How to Not Be an Activist : A Penis Story
I’m not sure if there is any real point to telling this story, but it’s one of those experiences I decided I ought to share.
So this summer I went to pick up some plants I scored off Craigslist. I pulled up to the house of the owner, which had a full garden, ivy up the tree with a birdhouse in it, purple painted trim and garage. The woman herself was fairly crunchy woman.. You know, lots of wrinkles but not that old, with a colorful patchy looking dress and stitched apron on. Honestly she looked like she came out of a storybook. We got to chatting but then I explain I have a 4 year old son in my car, so I really needed to get going.
So as I was putting the plants in the car, still chatting (because it turns out we are both chatty people), when she suddenly remembers she is an EDUCATOR and directs my attention to her car across the street which is totally covered all over in pro midwife stickers and similar. Before noting my 4 year old is asleep she starts to bumble around the bush about something she EDUCATES people in but isn’t quite able to get out what she wants to say, mumbling something to to effect of, “Well, he is young and asleep anyway so it won’t matter if he hears.” It takes me a moment more of listening but then I realized she’s telling me if I haven’t circumcised my 4 year old son yet I should not do it. So I’m kind of put off by this random stranger thinking about my 4 year old’s penis and attempting to not only engage me in conversation about it but also just by the randomness of it. I mean, my son is 4. Perhaps due to the at-the-time somewhat more recent news of the woman with the older kid in dispute with her husband over circumcision she felt she needed to check with me “just in case?”
So I reassure her with the appropriate outrage and denial that I have not circumcised and would ever circumcise… she is still going on to me about it… so I attempt to reassure her I am as crunchy as crunch can be…Talked about how I made it to 11 months with breastfeeding, cloth diapering, whatever I could think of to reassure her… And when she STILL KEPT TRYING TO TELL ME HOW TO APPROPRIATELY CARE FOR MY SON’S PENIS I just kept interrupting her by finishing her sentences and correcting some of her minor factual errors. Which may sound rude but this was me trying to be nice about it, and just getting more and more desperate for her to get the hint. I was really starting to get concerned that my kid was going to roast in the car.
I can’t even imagine how someone who was pro-circ or neutral on it would have reacted, though perhaps they would have given the response I should have given which would have been a more direct.