Some people call it a squad. Others call it a bromance. While others refer to it as a band of brothers.No matter how you label it, every man has a group of friends that sticks with him through thick and thin. They go out for drinks together, play pick-up basketball or golf, and suffer through losing seasons of their favorite team.
Guys, if your wife feels like you’re spending a little too much time with the fellas, you now have scientific research to back up your bromance. According to studies, men suffer less anxiety and feel more protected surrounded by other men, and the bravado of being around other males prevents stress.
In fact, according to psychologist Robin Dunbar, men need a minimum of two guys’ nights a week to maintain good health. That’s more than 100 guys only hangouts a year!
“Bonds can be formed,” Dunbar said, “through a range of activities from team sports to male banter—or simply having a pint with your pals on Friday night.”
Or, by having a group vasectomy. Wait, what?!
We know, vasectomies aren’t at the top of the list for male-bonding activities, but a group of pals in Los Angeles decided to get snipped at the same time. Not a bad choice considering that camaraderie can increase oxytocin levels, which increases a person’s pain threshold.
“We all have two kids around the same age,” said Paul Diaz, who got a vasectomy along with friends John Lambrechts and Basilio Santangelo—they call themselves the vascateers—in December. “We all decided we were perfectly happy with the size of our families, so we made a pact to get them done.”
THE STORY OF THE THREE VASCATEERS
Diaz, Lambrechts, and Santangelo do everything together. Their wives are friends, and their families go on vacations together.
At their wives’ urging, the three decided to go ahead and get vasectomies. Learning about the procedure and planning it was a bonding experience in itself. Most men don’t discuss the idea of getting snipped, but planning it as a group allowed the three to be more comfortable with their decision.
The guys saw it was a way to help out their wives, who already birthed two children. Though tubal ligation is more common in the U.S., it’s more invasive, recovery time is longer, and it’s more expensive—costing up to $7,000 while vasectomies are less than $1,000.
“Our wives had been through so much by giving birth to our children,” Santangelo said. “We figured it was a much easier option for us to do this, so we did.”
The guys had a mutual friend at UCLA’s urology department, who recommended the same doctor for each of them—Dr. Jesse Mills. Since the procedure takes less than 30 minutes, Dr. Mills performed all three procedures in the same afternoon.
GETTING A VASECTOMY
A vasectomy is a simple and safe procedure that’s considered one of the most effective forms of birth control. It involves making an incision in the scrotum, though most guys, including the vascateers, opt for a no-scalpel vasectomy in which the doctor makes a small puncture in the scrotum to reach the vas deferens.
The vas deferens are severed, which prevents sperm from mixing with semen for ejaculation. Recovery is just a few days, but you must use another form of birth control for a few months because sperm can live in the vas deferens for months after the procedure.
To make sure you don’t have an accidental post-vasectomy pregnancy, you have to check your sperm count after a few months. If you’re not a fan of supplying a sample at the doctor’s office, you can check your sterility status at home with SpermCheck, an over-the-counter test kit. If the test says you’re sterile, you can ditch the birth control.
Yes, recovery is a process. But when you have someone to experience it with, it makes the process easier.
“It was definitely a better experience having your friends go through it with you,” Santangelo said. “There is strength in numbers.”