This is my circumcision story.
For some reason, when I was born, the doctor refused to perform the circumcision there and then. So I came home, uncircumcised, and in this state spent a good half-decade.
Then, suddenly, it was time for some man to take a pair of scissors to my penis. When my father explained to me exactly what was going to happen the next day, I involuntarily grabbed myself. Up to this point, I didn’t think of my penis as being a special part of my body but thinking of what was coming made me nervous enough to want to never let go.
After the momentary horror passed, I spent the rest of the day in an artificial calm. The following morning, my mother called the hospital but the doctor was running late. Good. We got into the car, unsure if the good doctor would make it there on time. Even better.
Still, I wasn’t one to take unnecessary risks. I began to pray for an accident to befall the doctor, nothing too major, but maybe a broken limb (or two). Maybe he would get amnesia and forget the appointment. Or all the junior doctors would go on a picnic and get diarrhea, these were desperate times.
Surprisingly, none of the adults in the car (I think there were three) addressed what was about to happen. Someone I had never met was going to cut open my body.
I began to feel sick.
We arrived at the clinic. I had already left my body and was hovering near the roof, watching myself go up the stairs and into the fateful waiting room. I could run away and live on the streets, couldn’t I? We waited. The doctor wasn’t here yet. Good. The doctor has arrived. Shit.
Nurses came out to take me into the surgery room and this is when I began to cry. I cried harder than the first day of school, when I had escaped through a gap in the gate and would have made it home if my mother wasn’t still outside. She turned me in.
Forget shame, I cried like all the ice-cream in the world had melted and flowed into a giant vat of castor oil. Like everything, it got a little ugly before it got better. There was a lot of begging, tugging and yanking, while I cried like a siren. It was a terrible experience.
Eventually, I ended up on the operating table with a tiny curtain around my waist so I couldn’t see what was going on in my nether region. Even though I couldn’t see it, I felt the injection that pumped local anesthesia into my blood stream. They assured me my dad was right outside.
The lower half of my body was numb but because I was conscious, I could feel the cold scissors against my skin. It was one weird out of body experience where I knew something horrible was happening, but there was no pain. Just a mild, cool, uncomfortableness about it all.
And a doctor and three interns crowded around my penis.
A nurse had been given the task of pinning my hands to my side, in case I decided to sprint from the table.
After my tears had dried, she decided to initiate conversation.
“Now that doesn’t hurt does it,” she said, one eye on the other side of the curtain, to things I couldn’t see.
“No,” I mumbled.
“You cried so much just now. Was there any need for all those tears?”
I looked deep into her big, brown, motherly eyes, full of comfort and love, and thought to myself, what a bitch.
And in all this, they didn’t think to fucking ask you.
It’s one thing to do involuntary and unnecessary things to a child who CAN’T speak, it’s quite another to do it to one who CAN. You CAN ASK IF THEY WANT IT AT THIS POINT, AND WITHOUT THAT IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL TO DO.