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Erica Jong Headshot

Next Time Boychick, We Take the Whole Thing

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Yesterday, Darwin turned eight days old. Darwin is my second grandson. You know what that means if you're Jewish. The briss, the brit mila, the covenant of circumcision. Or as I like to think of it: Next time boychick, we take the whole thing!

Ever wonder why Jewish boys are so fucked up about sex? Ever wonder why they fall for mile-high models from Slovenia who wear those big cold crosses? Ever wonder why they like Chinese girls, Chinese-American girls, Blonde shiksa cheerleaders from Kansas? Or those cool black models who dance like Beyonce?

It's because of the Covenant with Jahwah or G-d: I take this piece of your pecker, with your mother, father, grandfathers and grandmothers looking on, teary eyed. And you think of nothing but your pecker for the rest of your life!

You think female circumcision is bad? (It's hideous, health destroying and horrible -- and inflicted on women by other women). But at least women have other things to think about than their pussies -- like children, like politics, like writing. At least women don't focus nonstop on their vaginas (or as Oprah says, their vajayjays). Men think about their pricks for the rest of their lives. Don't get me wrong, they think about them whether or not they're circumcised. But circumcision bumps it up to a whole other level.

Health reasons, my ass. It's the health of the old impotent grandpas they're thinking of, not you, little boy. You could learn to push the skin back and wash. We're not in the desert any more. We have Jacuzzis and steam showers and redwood hot tubs from Californicate. No, folks, it's the grandpas who love this ritual. The mothers usually run in the other room crying. But they get blamed for it anyway. And Jewish women bear the brunt ever after. Either they marry you and run around with Diana Ross or Beyonce or Naomi Campbell -- or they marry Sandra Oh or Lucy Liu or Yoko Ono and she converts.

In the old days, your mother used to threaten suicide. Now we're more liberal, so your mother embraces Ms. Hung, Ms. Jong, Ms. Ono, Ms. Liu, Ms. Hoe, Ms. Loe, Ms. Cho, Ms. Choi, Ms. Loi. And guess what, the next little boy goes through it anyway!

In my parents' youth, there was a show that ran forever called: Abie's Irish Rose. That was the forbidden fruit in 1920s, 1930s New York. If you updated it, you'd have to call it Abie's Swahili Sweetie or Abie's Chinese Lotus. Nowadays it might be Abie's Tantric Tootsie. The idea would be the same: brilliant Jewish boy flees his mother and hightails it for India or China or Japan. (And you can find India, Africa and China right here in New York City. You don't even have to take a jet).

OK. Call me an anti-Semite. (I'm secretly a pro-Semite). But I do have misgivings about circumcision. And I have met (and married) a lot of Jewish men. And one Chinese-American who is an M.D. but still doesn't speak Chinese. And who was circumcised. Probably still is.

The altacockers (loosely translated as old shitters) have every explanation under the sun. Explanations, after all, are all altacockers can do. It's healthy. It prevents the clap.

You won't get those nasty new viruses around today, G-d forbid. (A secret warning about gayness, I think). But how can you ever forget the pain, the fear, the confusion of being eight days old and having your pecker snipped? They don't remember, say the altacockers. They don't feel it, say the bubbies. We did it in the hospital, say the parents. He didn't feel a thing, says the mother (who was in the other room crying her eyes out).

And here comes the mohel, with his beard, his tallis, his yarmulke, with his red wine and his gauze pads, and his shiny snipper and his old jokes.

What did the mohel put in the window of his shop? Bonsai trees? Why? What else should he put in the window?

If this is the covenant with G-d, then G-d is a sadist. But we knew that already. He descends from Ba'al and all those other mean old gods. Not that the goddesses are any better. Think of Kali, after all, with her necklace of skulls. Life and death are always close as twins. Even Jesus was circumcised and we know that Jesus was chaste -- especially since we have demoted Mary Magdalen from disciple to whore, from wife to mistress, from wise woman to bimbo.

In the older Christianity -- the one Jesus the Jew actually practiced -- women were revered for their wisdom and spirituality. But that didn't suit St. Paul nor apocalyptic St. John the Evangelist who was doing LSD on Patmos (I visited his cave) where he wrote about the four horsemen and the blazing fires in the sky. (It could have been the Patmos sunset seen by a stoner emerging from a cave -- or the Patmos sunrise -- equally bewitching).

But whatever the old guys say, circumcision must hurt -- even to a baby eight days old who then gets his first taste of wine -- pain and alcoholism going hand in rubber glove.

It killed me to see my grandsons marked like this so future Nazis can identify them. What is wrong with the chosen people? Chosen for pain? All the psychological troubles of Jewish men -- from Sigmund Freud to Lenny Bernstein to Philip Roth -- must stem from this dubious ritual. I want to tell my adorable grandson, Max, who is four: Just make sure you never make pee pee in front of a skinhead. But he doesn't know what a skinhead is.

Don't mark him! I wanted to shout, but instead I laughed hysterically at all the mohel's jokes.

"What a great audience!" he said. And was off to the next snip.

1/30/08 8:12 AM

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