Why I Let My Son Get Snipped

Cole Gamble, who has both a foreskin and a happy sex life, never thought his wife would demand that their son get circumcised.

I am an uncircumcised man.

This has never bothered my wife, Nicole. Or so I thought. “It’s like your penis is wearing a turtleneck,” she’d sometimes say, benignly.

As such, there was never any doubt in my mind that, should my wife and I ever produce a miniature me, he would also go uncircumcised. We would leave his little thing alone. No snip-snip, just like Daddy.

Until, that is, the late-September day when we brought our newborn son home from the hospital. It was chilly, and the tightly wrapped baked potato of a boy felt warm in the crook of my arm.

“We’re getting Dalton circumcised,” my wife said as she fastened the potato into his car seat.

“What?” I said. “Since when does he need that?”

“Ever since uncircumcised penises are weird.”

She paused before adding, a little backpedally, “Except yours, of course. Yours is OK.”

This is how I learned my wife’s true feelings about the type of penis I have—by comparing it to our infant son’s. She thinks—has always thought—“OK.” I knew what “OK” meant, of course. “OK” meant weird, just like she’d said.

She’s not the first person to feel iffy about foreskin. Just look to the message boards, where uncut penises are routinely denounced as “gross.” “I honestly saw one and almost passed out,” reads one poster’s typical response. On Seinfeld, Elaine once bemoaned the uncircumcised penis’ lack of “personality.” I’m well aware of this uniquely American repulsion. But my wife? I’d just assumed she was a freak for the foreskin. Turns out I’m the freak, and she’d just learned to live with it.


Confronted with this bombshell, I began to obsessively review the entire history of our relationship with half the self-esteem and twice the paranoia. Our wooing period, our first sexual encounter, our wedding day—behind those smiling, devoted eyes, she was picturing my uncircumcised penis and thinking, My God, that thing’s strange. Am I really going to spend the rest of my life with this bizarre dick? Suddenly my genitalia—to my mind, a cornerstone of our relationship—was not a resplendent totem to celebrate, but a deformity to grin and bear.

All my anti-circumcision arguments—the barbarity of the procedure, the theory that it lessens sexual sensitivity—withered in the face of one multiply confirmed assertion: foreskin is weird.

“There were plenty of girls before you who voiced no complaints,” I cried, a bit desperately.

“Not to your face,” my wife responded. Touché! “Besides, people are going to make fun of Dalton. Boys in the locker room will tease him.”

Nicole’s dad backed up this theory.

“Oh yeah, we’d give a guy like that hell,” Rick told us at dinner a few nights later. I always treasure opportunities to discuss my penis with my father-in-law. Rick’s assertion didn’t jibe with my own experience. I never had a guy in the locker room say to me, “Dude, I’ve been staring at you for a while and just wanted you to know: you disgust me.”

But were they thinking it, and thanking God that their own parents had the good sense to slice and dice theirs at birth? And do the guys at my current gym steer around me in wide arcs, fearing my elongated foreskin is contagious? And what about the girlfriends? Did all the girls who permitted me to get past second base titter together later, sharing horror stories about the first time they saw that thing in the moveable sheath?

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About Cole Gamble

Cole Gamble's writings on the crimes of Willy Wonka, man-eating beds, and tales from his cringe-worthy life appear at Cracked, Babble, The Daily Beast, The New Yorker, Funny Crave, Mental Floss, The Huffington Post and Salon. Find him at his site, Fun with Cole and on Facebook.


  1. All Things Mommy says:

    I’d be divorcing her! If she thinks that your penis has a deformity, which resembles a totem to your marriage(sex) then she does not deserve you.

    • Andrew Kohler says:

      One wonders: where were all the people insisting that little boys’ penises must match their fathers’? Why is that statement (I will not dignify it by characterizing it as an “argument”) trotted out endlessly, and with a straight face, in cases in which the father is circumcised, and yet when the father is intact, it seems not to matter. Ironically, the only admirable statement in this craven article is that the author realized that it’s not not important for his son to look like him.

      This article shows how base conformity can override a child’s well-being. It is nothing more than a massive acquiescence to peer pressure of the kind which in our society we tell children they should resist. Maybe Dalton should start smoking and drinking at the age of 14 to fit in with his peers also, lest he be teased? My fourth grade teacher said to me one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard: if a child is teased, (s)he is not the one with the problem. The kids doing the teasing are the ones with the problem. They should be dealt with, and the child should not be forced to change in accommodation to such deplorable behavior.

      I am depressed beyond words to read such an article. It should not be titled “The Freak with the Foreskin,” but rather ake the title of one of the songs in Bertold Brecht’s great play Mother Courage and Her Children: “The Song of the Great Capitulation.”

      • Andrew Kohler says:

        Correction: “…the only admirable statement in this craven article is that the author realized that it’s not important for his son to look like him.” The extra not was a typo; I did not intend for that statement to have litotes.

        While I’m here, I may as well mention that my depression from this article has in no way abated. One of the most dismal things I’ve read in favor of circumcision is a very strong field.

      • It’s not about making the kid look like his father, it’s about permanently changing the child’s body without his choice. If the husband had said I think boobs ugly and we are having all breast tissue removed from our baby at birth *but yours are ok* you’d turn around and slap the husband. I personally have a botched circumcision and spent my entire life with sensitivity issues and feelings of disfigurement. No child should be circumcised without being able to make the choice themself as an adult.

  2. CutAndAngry says:

    What a horrible woman !!! I hope her son sues her and makes her pay for having him robbed a piece of his genitals !

    How could she ?! And how could this weak imbecile let her get away with it !

    I would have divorced this disgusting woman ( whose vagina is 100% protected by the law ) immediately !

    And how can a partially amputated and scarred penis look better than a natural one ?

    This “mother” enjoys having total power over her sons future adult sex life , she’s a sadist and doesn’t know the meaning of the words “love” and “respect” !


  3. CutAndAngry says:

    You disgusting pedophile criminal who calls herself a “mother” , you desserve to be amputated of a bodypart you would have liked to keep and live like that for 50 more years !

    Routine Infant Circumcision :

  4. CutAndAngry says:

    What doctors say about circumcision :

    “The Doctors: Daytime Talk Show Disaster” :


  5. It’s sad that your wife and father in law would have manipulated your ego that way. Your son did deserve a whole body. Your son has a good dad, but one who let his ego become bruised very easy and failed to defend him from his brainwashed mom and grandfather.

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  7. This is so sad. You should have reevaluated your relationship with that female as soon as she mentioned cutting part of your son’s penis off. Not to mention that you aren’t circumcised. That is a slap in the face to you. She obviously has no respect for YOU, YOUR SON, and HUMAN RIGHTS. She has some deep issues that you should force her to address and fix

  8. You have no idea how much rage I am filled with right now reading this.

    I was circumcised as a child. I’m not happy with it. I’ve always wanted my body the way nature made me REGARDLESS of what others thought. Also, in your son’s generation foreskins are less wierd, circumcision rates have declined DRASTICALLY of late and I will do my best to keep this that way.

    The reasoning behind this is CRUEL and your wife is a MONSTER.

    Did you also know that circumcision was started in the 1800s for the sole purpose of inhibiting sexual pleasure? And ever since the medical justification has been shaky at best to stop it? Did you also know that women I know who have done it with both PREFER uncut guys because they’re usually better? Your wife MUTILATED her son because his NATURAL body is “wierd”? If people can make the argument that a son should be circumcised because his dad is, then it should work the other way, right?

    I’m feeling so much burn right now…

  9. Alfred C. Schram says:

    What is done is done, and there is no point going back.
    Even though neither my wife nor I wanted our son to be circumcised, I let the doctor brainwash me with horror stories about men with penile cancer and their wife with cervical cancer, all so easily prevented with circumcision (this was in 1965). Finally, two years ago after my wife passed away, I got the courage to apologize to my son. My son was very understanding, and graciously accepted my apology; he is now restoring his foreskin, but my guilt is not decreased. However, I have to say that apologizing to my son has had an unexpected and very beneficial effect on our relationship.
    Parenting is a very difficult job, parents always want to do the best for their child, but are too often lead astray by suggestions from respected persons. Do keep on loving your son, and when he is old enough to understand, give him access to and encouragement for foreskin restoration.
    By the way, now that, according to the current available statistics, only 30% of the boys are circumcised in the U.S., and you may have to help your son avoid the feeling of being the odd one.
    Best wishes.

  10. I am at least glad to hear that the barbarity of the procedure was minimized.

    With that said, your wife is one seriously immature piece of work.

    The saddest and most disgusting part is this:

    >> “A day will come when you’ll get to override one of my decisions.” This, of course, we both knew was a lie.

    Trading your child’s future sexual pleasure and completeness for bartering power. It says a lot about your wife’s character.

    What other parts of your son’s anatomy will you trade? Maybe he can lose a testicle or a pinky or an ear-lobe so you get to decide the color of the bathroom?

  11. Cole succumbed to two common myths regarding routine infant circumcision: women’s preference and peer pressure. Women’s preference has actually been studied in Denmark. The conclusion is that women actually prefer intact men as the gliding action of the foreskin is much more comfortable. Esteem in the locker room has everything to do with performance on the field and nothing to do with the foreskin. Additionally, circumcision rates have been dropping. The circumcision rate in California is now 30% and is comparable or less in Washington and Oregon. If Dalton lived on the West coast, he would be in the minority.

    The most common reason for routine infant circumcision is so that the son “looks like dad”. This is truly cosmetic surgery as there is no medical indication for it. Circumcision is actually a harmful and destructive procedure as it removes most of the nerve endings in the penis as well as other distinct anatomic structures. Dalton can considerably improve his sensitivity with the restoration process over many years. However, he will never have anything close to the sensitivity Cole has.

    I am mostly concerned about Cole’s feeling somehow inadequate or inferior. He is actually one of the very lucky ones who avoided routine circumcision at a time when it was customarily done in the U.S. I wish I had been so lucky and believe he should consider himself blessed.

    I hope Cole is honest with Dalton and explains that his circumcision was a mistake but done with the best intentions, as was the case with many of us. I also hope this will be a teaching experience with the understanding that the normal anatomy is always the best.

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  13. It’s sad that Mr. Gamble chose to subject his son to circumcision, only to appease his shallow, dishonest and conniving wife (and her equally shallow The Bachelor reject cronies). Especially when there was no reason to think his son would grow up to be as poor a judge of character…or have as wretched taste in women…or be as pathetically spineless. Despite his pedigree, his son just might have had some integrity.

  14. Tom Gualtieri says:

    This story disgusts me. It’s not a small matter. You have permanently altered your son’s sex organ. He can NEVER get it back. NEVER.

    Foreskin restoration, which takes years to accomplish, cannot restore the nerves and blood vessels as well as the delicate structure of that small “flap of skin.”

    You have done your son wrong. You ought to be ashamed.

  15. I would have told the wife that I thought female clitoral hoods were weird and that she needed hers removed. And eye for and eye.

  16. Very energetic blog, I loved that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

  17. It’s really sad that you didn’t realize how integral to your sex life your foreskin was before you cut it off your son. Did you have his frenulum removed as well? That’s so cruel it should be illegal! Your wife is less than human.

  18. It is literally, a “small matter”.

    No, it is a symptom of a larger issue. You are married to the wrong woman, Cole.
    As an intact man, you should know better.

  19. Wow – such a group of foreskin fetishists out in cyberspace. You write very well. An intact friend’s Wife confided in my Wife – we are Jewish and so my status in this regard is well known – that she honestly would have preferred her husband to have been circumcised – she puts up with it – unwillingly as part of the greater good. His perspective won out where their son was concerned. Women’s preferences for or against foreskins often drive the decision and they are as consumers quite well qualified to express these preferences. Peace in the home is a good policy.

    • It’s pretty sad that your reply is one that attacks the character of anti-circumcision folks (foreskin fetishists), just debate like a rational person. If you argument that since people, in this case men are consumers, gives any preference merit, does it justify foot binding that used to occur in china, or female genital mutilation in africa? Examples of that are Clitoral removal, labia majora removal, the stitching of the vagina years before a females virginity is taken away from her by her husband. You would argue no, because women are not objects, or products as you say and a multitude of other reasons.. They are individuals. Circumcision is a silly procedure along with those above and your too brainwashed to make a fair argument for it.

  20. Christian P says:

    I apologize for the rudeness and vitriol in my previous comment. Obviously this is a subject that stirs up some very powerful Pagan, pre-Christian impulses and emotions in me, and I wish I had been able to approach it with more love and sympathy. I do implore you to acknowledge and remember that you are a human being too, as much as your wife is, with your own legitimate interests, and you have the right and indeed the duty to stand up for those interests. The strength is within you — you have only to exercise it.

  21. This story isn’t so much about circumcision as about the way the wife treats the husband and the way the husband puts up with it. Not funny.

  22. good people do not cut off healthy parts of their children’s genitals.
    Only horribly misinformed or incredibly evil people do that.

  23. As a woman who strongly prefers intact men and doesn’t like to date circumcised men I find this whole article disgusting on so many levels. I hope he grows up to never speak to either one of his parents especially the mom who the dad needs to divorce like yesterday

  24. SandraHippink says:

    I’m sorry your wife bullied you into making this irreversible decision for your son. Sure, there’s foreskin restoration, but that is meant for men who already lost their foreskin long ago due to misinformation at the time of their birth, their only hope to get back some feeling and function that was robbed from them at birth. It will never bring back the nerves and fine touch receptors and all the pleasure that foreskin naturally and normally allow a penis to have. It is not meant as an “oh well, if he doesn’t like it, he can always restore.”
    You don’t cut body parts off children, then tell them if they’re not happy with that, they can always spend 2-4 years of disciplined, unwavering determination to work every day towards gaining some of what was robbed from them in seconds at birth. You LEAVE their body parts alone, and let them decide for their own body when they are adults.

    You know how great it is to have a foreskin. You know you went through life without ridicule. Why didn’t you stand up to her? I sure as hell hope that if you have another son, you will leave his penis alone, stand up this time! PROTECT HIM! American women are more used to the mutilated penis, yes. But since the next generation has far fewer boys cut, women will be used to intact and circumcised males. Women won’t body shame men with normal penises because they will be better informed. I’m sorry your wife is not one of these enlightened women. If she ever tries to convince you to get circumcised, tell her you will right after she gets her own self circumcised. And yes, that would absolutely be FAIR.

  25. Wow, just wow! Talk about a p wipped milk toast! A real man would of told her to go get her breasts enlarged, clit hood removed butt reduced and then ‘we’ll talk about it’.

    If they’re on the west coast I can’t wait to see the look on the bitch’s face when her son asks her why he’s cut unlike the vast majority of the other boys who kept their anatomy.

  26. K Williams says:

    Uhh!!!! This article is horrible!!! So I can basically sum it up by saying that an adult is going to make a cosmetic amputation for an infant that can’t consent to any such procedures because one of the parents thinks foreskins are ugly???!!! I can’t go on about all the reasons that this is wrong! I am a woman and I love my intact boyfriend. I would never want him to amputate part of himself. If that poor boy was left intact, he would find a woman who loved him exactly the way he is. His body – his choice!


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