Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The snip

This weekend was Labour Day over here. I mean Labor Day. Nothing to do with midwifes or the colour red, the first Monday in September is a federal holiday celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. A holiday sought to create "a day off for the working citizens" had me deciding to have a night off from my Mom/Mum job, book a babysitter and drag Him Downstairs (HD) out.

We went to see stand-up comedian Chelsea Handler. For those of you untouched by Ms Handler, she has a late night show, Chelsea Lately on the E! Channel, which is full of hilarious commentary on life and celebrities. She’s basically the lady responsible for the decline in our sex life as we’re too busy chortling (giggling for my American friends) at her in bed.

Anyhow, off we went, picnic blanket in hand, to the ‘lawn seats’ area. That means at the back. We’re far too cheap to take on full-price tickets. HD went to the bar and returned with two nice plastic glasses of beer and we felt just like we were at Glastonbury (minus the mud, bands and tents, obviously). We actually felt youthful again too. (Though am sure the many students in the audience could spot the ‘PARENTS ON A NIGHT OUT!’ signs a mile off – drunk after one beer, sensible jumpers in case we got cold, knowing laughter at all the parenting/pregnancy jokes she made etc)

Anyway, particularly amusing to us was her take on dating an Englishman and his un-circumcised manhood.

“Why do all the men in your country refuse to get circumcised? she asks the Englishman. ”It’s repulsive. They look like (f*bleep*ing) aardvarks, and I really don’t appreciate it,” she rants.

We chortled on, remembering all the hospital papers we had to sign here when Monkey was born to prevent him from getting the automatic US snip. ”Don’t forget to tick the ‘No circumcision box’ our Brit friends warned us, “Else they’ll cut him before you can say ‘ouch’. This was obviously serious stuff.

After the show, we decided to line up to get our copy of her book, Are You There Chelsea? It’s me, Vodka’ autographed. A touch excited at the thought of meeting the lady who spends every night in our bedroom, I took my place in line. HD stood to the side, camera at the ready.

“Are you an English?” Chelsea said after I said hello.

“Yes, what gave it away haha?” I replied, (trying and failing to be witty with a professional comedian) A sweat formed in my palms because I kind of new what was coming next…

‘So, you’re a fan of the circumcised?” she said. Eyebrows around us rose.

“Err, umm yesss” I said all British and mortifyingly embarrassed.

“Well gimmie a high–five for the snip sister!” she yelled.

I found myself whooping and high-fiving with her. People had stopped exiting the area and were now looking at us. “Where’s your husband?” she continues. I, (sorry HD) pointed to him. “So, sir, you haven’t been circumcised?” she shouts to him, “and you bought your aardvark over here?”

At least 50+ people are now witnessing this exchange. “Shame on you sir!” Chelsea laughs. Although the light is fading, I can literally feel HD’s cheeks burning.

“Someone’s got to like it though eh?” Chelsea winks at me and the crowd laughs. I babble an unheard “Yes, err, of course, it’s lovely,” response (no-one’s interested in what I’m saying obviously) grab my signed book and make for HD as Chelsea turns her attentions to the next fan in line.

As we walk away, a stranger who’s been witness to this exchange about my husband’s pride and joy, gives HD a look as if to say, ‘you poor unclean Brit.’

“He does shower you know!” I snap in his defense.

Later, when we were tucked up in bed, HD says, “You don’t think it looks like an aardvark do you?” I didn’t have the heart to say I thought Chelsea had a point actually, so for marital harmony instead I plumped for, “I like aardvarks.”


  1. V diplomatic Mom/Mum. No comment from me on which I prefer...
    Glad you had a nice night out...together! Very jealous!

  2. Shortlived. back to our usual moody mumblings the next morning!

  3. I lost that battle with DH. I was very angry that he wasn't there at the hospital when they gave me the very LONG list of possible side-effects and complications before they went ahead and mutilated my son.

    DS has 5 male cousins (some in the US and some in the UK), all of whom have aardvarks. So much for the 'it makes you like everyone else' argument!

  4. Fan of the aardvark or not, I really just couldn't bear to put my boys through such a procedure. Now though I worry that they'll get laughed at in the locker rooms over here..

  5. Love Chelsea.
    Interesting circ story. With my first son (almost 13) my husband (cird'd) refused to really discuss it until I was in labour, and the docs said that although the American Pediatric Assoc. had to advise that it wan't necessary, felt duty-bound to tell me that most mid-western boys were cir'd. I was in no shape to argue but livid later.
    Second son, (7 years later) interesting development. Doc tells me that they were moving towards not circumcising boys but "would still do it if the parents wanted to". Given that father and brother had had it done, I made the decision that it was OK and indeed, he cane back less than 5 minutes later looking like he hadn't shed a tear.
    NOw they are suggesting that the foresil may be there for a reason (shock, horror), and there are some theories that Americans of old did it to curb the sexual urges of their young males.
    I still feel mislead about the whole thing.

  6. Of course, that should have read "foreskin".

  7. Haha! You managed to both make me laugh and also educate me- I never knew that circumcisioni was common practice in the US.(personally I think I would find it weird not being faced with an aardvark!)

  8. Even if you speak a common language, the world's a very different place !

  9. aa - I guess we will have to wait a few years to see if ours sons ever complain of being or not being like everyone else!

    brittan e - thanks for stopping by fellow Chelsea fan!

    expat mum - thanks for sharing circumcision story. is a piece of skin reallyt going to stop the boys and their raging hormones???
    I didnt feel pressured into it or not, and after reading some of these stories am thankful my doc didn't react negatively when we chose not to go for the cut.

    vg - glad i raised a giggle for you. not sure how common place it is over the rest of this country, but it was certainly something that never came up for me in the maternity ward at hospital in the UK...
    dear auntie gwen - Common language? What American and brits? now you're talking fantasies!

  10. I think this "comedian" is disgusting. Her anti-intact remarks haven't a grain of comedy in them, when so many US women agree with them, word for word, with a straight face. She wouldn't dare say anything so just plain RUDE about someone of a different ethnicity, or religion (at least no mainstream religion) or ability, but the foreskin and the men who are lucky enough to still have them are fair game. And that's one of the ways the preposterous circumcision meme is perpetuated.

    If you say she's a good comedian (otherwise), I won't disagree; this blind spot is widespread in otherwise perfectly nice people.

  11. Hi Mom/Mum,

    You tell this story so well, I’m laughing hard here.

    The weather in Britain is too cold not to wear a hat in the winter and in the summer I need a hat to keep the sun off my head – I don’t want to get it burnt.

    Hats are good. They can be washed… every day.

    Worn at a jaunty angle they can look quite fun too

    And if you really want to see my head, I can always take my hat off.


    I know it can be a serious subject for some though. So I probably shouldn’t make light of it, but I suspect that for most men who’ve been brought up to be confident and self-assured, it won’t be a problem. Love me, love my hat. That’s what I say!

  12. Thanks Dave. Now your kind of humour I appreciate. You led in so gently I didn't get what you were talking about till a second reading. Who laughs last laughs best.

  13. hugh - you have a point and I'm glad made you smile about it in the end.

    dave - I laughed best at your commnet. V good!

    Thanks for stopping by both btw...

  14. A friend of mine from Scotland (also an ex-pat) got into this convo with his American peer in-laws. He rebuttled, "hey, that's a WHOLE EXTRA INCH! And I haven't heard Heather complain about that YET!"

    Heh heh.

  15. If your husband isn't right off the whole topic, I think he'll also tell you that when he gets, um, hot, his hat feels REALLY nice when he wipes his brow with it.

    Dave: as Bing Crosby didn't sing, "Thaa-nks, for the me-ta-phor..."

  16. My eldest 2 did not have it done because the doctors told me it was unecessary and was a painful procedure for a baby. Of course being an emotional-just-given-birth-mum, whatever thoughts I had already had on it, went out the window because I did not want my baby being in pain.

    My youngest did, but only because he had a hypospadious hyrdoseal, which meant the hole to pee out of was just under the tip rather than where it should be, so at the tender age of 6 months they operated to fix that, and in doing so they had to go ahead with the whole C thing.

    Poor hubbie, has he recovered from her remarks?