"I’m sorry we haven’t been in touch for the past month," a good friend of ours said recently. "You see, I was recovering from some sensitive surgery."

There’s no phrase like "sensitive surgery" for ending a conversation with me.

If you say "sensitive surgery," I will form a tight-lipped smile and slightly tilt my head. Because I care, I will inquire, but only as far as etiquette allows.

However, in my gut, just south of my navel, I feel this imaginary grip, a tightening of parts deep within, as if you were Harry Potter and you’d waved your wand at my abdomen and shouted, "Sensitivus Surgeonimous!"

Proving That Opposites Attract
To the contrary, "sensitive surgery" is a real conversation starter for my wife. If we weren’t married, I’d recommend it as a pick-up line.

You see, Alisa has just graduated from The Ohio State College of Nursing with a M.S. that sets her up to start as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Alisa is professionally interested in what the surgery was, how you are feeling, and do you want to lift your shirt or drop your trou right here on the front lawn for a quick freelance grope. ("That’s not true," Alisa says. "Examinations only occur with a chart at hand during an appointment in a healthcare setting." O.K., yes, dear. But the front yard exam seems to me like a logical conclusion to most of these conversations.)

So Alisa leans in and inquires. I wait for my gut to say, "Danger. Danger." and engage my fright or flight response.

"Yes, I had breast reduction surgery," our friend says. And, as she says it, she raises an eyebrow toward me. Huh, would this be because I am the only male among the three of us?

OK, so suddenly I’m both repelled and attracted. I’m not a publicly lusty guy, but if you’re going to claim "breast reduction," I’m listening.

Popular culture — and Mother Nature and Sigmund Freud — have worked diligently to tell us that bigger is better. I know that if you have to have surgery for any condition, it’s probably a condition that you wish you didn’t have. (I’m so wise.) So I’m sorry and I hope you are feeling better soon.

But breast reduction? In this world of implants and bikinis, "breast reduction" sounds like a boast.

Let Us Now Consider My Own Private Parts
I mean, if I tell you that I need penis reduction surgery, are you interested?

Go ahead, I dare you: click away to CNN to see what’s happening in the campaign.

First of all, believe you me, you won’t find any doctors in the phone book offering PRS. I’ve been looking for years.

Second, because you receive all the same spam email that I get about Viagra and enlargement of both mortgages and man parts, you might say, "Artie, dude, wrong direction." You might add, "Don’t throw it away. Lend some to a brother."

Listen, loyal reader: I’m not going into specifics. This is a family blog.

But oversized mammaries aren’t the only thing causing backaches out there.

And the idea that my eventual grandsons might inherit this burden concerns me. Let’s just say this raises sensitive issues. I guess I have a growing crisis on my hands.

Disclaimer: some aspects of this tale are fiction.