One of the characters in this book, Felix Johnson, has spent time in the Aboriginal communities out of Alice Springs, as a doctor (surgeon). He's undergone the initiation rites and during a discussion (with two other doctors, who are psychiatrists) about his chest scars, he rather brutally shows them his subincision scar by flopping out his penis.
In the book, the penis is described like this (by the other male present);
"He holds it pinched between thumb and fingers, as if by the scruff of its thick neck, half male organ, half some finned, winged thing. Reared up, turned inside out, it looks like nothing so much as a pink, filleted fish."
Felix continues by saying,
"'The old men use a razor these days instead of a stone knife, but it still needed four of them to hold me down.' ... 'One good thing. Women love it. Opens out like a giant butterfly.'"
So, I had to go look it up. I mean descriptions like that have you wanting to know, right? And there is a lot of stuff online, and to save you getting terrible ads, Lily, I've pasted the picture off Wikipedia here for you, but you can go to the page here. It's basically the cutting of the underside of the penis. It is thought to resemble the vulva, and the bleeding is like menstruation. In later years, the underside can be used for ritual bloodletting. Here's another site with more information on the ceremony and no graphic images.
I know a man with horrific chest scars from an initiation ceremony...but I don't know him this well! When I see him again, my mind is going to be wondering, but I'll never be brave enough to ask!
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