In his new humorous memoir The Foreskin's Lament, writer/NPR darling Shalom Auslander writes about his torment deciding whether or not to have his son circumcised. Auslander's concerns are both that of a parent and a Jew unsure of the meaning of ritual, especially one that involves bringing a razor blade to a baby's penis. Auslander isn't the only one worried about on penile stylings: Recently, an activist movement has sprung up to help save foreskins everywhere. Folks calling themselves "intactivists" believe that a proper penis is one left untouched by a mohel (or friendly doctor)'s knife. (There are also increasing numbers of adults choosing to undergo the process, but that's a whole other story.) Think of the fiercest pro-choice protester you can imagine — my body, my self, my choice! — only pumped up with a shot of testosterone.
In addition to campaigning to end on-going circumcision practices, the movement has taken to endorsing a number of services and products that promise foreskin "restoration." Although, if you resent having your flap chopped, why would you be cool with attaching weights to your dick to get remaining flesh to move south — or put your penis in something called "The Tugger"? But that's just us. We're ladies. But ladies have some very strong feelings about dicks, too.
I, for one, have never seen an uncircumcised penis. (And I've only dated one Jew!) But family (and mine is a big, loud, immigrant Jewish one) is always at play, and if I ever had a son, I would want to have him circumcised, despite my otherwise latent religious practices. I have a friend, however, whose current boyfriend is not circumcised and claims that her relationship with him has helped her see the light. For her, this is dick as it should be: Whole and unrefined. Further more, she's convinced that circumcision is a form of mutilation and has sworn to never do it to any child of hers. Another friend refuses to sleep with anyone she discovers to be uncircumcised. So what's a girl to think about, as Auslander puts it, the foreskin's lament? Does an uncut member impact your sexual preferences and, subsequently, sex life? And does the debate also stir your motherly instincts, nascent or in action? And are the two impulses — what you'd want as a woman who has sex and what you'd want as a (potential or actual) mom — at odds with each other?
To Snip Or Not To Snip—That's Shalom's Question [New York Observer]