Need advice on having a vasectomy? Don’t ask a man

Hammer and eggs There’s a scene in the movie “Jaws” where the Mayor of Amity Island explains how yelling the word “BARRACUDA” won’t get much reaction on a crowded beach. “But if you yell ‘SHARK’ you’ll have a panic on your hands…”

Keeping that in mind, you’ll have some idea of the reaction you get from most men if you change “shark” to “vasectomy.”

This was the first word out of my radio this morning, and yes, it caught my attention immediately. I had mine 10 years ago after weeks of campaigning from my ex-wife, who had a degree in social work. Because of this, she was trained on how to approach sensitive subject matter. That’s why I was allowed to discover, with no pressure from her whatsoever, that my new place mat at the dinner table was actually a medical brochure titled:

So, You Want To Have a Vasectomy?  

True, we had talked about this subject before. Twice, actually; during the birth of each of our two children. I don’t remember the exact conversations. But, on both occasions, I do recall the doctor informing her that, despite her many requests, our child’s umbilical cord would be the only thing getting snipping that day. The topic also came up when we had our dog neutered. Again, because of my ex-wife’s education and training, she avoided pressuring me and took a more subtle approach by calling our dog “Ned” for a week.

After breakfast one morning, during which I watched her repeatedly crack two eggs together and then scrambled them — one pair at a time — in a flaming skillet, it became clear that the subject of a vasectomy needed to be addressed. So, after breakfast, we sat down together and discussed the issue like adults.

We went over the information carefully.

We educated ourselves on the mechanics of the procedure.

We weighed the pros and cons.

Then, together, we joined hands and pried my knees apart so I could drive to work.

To help ease my fears, she suggested I talk to other men who have had the procedure done.

This makes perfect sense.

If you’re a woman.

That’s because women are educated about their bodies while men, according to a recent study conducted by the American Medical Association, are “complete morons concerning their anatomy.” Keep in mind that some have argued the study was inconclusive since researchers openly admitted their interviews “were continually being interrupted by laughter and fart sounds.”

This isn’t to say getting a man to discuss the details of his vasectomy is difficult. What’s difficult is getting him to explain it in a way that doesn’t scare the pants off of you — which, of course, is his main objective. This tradition has been passed down through the years as an “unofficial” initiation rite in this “unofficial” club to which, officially speaking, no one really wants to be a member. In terms of membership enthusiasm, I’m guessing it runs neck-and-neck with The Hair Club for Men.

On the other hand, there are plenty of valid reasons to have this procedure done, each of which should be listed on a sheet of paper. Bring this list with you on the day of your surgery. That way, when you see the surgical knives and forget who you are, you’ll at least have a way of remembering why you are there.

And if you happen to forget your list, don’t worry; chances are your wife can recite it for you.

From memory.

In the form of a rap song if necessary.

The day of my vasectomy, I just kept telling myself that thousands of these procedures are performed every day. In the rare instance that something goes wrong, such as the loss of my manhood, the odds of my survival were very high. Certainly higher than if I tried escaping the doctor’s office without getting the procedure done.

So, to all of you men who are considering visiting Dr. Snippit some time soon, I raise my glass to you.


On the rocks, of course.





(This column first appeared in March 2013 as a feature for News Media Corporation. It is also included in Ned’s first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, available in print and eBook from Port Hole Publishing, and Barnes and Noble)

You can write to Ned Hickson at, or at Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

52 thoughts on “Need advice on having a vasectomy? Don’t ask a man”

    1. It wasn’t really that bad, but there have been times I wish I could’ve had the chance for a child with Alicia. Then again, I think raising our 4 children together from our previous marriages was probably enough 😉

  1. My hubby had one done about 8 years ago. He still can’t bring himself to talk about the Big Snip without twitching from the memory. Of course, he also had kidney stones TWICE and endured a kidney stent so he has the right to remain silent. I consider his suffering to be ALMOST equal to my childbirth stories.

    1. Lol! You’ll always trump his kidney stones and vasectomy, Darla. At least until having either of those procedures produces a child. Which could soon become a pharmaceutical side effect…

  2. I hope yours was one of those supposed “routine” procedures. I had mine four years ago done supposed Urologist, but I think he had a degree in BDSM the way he mangled me!

    1. I was really fortunate to have a great Urologist, Gary. Great sense of humor. Or maybe he was just laughing at me. Either way, it was a positive experience overall. Sorry to hear yours was not the same. I read your piece and laughed out loud at your description of it looking like a horror movie set — Hahaha! Glad you made it through 😉

  3. Hi,
    I know Gary. This was so well written I was hooked! We are past the age of needing discussion of vasectomies, but this was told with so much humor I was engrossed! Well done!

  4. Didn’t mean to laugh, but I’m afraid I did. My eldest brother had the snip years ago because his wife withdrew her favours after three children (they divroced 3 years later). He and nine friends went in convoy, hiring a minivan for the weekend and making it a ‘bachelor party’.
    I suppose it made sense in a way, after all, they were all saying goodbye to sowing their oats sotospeak.

    1. Hahaha! I’d like to know how many couples end up divorced within 5 years of having that surgery. But it sounds like your brother had the right idea — kind of like a tribal initiation rite. I’m just glad he had it done professionally instead of during a drunken ceremony with fire walking or something 😉

  5. Oh dear. Is that the best solution for not having more or ANY kiddos? It seems so extreme to me. I wouldn’t want to take the chance that someone could bungle the procedure. You did make me laugh, as usual, but manipulating someone isn’t nice. Unless it’s for something I want to buy.

    1. Yeah, after remarrying 8 years ago I’ve had moments of regret, but at the time I was 10 years into a 15-year marriage. Between the two of us, my wife and I have 4 children — two each from our previous marriage — so that was plenty to handle. But I’ll always know having a child together would’ve been very special.

        1. Hahaha! Yeah, and now that I’ll be 50 next week, there’s no way I’m going to go through the diaper phase again unless it’s for a grandchild or myself.

  6. Social workers have to be the most passive aggressive crew I’ve ever met. My Mom is one and most of her friends are, so i grew up around them. They always have an agenda and seem to believe that as long as they are not confrontational, they are doing it the right way. Enter all sorts of annoying behaviors to leave “hints” – like cracking the eggs two at a time.

    Given your family now has four teens, I really don’t know how you do it. We had two teens and it almost killed me. Sigh. Not that a child with Alicia wouldn’t be cool and yet you are as much her kids’ Dad as any biological Dad would be. A big job in and of itself. My ex had two kids and I know how hard it is to merge lives. You are a good man Ned.

    1. Haha — I tend to think all that education in human behavior doesn’t always translate into good instincts.

      And while I know having a child with Alicia would have been wonderful, we’re blessed with four kids who are our own. I am as thankful to be their dad as I am to have Alicia in their lives as a mom 😉

    1. Lol! I agree! A 10 minute procedure isn’t quite the same as giving birth for 8 hours! Plus, there’s a BABY at the end! All I got was some dried skin. Ech!

  7. Great story! There’s a twinge of sadness in the missed opportunity to have a child with your wife. My husband never had children. When we got back together, it was something we talked about at length, and decided to try. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. I once joked with him about having a vasectomy (I do realize, btw, that this is NOT a joke) and he was dead set against it. Anyway, thanks for the giggles this morning.

    1. Thanks, Tara. And yeah, I’ll always have a certain level of regret for that missed opportunity. But then I think about the fact I would have been changing diapers again at 40. Having 4 teens at home for a good portion of my 40s has been enough 😉

      1. True. That, and I think about all the time we have to travel and experience things alone together. My kids go to their dad’s, and it’s always playtime for Todd and me. A baby would’ve changed that, a bit. 🙂

        1. For sure! When our kids were younger, they went to their other parents’ on weekends. It was just the two of us for 36 hours; that was always our playtime 😉

  8. Huh. My ex got one, but I’m pretty sure he must have had a pregnancy scare from one of his girlfriends….

  9. My brother is scheduled for one very soon. My sister-in-law has already had a tubal after the second baby was born. He is going to go under the knife because they are not taking any chances! LOL! But they are 38 and 42 with 2 babies under 2! Which were planned but they are done! It is less invasive for a man to get “fixed” than it is for a female and more likely to be reversed down the road. Considering how things turned out for you, it is probably best that you didn’t have any more babies.. 🙂

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