Snip Snip!

A friend of mine had a baby boy last week. Nico wrote me yesterday to tell me the news. I couldn’t be happier for them. After Nico forwarded me the email, we got to talking and the whole circumcision thing came up. I must say, the whole “to snip or not to snip” question hadn’t ever occurred to me before. What if Tobyjoe and I one day have a son? Would we snip the little guy?

This actually lost me some sleep last night. (I was looking for an excuse apparently, how arbitrary a predicament). I’m not sure what I would do in that situation. The new father actually asked uncircumcised males if they were OK with the decision their parents had made. Only one person (out of several) said they were not. Most of them liked their penis just the way it was, skin and all.

I asked Tobyjoe what he thought on AIM, I said, “If you ever had a little boy, would you snip him?”

“Well, it lowers HIV risk big time.” He said.

So if our fantasy son decides to have unprotective sex and he’s not circumcised his chances of contacting HIV from an HIV positive lady (or man friend, I’ll still love my not yet alive gay fantasy son!) then he has a higher risk of getting HIV. Even the NYT reported on it recently.

Nico replied, “I’m all for reducing AIDS and all, but if they found that female circumcision reduced the transmission of AIDS I don’t think everyone would jump to start cutting off labia and whatnot.”

An excellent point, I might add.

So, that’s what kept me up last night, whether or not I’d snip my fantasy son’s penis. Yet another reason to hope for a girl when the time comes.


  1. Your fantasy son would also have a lower chance of catching HIV if you taught him about safe-sex and the importance of getting tested – both him and his partners.

    Promoting circumscision as a precautionary method for unsafe sex is simply insane.

    Pleas don’t cut your fantasy boy’s naughty bits. When he’s old enough, if he wants the surgery, let him decide on his own. Circumcision is insane and barbaric.

    Arguments like “its easier to clean” and “there’s a lower chance of catching HIV” are signs of lazy/bad parenting—with simple lessons on hygene and safe-sex, they’re moot points.


  2. All the lessons and safe sex talk doesn’t teach a horny teenager to put on a condom. You can tell someone smoking is bad for him or her from the get go (as was told by my amazing parents) and I smoked for a long, long time. Other kids do too. Telling a kid about wearing a condom or not drinking and then driving is one thing, I’ll do that, Tobyjoe would do that. But it’s irresponsible to think that any teenager is actually going to abide by those rules. Teenagers don’t think about consequences all of the time. That’s what makes being a teenager so freaking bloodly awful sometimes.

    Honestly, that’s not the only reason why I would choose to if it came to that, another reason is so the child doesn’t feel weird when he is in the locker room before middle school gym class. Does that make the decision right? Probably not. But It’d factor into my decision a bit, which is why, should that day come, I’d want more numbers on how many folks are choosing to and how many are not.

    There are a lot of reasons I might factor in. It’s not just about safe sex, etc. It’s not only about HIV. I guess I should have written that out better.

    But I’m not sure what I’d do.


  3. This seems to be a common discussion topic around the internet these days.

    I’m still not sure what I would do in that situation either. One one hand, perhaps it’s barbaric. On the other, do kids really clean themselves THAT well?

    Who knows. I’m still unsure where I stand on this one.


  4. PS – All I know is that the Canadian health care system is no longer paying for it. If you want your kid circumcised, you need to pay for it now. Somewhere around $200 I think.


  5. You can always use reverse psychology- Don’t wear a condom it’s more fun. Smoking is great here try a clove cigarette. Sure you are only twelve/six or whatever- they will get better with age.
    Perhaps then the advise will be taken to get used to a condom and enjoying clean lungs. (Btw- I don’t know of anyone who has tried this idea).


  6. I wonder if there are numbers readily available in the good ol’ United States of America. I would be interested to read them.

    I’d also like to interview uncircumcized teenage boys and ask them if they are happy with the decision their parents made. But I’d probably be arrested.

    I’m sure that American men grow into the idea once they are older but I’m curious how much teasing teenage kids go through if they aren’t cut.


  7. If you circumsize your fanstasy son , its only fair that you cut off half of your fantasy daughter’s clitoris.


  8. My boys aren’t cut. Both have attended summer camps where they have to change into bathing suits. Neither has reported any teasing. Neither has expressed concern about the appearance of their foreskin or that they look different from other boys.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that there may be some medical benefits to circumcision, but the evidence is not so compelling as to recommend making it routine.

    So if you want to think about slim chances of reducing HIV infection (in case your potential son has unprotected sex with someone who is HIV-positive), then you might also think about potential infection and the trauma that you’d subject your infant son to. Do you want to expose a newborn infant to anaesthetic and analgesics?

    The AAP comes down much firmer on recommending immunizations, but there are many compelling arguments against them. Do you plan to immunize your children?


  9. If you want to worry about stuff, here are a few more things…

    Diapers: disposable or cloth?

    Chronic Ear Infections: tubes or not?

    God and church: spiritual education or not?

    Breastfeed? How long?

    Daycare? Nursery school? Public schools? Life Insurance?

    And then there is the childbirth …

    completely natural or pain-free?

    Obstetrician or nurse-midwife?

    Internal Fetal monitoring: yes or no?


    Rupture of membranes to induce labor?

    There are a TON of choices, and risks associated with each. Circumcision is small potatoes!!


  10. Woah, charlie, one step at a time. Or are you trying to keep me up tonight as well? I gather you are, you big meany.

    All good information regarding your sons. Thank you for that. Hemlock, why is Canada no longer offering it under health insurance? Is it just because or did something happen?

    I think we’ll just take our sons to Williamsburg proper and have a metzitzah b’peh performed instead.


  11. Actually, I’m trying to overwhelm you with choices so you won’t fixate on one. The great thing about kids is that they’re pretty resilient and can tolerate most bad decisions you’ll make! Poor Henry … he was the victime of Kerry’s and my idealism. By the time Owen came around, we were using disposable diapers and would have slapped ear tubes in his head at the first sign of infection (we made poor Henry suffer for YEARS).

    Funny thing is, when I first saw the headline (“SNIP”), I thought this would be a posting about vasectomy—what I think is the most responsible form of family planning for a couple who is ready to make a permanent decision.


  12. Diapers. While I would love to wash some shit out of some cloth, I don’t see that as an option here in good ol’ NYC. If i had a yard, I’d want to do this. Why a yard has anything to do with the decision, I have no idea. But I need a yard to deal with large quantities of human poop and diapers. Oh, and an outdoor hose of some kind. I have neither. Although, someone told me that they have some kind of service now? You call the diaper truck and they come pick up the shitty clothing, clean it, and then return it to you? If that’s the case, I might just do that.

    Tubes, hearing, etc. Yeah, been there. Done that. Tubes f’ed me up royally. Surely there must be something new now. I’d be a hard freaking sell on the tubes, both temporary AND perm.

    The whole shots thing really scares the shit out of me. Might as well throw that fear in with the whole snipping thing.

    No, on the religion. Not until they are old enough to think for themselves.

    I like the idea of home school especially if we live in some not so great neighborhood like many in NYC/Brooklyn.

    And no toy guns. Or cable. Or Internet. Or girl or boyfriends or pants that read “Juicy”.

    Locked up until further notice. Just like that Powder feller.


  13. As far as I know, circumcision was removed from the ‘covered’ list a few years ago… or something… because there was no proof that it was necessary (cleanliness reasons and otherwise). If you want it done, you pay for it.

    I’m only aware of this because a friend of mine was pregnant last year and had to face the snip or no snip question. Fortunately, she had a girl… but she was educated on the facts regardless.

    According to the wikipedia site comparing US and Canadian health care systems, circumcision is only covered in Canada if an infection occurs. Also, here’s another site to check out for info:

    Sorry for the lack of hyperlink. I haven’t figured out how to put one here! ;)

    As for diaper services, I thought they had been around for ages… My sister was predominantly diapered in cloth, but my stepmom did LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of laundry for two years.


  14. I think you asked me what the benefits were, right? Not what I’d do.

    I’d let weiners be weiners.




    I asked you what you’d do. No big deal. You were at work not standing over our hypothetical son holding a knife.

    I’m still not sure what I’d do, quite honestly.


  16. teenage boys, locker rooms, and weiners…..there’s always gonna be some makin’ fun happening there…it’s the nature of being male to be made for of or poke fun at others concerning the size and shape of their little guys. good luck insulating them from that! from one snipped guy to a hypothetical other, i’d go with snip, but that’s purely visual…..on the other hand, don’t snip and give him something to grow into. : )


  17. All the little boys I know are intact. If I see a hoodless weenie I double take now. In Canada, all my friends were going with hoodies but after some discussion. In my more international home there is never a discussion you just leave it. Unless you are Jewish or Muslim ….then it religious not health related.

    My son is the way he was born and never had a issue on cleanliness and god knows I am not the perfect mother when it comes to keeping my kids clean.


  18. Oh my god, I just had a memory! One night, many, many years ago, I was at a small party. i was living in State College at the time. I was probably 19. My friend Katrina and I were standing in the kitchen of a house we called 811 and we were discussing penises and we hadn’t ever seen one that was uncircumcised, just standing in the kitchen, talking about penises.

    A guy who was standing there, we’ll call him “Jesse” said, “I am not cut. Would you like to see it?”

    Katrina and I both looked at each other, a little weirded out and then decided, sure!

    He pulled it out and then showed us how the foreskin could be pulled back out and away from the head. He said that usually, if a guy is hard, you don’t even notice the difference.

    But he was not hard and we were given a really great tutorial about the whole thing.

    This came to me again when I searched for uncircumcised in Google images.


  19. your fanstasy son could educate two college girls in a kitchen one day

    do you want to deny him that opportunity ?


  20. I’d like to deny the two girls that opportunity.


  21. my son is uncircumcised AND has only one testicle. he is also one of the most handsome guys i have ever seen, with long thick gorgeous eyelashes and incredible muscle definition and no body fat. can you imagine a 7-year old kid with vascular definition in his forearms and striated pecs when he flexes? i think he would be the hulk if he had two testicles. any way, he’s going to give plenty of girls a lesson in anatomy, i’m sure.


  22. I would go without snipping! My son is 5 months old, and it was never even a question. I’ve read somewhere on the net that circumcism rates are much higher in the eastern states of the US as compared to the western states. And also the US rates are much higher than those up here in Canada. I believe about 15% of baby boys in BC are circumcized these days. My husband is not snipped, and didn’t see the need for our son to be put through that unnecessary surgery!

    And in regards to the diaper service-we had it for the first 6 weeks, it was cheaper than disposables! You have to buy the waterproof diaper covers, and then get cloth diapers and a pail delivered to your door every week, and they pick up the bag of wet and dirties. It’s quite handy. I wash the cloth diapers now, so we don’t have the service.


  23. Thanks, wendy! I never would have guessed it’d be cheaper!


  24. I feel a corporate responsibility to plug my website on this. However, Tobyjoe might get dizzy if he read this article


  25. nervous and small December 19, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    If your mythical son mythically caught HIV via any mythically available process, would you feel mythically twice as responsible Mihow? Well, probably not, my guess is that deep deep down, you’d feel solely responsible. Then again, your call.


  26. nervous and small December 19, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    BTW, almost no male in Europe is clipped……


  27. If the diaper has stool, flush it down the toilet before putting the diaper in the pail. If the stool is soft and clinging to the diaper, you can swish the diaper in the toilet before putting it in the diaper pail. Be sure to wash your hands well afterward.

    Yeah, Tobyjoe is doomed if he reads this one. Plus, they used the word “swish” in the same sentence as soft and stool.

    Why do they have to tell people to wash their hands after dealing with poop? Why, Charlie? Why?


  28. Would it be too disgusting to mention that we would use an old butter knife to scrape the clingy stools from the diapers into the toilet? And let me say this: after swishing a diaper in a toilet, what are you going to do with a soaked, shitty diaper? Carry it dripping over to the pail? cup your hand under it so that it doesn’t drip all over your floor?

    I’m sorry, but after going through all that, I’m afraid you’re probably going to have to wash a lot more than just your hands. I don’t think they go far enough.

    I’m surprised that they didn’t remind you to put out your cigarette before changing baby’s diaper.


  29. Diapers: disposable or cloth?
    My friends registered for gDiapers… “the world’s first flushable diapers. Environmentally friendly, G Diapers do not contribute to landfills and most importantly keep your baby dry and comfortable. gDiapers have no elemental chlorine, perfumes, smell, garbage or guilt.”
    haven’t used them myself.


  30. that same article said that it reduces the rate at which men infect women with the virus that causes cervical cancer.


  31. Afor the circumcision question, MC tells me NO WAY. You could ask him for the details of his debate but it just seems unnecessary. And i’m pretty much against any unnecessary medical procedure these days especially if it seems to be simply a Western cultural construct (and this one seems to be an AMerican thing).


  32. that same article said that it reduces the rate at which men infect women with the virus that causes cervical cancer.

    OK, wow, I hadn’t read that bit. HPV, i imagine. Must read the entire article.

    (Shame on you, mihow)

    Gina, you don’t have to answer me, but is MC snipped?


  33. Gina, I am LOVING the gDiaper Videos!


  34. i’m viewing the “watch them break down” video now! go Aussies.


  35. i’m not so sure about flushing diapers even though that looks fairly safe…..but, crate training is so much easier!


  36. crate training? Do tell!


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