Seeing that one of my favorite meals was a welcoming plate of spaghetti and meatballs, my father opted for a metaphor of the most familiar variety. “You see it was very much like a plate of spaghetti and meatballs,” he explained, “instead, in this case, the spaghetti was inside the meatball, and so they had to cut open the meatball to cut the spaghetti.” This was my father’s clumsy but winsome way of explaining away the particulars of his vasectomy. I was about six years old, so I took the whole spaghetti and meatballs analogy a little too literally and inquired about whether or not the surgeon ate his metaphorical meatball. He reassured me that everything was still there, but just the connections had been severed: connections that were to insure my standing as the youngest child in the family.
As an adult male, father of one (hoping for another) the concept of a vasectomy is a difficult one to generate a lot of enthusiasm for. I mean, by god, it is elective surgery on a part of the anatomy that is host to all sorts of male fears (and desires). However, the main impetus (and the only one I know of) behind wanting a vasectomy, is chiefly wanting to avoid impregnating anyone. A vasectomy, in its most elemental definition, is a fairly minor surgical procedure resulting in sterilization of the male, where a man’s vasa deferentia are cut and sealed by tying, stitching, cauterization (burning), or otherwise clamped to prevent sperm from entering the seminal stream. From what I have read, and been told, the side effects are fairly minor (although there are plenty of exceptions, as noted by this anti-vasectomy website) and the desired result is worry-free carnality for the remainder of your (sex) life (this obviously does not address STDs).
The decision to sign up for the ol’ snip-snip is a highly personal one; ideally consisting of careful consideration and possibly some level of meaningful conversation with a partner or a friend (with or without benefits). This is not likely to be an issue that is highly political by nature, but more about personal responsibility as well as personal freedom. Still, as pragmatic and dispassionate as some men can be, I would imagine the decision is a difficult one with some degree of resonance. For those that go under the knife, is the residual feeling liberation, or loss? Has anyone out there had a vasectomy only to find themselves moving through feelings of regret or uncertainty after the fact? Do you have future plans for a vasectomy, and if so do you have any philosophical insights to share? Anyone altogether opposed to the idea of a vasectomy?
Before I go, I wanted to share with you a somewhat vintage poem from 1996 from poet Thom Ward titled “Vasectomy.”
No one’s notified the workers
shares have been split, the factory sold.
Frames are still being welded, transmissions
bolted to engines, acetylene torches lit
gold like the light from miners’ helmets
on groaning timber. Coal
is still chiseled, and dust
spun into lungs. No one’s posted signs:
Road Out. Bridge Out. Danger Ahead.
Fingers black with dye, young girls
disappear in looms. Women
boil metal, pour it steaming into molds.
Day fused to night, millions of laborers,
backs crooked and hands cracked,
manufacture bottles, canisters, and cogs,
that will never reach foreign markets.
Soldiers turn semis back at the border.
Executives charter planes,
shift funds into Swiss accounts.
How long before word of this
hits the factories, the mines, the wicked
textile mills? What good, what possible good,
is supply without demand?