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INTERVIEW WITH AN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER
ON HIS RECENT VASECTOMY
BY JIM RULAND
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How old are you?

30.

When did you first entertain the idea of getting a vasectomy? 

I'm not quite sure. I'm a frugal guy and one day I was wondering how much a vasectomy costs. I checked with my health insurance and it was free. I have really basic, HMO coverage. I figure they want men sterile. Less sick days from getting germs from kids. They also won't have to worry about down-the-road abortions, or my special lady friend getting adverse reactions from the pill. I did some research and found out that the procedure was considered safe, only took a couple of hours, and was outpatient. There are also a bunch of inter-related reasons, from global to local, why I think itís a good idea. First, the world has too many people. Also, I just don't have a yearning for a genetic legacy or the spreading of my seed. In all my life, I've only once cleared the poverty level and I don't see myself rising above it any time soon. Kids cost a lot of money. There are poverty-stricken families all around my neighborhood and in my apartment complex, and they all have kids they can't take care of or fully provide for, screaming their heads off and running around. That's no good.

Did you tell anyone about your decision?

Anyone with ears. I wanted to bounce the idea off a bunch of people. I tend to live an entirely other life in my head and wanted to air it out. I found other people who had vasectomies. It's like a secret club.

Were your parents supportive? 

Without a doubt. My parents rule. With all large, life stuff, they've always supported me. My brother and his wife just had a child, so the grandparental yearnings had been satisfied and I think a lot of the pressure was off. My dad told me about his swollen nuts after his vasectomy and how the neighbors came over, through the sliding glass door, while he was airing them out. It was a bonding experience I never thought Iíd have.

Did anyone try to talk you out it? 

Two people. An ex-girlfriend and a good friend. The good friend came out of left field. It was heartwarming. She's a lesbian and she wanted me to be her frozen pop in a couple of years when she was ready to start a family. It was cool that she thought I wasn't that much of a fuck-up, and that she'd want to take total control of the kid. 

What's the first step in getting a vasectomy? 

Research. Thanks to the prodding of the ex-girlfriend and my current lady friend. My ex-girlfriend barraged me with alternative methods of sterilization. None of the alternatives--like plastic plugs in the vas deferens, a contraption that jiggles your balls, and a nut clamp--have been widely accepted by the medical community, and are still in the planning stages of being effective measures of male sterilization. I mean, if it's not 100% effective, what's the point? There's no such thing as a "partial vasectomy."

I guess not. Did this help you with your decision?

After doing a lot of reading and learning that there are no ill effects, I became more and more sure of my decision. After that, I made an appointment, where you're shown a video from the '70s with this guy in really short shorts, and placed in a room with a bunch of men, their wives and a nurse. The nurse, Gil, explained the whole procedure and answered all our questions. I guess they didn't want us going in there thinking we were getting a prosthetic penis installed or something.

Had you already made up your mind at this stage? 

Yeah, pretty much. Everything I learned afterwards just reinforced my decision. I was interested in setting a date, and that was the first step to getting a medical appointment.

Were you worried about an accident? 

Not really. At the orientation, Gil told us who the head of the urology department was, and I made an appointment with him, figuring he wasn't some student, but a guy that's been snipping nuts for twenty years. They're dealing with pretty obvious ducts. 

What was the procedure like? 

The prep was strange. The night before the surgery, I had to shave two inches all around the penis and scrotum. I've never shaved that much of my pubic hair before and it took my special lady friend and me about half an hour. I had to put my legs up on the tub so she could get the right angles. They needed the whole area cleared to cut down on the risk of infection. 

Sounds kinky.

It wasnít. The procedure was very matter of fact. They kept me awake. A nurse isolated the penis with a bunch of drapes after sticking a large metal contact on my leg (that was the ground for the cauterization machine). She saw a bunch of bumps around my penis and called the doctor in. I had a slight allergic reaction to the shaving, but nothing to worry about. Then the nurse swabbed the entire area with a numbing analgesic that looked like iodine. It was a bit cool, but not bad at all. Then the doctor came in and tried to talk me out of it, noting that I was thirty years old and unmarried. He was sure I was going to be coming back to him within six years, begging for a reversal (which costs around $6,000 and isn't 100% guaranteed). I told him that I was an independent publisher, that my mind was made up, and I'd given it six months of constant thought. As he cut one small hole, near the base of my penis, directly into my scrotum, he made fun of me that he'd never heard of the music magazine I edit or any of the books I've helped publish. As he yanked the vas deferens out, I felt the tugging. It wasn't a roller coaster stomach tug, it was much deeper than that, like a vacuum where an entire organ had been. Then, he used the laser to cauterize the end. That felt like a twinge of electricity. It hurt only a bit. Then he tied both ends of the vas up in little "u"s and gave me four stitches on the scrotum, and repeated the entire process on the other side. It was a ten-minute operation. It ending with the doctor joking that I was going to get him Rolling Stones tickets.

Did it hurt? 

A little. Mostly after.

What were your thoughts before the operation? 

I hope I rented enough movies. 

And after?

I should have bought some frozen corn to put on my nuts. Standing in a grocery store with just-cut sack was very surreal. 

What did it look like after the operation? 

When I laid on my back that night, it looked like an aardvark with two black, puffy eyes staring back at me. He looked sad.

Like Alf had just gotten rolled?

Exactly.

Did you have to wear a special sling? 

Gil, the guy who gave us our prep talk, promised me that we'd get a scrotal sling. Nothing doing. I had to go buy a three-pack of briefs, which cranked my balls up. I didn't like at all.

How long did you have to abstain from sex? 

A week and a half. They say you can have sex three days after, but my stitches hurt too much. It didn't help matters that I moved a filing cabinet four days after my operation and popped a stitch. Since they were the dissolving thread type, I just poked the stitch back in the hole and put a band aid on it. It healed up fine in the end. The thing you also have to keep in mind is that even though your tubes are cut, you just can't stick it in without fear of pregnancy. There's still babies in the batter (Yes, there's still batter). You have to get tested twice over a six-month period before the no-sperm green light from the lab.

Any tips for someone thinking about getting a vasectomy?

Buy a bottle of Bactine. Swab that sucker. Make sure you have a ride home. Don't have visitors over and don't get super high the next day. I regretted that. My equilibrium was really off for a couple days. Quite possibly the best advice is, if you can, have someone stay with you. Answering the phone or getting a glass of water, when it feels like you're smuggling grapefruit and you just want to sit and not move, is an invaluable asset.

Do the Circle Jerks lyrics "snip and cut" have any special meaning for you now? 

No. I just wish Keith Morris would cut his hair.

Any second thoughts? 

Nah, it wasn't like they chopped my dick off. I still get to fuck and now I worry less. How's that a bad thing?
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