I just like saying it that way – “snipped”. It freaks out the guys I know. Seriously. Some men to whom I mention it literally cringe. Others take a solemn pause in conversation, as if acknowledging the passing of a comrade in arms (or groins, I suppose). Many make polite “Oh. Really?” sounds and swiftly change the subject. To watch them just shut down amuses me. I sometimes want to reassure them that I’m just preventing unwanted pregnancies while increasing my own selfish pleasure (Dear Trojan, Inc: Thank you for your many years of loyal and excellent service. Regrettably, upcoming reductions in headcount make our continued relationship unnecessary, although I will gladly and emphatically recommend your services to my son. In about fifteen years.) just so they chill out. I’m sterile, not a eunuch.
I get it, though. I think if I hadn’t already had kids and wasn’t currently suffering through raising an infant, I might be more disturbed by the thought of someone taking pokey-cutty things to my nether regions. While I don’t recall my circumcision in the least (I was born in Jewish Memorial Hospital – just color me doomed on arrival), I’m still a little surprised that I don’t have to fight any repressed-memory panic.
After disregarding the best-recommended specialist in the area (his name was, you guessed it, “Dr. Wiener” and I suspect you really don’t want to be giggling at the name of the guy needling into your ‘nads), I made an appointment with the second-best and not at all amusingly named specialist, had my consult, confirmed that I had both testicles and means to pay for the surgery, then set a date. As luck would have it, it was on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and you’d better believe there were more than a few “Thank God Almighty, I am free at last!” jokes. Yes, my big day. What I sometimes thought of as my vas mitzvah – “Today I am a sterile man.” Well, almost. According to my crack medical team, it would take about thirty ejaculations to “clear the pipes”. The doors to the baby factory would be closed but there would still be twenty thousand or so shoppers that needed to check out before we turned out the lights for good. So I guess I would be pre-sterile. I would’ve signed a letter of intent to be sterile. I’d be sterile-ready.
And when that day rolled around, I was obscenely happy. Almost giddy. Let my wife’s biological alarm clock wail like, well, our latest addition – I wouldn’t have to care! Sorry, happy to attempt to oblige as often as you’d like but, well…. Plus, I have to admit, I’m a big bio-nerd by nature, always curious about the workings of the human body. I’d closely watched my own dental surgeries and Lasik procedure – it would be nice to see something new. I bounced into the doctor’s office, already on first-name terms with the receptionist and my nurse.
Empty my bladder? Why, now that you mention it, it probably couldn’t hurt to try! Brilliant idea, really. Hmmm-hmm-hmm, hmm-hmm-hmmmmm. Tap-tap-tap. Wash thoroughly. And we’re bopping down to the surgery room.
Drop ’em? Already? Everything? Well… nurse Helga was no looker and likely wasn’t even back in her prime during the Johnson presidency (heh – “Johnson”) but I complied anyway. I can keep my socks on? Well, that’s a nice touch and keeps a sense of propriety about the whole thing. And I chattered away, wearing naught but a t-shirt, socks and a smile. She told me to lay back on the table and we compared favorite, obnoxious “impact injury to the groin” stories as she manhandled my manhood, yanking and flopping this way and that while scrubbing me with Betadine.
“This stuff’s brown, so don’t freak out when you get home and go to clean up. We had one guy call us, thinking he was bleeding out. Idiot.” I generally dig gruff and blunt but Helga was sort of scaring me. I don’t want to be a future story. Especially one ending in “idiot”.
“Okay, spread your legs.” Yoink! “And now close ’em. And relax.”
Yes, ma’am. Just… please let go of my junk, per favore.
And we chit-chatted some more, with me flat on my back and my twig and berries flopped to one side and painted ochre, like some sort of primitive Kabuki porn.
“Now, the doctor’s going to give you three shots. Down here.” She poked roughly, in case I thought she meant my patella, because that makes perfect sense. “After that, you shouldn’t feel anything sharp or pointy.” Holy shit, did she just say that? “If you do, say something! Don’t be all macho and manly on this!”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I felt that I’d gotten to know her and that she’d appreciate this sort of candor. “I’ve manlied my way through a lot of shit but we’re not yanking a tooth here. What kind of idiot doesn’t say something with this?” I figured I’d score big points with the “i-word”, a little mirroring to ingratiate myself.
“We had one. I asked him after, ‘How was it?’, and he tells me – ” She affected a look of mocking horror. ” – ‘It was HORRIBLE!’ and then he says he could feel everything!” She shook her head and I pushed the envelope of our sympatico.
“Idiot.” I mutter.
“Exactly!” Another brownie point for me. I will provide several tips for anyone considering this procedure. The first is to always score brownie points with the nurse.
Enter Herr Doktor. Nice enough fellow but certainly not much by way of a sense of humor and he looked disturbingly more than a little like The Tall Man from the 80’s “Phantasm” horror series. You know – the guy walking around with a giant, stainless-steel, contextually-apropos Flying Ball of Slicing, Cutting Death? Frankly, I’m more than a little amazed that my schlong didn’t suddenly become an “innie” when he walked in.
“I see you shaved. That’s good.”
That almost sounded creepy. Okay – drop the “almost”. But he was right – it was good. Yes, the doc, during our consultation, warned me that long hairs may get sutured in and so I may wish to consider shaving. I am, in large part, of Sicilian heritage and we are a somewhat hirsute-of-body kinda people. So a-shaving I had gone, another new experience to me. I had never “manscaped” before. And, um, I liked it… a lot. Continue to, in fact, but that’s another story. Should you be contemplating a similar move – for surgical reasons or otherwise – I highly recommend the Norelco Bodygroom.
This was about all the small talk I could extract before we got down to business. I managed to squeeze a smirk out of Cap’n Clip’em when Helga grumbled about “opening up the wrong end” in regards to a surgical sheet and I replied with, “As long as I don’t hear him say that, it’ll be a good day.” I know how to work a room, even with exposed and Betadined genitals.
We chatted some more about kids, sleep deprivation, more groin injuries and then Helga warned, “Okay, you’re going to feel a little stick and some burning.”
Pfff – okay, lady. You have no idea what I’ve been through in my life and the kind of pain I’ve endured withouwowowOWOWOW!!! I think I actually started to levitate a little because Nurse Ratched started to sound concerned.
“It’s okay! Caaaaalm down….” And I did. Breathe, burning feeling is fading, needle is out – Oh, crap, not the left one! Breeeeathe…. Not as bad as the first. Ooooookay. Now he’s going to poke me in the middle, too, but I’m already getting a bit numb down there so it’s okay. Kinda.
Whew. Okay. Then there was some… other stuff. I mean, man, it was weird. Nothing hurt but I could feel moving around, tugging, et cetera and the anticipation was a little unsettling. Especially when I heard snipping. And when the doc reached for the laser to cauterize me and I saw smoke rising. Wow. On second thought, I think I won’t be having barbecued pork for lunch… ever again. Then he added to my unease when he seemed to be, well, looking around for something on the second side.
“Everything where it’s supposed to be, doc?”
“Oh, yes. Here. You still want to see what this is all about?” He remembered that, during our consultation, I had readily admitted my geek status and medical curiosity. And, well, I did want to see. I am a twisted fuck.
There we were, discussing blood supply and seminal distribution, with me sitting up and mostly naked and him illustrating various points on my vas… well… sticking out of a hole in my scrotum. I elected to lay back down before he cut and cauterized it. Probably best – I may have had a moment of weakness and asked if I could do the actual snipping. I see I have already referred to myself as twisted. Just go back and re-read the sentence.
And just like that, we were done. Stitch here. Wipe there. Direct pressure. After-care instructions (mostly given to my doting wife) then a spousal chauffeur home with one brief stop at the local supermarket’s pharmacy to pick up some Percocet that I was assured I would want (never did take it, though).
On getting home, I almost immediately began to learn many valuable and interesting things. For example, you should explicitly specify “including when he’s laying down on the couch” when you warn your children ahead of time that no, you will not be playing with them and no, there will be no climbing on Daddy. Ice packs really are your friend. And instructions that include the admonition “if you screw up, your scrotum will swell to the size of a grapefruit – at least” should be heeded.
Really, really, really take note of that last one.
Now, men, a lot of activities you might not expect end up tugging on your balls through the course of a day. Like coughing, sneezing, sighing, clearing your throat, yelling at misbehaving children, laughing heartily, reaching across your torso with an extended arm holding a laptop and, um, thinking about sex… a lot. But stupidly going up and down stairs multiple times to ride herd on workers replacing a tiled wall is just courting disaster, something I had frequent occasion to contemplate on subsequent nights when jolted awake by pain every time I rolled onto my stomach in my sleep.