By Jason Menard
Nov. 14, 2005 — With all due respect to the band Europe, I’ve officially entered into my own Final Countdown – and I don’t know if I’ve got the cojones to go through with it. Or, more accurately, I don’t know if my cojones will let me go through with it.
Approximately four years ago, in a fit of empathy (or lunacy) for my wife having given birth to our second child Juliana, I decided to show my devotion to her following a difficult pregnancy and birth by announcing that, when the time came, I would go under the knife and have a vasectomy.
And while I had hoped there would be some debate, some discussion, or gentle commiseration from my wife upon this announcement, it was greeted instead with a savage enthusiasm akin to watching a shark pounce upon a bleeding victim!
“You’re damn right you will!” Or something to that effect (I reserve the right to take liberties with the statements made at that time, due to the fact that my wife had just given birth and I was kind of woozy.) “After what I’ve gone through giving birth to two kids, I think it’s your turn!” Instead of a gentle acceptance, the ol’ calendar was whipped out and a date was circled, underlined in triplicate, and festooned with little gold stars.
Nov. 13, 2006 – just over five years after my little girl’s birth the boys would be saying goodbye.
So now, the final countdown starts. And, like many other men before me – and currently in my position – we go down this lonely street alone, or accompanied by womenfolk who anticipate the procedure with glee, blissfully unsympathetic to the steps we’re taking.
The arguments are many, persuasive, and wholeheartedly biased towards us men-folk going under the knife. Yet, despite the common sense aspect of the procedure, there is a much deeper-rooted psychological barrier that exists between men and women when the subject of vasectomy comes up.
As a social activity, get a group of couples – if they’ve had kids, all the better – and pose the question of who should have the ultimate birth control procedure. Like a cabal of contraceptive witches, the women will pounce on the topic, demanding men take their share of the responsibility and wholeheartedly enjoying the idea of a man’s testicular region subjected to surgical intervention. Oh, they’ll crack jokes, make snip-snip sounds, and laugh uproariously.
The guys? We’re sitting slightly hunched down with our legs crossed. All the while knowing better than to speak up in the contrary, lest our significant others decide to take the issue of circumcision into their own hands, so to speak.
Ask any man and we know we’ve got it easy in this life. We don’t give birth, we don’t deal with menopause, and we live our lives relatively pain-free. While our wives suffer in order to bring life into this world, most of our injuries result from playing football with the guys or stubbing our toe searching for the remote. It’s hardly a fair swap.
But what’s lost in this debate is that we’re all little boys at heart. Growing up and well into our manhood – if not throughout our entire life, our testicles play a big part in defining who we are. So what does it say when, through a little snip of a doctor’s scalpel, they now become as ornamental as the male nipple – existing on the body, but without any real purpose.
It’s hard (no pun intended) not to feel emasculated when you’ve effectively been neutered. And despite the fact that as we grow we understand what’s between your ears matters more that what’s between your legs when it comes to being a man, the fact remains that there’s a certain sense of loss and disenfranchisement from all that we’ve held dear (again, no pun intended.)
It is the stallion that garners the most respect and notice, not the gelding. A bull is full of vigour and toughness – a steer is no more than tomorrow’s steak. So can we not be forgiven for feeling that a part of our youth and manliness may be sacrificed by going under the knife?
In the end, while I know that undergoing this procedure won’t result in the unkindest cut of all, let’s just say there is a vas deferens between what I know I should do and what I really want to do.
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