THE BLOG
18/09/2013 08:31 BST | Updated 17/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Circumcision: Is This the World's Most Weirdly Toxic Debate?

Of all the many rows that I have blundered into, I have never come across anything to touch the weird toxicity that is: The Great Circumcision Debate.

Until a month ago, I had no idea there were so many thousands of people who cared so deeply - so passionately - about circumcision.

I hadn't the faintest inkling that there were these two camps, quite separate and yet equally strident. I shall give them the names they had from my schooldays, The Roundheads and The Cavaliers.

The blistering vitriol which has been hurled from both sides has been quite extraordinary.

And in the general melée, they've even started taking a few chunks out of me, poor little me,

who has only ever been the humblest of messengers.

Well - all I can say in my defence is that most Brits couldn't give two hoots about circumcision. Circumcision is a rarity in the UK. We're as indifferent to circumcision as we are, say, to the Scots weaning their children onto that vile drink Irn-Bru. Kinda weird, but if it's such a big deal for you, then do what you want.

It all started about a month ago, when I was asked by Huffington to appear in a video link-up on Prince George's impending circumcision. Now, as any Brit would know, this just ain't going to happen.

The very idea of a royal circumcision was so laughable, that a few days later I took to the Huffington Post to jeer from the side-lines.

I unwittingly triggered the most immense shit-storm. I now realise that there are a number of people - quite a number - who start foaming at the mouth the very moment that you mention the C-word.

More amazing still has been the sheer depth and variety of arguments that have been put forward by both the Roundheads and the Cavaliers. It's been an education.

First up: the Roundheads. There seems to be a belief, particularly in America, that roundheads look tidier - you know, just neater. It seems that Americans are conditioned from quite a young age to think the package looks more trim without any saggy bits at the edges.

I've also heard it said that Roundheads make for better lovers: without that damnable foreskin, the package becomes desensitised so that - or so it's claimed - the guys last longer.

One other argument. I suppose it just about makes sense. The partners of Roundheads are less likely to develop cervical cancer, because the package is likely to be more hygienic. Do we need to go into any more detail?

On the other side, just as militant, we've got the Cavaliers. Circumcision, they say, is just barbaric. What sort of parent inflicts this unnecessary mutilation on a new-born baby?

There was a time, 2,000 years ago out in the desert, when circumcision was quite useful. It meant sand didn't get trapped underneath the foreskin. But this purely functional snip has now, or so it's claimed, been turned into an archaic religious rite.

Other Cavalier arguments: That desensitised Roundheads are being denied the full joys of sex - as are their partners.

I've heard eye-watering tales of guys having to be circumcised a second time in their teens, because the first job went off - literally - at half-cock.

One line that I never dreamed I'd hear was that the super-sensitive Cavaliers are better able to "sniff out" Sexually Transmitted Diseases. "I don't know what happened," says my informer. "But everything was a go, and then suddenly I had this instantaneous detumescence." Nothing at all to do with drink, then.

If there are any other circumcision arguments, either for or against, I would so love to hear them.

There must be thousands more die-in-the-ditch rows going on out there which are passing clean over my head.

Anyway - time to start prepping up for next week's debate: What's the big deal about Chinese people eating dogs?