What are the pros and cons of becoming a eunuch?

Dear Cecil:

I'm 30, and so far my life has wasted away. So, I've decided to become a eunuch. Imagine, me a eunuch!! Don't you just love it? Can I find a good-paying job, or will I end up a house pet? And, would it be advisable to keep my "private parts" in a little jar?

Cecil replies:

Frankly I’m having quite a bit of trouble imagining you at all, Larry, much less as a eunuch. However, if I were you (and luckily, I’m not), I’d think this over carefully. Employment opportunities for eunuchs seem to be severely limited these days, and you could be left, how shall we say, holding the bag.

The origin of the word “eunuch” (a combination of two Greek words: enue, “bed,” and echein, “to have charge of”) refers to the eunuch’s traditional role as a harem keeper. But the harem, the official sort at least, has gone by the wayside, cutting eunuchs off from the mass of the gainfully employable. For quite a while eunuchs found work as singers–a good amount of music was written expressly for the lilting voice of the castrati–but, unfortunately, show business has changed, and the only castrato who’s found steady work since the turn of the century has been Frankie Valli.

Becoming a eunuch, for that matter, is no easy thing in itself. You can’t just walk into your neighborhood GP’s office, casually mention that you were thinking of making a change, and have it taken care of then and there. Reputable hospitals will only perform castrations in connection with complete sex-change operations, and then only after intensive psychiatric screening. Johns Hopkins, the hospital that for years handled most of the sex changes in the U.S. (they’ve since gotten out of the business), required a minimum of two years of psychological testing.

But if you’re impatient, you could travel to Casablanca, where at least up until a few years ago you could find a certain Dr. Georges Borou, the man who, by dint of extensive experience, is reputed to be the world’s leading transsexual surgeon. Dr. Borou acquired all that experience by working strictly on a cash-and-carry basis (it’s amazing how all these dumb puns just sort of pop up in a story like this), no questions asked. I don’t have his number, but I assume he’s listed in the Casablanca directory. Look under “Surgeons–Retail.”

Finally, Larry, I don’t care what you keep in your “little jar,” as long as you keep it to yourself.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

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