I certainly didn’t recall promising my wife anything of the sort, but then I also promised to be careful one night in Rome twelve months earlier, so I suppose she did have a point.
That week in the Eternal City had been a holiday to celebrate her 30th birthday. Leaving our three young sons behind with the grandparents, it was a chance for us to enjoy ourselves away from the daily grind that being a parent can sometimes be. It was a surprise trip, but not as big as the surprise when we got home when she discovered that she was pregnant again. Late nights and an alcohol fuelled care free holiday attitude are unfortunately not conducive to reliable family planning.
After the birth of our fourth child, a daughter, the question of contraception arose. Condoms were out of the question for her as one had apparently failed during a previous relationship. If this fact was designed to make me feel inadequate, then it succeeded. She believed that contraception was now my responsibility. The discussion raged back and forth. I was losing the argument and I didn’t like it.
I didn’t fear the operation, but I did feared being sterilised. What if my wife and kids were killed in an accident and I wanted to start a new life and family? I would be unable to. The operation is reversible, but only in skilled hands and there is no guarantee of success. My fears, however irrational they were to others, were very real to me.
I visited our GP. She told me my fears were common and explained that a vasectomy was the safest and easiest form of contraception. Well, she would say that wouldn’t she? I still wasn’t sure, but the look on my wife’s face made the final decision an easy one.
I was referred to a specialist consultant. He was a rotund man, in his early 40’s, ruddy faced and with a public school accent. He had all the trappings of a successful practice around him. Leather chairs, a mahogany desk, Jaguar in the private parking space, professional certificates on the wall and a framed photo of four kids.
I indicated to the photo “Yours?” He looked proudly at his children. “Yes” he replied. “You’ve had the op as well then?” I asked casually. “Good God. No!” He exclaimed. “Why on earth would I do that?” He wasn’t exactly advertising his services and neither was he filling me with confidence.
The pleasantries over, we finally got down to the business of the day. “Drop your trousers.” he said whilst managing to avoid making eye contact with me. Men, well most men, do not show each other their genitalia and the awkwardness between us was palpable.
I stood there, trousers around my ankles, looking everywhere apart from him or what he was doing. He snapped on a pair of latex gloves. Observing the clear alarm in my face he said “Bend over’. Alarm turned to terror.
“Only joking! I’m just going to examine your little chap”. He looked down at my little chap then looked at me, smiling sympathetically. He prodded at my testicles mumbling something about “A fine pair” I closed my eyes and thought of other things. Before I knew it I had a date with sterility.
On the day of the operation I was nervous, but resigned to my fate. I sat alone in the waiting room pretending to read a men’s magazine. Flicking through the pages the females within seemed to mock me.
The Doctor emerged in classical pale green surgeon’s kit. Aproned, gloved up and hopefully disinfected. I entered the surgery and encountered a female assistant similarly attired. She resembled a Russian shot-putter and smiled maliciously. “Remove your trousers and hop up onto the bench” She glanced down at my feet. “No need to keep your socks on”. I removed them and awkwardly shuffled onto the examination couch trying to look relaxed and comfortable but feeling nothing of the sort.
I lay on the couch looking up at them looking down at me. They stood either side and examined me, attempting to locate the offending tubes that were to be severed. Their fingers had the dexterity of navvies. I grimaced as the offending left hand tube was located between thumb and forefinger, rolled roughly and a little pinch added for good measure. “There it is” he announced to nobody in particular. I winced. In the background the radio was tuned in to ‘Gardener’s Question Time’. Pruning was being discussed.
“You’ll soon feel what I’m feeling” he said. Naively I asked him what that might be. “A small prick” was the reply. The two of them laughed at their own joke.
“Feel this?” my tormentor enquired as he injected my scrotum with local anaesthetic. I couldn’t and there was no pain as he began his work, just a feeling of having your crown jewels pulled out from a locked safe. I felt immediately nauseous, body tense, teeth clenched. “Finished and first one cut and clamped”. “Over to you” he said to his not so glamorous assistant.
I peeked from behind the backs of my arms, which were covering my face in a pathetic attempt to hide from the experience. I was sweating profusely. She grabbed my right testicle as if she were grabbing a ten-pound shot. “The right side is often more painful than the left” she said by way of a warning.
She was right. The fact that a sixteen stone woman was manhandling me had apparently nothing to do with it. I tensed up with pain as she pulled and cut into my defenceless right testicle. Snip! Triumphantly she held aloft the offending 5mm section of tube between a pair of forceps and thrust them in front of my eyes. I was unable to focus properly.
“Gun barrels!” she snapped at me “That’s all they are! Gun barrels!” The woman was obviously mad.
My offending section of heavy artillery was deposited in a container of medical alcohol. She looked into my eyes as she screwed the top on the container. It was the sort of look that said “That will teach you, you bastard”. The sample was placed in a cupboard for future reference alongside countless other examples of snatched manhood.
She followed my questioning gaze. “In case we’re sued. Proves we’ve cut out the right bits”
It’s nice to know that there will always be a part of me waiting for a future summons to court.
It all took about half an hour in total and as I was being stitched up, I was informed that one wife had actually videoed the whole procedure. Perhaps a viscous heirloom to be played at family gatherings.
Finally alone, I got dressed gingerly and wondered what motivated a man to want to do this to other men for a living. I hobbled downstairs passing the next victim who was on the way up. He looked at me, terrified.
The receptionist handed me two sample bottles which I was asked to fill at a later date for a sperm count. Each tube was about half a centimetre in diameter and this was a bit of a concern. I knew from experience that my ability to hit such a small target was in doubt. After all it was the scatter-gun approach that had got me into trouble in the first place.
I could hardly walk for the first 24 hrs. For days on end the pain continued but over time gradually diminished. Salt baths helped prevent infection. I got little sympathy and plenty of ridicule from my mates.
Not wishing to keep any secrets from my kids, I tried to explain in simple terms what had happened and why I was currently unable to engage in WWF wrestling with them. Every time I got dressed or undressed, I would find myself surrounded by one or more of my inquisitive children, eyes like saucers and trying to get a glimpse of my ‘injuries’. I felt like a sideshow freak ‘The Man With the Biggest Balls in the World’ and I believe I may have scarred them for life.
At school my 5-year-old proudly announced to assembled parents, teachers and pupils
“My daddy has had his willy cut off”. Mothers knowingly nodded to each other and smiled. Fathers avoided me.
I returned to the clinic six weeks later, samples in hand. Numerous attempts had been made to fill the containers with minimum spillage. I was determined to impress. The nurse held one of the samples up to the light between her thumb and forefinger and shook it. She eyed me suspiciously as if I may have topped it up with water. That day I was certified as a sperm free zone.
Here I am, a ‘Jaffa’ for the rest of my days. My wife likes the new contraceptive free me and to be honest so do I. The guys at work observe me in equal amounts of awe and pity and some contemplate their own futures. Has it affected my sex life? It’s early days yet, but my other half tells me the prospects are good.
So would I recommend a Vasectomy to anyone else? There is only one question that needs to be asked really.
“Have you got the balls?”
© Oldmansballs 2023