodies around the country are considering similar actions as well.

    Proponents of the ban talk about nature’s intent, physical complications, emotional problems, and diminished sexual enjoyment.

    I don’t know if I have had any diminished sexual enjoyment. I have been pretty happy with it every time, although there may be some dissenting opinions written on some women’s restroom walls here and there.

    Likewise, I don’t know if I have any related psychological issues. I have always adored turtles and tortoises, but that could be just a coincidence. On the other hand, I HATE turtleneck shirts and sweaters. You can come to your own conclusions about Steve Jobs.

    Of course, he wears MOCK turtleneck sweaters, so who knows what the hell THAT means…

    I guess I could consider the Foreballs Foreskin Restoration device. The standard set weighs about 7.5 oz (a 1″ diameter ball and a 1-1/4″ diameter ball). Some other popularly requested sets weigh about 10 oz (two 1-1/4″ diameter balls); and another at about 12.5 oz (a 1-1/4″ ball and a 1-1/2″ ball). Sets can be made with most any combination of ball bearings. $130.00, plus $7.00 s/h. Gravity does the job; no surgery! I’m skeptical—it seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

    I was also surprised not long ago to be with a group of guys only to find out I was the lone guy in the group that did not have a name for his stinger. I did ponder that for a while afterward. I suppose it is POSSIBLE that it is some kind of subliminal psychological reaction to a good part of me being left on the cutting room floor.

    Once upon a time, one of my girlfriends did give him a name, “Pierre,” because of my French heritage. Every once in a while, though, she would call him “Pedro.” We both laughed like hell when I “caught on” to her mistake, remembering that her previous love had been a Mexican!

    Leading the opposition to the proposed circumcision ban are, of course, the Jews and the Muslims, claiming that the Constitution’s Freedom of Religion clause gives them the right to mutilate their infant sons.

    I am sure they would be just as supportive if my religious beliefs dictated that I tattoo all my children and grandchildren with “Science Flies You Into Space, Religion Flies You Into Buildings.” Yeah, right.

    One of the most interesting arguments against San Francisco’s ballot measure is that this type of health care decision is a Federal issue, and not one for the states or local government. WTF!?!?! I love how people bounce around on health care whenever it suits their own needs. Pathetic.

    What about the whole “pro-life” aspect of the discussion? Every woman born says that a man’s brain is located in his penis, and nothing screams “life!” like a brain. And what other part of the body can be wide awake when everything else is sound asleep?
    Foreskins have also been known to wiggle around for quite a while after their removal.

    We also know, of course, that a penis is very much like a rattlesnake—even after cutting off that first inch or two, it remains dangerous for another 60, 70, or maybe even 80 years!

    Besides, are we to assume that God and Allah both made a mistake in designing men’s genitals? I mean, if they didn’t want a foreskin there, they could have just designed them without one, right?

    It also seems a bit presumptuous for God to dictate alterations to something he has never himself used. Sure, he did have that one relationship, but, remember, it was long-distance. Which reminds me, I never really understood the benefits of that whole “Immaculate Conception” thingy. All the work, but none of the fun at the beginning? Doesn’t seem like much of a selling point to me.

    Although I have interfaced with some lovely cooters over the years, none of them were immaculate, so maybe I just don’t know what the hell I am talking about.

    So, we know that for a Jewish Mohel, business is “bris” on the baby’s 8th day. Is it free? I mean, if you pay somebody to perform a wedding, to join two people together, maybe the Mohel should be paying the kid for slicing something off? And I wonder what the protocol is. Do you tip him for the service? If so, how big a tip? Obviously, something proportionate, but how does one define “proportionate?”

    Did you know that human foreskins are a huge business for the cosmetics industry? Face creams and collagens. Looks like “Oil of Olay” might just be “Oil of Ollie,” Neutrogena’s Visibly Firm Night Cream now has new meaning, and I am not EVEN going to discuss the Lancome products. No, this is NOT a joke… Look it up! It does NOT seem Kosher to me.

    Additionally, a single human foreskin can be used to cultivate tens of thousands of dollars worth of fibroblasts, which are used in growing new skin cells for burn victims and others. Talk about the tip of the iceberg!

    I wonder what the going rate is these days for a foreskin that was just sliced off an 8-day-old infant? And how much of that money goes to the kid? Any? Even half would make one helluva scholarship fund.

    The bottom line is that there is no reason to circumcise a boy, to turn them into “sex shaves,” if you will, until they are old enough to make the decision for themselves. Zip, zero, zilch. They can still be Jews, they can still be Muslims. Parents deciding to do such a thing to their infant sons is barbaric. Doing it in the name of a just, loving God or Allah makes it even more so.

    Yes, there are some positive health benefits to circumcision, but none that can’t be considered by the kid himself when he is old enough. Hey! We could cut off all breasts to avoid breast cancer—but we don’t. Because that would be absurd.

    On the other hand, the decision about my own foreskin was made on my behalf, so to speak, a long time ago, with no input from me. So, it is only for those yet to be born that I speak, or those who are less than 8 days old. It’s no skin off my nose.


      • Christy

      • July 20, 2011 at 10:41 am
      • Reply

      Wonderful!! This is such a hot issue, and as a pediatric nurse I get asked by friends all the time what I think of circumcision. Agree with everything you said 100%!! The tides are turning and the ridiculousness of circumcision is being brought to the forefront.


      • Leanne

      • July 20, 2011 at 10:50 am
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      Agreed! The origins of circ in the USA and all the face cream stuff would be hilarious if not for the huge human rights violations and pain inflicted on babies. There is mounting evidence that the trauma and ongoing pain (wound in a diaper!) seriously hinders establishing breastfeeding, too. So glad people are spreading the word; I am forever grateful to those who spoke up so I could research and protect my sweet baby boy.


      • Judy

      • July 20, 2011 at 11:40 am
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      Along with the cutting, and hilarious, wit, this raises serious issues. Another reason to be glad I had a girl.



    • My sons were both circumcised at a Bris, there was no crying, no blood but the one drop needed for the ceremonial basis, they nursed right away following the bris too. As a young mother I didn’t think about it then and one son has sons and they were circumcised as well. I happen to think of the penis as greatly enhanced and so much more stately circumcised but that is just me. It looks cleaner to me and neater and I like the feel of it much better. I think it is the right of a parent to make this decision and lots of other ones for their children before they reach the age of consent. Also, I believe it is not painful and the babies recover quickly. Apparently those who have had to have it done in later years as teenagers or even older because of the tightness of the foreskin say it is really painful and takes a lot more time to recover. But the bottom line to me is we makes choices for our underage children all the time and for me it was something that was handed down in my religion for centuries and I thought worth keeping. My sons throughout their lives got compliments on the look of their penis’ (I can happily say they told me this years ago). Even their pediatrician said the same thing. Mohel’s do it better and quicker and cleaner. Just my Jewish two cents.


      • Christy

      • July 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm
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      Madgew, I wan’t to clarify that I believe circumcisions done without any religious or cultural background are unnecessary and based off of a social norm, which now I see as a ridiculous practice. I understand that circumcision is a long-standing tradition in the Jewish and Muslim religion. It’s just interesting how general American culture adopted the practice as a social norm, with no scientific backing really. I agree that the procedure, when done properly, if relatively “quick and easy”, but there are real potential complications which could be disastrous, so for non-religious reasons why even take the risk?


      • Carolyn Wyler

      • July 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm
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      I loved this! So funny and witty. I love your writing.


      • Lisa

      • July 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm
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      I personally don’t agree with circumcision, but I do not think that any government should make it illegal. It is a personal choice. I do have to say that circumcision was the only procedure I walked out on when I was in nursing school, because I couldn’t take the baby’s crys. San Francisco tends to overstep its bounderies.


        • Steve

        • July 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm
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        Male circumcision should be a “personal choice”, not a “parental choice”. The person most affected by the surgery should be the person who makes the decision when he is an adult.



    • This column has explained why things are sometimes cut short.


      • Robert Hays

      • July 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm
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      Drivel. This article took forever to “get to the point” and was packed full of puns that I just didn’t think were funny. Not because I’m offended, but because I usually read iPinion for decent, easy reading, not this garbage. I hope this isn’t a sign of the quality of columns to come.


      • Jesse

      • July 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm
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      Not Rocket Science: God made us, why change it. Cutting off the penis/ labia cover skin is barbaric. Sorry to offend, but no way would I impose that on my son or daughter.


      • Rose

      • July 21, 2011 at 12:25 am
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      Personally I am ambivalent about whether my partners are circumcised or not, as it has been my experience that it makes absolutely no difference to my enjoyment of the activity. My hubby is intact, and he’s never had a physical problem with it, nor have I. (and from the stories he tells, there are dozens of ladies out there in his past who didn’t seem to mind it at all!)

      And yet, when our son’s bit of skin was in question, Hubs spoke out in support of having it done, as he said he took a lot of ribbing in school from other guys about his “turtle”, and didn’t want our son to go through that.

      Morally and mentally, however, I feel that it’s not something that should be done routinely, as it seems to be. I agree that it seems too much like unnecessary and unnatural mutilation, and sort of regret not putting up more of a fight to keep our baby boy in one piece.

      Sometimes I wonder if it’s been a contributing factor to our son’s having never slept through a night in his life from day one through school years and up to now, when he’s 20 and still staying up all night… sigh… did we traumatize the poor kid? Who knows?



    • GREAT! WORK!
      Although the cooter comment was uncalled for.

      Seriously though…. I have been interested in fighting Female Genital Mutilation (erroneously referred to as “circumcision”) for several years, and although the female version is entirely more brutal and cruel, I don’t believe ANYONE, let alone a child, should be subjected to having parts of their bodies removed. It’s barbaric. Religious freedom? Screw religious freedom. LOVED the line about “Religion flies you into buildings.”

      All in all.. two thumbs up, Tom!


      • Linda

      • July 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm
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      Will we establish an age of consent for ear piercing next? I think the answer lies in education, not legislation. A nephew of mine had to be circumcised at age 12 for medical reasons, despite receiving training from his excellent parents on penis/foreskin care starting in toddlerhood. It was horrible, with complications and a long recovery. My sons cried briefly when they were done at ~2 days old, but they nursed right afterward, and there were no complications. By the time their umbilicus fell off, they were healed. (what is the plural of umbilicus? Umbilici??) FGM is far more damaging to girls than circumcision is to boys. Apples and Oranges. And the breast analogy? If snipping a flap of breast skin affected cancer rates, we’d probably do it with girls. A foreskin does not equal a breast. Very enjoyable read, however!


      • Tom

      • July 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm
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      I will be forever honored that people take the time to read my meanderings, even if they think them “drivel”. I sometimes get choked up when I check in and see that there are even more comments, or when David tells me the number of hits we are getting. I, too, was not perfectly satisfied with “cooters”, even though it is a term of endearment for me, but it seemed the least-offensive nickname. In retrospect, I could have just said “vaginas”. HOWEVER, I was tickled pink, if you will, by using “interfaced”…


      • Theresa

      • July 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm
      • Reply

      I am so glad that circumcision is getting the attention it deserves.
      As a mother of two daughters, it’s a decision I never had to face, however, it would be a very easy one for me to make.
      I could never alter a person’s body without their full consent whether or not it was my child. I had my girls’ ears pierced when they were babies and it’s a decision that I now really regret. However, piercings can close up. Foreskin doesn’t grow back.
      And if we’re going to get really candid here, I think sex with a non-circ’ed guy is the bees knees!! Au naturel, baby!



    • Theresa look at Debra’s FB and see the running discussion a few of us had between the “hoser” and the circumcised guy. Circumcision is for me all the way 🙂



    • Fine writing, Tom! Lots of information, (what research you’ve done!) and humor…I love columns that are sharp in wit and thought – I get to learn and laugh at the same time – you are brilliant.


      • Tom

      • April 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm
      • Reply

      I am 3/4 of the way through yet another rehab, and am doing well. My counselor wants me to read one of my columns to the group, and I have chosen this one! I miss you guys, and will be back in circulation by the first of the month!



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