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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fore Square

Dear Mistress Maeve,

My husband and I just had a baby boy two months ago. Everything is great, except I'm having a bit of tension with my family and could use some advice.

My husband is Brazilian and uncircumcised, and we decided not to circumcise our son. When my family found out, my two brothers (who are circumcised) started giving me a hard time about it. They say that uncircumcised penises are harder to keep clean and can cause problems. Also, they say that other kids will make fun of our son later in life. Even more infuriating, they refer to my son's penis as his "little turkey baster."

I'm comfortable with our decision, but I don't want to make life more difficult for my son.

Fore-ward Thinker


Dear Fore-ward,

Congratulations on your new arrival! It's unfortunate that your brothers have cast a shadow over this otherwise happy time. They may think they have legitimate concerns about your son's foreskin, but they are mistaken. Furthermore, you should not have to tolerate their taunting remarks. Let your brothers know that you've considered their concerns, but you and your husband are happy with your choice. Ask them to kindly keep their thoughts to themselves in the future. If they persist, you may have to consider how long you're willing to subject yourself to their jibes.

Your son and his foreskin are going to be just fine. Cut or uncut, men need to wash their members. For uncut men, a thorough cleaning includes retracting the foreskin and washing underneath. Humans have lots of cracks and crevices to keep clean — what's one more? Plus, your son will learn from his father — whose body will resemble his own — how to groom for proper hygiene.

Where no religious traditions are concerned, more and more parents are choosing not to circumcise their sons; hence your son will most likely be in plenty of company and won't experience this fabled foreskin ridicule.

You might point out to your brothers that the only people currently mocking your son are his uncles.

Fore sure,

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