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Since we are in the silly season of silly surveys, the Wild Coot decided to conduct a serious survey of Bajan men in respect of circumcision. “Excuse me, sir, are you circumcised?” “What business is that of yours? That is between me and my woman.” So the survey ended before it started, unlike the recent one. No media coverage, no enlightenment of the public, no shooting of the messenger, no minister having to defend a seemingly indefensible position, no one having to make a pubic show of his credentials to make a point. No Harold. From the time the court in Cologne, Germany, ruled that infant circumcision was grievous bodily harm, there has been a cacophony of howls emanating from the Jews, the Muslims and even the Christians. God made Adam with a foreskin, a prepuce, and did not circumcise him probably because the chafing of the fig leaves would have damaged and scarred the penis head. Little did He foresee that man would develop nappies, baby oil, briefs, shorts and soft clothing. Little did God in His wisdom conceive that there would be a thing called HIV/AIDS and that a debate would ensue as to whether the revered penis should have prepuce protection, or that the prepuce be a facilitator to transmission of diseases. So why do some parents have circumcision performed on their boys – and not their girls? I overheard an African woman extolling the virtues of the extra skin. That it made all the difference in the area of pleasure. Here is a medical take on the issue. “The prepuce is primary, erogenous tissue necessary for normal sexual function. In adult life, the gliding action facilitates introitus and reduces friction and chafing during coitus. The movement and stretching of the prepuce during coitus stimulate the nerve endings in the prepuce, produce erogenous sensation, and eventually ejaculation. “The presence of the prepuce tends to protect the corona of the glans penis from direct stimulation, helps to prevent premature ejaculation and contributes to female satisfaction.” Are men not entitled to be transported to paradise with foreskin? I fondly ask. After all these years I realize what I have missed. The Wild Coot has tremendous respect for God and believes that we should leave nature as it is, unless sickness intervenes. Since the argument that children’s rights are being trampled on, we seem to have given way under the expediency of abating the howls of protests in favour of circumcision, and the loudest voices speak. The German government reconsiders. The Wild Coot also intends to change his tactics and is recommending alternative questions for his survey. “Excuse me, ma’am, is your man circumcised? In you opinion does it make a difference whether a man is circumcised or not?” “I really don’t know. I don’t look.” When asked about the results of the survey the head honcho said something about the purveyors of “snake oil”. Of course, that was a worthy response, and it silenced those females who do look. But research shows that snake oil had its popular use. Heaven knows if snake oil was used as a palliative for circumcision in the early days among the Jews and Muslims. Ask Mary! Please do not dismiss the vendors of snake oil, although the Wild Coot does not qualify for such a lofty occupation. In the last century many remedies had their genesis in snake oil and today even the IMF sometimes recommends taking a sip or a rub. In fact when the Wild Coot posed the question to a female about circumcision she said: “At times the head could do with a little oil.” • Harry Russell is a banker. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.