I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Greater love hath no man

Quite casually, while commenting on a different matter, a fellow blogger  revealed elsewhere he had had a vasectomy. Not boasting or anything, an aside, if you like. Well if he can...

Why have I been so timid? After all, having one's vas deferens severed could be seen as the ultimate feminist gesture for a fella. But then with the v-op delicacy resides not so much in What? as in Why? I must be circumspect. Bet you thought that last word was going to end differently!

Let's get one thing straight. Tone Deaf pointed out the cataract op is a piece of cake. The v-op is not a piece of cake, more a piece of rock. One suffers: feminists take note. And if push came to shove you'd be hard pressed to explain the bruising. Lurid!

OK, OK. Childbirth’s worse.

Another thing. I'm reasonably stoic but the v-op found my tipping point. Up above was a huge light (I was all for it; wouldn't welcome a surgeon working in the dark) surrounded by mirrors. One mirror reflected - let's put this obscurely - the flash of the scalpel. An unpleasing view. They moved the light at my request.

Later, stitches were removed. The group of men - ludicrous in short dressing gowns – who’d shared the experience reassembled. We talked hollowly about forming a club. Later still, we were required to provide proof... hmmm, I see there are limits. Perhaps I was right to be timid. Or let's say English.

It all happened decades ago and I see a definite advantage. One RR is enough, no one I know of has clamoured for another. Go on, prove me wrong.

Note. This is a Works Well repeat, though more felicitous.


  1. Not allowed here, under the Napoleonic Code it's deemed self-mutilation. One freedom obviously not considered to be de rigueur under the Republic One and Indivisible and no one's grumbling about that, it seems.

    I think it should be more openly discussed of course, and a matter of pride. One of my brothers-in-law (of the Huw variety) also underwent the procedure, and did talk about it really quite a lot, my brother was heard to mutter that well he could be pleased with himself, he'd done something useful for a change. Unfair. Their kids were lovely.

  2. Lucy: More openly discussed - I agree. But afterwards I reflected. Most men should have no difficulty in commenting. Not the same for women, your courageous self excepted. To some extent whatever line a women takes, serious or farcical, she runs the risk of showing her hand on what is, in effect, the subject of contraception. I'll be surprised - but gratified - if there are any takers.

    Meanwhile what the hell is the République Francaise up to? When was that part of the Code enacted? And what's wrong with self-mutilation? I've always felt that the present popularity of tattooing is a sub-section of that hobby.

    That little vignette you append. The perfect exoskeleton for a short story. Wonder if Joe would agree. Probably not, the poor dear used to get queasy about most things medical. I see we're coming up to the first year's anniversary - but of his death. I don't even care to mark an end, never mind celebrate it.

  3. Friends who've had it done say it hurts, and a HS classmate actually had a failure, the proof being a lovely daughter who is the spitting image of him. I believe he had it re-done. Quite a number of men choose to have vasectomies reversed. An ophthalmologist neighbor of mine, renowned for his steady hand, often assisted in these delicate operations.

  4. I managed to get the same result by a radical prostectomy for prostate cancer some 16 years ago. I still have a rather impressive scar from navel to groin and needed a enough blood during the operation to for a complete "oil change" ( 9 pints)

    Total impotency was the result - not even able to get an erection let alone ejaculation! Or is that too much information?

    I can remember it was extremely painful and inconvenient for about 4 months, but obviously had the desired result that I am still here, collecting my various pensions and annoying the young by being "elderly".

  5. I had a friend, still quite a young man, who had it done to please one girlfriend and reversed to please another. Being reconstructed ain't for sissies.

    Not only is it easier that childbirth, it's also easier, safer and a much lower failure rate than the equivalent operation for a woman. These days apparently it can be done with lasers which is less bruising and must surely be a little less wince-inducing than the glint of the scalpel? I'm inclined to think men need to be encouraged and praised for doing it, and women should be a quite a bit more appreciative and supportive when they do.

    Both male and female sterilisations were illegal here for the same reason, but could be permitted in cases of overriding medical necessity. This can of course far more easily be justified for women than men, and tube-tying and hysterectomy, often for quite tenuous reasons, are quite commonplace, which is very convenient for French men.


    (even when we're being serious about the matter, also contains some puns and one-liners that will surely make you chuckle)

    In fact a further search indicates that the procedure is no longer forbidden here, but there is a clear degree of wilful disinformation so most people believe it is; doctors are unco-operative or ignorant, and when Marie Stopes tried to advertise the campaign above there was an almost universal refusal from French papers to run the ads. Not much press freedom there then.

    The couple of times the subject has come up with us and health professionals, reaction has varied between sort-of praising approval that it was a very nice thing of a man to do, and a kind of impassive uh-huh from our own doctor, who affirmed when I asked that it was indeed illegal here except on medical grounds, which was no longer the case.

    Avus, that was brave and refreshingly honest, not TMI at all. Sorry it was so grisly but glad it's kept you around for us. Thank you.

  6. Quite an energetic topic to read alongside breakfast this morning! having spent Saturday night with a roomful of younger, fertile couples I am, on Monday regretting the opportunity of quizzing them and now am curious. Among the couples, there is a low birth rate and I wonder how they achieve it.
    Generally, I think governments need taxpayers to fund our senior's pensions and prefer procration......even the Chinese are thinking twice is nice.

  7. All: Oh wow! Your explicitness has contrived to make me feel a real wimp. Mincing around, not calling a spade a spade. As to the bit which ended with points de suspension let me supply you with the complete griff. To prove the slashing had worked we were required to fill a bottle, the contents of which were then checked for what a journalist pal of mine referred to as "tail-lashing bastards". But the bottle was small and its orifice even smaller. Completely counter-intuitive you might say. There's nothing precise about sex yet I was being asked to engage in what Flying Fortress pilots in WW2 were asked to do: pickle-barrel bombing. Happy days.

    MikeM: Yes, it does hurt and it also debilitates. A mate of mine who had sired twins was required by his wife to do the manly thing. He arrived back home from the clinic feeling quite seedy only to find he had to prepare the evening meal, starting with last night's washing up. One of the penalties of not being the breadwinner.

    Avus: Now that's contraception in excelsis. To which should be added: don't try this at home. In fact you've been cured three times over, the arithmetic says so. Surgeons say that if you're still around five years after a cancer op you're completely cured. Good on you, Avus. And no, it isn't too much info; having been through what you've been through you have my permission to spill the beans (unfortunate metaphor) over and over. Perhaps in a future post you might care to identify the point at which elderly becomes old. Or aren't you there yet?

    Lucy: Where do you get this stuff? I'd guess you had a face that inspires trust but I've seen it (your face that is) and it encourages nothing so dull; devilry more like.

    And how did you come upon this article? What exactly did you put in the search box? Oh damn! As well as being a wimp I'm turning out to be prurient. Time I went back to blogging as Lorenzo da Ponte and posting about chromatic scales. I was safe then - nobody read the stuff and I was able to enjoy a tepid academic glow.

  8. Stella: My re-re-comment took so long that you'd slipped in and out without my realising - a locution that has more than a little bearing on today's main topic. If you're curious, then quiz them - even at a later date. But please, please tell me with what words you opened the batting. Perhaps you can inveigle them into a game which will force them to tell all, call the game Embarrassment. One essential ingredient: a dozen bottles of Australian generic shiraz, costing no more than £4.99 (CAD 9.06) a pop.

  9. In my book you are "old" when you have no plans for the future. A colleague worked on until retirement age, did not know what to then do with life, so he turned up his toes after about 3 years!

  10. Is it as heroic when the lady takes to the operating theatre in order to spare her loved one the pain? Just wondering!

  11. I don't mind contributing to this sharing around the campfire. My ex had the vasectomy, his decision, since he'd already had two offspring from his first marriage. I wasn't sure if I wanted children or not but I wasn't opposed to the op. In due course we divorced, and in further due course he re-married and had a child with the new wife. We stayed friends and I didn't mind at all that he reversed his decision to procreate no more. I presume he had the reinstatement op but I never asked.

  12. I don't know why Google has decided that I am now Somebodie Ennywear. I must have entered that alias at some time but why i shows up now I have no idea. Anyhow it's me, Natalie, the usual one.

  13. Avus: Hey, that's pretty good, Concise, echoes which most people will recognise, and a genuine measurement of intellectual width. And reassurance for me at least since I find myself racing against the clock with my interests.

    Two queries. You're assuming your mate died of vacancy. Are you sure you're not being presumptuous? I mean if he had a heart-attack, a stroke or - God forbid - cancer, we'd say that was the reason he died. To die of boredom or lack of social opportunity must be fairly rare. A bit like dying of a broken heart. A literary death in fact.

    Some people assume interests when they retire. They travel (we did that - three long visits to NZ without the rationale you have for going to Perth) or - more perniciously - they take up gardening because that's what retired people do. They garden as proof they're alive; I doubt their heart is in it. Now I could die of that. Easily. Even at the thought I feel predictive tremors.

    Blonde Two: Oh yes, of course. And you know me, I take a heroic view of women. But with men it's slightly different - there's so much silly mystique tied up in their genital apparatus (symbol of manhood, or, even worse, laddishness) that many men start sweating at the very thought. Women give up the possibility of having children which I'm told is central to being a woman; theoretically there shouldn't be any difference; a womb (or its appurtenances) is just as symbolic as a pair of testicles. But getting pregnant has serious consequences which last the rest of a woman's life; if she's already had children (and suffered in various ways as a consequence) the benefits of tubal ligation are more obvious than vasectomy. Also TL is, I think, much rarer; it's a more serious op and no one should have general anaesthetic surgery unless they have to. Thus the female option can be regarded as a greater emotional expression if undergone as elective surgery alone.

    I hope this doesn't suggest I downgrade the woman's experience. I simply wanted to write from a personal (ie, male) view.

    Natalie: I see you, like me, have tacked on a pic to your comments. An insurance against any more random bloggery. Family planning clinics do their best to ensure there won't be any future regrets about denying reproduction and the wife/partner forms part of the initial discussion. But who the hell can predict? When I was snipped reversal was said to be iffy at best.

  14. Well, shall we say that in between the two operations - and perhaps between the two girlfriends, though I'm not quite sure, I didn't ask (I may not inspire much devilment now but time was...) - I was in a position to know the details. Anyway, he later made a lovely and devoted dad, I gather, and certainly didn't regret the reversal.

    Re stats for TL versus vasectomy: TL is by no means rare, and despite being higher risk, more invasive and psychologically no less significant, it seems that in most western countries is far more frequently undertaken than vasectomy. Britain, as the article said, the vasectomy capital of the world, is the exception, where it is more frequent.

    So British manhood rocks! So to speak.

  15. Lucy: So there are places where, by inference, laddishness is more pronounced than in Britain. A rare, unequivocal invitation to become a patriot.

    I note your penultimate sentence. There is a US expression "get your rocks off" which was never fully adopted in the UK. Do you know it? I'll send you an explanation in a plain brown envelope if you wish. Just one of those resonances... I wander as usual.

  16. Yes that was the rather weak and irrelevant punning element of my conclusion. Funny how we know all their funny idioms and usages and they rarely know many of ours. Like how we know they have different robins - theirs are just sort of thrushes with brownish red fronts - and they're always perennially astonished by our robins being different, despite the many cultural references to them.

    I also meant to say about your poor friend who had to cook the dinner: ' One of the penalties of not being the breadwinner'? No, one of the penalties for being married to a castrating bitch.

    Though that does rather undermine the bracing feminist tone I have adapted thus far, and might be badly received, and of course I don't know what childbirth does to some women, or anything about the people concerned... But what the hell, I'm the last one standing here so I'll stick my neck out!

    And that really is my last comment on this post!