Today, I’d like to talk about my genitals.
Not about the penis itself… though, I could. But I don’t know if there’s that much to say… it’s average length, it does me just fine. I never understood insults that try to imply it’s small because a) How would the insulter know in the first place? b) What are they comparing it to? and c) It’s something I have no control over, so you might as well insult me for something a complete stranger, whom I never met, has done. It’s about as effective. But anyway…
I’m actually looking to talk about some of the deeper plumbing. The pipes under the foundation… the connectors to the hot water heater. More accurately… the current intentional lack of connectors to the hot water heater. The medical plumber has, on instruction, disconnected them.
That means the hot water is permanently off. There’s no more salmon in the stream. No fluoride in the tap water. No peas in the pod. No lead in the pencil. No more spice in the salami. I’m only serving dry cocktails.
Do you hear what I’m saying? You get me? You know, I don’t think you do…
I’m saying I had the “snip and tuck”. Made “the ultimate sacrifice”. Cut the red wire and defused the bomb. Crushed the dreams of a potential grandmother. Took my swim team out of the Olympics. Ye olde Snip-Snip. I had an Ectomy on my Vas.
Yes, I had a vasectomy. (Since you need it spelled out…)
No, I don’t have kids. Nor am I even currently seeing anyone. Which makes me NOT the common situation to have this procedure done. But I did it all the same. Why?
Well, I don’t want kids for one… figured that’s pretty obvious. Not saying I don’t like kids… I do. My time working 5 summers in a row with a Children’s Theatre Group was one of the most emotionally rewarding things I’ve ever done. I love my nieces and nephews, and I’m happy to hang out with them. I do like kids.
I just don’t want them.
There was a time, yes… I did want them. The idea of being a father was a plan at one point. For most of my 20s, that plan was “Baby by 32”. I figured by the time I was 32, that would be plenty of time to find someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and whom to start a family with… and by that point, I’d have some kind of a stable situation that would enable me to do all of that.
Yes, I actually believed that with a straight face.
Needless to say, I did not find someone to spend the rest of my life with… did not have a stable situation to economically support it, or really anything I had “planned” would work out. The person I was dating at age 30 was the one I had thought was the most likely to help me achieve that dream of “baby by 32”, and I was really liking the idea of doing that with her… but that didn’t work out, so no.
In the time since, it became the realization that I just don’t want them anyway. Seeing screaming little babies, and toddlers during the periods where they’re not being sweet little halflings (in other words, the other 95% of the time)… yeah, I’m happy to be an Uncle (either literal or metaphoric), and happy to stay that way, thank you very much.
I’ve never really had a need to “pass on” my DNA… I don’t think there’s anything special about mine that really needs passing on. I’m not immune to Cancer or anything like that… so what’s the big deal? Having said that, I have tried to do it.
No, I’m not saying I tried to get a girlfriend preggers. When I was living the starving artist lifestyle in Los Angeles, one of the things I looked into to “not starve” was donating sperm. There was a company in Santa Monica that did that kind of thing, and I applied to be a donor.
My reasoning was that I knew people who had trouble conceiving kids in the past (or were flat-out unable to), and knowing how much it tore them up, if I could help someone who really wanted to conceive… that sounded like a nice thing to do. Plus, it was $50 a pop, if accepted. So, I saw nothing but benefits here.
I did their online application, and made an appointment. Went down on the designated day (on instructions of “not releasing for at least 5 days”) to their local building, of which the outside didn’t exactly look like a medical facility… but given the nature, maybe the incognito facade was good. The inside looked very doctor-office-like, so at least it didn’t seem like some weirdo scam.
Started filling out the paperwork (health info and such), and one of the forms was a legal release, asking if you approve or not of the ability for the possible future child to be able to find you. I thought about it for a few minutes… would I want a knock on the door someday greeted by, “You’re my dad”? On one hand, I could see that being a very nice, friendly meeting… but also awkward. I recall checking “No”, because no matter whether or not that situation might happen… I would not be their father. Even sharing the same genetic material… I would not be their father. I heartily believe it takes a lot more than sperm to make someone a “real father”. So, even if they found me without that consent… I’d happily greet them, but make sure they know, that if they’re looking for “a real dad”, then to look to the man that raised them, worried about them, etc. Not the guy that shot a lovin’ spoonful into a plastic jar for grocery money. If they still didn’t have that (maybe it was a Lesbian Couple that needed the help, or the man was a fuckwaffle), that does suck, but I’d also argue that one does not necessarily need a “Dad” in the world. Some people don’t have one, and that’s okay. (One of them is our sitting President) Comfortable with my decision (and I still stand by that logic), I finished the paperwork and handed it in to the nurse at the front counter.
In exchange, I was given the plastic cup, some alcohol wipes, a piece of paper with instructions, and then pointed to one of the “rooms”. The nurse then reached behind the counter, pulled out a CD folder (filled with DVDs), opened it up to a random page, grabbed one without even looking at it, and handed it to me, saying that, “there’s a DVD player in the room.”
Medically-sanctioned Porn. Who knew?
I imagine giving me a minute to pick one might have been awkward itself… so most any disc would do for your standard straight, cis male. Which is me.
So, I headed into the room, which wasn’t huge, but not tiny… saw the DVD player and monitor, the seat situated right in front of it… about 2 feet in front of it. Clearly, I wasn’t going to be able to “relax” like I normally do when viewing adult entertainment. Placed the plastic cup on the small side table, the alcohol wipes next to it, sat in the seat (pants still on), and looked at this piece of paper I was handed.
Instructions? Please, I’ve been taking care of this kind of thing since I was 13. I don’t think I need instruct- oh, it’s actual medical sanitation-things I have to do. Nevermind. So, I had to use the alcohol wipes to clean the tip, in a downward motion from the opening and wiping away. Yes, it was specific.
Then, during the actual “acquisition”… was not allowed to use lube. Not even spit. Had to do this dry. For those that do not have experience with male masturbation… that’s not always easy or preferable. So, this future Lesbian Couple better appreciate this. Opened the jar, set it within easy reach, pants came down, put the disc in the player, turned on the tv, quick wash of the hands (to keep it sanitary), and started the movie.
It was low-budget fare, circa early 90s, probably out of Van Nuys (not the swanky stuff out of Chatsworth). The dialogue was thankfully minimal, and the cinematography standard. The scene viewed didn’t particularly focus on exposition, so plot-wise, I admit I was a bit lost. But the actors were engaging, and kept me interested… then very interested, then VERY very interested… until suddenly I wasn’t interested anymore. 3 ½ stars. Would view again.
Lid on the cup, pants on, clean-up… okay, how do I confidently walk out, so that no one suspects what I was doing in here?
It was probably the dumbest question I’ve ever asked myself, because the only reason anyone goes into these rooms is to do what I just did. Which is probably good, because no one will be staring and judging when I step out.
So, back to the counter, hand them the jar, give back the DVD (which was thrown back into the folder… most likely out of alphabetical order, the monsters), and leave.
Maybe you’re wondering, “What about the money? Was it cash or check?” Neither… this visit was the test to see if my fun-sauce qualifies. They check it, analyze it, see how it freezes… so, first one had to be free.
Few days later, I got a phone call from the medical office… I didn’t qualify. Turns out, my sperm count was totally normal… but to qualify for sperm donation, one had to be 2 or 3 times MORE than normal, because a lot of the swimmers apparently perish in the freezing process. They said I can try again in 6 months, in the meantime, I should probably switch to boxers, because the boxer-briefs I wore kept the scrotum close up to the body, and the body heat can kill off some of them. I did make the undergarment switch, but never went back for a retry. Sorry, Lesbian Couple. It wasn’t meant to be.
So, otherwise, I never really came close to conceiving a child with someone. As the “Baby by 32” deadline came and went, and seeing friends and colleagues having marriages and kids and whatnot… when I was having trouble finding dates that were as attracted to me as I was to them… I started considering that having kids wasn’t in the cards for me… and the thing is, I was 100% okay with that.
I do not buy into this idea that having kids is the most fulfilling thing in the world to do. I find it hard to believe, because if that were true, there would be a lot more “better parents” in the world. They would be filled with this magical understanding of the beauty of life as soon as the kid comes out, and they’d stop being the assholes they were before. But they don’t. Hell, many of them up and leave, because they can’t or don’t want to deal with it. It doesn’t sound like it was very “fulfilling” for them.
This whole concept of raising kids being the “purpose of life” isn’t new. Get ready for a Literature lesson, but the first 17 of William Shakespeare’s sonnets are called the “Procreation Sonnets”… a whole group of poems dedicated to telling some unknown youth that he has to get married and have children, or he’s going to be miserable, and life will be totally unfulfilling. There’s a lot of crap that Shakespeare’s plays say which I think is actually quite damaging to the social psyche, but we ignore it, and call it all “brilliant” and “he totally knew the human condition for all time”… just because “he’s Shakespeare.” Well, fuck that. Shakespeare didn’t deal with the overpopulation we have today, he didn’t deal with the environmental impact that too god damn many people are causing, or the economical shit-storm. He also barely traveled outside of England his whole life, so how can I trust the words of some 400 year old hack about “the meaning and beauty of life” when he never went to a place where people didn’t speak English, and didn’t want to? He didn’t have access to the technology we have today, so he didn’t have access to all the Art and Music that we have. There’s plenty of things that make life worth living, and I don’t have to follow around a drunk midget for 4 years before it becomes an awkward hobbit with limited social skills.
If having kids is fulfilling to you… that’s fantastic. I hope it is, because the kid is here, and they deserve to be loved and supported. I want you to have kids because YOU want to have kids, and I hope you’re a good parent for that very reason.
But keep in mind, it’s not for everyone. That’s supposed to be okay. Yes, I know you look at your baby, and think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world, and it’s magical, and amazing, and you should see it that way… but remember that the rest of us think it looks like a fucking potato. Celebrities are notorious for this, especially the ones with the big egos, who insist that their baby is the most beautiful baby that’s ever lived, and everyone has to recognize that. No, we don’t. You’re looking at your kid like everyone looks at their kid, but to the rest of the world, it still looks like Ed Asner taking a dump.
So, I’ve long since figured I wasn’t going to be procreating. In all honesty, I’m not even sure why I waited this long. As I haven’t really been seeing anyone with any consistency, I guess I didn’t really feel like needing it. Now, the last woman I was seeing… I got my hopes up. I was really attracted to her… she was smart, funny, interesting, wonderfully geeky, she had a good heart, well-traveled, good taste in music and food, fun to talk to, and to top it off, stunningly beautiful to me. (I don’t know if I found her so beautiful *because* of those other things, but I didn’t mind either way) We had a lot of similar interests, and seemed to want similar things in life… including no desire to have children. This seemed like a near-perfect match, and I was really thinking this is someone I’d be very happy to go long-term with.
Well, it didn’t happen. She clearly didn’t feel the same way, told me she didn’t feel a spark, and we moved on. Yeah, I was majorly bummed, but I hold no ill will. There’s nothing that says she has to be attracted to me, and if she’s not… then she’s just not. No one’s fault. I’ll just be over here, eating chocolate and judging people on talk shows.
But it did get me thinking… for one, it gave me hope that there are women out there that do want similar things in life as me. I think the reason I was keeping the possibility for kids on the table was for the other person… if THEY wanted children, well, maybe I should keep the option open to make them happy.
But what about MY happiness? What about what I want? One of my current life goals (which will probably be a blog post at some unspecified point in the future) is to have and live in a Tiny House. Something just big enough for me, and possibly someone else. Kids do not fit into that picture. Kids need to be free-range, and for all the research I’ve been doing on it, one thing I’ve found is that families with kids that “go Tiny” always end up selling off those Tiny Houses and upsizing again. Kids need room to grow. If they go Tiny themselves, they best do it when they’re adults, and make the decision for themselves.
So, I see this procedure as taking control of my own life, my own destiny. I will never have to worry about an “accident” that changes everything. I can make the call over what happens with me (in this realm at least). For me, I want this to be empowering. So, even though I’m in no danger of getting a woman preggers these days, I decided to get a vasectomy.
Thankfully, now that my new Insurance for this year finally has my doctor in their network again, I made an appointment for a physical. This way, I can discuss it with her in private, and get a referral and know where to go. That was something I was very concerned with… I obviously wanted to go to a good doctor, who was experienced, and trusted, and did good work. Because with vasectomies, there’s a vas deferens between a good one and a bad one.
(Special thanks to “Dog & Girl Industries” for that joke. After hearing it, I honestly wonder if part of my reasoning for doing this was to set up that very gag.)
So, I told my doctor that I would like to get it done (which was actually the very first time I ever said it out loud), and she asked me, “Wait… are you married?” I said, “No.” “Do you want kids?” “Nope.” “But what if you meet someone that does want them?”
This was the first of me receiving “The Questions”. Now, women who have made this same decision get this MUCH more frequently than I have… for all that I’ve gotten of it, it is only a taste of what women get if they don’t wish to breed. And that’s fucked up.
I just said, “Well, it won’t work between us.” And that was that… she said, “Okay!” Then gave me the referral to a Urologist the next town over.
I called them up, made the appointment for a consultation, and a few days later, finally went in for it. The office was fairly empty, just one other patient. Eventually I was called in, the nurse took me to the consultation room, and a few minutes later the Doc came in… he gave me some literature, and had me watch an old video (that was a *little* outdated), and asked me about my wife, how many kids I have, and are we sure our family is big enough?
I said, “Don’t have one. None. And Yes”. We chatted for a bit longer, I think he wanted to make sure it was not a hasty decision. “Nope, this decision has been at least 10 years in the making. I’m sure.” So, he said, “Okay… we can probably fit you in sometime in the next week, I think.” Awesome, took my literature, said, “See you later, and went to the front desk to make the appointment.”
Next opening was 9 weeks later.
9 weeks? Jiminy Cricket… so much for “sometime in the next week”. Oh well, not in a huge rush anyway. So, I scheduled it, and asked to be put on a list in case anyone cancels.
But no one cancelled… I guess this Doc’s scissors are in demand… so when the appointment came time, Friday, April 22nd, I went in at 11:30am for my appointment. The only one in the office… so I didn’t wait long to be called in.
I wasn’t nervous… I knew exactly what he was going to do, and I never second-guessed myself whether or not I was doing “the right thing”. It was, thankfully, a very uneventful procedure.
I was supposed to not do any heavy lifting or exercise for a week… and that I’ll have a little soreness there for that time. He gave me instructions on icing the area, and what over-the-counter medicines to take, a brown paper bag with “stuff” (which I’ll get to), had me wait 15 minutes in the lobby (in case I felt lightheaded or was going to faint), and then sent me on my way. I could definitely feel some discomfort in that area… but nothing debilitating. I was easily able to drive myself, and even went and did some errands afterwards. Now, the very next day… I was supposed to chaperone a trip down to Boston for dinner and a show for a bunch of students. I originally wasn’t sure if I was going to make it, because of this procedure… but then figured I should be okay… so sure. Then, the other chaperone had to bow out… making me the only one. Alrighty then…
Medically, nothing happened, nothing popped, strained, or pained… but I did see a bit of a confirmation of my decision. Because as I’m walking with this group of young college kids through the city… I’m suddenly in a more “parent” position, of sorts… and I see the other citizens of Boston, mostly men as they’re taking ganders at several of my female students… and not liking the way they’re leering. Now, my paranoia kicks in, and I start thinking, “Oh shit, I’m going to end up in a rumble tonight, aren’t I? This will not be good…”
Thankfully, no rumble… but it did confirm that I do NOT need kids of my own. If I’m getting that protective and paranoid over my students, who were capable, young adults themselves, I would stress myself into an early grave if it were my own children. So yeah, I felt pretty good about the decision.
Over the next week, the pain lessened more and more every day… by day 7, exactly one week after the procedure, I felt completely back to normal. Still took it easy-like for a few more days, just to be sure. (And because I’m probably just lazy, anyway) So, mild discomfort for a week… wasn’t a big deal.
But not the end of the story. Because the Doc told me that it takes awhile to “clear out the pipes”, so to speak. So, I needed to return in 8 weeks with a “sample” (wink wink nudge nudge), so they can check to make sure there’s no Heat in the Jalapeño. (Which is my favorite of the new euphemisms friends and I have come up with. Because the seeds are where the heat is, so if you take those out – oh, never mind, you got it.)
But this time, I was given the plastic cup ahead of time, a biohazard plastic bag, a sheet of instructions (again), all in a brown paper bag. This was the bag o’ “stuff” as I was leaving. Because this sample wasn’t going to be acquired on-site in a side room with a DVD player and Medical-grade Porn… I had to get this one at home. But first, I had to wait 8 weeks, at least. He said it took 20-30 ejaculations to clear out any remaining sperm in the ducts, and that typically took 8 weeks. I heard that estimate, and thought… “I could beat that. If I stay hydrated… I’m thinking 3 or 4 weeks, tops.”
But since I had to wait 8 weeks anyway… I spaced them out. So, once the time passed, I called the office to make sure the Doc would be there to receive the sample, and get any final instructions… did I have to put a cold pack in the bag, or something to keep it “fresh”? Nope, just do it, and bring it in within a few hours. So, I made a brief appointment to drop it off the next day… and then I start planning.
“Okay, if I bring it in sometime in the early afternoon… so if it takes roughly 20 minutes to get there, then I should be ready to “go” by noon, so I can be ready to go by 12:30. I can eat lunch a little early, and YouPorn should have done their daily update by then…”
I just figured that the longer the sample stays around, possibly the less accurate the analysis would be. Not sure why… whether the sperm is dead or alive, if they’re there, they’re there. So, I was just doing my normal overthinking.
But went in, and I was armed with puns… I had put the call out to friends for euphemisms (which is when I came up with “No Heat in the Jalapeño), because I wanted to have fun here… and the nursing staff was pretty cool, so I wanted to get some of them laughing. Figuring they all heard “Empty out the chamber” and such… which is the standard euphemism, but I think it’s a bit too violent. I don’t know why we equate the male junk with firearms… I actually find it a bit scary. So, I worked on some material with friends… had those ready, had the sample ready, it was a half-hour old, and walked into the doctor’s office.
While the previous 2 times I’d been there, I was the only, or near the only, person in there… on this day, apparently they were having a sale of some kind, because there was at least a dozen patients waiting around. Son of a…
There was a young woman in line ahead of me… very attractive, and I became VERY aware that I’m carrying a brown paper bag, that contains a biohazard bag, that contains a plastic jar, that contains my semen, that may or may not contain some of my sperm.
So when another window opened up in reception, and addressed me with “I can check you in here”… I lost all nerve about delivering my new, funny euphemisms. I didn’t know there was gonna be a bunch of other patients, who may not be so receptive to loud vasectomy humor. It was the only time I felt shame and disappointment in this whole process… I didn’t get to deliver my jokes. Suck.
Gave my info, gave them the bag, and they said a nurse would call me later with the results. That seemed quick… I thought it would take a day or two, but okay! Headed out, and did a bunch of errands, roaming around the city, hitting up a Trader Joe’s and Costco, etc. Kept checking my phone every now and then… but nothing come through. Then, it got to 5 o’clock… nothing. Didn’t they close at 5? Wasn’t sure… then, just before 5:30, my phone buzzes, I have a voicemail. A voicemail? It didn’t even ring… I immediately check it, it’s the nurse, asking me to call for the results. The message JUST appeared, they must have just called… called back quickly… and the office was closed. It said they *did* close at 5, like I thought. Mother-F-er…
Next morning, I call them back… wondering, “Hey, if they didn’t leave a quick message saying, “all is good”, does that mean I’m not cleared out yet? Did the procedure fail? Was I the rare case of “vasectomy failure”?
No, apparently, they just do that with everyone, whether the news is good or bad. Because she said the Doc found nothing, and I “can stop using birth control”. (Uh… I wasn’t on it, personally… was I supposed to be?) I’m all cleared-out.
So that… was that. A successful procedure, I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Now, this is not something I plan on telling my family. I know my parents would love another Grandkid, and they’d be very disappointed. I also have family that had trouble conceiving, or was flat-out never able to have kids. I definitely don’t want them getting the wrong idea, thinking that I’m “throwing away” something they had desperately wanted for so long. My heart hurts for them, because I know they wanted it so bad, and would have made great parents… but at the same time, I can’t deny what I know is right for me. So, this is the kind of information I need to keep to myself… and the Internet, apparently.
But I know that when I do occasionally talk about it… I do still get “The Questions”. Again, it’s nothing compared to what women making the same decision will get… but something about what happens in our bedrooms becomes immensely important to people. Chatting with my like-minded friends is never a problem, and feels very empowering and positive. Mentioning it to acquaintances is a bit more of a crap-shoot. I mentioned it to one person, who didn’t disparage me at all, but immediately after the info came out, the first thing they asked was:
“Isn’t that reversible?”
I know they didn’t mean anything by it… but it sounded weird to me. Technically, there IS a procedure to TRY and reverse it, but it’s very low success rate. The vasectomy, in the first place, is severing two key tubes in your happy-sack, then cauterizing them and sewing them off. That is very much meant to be a permanent solution. So, technically it *could* be reversed, but it’s not supposed to. That’s why they ask you so many questions and ask you to “talk with your wife” to make sure you’re 100% sure about it. So hearing the question… sounded like a cousin to “What if you change your mind?” Like they want to hear there’s an opening for the possibility of changing my tune, and then wanting cute widdle babies with the feet, and the toes, and oh look at you I could just eat you up! (Why do we tell newborns we want to cannibalize them? That never made sense to me… not one bit. Maybe it’s because they *do* look like potatoes…) If they said, “Is that reversible?”… that does sound more information-gathering. Because they generally don’t know. But saying “Isn’t that…”, that implies that somewhere along the line, they heard that “yes, it’s totally reversible.” Well, even if it is… I don’t want it to be.
The first time I put this out on the Internet, it was on the phone app “Whisper”. It’s kind of like Postsecret, only a little more freeform, and more open to idiocy. But it’s still an interesting app to read, and occasionally, I’ll post something. Here, I posted, on April 21st:
“I’m single, no kids… and tomorrow, I’m getting a vasectomy :) “
I then got a few replies… first one said:
“Hopefully you tell your future girlfriend that you did.”
Do you really think I’d keep that a secret? That is something to tell someone early on… just like you have a responsibility to tell that you *do* have kids.
Then, I got:
“Must have a girlfriend that has kids already.”
Uh, no… I said clearly that I was single. Why would you even assume that? Then, my favorite… I actually got into an exchange with this one:
“You don’t need a vasectomy if you’re single…”
Me: “Strictly speaking, no. But I don’t plan to be single forever, and since I try to date likeminded women, choose to remove the chance of an accident.”
“You still need condoms to be safe and _might_ change your mind re. children.”
Okay, first off… OF COURSE, this doesn’t replace condoms. They didn’t let me out of my doctor’s office in the first place until I knew that… which I already knew going in. A vasectomy does nothing to prevent STIs, and why would it? Do you really think I’m that stupid, and that I didn’t think about this? I didn’t do this so I don’t have to wrap it… I did it to prevent accidents in case of breakage and shit.
And again… assuming I will change my mind. I replied politely, that I won’t. Because I’m confidant in this decision, just as much as someone who knows that they DO want kids.
“Only time will tell :-)”
Okay, you pompous, self-righteous, condescending motherfucker… that’s the fast-track to pissing me off. Your coy little implication that *you* really know what the best thing for me is, and I don’t, you can shove it up your ass. The majority of time that those words are said, you’re really saying, “after some time has passed, you’ll see that *I* am right, and you’re wrong.” (And people looooove being right, almost as much as they hate being wrong.) The little smiley face on the end confirms that even more. You’re not really happy I had the snip-snip… you’re happy that I’m going to “realize” that I’m wrong, and I should have listened to you. Yeah, no chance, Douchie McDouche.
Every single one of these replies contains disappointment, the questioning of my own choice, and some uninvited commentary that I’m doing the wrong thing. Even the one that assumes I’m seeing someone who already has kids… they’re assuming that I need to have kids in my life, and it’s inconceivable to even entertain otherwise.
What if I change my mind? Well, what if you *do* have kids, and change YOUR mind? What then? You going to treat them like shit, or just abandon them on a nun’s doorstep? Plenty of so-called parents have done that. Oh, what’s that? You’re *sure* you want kids, and you’d never do that? You’re insulted I’d ever imply that?
Then how about you give me the same courtesy?
It doesn’t matter how much someone wants you to have children, you owe them nothing. It doesn’t matter how much your own parents want to be grandparents, you are not responsible for their happiness, and you are not a baby-factory. You do not owe children to the world. That was never in the social contract for life.
Instead of being so focused on creating new people to love in this world… how about we focus on loving the ones that are already here? They seem to have more of a pressing need for it, anyway.
Now, go be awesome… in whatever choices you make.
(Special thanks to “Amazon Von Blonde” for help with some of the euphemisms.)