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What do you take to a circumcision party? Flowers, cookies, Band-Aid?

November 30, 2001
The Iranian

I was sitting in the office working on my usual nine-hour day-dreaming session when my boss rudely interrupted me.

"I would like to invite you to my son's party," he said while handing me the invitation.

"Oh, a birthday party?" I asked.

"No! Circumcision party."

What the hell! I almost fell off my chair. I opened the invitation and sure enough, it WAS a circumcision party.

Noticing my freaky and uncomfortable reaction, my boss explained, "My wife is from Turkey and traditionally, boys are circumcised between the ages of five to twelve. She wanted it that way!"

Things like this happens quit often in Middle East where friends, neighbors, and relatives are invited to circumcision parties. Tea, sweets, and refreshments are served while grownups watch the poor kid getting his dingy shopped off. I guess it makes grownups feel good about themselves since they are not the one on display (for a change) and it's not their equipment that is getting rearranged.

But I never thought anyone in their right mind would throw a circumcision PARTY nowadays especially in America. I thought they would take care of it in the hospital as soon as the kid is born and get it over with.

New-born boys are too stupid to realize that half of their manhood is about to be cut off by a sharp knife. It surly prevents boys from getting traumatized by the act since they won't remember a thing when they grow up. It makes perfect sense cause there will be enough episodes in life which will traumatize men, such as dating women and credit card bills.

Come to think of it, circumcising boys later in life, probably is an effective weapon to control the kid's behavior. "You go do your homework at this instant, young man, or I will circumcise your ass!"

Honestly, I was not sure what to expect. I mean, what do you wear to a party like that? Should I go casual or should I wear suit and tie? What do you take to a circumcision party? Flowers, cookies, Band-Aid? What do you do while you are at the party? Are they gonna play music? Is there dinner? Can you take a date? What kind of drinks do they serve? Champaign?

I pulled into the street where my boss and his family live. I'm one of them Iranians who are always late for parties but I was not about to be late for this one. I guess I was just curious. I felt sorry for the boy. But I had never been invited to a circumcision party before.

I found a spot, parked my car, and walked to the house. The door was open and the house was full of people. I got there just in time. The ceremony was about to begin. The poor kid was standing on a table with his pants down looking confused. There was a circle of people around him mostly men and some women. There was a skinny guy standing in front of the boy with surgical gloves, scissors, and clamps ready to go at it.

"Is he a doctor?" I asked the gentleman next to me.

"He is a used-car salesman and a part time circumcision master. He circumcises Jews and Moslems. He is very good."

The circumcision master started blurring some Arabic words and grabbed the boy's equipment with a clamp. Then with an unexpected move, he cut off the skin. Blood spattered all over the place. The kid let out a loud scream that woke up the whole neighborhood.

I grabbed my crouch and turned around. The guy next to me fell on his knees and started barffing. The big guy cross the room passed out. The lady next to him ran out of the room, screaming hysterically. The rest of the people in the room looked down with embarrassment. One drunken dude in the back started clapping and cheering like his favorite baseball team just won the World Series.

I ran out of the house and jumped in my car. I sat behind the wheels gasping for air. I could not believe what I just witnessed. I pulled out the cell phone and called my mom, "Hay mom, remember my therapist said that I was traumatized at some point during my childhood? Was I circumcised in the hospital?"

"Well son, Your father and I don't like to talk about that incident. Let me put it this way. You were embarrassing, but the party was great."

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment to the writer Siamack Baniameri

By Siamack Baniameri

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