Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Great Cultural Debate

What happens when six women (2 Americans, 3 Brits and 1 Irish lass) get together over a boozy birthday dinner?  Well, besides getting tipsy, we got into a major debate that pitted Americans vs. non-Americans a la the Revolutionary War.  We weren't arguing over politics or whether ketchup works better with fries (excuse me, chips) than mayonnaise.  No, the great debate was over circumcision.  Yes, of the penile variety.

It started because I admitted that my friend's newborn son's penis was the first uncircumcised one I'd ever seen.  (TMI?!)  After incredulous reactions by the Irish/Brits, some of them admitted that they'd never seen a circumcised one before.  Who knew the Atlantic was the Great Penis Divide?

It got a little heated when they asked why we Americans circumcised anyway and my fellow American explained that it was a matter of hygiene.   Friendly tip: Implying that someone's husband and sons have dirty penises is not a good idea.  I also ruffled some feathers when I said that an uncircumcised teenage boy would have a very tough time in a U.S. high school.  Can you imagine how fast THAT news would spread?!

When all the shouting was over, I did leave wondering why circumcision became the norm in the States while the rest of the world (save for Israel) leave their newborn penises alone.  


  1. Because Americans are not taught anything at all in health class about the function of the foreskin. A failure of the public education system? The OBGYN clinics in the States make lots of $$$$$ on it and won't say "don't do it". It continues because of this cycle of greed and ignorance. That is why I think the US is the only country to perform this painful and useless operation on infants.

  2. See?? Nothing gets the anger flowing like the topic of circumcision!

  3. Too funny- My OB is great friend of mine and hates doing them. Shes told me that after insurance reimbursment that she makes a whopping total of $20 for each one. I dont think shes doing it because of greed or ignorance.

  4. You are too funny! Regardless of the reasoning behind it....I don't want my sons being the topic of conversation or the only one of their friends not. I'm a follower when it comes to this :-)

  5. As the actual Mother of the aforementioned newborn and fellow diner, i'm midly bemused that my son's penis has become such a topic for debate!! - but strangely proud that he's made it to the blog (is that wrong??!!). I just hope noone thinks i posted the initial U.S bashing comment and that my son learns to be proud of his winky and uses it wisely. Oh and I hope he never gets it caught in his zipper if he chooses to 'go commando' that IS a good reason to consider circumcision ; )

  6. LOL! You crack me up, Brit Mum! I purposefully left out names so that aforementioned baby-with-gorgeous-uncircumcised-penis wouldn't be scarred emotionally in 15 years when he found this blog after Googling himself!

    The funniest part is that our dinner conversation, while spirited, wasn't anywhere near as heated as this blog post has become!