While waiting for my turn in the waxing chair to get the bushes over my eyes tamed, I overheard a funny conversation about labour. Two women sitting nearby were laughing and talking loudly. One was describing the bliss of her epidural. The other was describing how hot the male nurse was during her recovery after giving birth. As a mum of three children, I couldn’t help but listen in. One of them noticed and asked if I was a mum, too. A couple of minutes later, after laughing and chatting, I would come to regret taking an interest.
The conversation took a sharp left when one of the women suddenly blurted out that she couldn’t believe she had to request that her newborn son be circumcised.
“You know, that should be law, like, every boy should have this done because everyone knows that it is healthier,” she said.
I was a little put off by her assertion when out of nowhere she turned to me and asked, “What about you? Did you have your boys snipped?”
I shook my head no and honestly wasn’t sure what the hell was happening here.
She got an incredulous look on her face and said, loud enough for the whole salon to hear her, “Well, that’s just fu*king gross, hope they don’t turn out to be pervs when they grow up!”
The two ladies started laughing hard enough for me to see inside their ugly mouths.
After I scraped my jaw off the floor, I said, “On what planet does not being circumcised equate to being a perv? Are you fu*king serious, lady?”
Those were fighting words. And, honey, I wasn’t backing down.
The two women no longer looked pleased with themselves. They looked uncomfortable and annoyed that their “joking” had managed to raise some hackles.
“Look, it’s a fact that boys that don’t get snipped end up with diseases and that can back up and warp their brains,” this unbelievable woman said.
Staring directly at her, I calmly responded, “I get that you guys are just messing around here, but you don’t know me, and you don’t get to judge me or call my sons future pervs. Rein it in, lady.”
And with that, I turned my chair and ignored their cackling laughter and muttered responses of, “What an ignorant b*tch!”
When my hair was set and my brows waxed I got up and paid the receptionist and left the salon feeling rage.
I tried to tell myself that it’s normal for women to talk bullsh*t in a salon. But a part of me couldn’t help but also think that they may have actually meant what they were saying. They may actually believe that circumcision is a necessary health choice to make for newborn boys and that the alternative is “gross.”
Circumcision is a controversial topic, mainly because the medical community has not issued any recommendations on it. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics has found the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, they concluded that the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision. (Circumcision may help decrease the risk of contracting some sexually transmitted diseases, penile cancer, and urinary tract infections.) So, it’s up to parents to decide whether to circumcise based on their religious, ethical, and cultural beliefs.
I do not believe that circumcision is necessary; in fact, I think that it is cruel and should be considered genital mutilation. I also believe that with good hygiene and safe sex practices uncircumcised men can be just as healthy as men who are circumcised.
The part about this interaction that makes me so angry though, is this woman’s insistence that I am “an ignorant b*tch” and that my sons will grow up to become “pervs”. She was casting a world of nasty judgment on me without asking me any questions or taking the time to hear me out.
It is none of my business if other parents choose to circumcise their sons, and I do not judge other people’s parenting decisions. I may not agree with the practice but the extent of my protest goes only so far as refusing to have it done on my own sons. It does not extend to me being a nasty person calling other parents names and being generally rude and dismissive.
Modern parents have enough bullsh*t advice to dog paddle through, we don’t need to be getting into fights over private medical decisions that have absolutely zero bearing on anyone else. To the lady at the salon, you can sod off. To everyone else, you do you.