The most interesting article I’ve written the past week for my internship was not about Jessica Sanchez.
Of course, I am forever indebted to her and all the hullabaloo she’s causing at the American Idol because I got my first byline writing about it, but the article I relished writing the most was about—make a guess!—circumcision. Read it here.
I’m glad I didn’t live in some far-flung town where the only way to do it was through a subokan. It surely would have been more painful! And unhygienic. I couldn’t imagine laying my thing out on a chopping board and waiting for some madman to hack through it like it’s some scaly fish.
I couldn’t believe that a decade ago it was my single biggest preoccupation. Will it hurt? Do I really have to go through it? Why can’t I be knocked off to sleep while it’s being done? Will it heal? Will it really grow? Funny how time changes everything! Of course there was no Facebook and Twitter then, and so you couldn’t really talk about, much less dwell on, the whole matter. And my parents enthusiastically did the all the PR for me—“O ano, masakit ba?” an uncle would ask, to which my father would reply, “Parang kagat lang ng langgam, ‘di ba anak?”
I think what really hurt the most was the anesthesia itself. Of course you’re all used to sticking needles in plumper and fatter areas of your body, like your arms. But to stick one in an organ full of sensitive tissues and nerves is, well, have you tried sticking needles in your tongue? As in sticking them deep? I guess it’s one of those things you’ll never really appreciate until you’ve experienced it.
The healing process was another story altogether. Honestly, when I think about it now, I feel like the world should have given me a most-fitful-sleep-without-twisting-and-turning award or something. It’s a feat my sisters would never be able to match—getting around the house with a wound on such a very, err, contact-prone part of my anatomy. I remember we were having our usual Saturday movie in my parents’ bedroom and we were watching The Ring and I couldn’t quite get scared because my sisters kept jumping around in fright and all I could focus on was keeping them from shoving me or hitting me with a pillow! I think that was when horror films really began losing their effect on me.
I leave it to the general public to debate the merits of circumcision, but I’d definitely make a case for it when it comes down to that. After all, penile problems have been found to occur more commonly among uncircumcised males. But its significance does go beyond the medical—in some religions it is a sacrilege not to be circumcised, and it is, up to this day, perceived to be a rudimentary requirement for being a full-fledged male member of our society.
In the end, though, we all know it takes more than a cut foreskin to man up to this big, bad world.