And The Winner Is … Circumcision Decision!

I almost never enter writing contests.

But a few weeks ago, on a whim, I entered my essay Circumcision Decision – about convincing my somewhat skeptical husband to go along with circumcising our then-newborn son — in the third annual Two Kinds Of People essay contest that I found through She Writes, an incredibly supportive online community for women writers of all stripes.

What tempted me to dust off this essay, one of my early ones for this blog (and a personal favorite, I have to say) was the side note to would-be entrants from contest founder, Susan Bearman: “It’s the dead of winter around here,” she wrote from Chicago, “so a little humor couldn’t hurt, if you know what I mean.” Having spent four years in the corn fields at Oberlin College in Ohio, I have vivid memories of just how gray and frigid those Midwest winters can be. And I thought, I bet I can make her laugh. So I hit Send and hoped for the best.

And, unbelievably, the best happened. My irreverent little essay won. You can read it here,  along with some of the other wonderful essays submitted to the contest.

Susan was kind enough to gift me with some 2KOP swag that I’m looking forward to flaunting around our Central Florida town. But even better was the excuse to bring Circumcision Decision out of the archives and share it with new readers who may have missed its first appearance on the blog.

If it makes you laugh or smile, please share or tweet it to others. Thank you!

[Ed Note: I am aware that this essay has prompted many comments on the Two Kinds Of People blog from people who feel circumcision is wrong and strongly disagree with my tongue-in-cheek way of writing about it ... and winning a contest for it. Even if your comments weren't posted on 2KoP, you can be sure that I've seen them all.  Humor is subjective and not everyone likes mine. You may hate mine. And in the last few days I've heard from many who do. That's the beauty of a free press. So, I welcome dissenting views and will post comments that are thoughtful, civil and offer a new perspective on the discussion. That said, anonymous comments, vitriolic rants, profanity-laced insults and repeats of what's already been posted on 2KoP, Reddit or Facebook will not be re-posted here.] 

Photo credit: kaisersosa67








  1. You did, indeed, make me laugh—and my readers, too. Congratulations on your big win and thank for donating your Animal Store gift card to the Red Door Animal Shelter here in Chicago. That was such a kind gesture. The rest of your loot is on the way down to Florida. Congratulations again.

  2. Barbara Judd says:

    Congratulations! You have a gift for bringing a smile to readers of all ages. Bet, I’m your oldest fan….pushing eighty, with both hands waving tennis rackets and a new love life….

  3. Thank you Barbara!

  4. Perry M. Dworkin says:

    I liked the first time and still do. “Mountain Girl” is still my favorite. Do a book already.

  5. Working on it, Perry. Thanks!

  6. Richard Rosenblatt says:

    Congrats on the acclaim. It’s another in a series of serious topic approached with both a sense of humor and more than a dash of modern reality. Refreshingly honest. Totally relate-able. Brava!

  7. Calglemama says:

    I simply love that you were able to put a humorous spin on such a big decision! Thank you for your honesty. I wish you’d publish a collection of your stories…that is a book I’d proudly add to my library!

  8. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Calglemama!

  9. Thank you Richard!

  10. James Denholm says:

    “If it makes you laugh or smile, please share or tweet it to others.”

    Norine, as a circumcised man, what should I do if your essay disgusts, shocks and offends me? I’d really like to know how I could make it apparent that the topic of discussion and the described debate leaves me with some sort of sick, saddened feeling in the pit of my guts.

  11. Seeing that all the comments here are positive so far, I assume this comment won’t get through as you are likely moderating them. But I will give it a try anyhow.

    I found the essay distasteful, disheartening, and lacking factual knowledge. I was circumcised at infancy and wish I hadn’t been, so much so I am debating on foreskin restoration. I did not have a bad circumcision either, I have enough skin there and no issues with scarring. But I can still tell I would much rather have foreskin. Amputation is an elective procedure and like-wise should be circumcision. If your son wanted it cut off then he could’ve made the decision when the time was right.

    I did not circumcise my son and I did a large amount of research before making my decision (look at my blog to see notes from the research). I feel that I made the right decision for the right reasons, not some superficial, “He needs to fit in” sort of drivel. I mean seriously, you really think a man would not receive a BJ because he is intact, meaning completely natural? That is ridiculous.

    A little info about that organ (the foreskin) you cut off your son. It was there to protect your son’s glans from harm. The organ actually helps to keep the glans clean and block irritation. Instead you cut the organ off and exposed his glans to the world, feces/urine soaked diapers, irritation from clothing, and scarred your son’s penis (and possibly other things [psychological]) for life. Instead of simply saying that, “I heard…” and etc, why didn’t you go look it up and make a real educated decision? I think maybe I understand, you were decided on circumcising and nothing was going to change your mind, not even your husband.

    Your poor husband and poor son, it is highly likely they will forever regret your decision. You both should have just taken some time to do research, not just make a rash decision like that. Be a responsible parent and look out for your son, don’t just do what is popular to fit in. And on the topic of fitting in, you probably weren’t even aware that leaving your child intact was actually becoming more and more common during the period in which you wrote your essay. That being said, your son will likely notice that about 50% of his friends are intact and feel that he has missed out on a part of his own body.

    As far as sensitivity is concerned, your husband was right. An intact penis has way more nerve endings, meaning it is more sensitive. It is also scar free which again keeps sensitivity at its peak. The glans is very sensitive as well and if you remove the organ that protects it then it will receive regular friction from clothing leaving it more desensitized. The foreskin also keeps the glans moist which allows for better intercourse and lesser need for lubricant.

    All I can say to end this is how extremely disappointed I am with our society and its lack of concern to do what is right vs. the concern people have for what others think about them. I proudly tell people about my parenting decisions and my feelings on topics that go against popular belief. I will not hide behind closed doors out of fear for what others would think nor will I teach my son to do so. Do what is right for your child when he has no choice of his own. And this means you must do your due diligence. Just guessing in this age where knowledge is plentiful and widespread is imbecilic.

  12. You do exactly as you did and leave a comment. I don’t expect my humor to appeal to everyone … I write for those it does. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  13. I don’t believe in censoring thoughtful comments. This wasn’t a think piece on circumcision; it was humor. And my humor doesn’t appeal to everyone. I write for those it does. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  14. Anti-circumcision comments notwhithstanding, I enjoyed the essay, as I have enjoyed those others of yours which I have read. Regardless of one’s position on the issue, your sharing and humorizing (is that a word?) of your decision-making process was very appreciated by this reader.

  15. Many thanks Cliff. I appreciate your reading and commenting. I hope you’ll visit often!

  16. Congrats! The win was well deserved. Thanks for a beautifully constructed piece with perfect-pitch humor. So rare in this get-it-out-on-the-web-fast world. Thanks for pursuing excellence.

  17. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Marty! I hope you come back often and that my writing continues to entertain!

  18. “Regardless of one’s position on the issue, your sharing and humorizing (is that a word?) of your decision-making process”

    Genital mutilation is no joke.

  19. Cyn, I’ve approved this comment but did not approve your other comment because it repeated what you said on 2KoP. I appreciate that you have a very different point of view and are very passionate about it. And I thank you for visiting my blog to express it. But unless you have something new to add to the discussion, I won’t be posting more of your comments. Thanks again for taking the time to visit and comment.

  20. Oh my heavens, Norine, when you commented on my Two Kinds of People non-winning entry I posted on my blog, I had no idea you were the winning essay in the same contest! I just now had the time to go and read the winning essay and I knew immediately from your comment on my peeing in the shower post that it was you. How funny! You deserved the win. Loved the essay and your honesty. Fist bump, girl!

  21. Congratulations, Norine, I have nominated you for the KREATIV BLOGGER AWARD.

    Go to my blog to see your name in bright lights, then check out the rules for the award, which I’ve pasted below:

    The Kreativ Blogger award comes with the following rules:
    1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
    2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
    3. Link the person who has nominated you for the award.
    4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
    5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
    6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
    7. Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

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