No general anaesthetic
By the time I’ve finished reading through the first page I’m almost bursting with vasectomy excitement.
‘RM, I can do this!’ I yell from the kitchen table.
There’s the sound of RM’s fast-stepping coming from the hall. ‘Are you mental? The kids are sleeping,’ she says.
I leap towards her and take her by the shoulders. ‘I’m reading the Vasectomy Information pack… and it’s really good,’ I say in a strained whisper. ‘I’m going to do it, you see? Tomorrow I’m getting it done… think of this – after tomorrow you can have sex with me whenever you want… all the time… you can just come home, clear the bench with a sweep of your arm and throw me upon it wantonly… don’t even have to ask…’
She looks at me for a series of slow blinks and then says, deadpan. ‘You’re hurting me.’
After I release her I rebuild her smile by maintaining eye contact and moon-walking to the kitchen table. She shakes her head and mosies back down the hall as I put my iPod earphones in and shuffle through to my ‘High Energy’ playlist.
This sudden enthusiasm I feel to be sterilised is unexpected but welcome. The apprehension I’ve carried with me for the past year has been overwhelmed by the hype of Dr Snip’s Vasectomy Package pitch. I’m a roaring lion spraying a tree with urine in wild Africa and shaking my mane free of flies. I’m a dolphin spiralling through water and air for the reward of my handlers kiss and a mouthful of dead fish. I’m a cat wildly flicking sticky-tape from its feet to hear the laughter of several University Students in a steamy share-house. And I’ll be dammed if I’ll let this feeling go.
I shuffle through my playlist to the classic Rockin’ For Myself by Motive8 and continue scrolling through the document, skimming most of it to avoid any info that might kill my mood and head-bopping angry-style as I listen to the sexy breathy voice of singer Angie Brown asking, ‘Does it make you feel good?’ over and over, when suddenly I happen upon this image –
At first I’m not sure what I’m seeing. My mind plays a crazy, involuntary image association game and I’m thinking of the Muppet Gonzo in albino form – eyeball free – singing a song of loneliness. Then I see the sadness of octopus tentacles drying on an ocean pier. It’s not until I pull the earphones out and read the instructions above the photo that I realise I am looking at shaved male genitalia:
1. At home on the morning of surgery completely shave the scrotum as shown in the photograph.
Considering that my appointment with the good doctor Snip is tomorrow at midday, and that my morning will be taken by school lunches and nappy changing and making breakfasts and all that jazz, I reasoned that it would be safer to shave the most sensitive and vulnerable area of myself the night before, while the kids are all asleep.
At my feet, in the bath, are the longer pubes I clippered off (which surprisingly look lighter now they’ve been set free) scattered around much shorter pubes trapped in blotches of Brut 33 shaving cream. It’s not a pretty scene and I make a mental note to describe it as witnessing the aftermath of a pie fight between Paul Hogan and Karl Stefanovic (there may even be a touch of Julia Gillard in there).
I was not prepared for the amount of effort involved in making that area bereft of hair. For the previous forty-five minutes I’ve been a human question mark – head arched as close as possible to balls – lathering and shaving and stretching my scrotum out like funny putty, in an attempt to render it as smooth and as shiny as possible.
Every time I wiped the area down I found more hair there and there were several frustrating minutes where I sat on the edge of the bath, consumed with rage, thinking the task impossible. But then I thought of all the Facebook and Twitter fans who had sent me supportive comments like, ‘Don’t be a wus’ and ‘Man Up’ and ‘Don’t be a fucken wus’ and ‘Man the fuck up’ and I found a way to rise above my doubts, achieve my hairless goal and learn something vital about my personality – I am not a quitter (while others are watching).
After a final inspection that just about puts my back out, I call to RM.
She opens the sliding door to find her partner of 15+ years standing legs apart, knees slightly bent, hips thrust forward, arms out to the side performing an overzealous version of ‘jazz hands’.
‘Ta-dah,’ I yell. ‘The fireplace finally matches the mantelpiece!’
She stumbles in laughing and gets down for a closer look.
‘It reminds me of Gonzo from the…’
‘…Muppets,’ I say. ‘I know.’
‘How’s it feel?’ she asks.
‘Stings a bit.’
She studies it for a while longer, turning her head from side to side which, for some reason, makes me put my hands behind my back and avoid her gaze.
‘It looks cute,’ she says.
‘Cute?’ I say, ‘…like a twelve year old boy?’
When she laughs and leaves the room, closing the door behind her, I look at myself in the mirror. I am a large-ish white man, tinged red with effort, bald now at both ends. My penis and scrotum look frightened and cold and for a moment I toy with the idea of searching through the toy room for a little shirt and jacket. But I resist.
Tomorrow I will take these strange but wonderful appendages and place them directly in harm’s way. There will be puncturing and cutting, stitching and searing, but through it all I will remember another piece of information I retained from the Vasectomy Information Package –
you will not be sterile immediately; for most it takes a minimum of 14 ejaculations over 8 weeks
– and even though this is clearly not enough ejaculations to get excited about, I have a certain Dr Snip sponsoring my vasectomy. He’s on my side. It won’t take but a quiet word and a nod to bring a personal note home for RM that reads,
To ensure the success of the procedure Reservoir Dad will require a minimum of 140 ejaculations over a period of 8 weeks, with only 40 of those being self administered.
Oh man. The enthusiasm is back. I can do this! I can see my future. It has a warm yellow cardigan in it, an exposed mid-section, a woman rolling about in a stylish bikini and a slightly built but vascular man doing double bicep poses, and shit – there’s a massive strawberry there – and, oh wow… the head of a swordfish!