February 25, 2013

How I Met Your Mohel

If you only read one thing in deciding whether to circumcise your son, then for G-d's sake, DON'T DO IT. You really ought to give more thought, consideration, and research to the matter: it's another man's penis being sliced up, you know, and you're responsible for it.

But if you're reading many things about circumcision, then you might as well include Sloane Crosley's gonzo-meets-gomco account of crashing brises and cornering mohels, which she just published on medium.com:

Sherman has performed brises on just about every continent. He describes one he did in Bermuda, calling it a "drive-by" in reference to how fast he flew in and out. In response, I make a bad joke about the image of a drive-by bris, where you just hold the baby out the window of a car.

"No, we're not going to do that," he says, tapping my tape recorder. "You said that, not me. Listen, I don't tell jokes. Especially when I do a bris. That's unacceptable. It totally demeans the dignity of the ceremony."

If these statements seem lacking in social grace, ask yourself this: Who do you want in the White House, your drinking buddy or the man most qualified for the job? Now imagine we're talking about your penis.

"It's not just an issue of his competence," said a father whose son was relieved of his foreskin by Sherman. "Though he's certainly that. But in general the bris is a chance to see how your body became what it is now. Call me crazy but I happen to love a good bris, though it freaks out my non-Jewish friends."

It's interesting that she mentions a tape recorder, because a lot of her quotes have a pretty amped up quality to them, as if everyone were auditioning for a mohel reality show.

I guess when all's quipped and clipped and done, I still can't understand how people can be so glib about cutting off part of a guy's genitalia without his awareness or consent.

Modern Ritual | The First Cut [medium.com]

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