My neighbor and her husband are returning to New Jersey, so they had a going-away party at their apartment. Some of us form the condo came as well as other of their friends, a few couples they had known for awhile.
One of the women was a vegetarian, the first one I'd ever met outside of a vegetarian gathering. We bonded instantly, and shared battle stories of living as vegetarians in Chicago. Then she mentioned that she had a gluten allergy, so I brought her to my apartment to get some gluten-free granola samples. Back at the party, her husband came over and somehow -- I'm not sure how; it was loud and rowdy and friendly and they were drinking -- the subject of vasectomies came up, as they do (I didn't bring it up, in case you're wondering. There was a lot of Jameson's being drunk by others). Her husband insisted he would never get one.
"I have my kids and I don't need any more, and I'm happy to keep things as they are."
"You don't want more kids," I said.
"So who's making sure that doesn't happen?"
He looked puzzled, then pointed to his wife. "Well, she does. She has that thing in her."
"So you're happy for her to take care of this for the next 20 years, with 'that thing'" I said. I then proceeded to do my imitation of a terrified man obsessively guarding his testicles. I was pretty limber.
"Dude, I'd totally get it done," said my friend's husband.
"Dude, you'd let them cut your stuff?!?"
"It's like nothing, Dude. It's a doctor visit."
"Dude, but It will be all gone!"
"Nothing is gone," I laughed. "Just deactivated."
After he had confirmed that it was much more invasive for his wife to get her tubes tied than for him to have a vasectomy, and after I answered his questions about my tubal ligation (which included a primer on what exactly happened during a menstrual cycle -- seriously, he was genuinely fascinated and asked all kinds of questions), we proceeded to questions about male anatomy and what happened with a vasectomy.
What grown people don't know about their own bodies amazes me. He was funny, though, and earnest, and he was becoming fascinated by the subject. So while he stood there, engrossed, Light Beer in hand, I explained the difference between sperm and semen, where each came from; I described a train that still ran but no longer had passengers. And of course the party starter, the prostate.
"So...I'll still have all my...stuff?"
"All your stuff."
"Where do the sperm go?"
"Exactly where they go when they die constantly in your testicles. They are absorbed."
"Dude, you don't use them all!" his friend said.
But..ok..when I ejaculate -- will I still have ...you know...
"You will still have your money shot."
"Whoa, cool! And will it still be... you know... juicy?"
"It will still be delicious," I assured him.
He was dead serious. His wife behind him was doubled over.
"Wow, Dude! I never knew all this!" he said to my friend's husband. His expression was like Helen Keller at the water pump.
He turned to his wife.
"Think of all the fun," she said.
"I'm so getting this done!" he said, and kissed her. Then he and his pal went to get more tequila.
His wife and I were grinning.
"You're welcome," I said.
Then I spoke with Jose who was there with his wife, a very sweet woman. Jose worked for a company that was growing, and we talked about employment, I mentioned I was probably not going to be able to leave Chicago as soon as I'd hoped, and was considering that I needed a new job. He said they were always looking for customer advocates, they were growing, and the pay was decent. He took out his smart phone to get my number.
"So you're gay, right?"
"Really? Never even experimented?" Perplexed.
"No. Always been wired for guys." Wondering where this was going.
"Oh, I guess I thought you were."
"Did you just ask her if she was gay?" My neighbor asked, appalled. She turned to me. "He's like that."
"Oh, I'm not bothered, " I said.
"Wy would you assume she's gay?!?!" My neighbor pressed him.
"I don't know. Maybe the hair," he said.
"And," I suggested, tying to diffuse the awkwardness, "because the only possible reason a girl like me would have for being here without a guy or three hanging off me is that she's a lesbian."
"Exactly. You're hot, so..."
I'd been picking up a subtle flirtation from him, but this was more blatant. I don't appreciate married men who flirt. Especially married men who flirt at parties attended by their wives.
It was late and time to go. I went to say goodbye to my friend.
"So I introduced one woman to new granola and convinced her husband --and possibly yours--to get a vasectomy, and might have a line on a new job. My work here is done. I'll miss you. I'll be the only East Coast head case here." I grabbed her arm. "But you're going over the wall, and I'm happy for you. I'll see you on the outside. I'll come to Jersey to visit!"
Oh, and I made cookies, from scratch.