It all started with one outspoken chef talking to friends in bars. He wanted to know why, in a world where birth control is seen as a chore for women, more men weren’t doing their part by considering vasectomies.
Now that bar debate has evolved into a fully-formed event: Dad Vibes and Vasectomies, a backyard cookout at the Deep Ellum Art Company this Monday. And yes, they’re raffling off a vasectomy.
The awareness-raising bash is the brainchild of Josh Farrell, chef at Will Call in Deep Ellum. For at least a year, he says, he’s been raising the subject with friends, and getting enthusiastic responses which inspired him to do more.
“Without the idea of having an event or anything, just over a year and a half or so, I was just asking my friends, ‘Guys, vasectomies? Vasectomies?,’” he recalls. “I would be in a really crowded bar talking about it and all of a sudden a group of guys would gather around me asking, ‘Do you have one? Where do you get one?’ The party kind of started as a joke. What if I got a bunch of people together, and I got a doctor, and we got a Groupon?”
This summer, he aired his views in a Dallas Observer interview, which helped attract enough attention and support that Dad Vibes and Vasectomies became a real party. And not just a party, but a real mechanism for change.
Farrell and a group of chef friends, including Josh Boneé of 42 BBQ and Luke Rogers of Plano’s new Cathedral Italian Bistro, partnered with Urology Partners of North Texas, which will send a doctor to speak about vasectomies and answer questions. AffordaCare, a healthcare insurance provider which specializes in small business support, will be on hand to speak with uninsured guests. SIRVE, a non-profit foundation for service industry professionals, organized the raffle; the raffle’s winner will be entitled to financial assistance from SIRVE to explore and possibly obtain a procedure.
“It’s cool to spread awareness, but if I can actually make a change it would be awesome,” Farrell says. That desire to actually accomplish something drove every detail of the event—especially its timing on a Monday, the night when many service industry professionals are off work. Farrell says he saw industry colleagues interested in vasectomies, but without the financial means to pursue them. “In our industry, a lot of us are in small businesses with no healthcare.”
Dad Vibes and Vasectomies will have the laid-back feel of an industry insider party. Farrell and his chef friends will be out back grilling hot dogs, barbecue, and more. Farrell will be cooking up some dishes that reflect his Puerto Rican heritage. Burger Schmurger, the local pop-up group that has gotten high praise, will be slinging cheeseburgers.
There will be entertainment from a Jimmy Buffett cover band, comedian host Ana Buenrostro, and the Texas Cornhole League. Farrell earnestly recommends that attendees dress in Hawaiian shirts, New Balances, jean shorts, and other dad gear. (When we spoke by phone for this story, he told me, “I’m wearing a tucked in floral shirt. I’ve got a poker visor on now and a fanny pack.”)
Burgers, Buffett, themed costumes, and insurance companies and doctors: it’s going to be a heck of a vasectomy party. Even if the attendees don’t all sign up, Farrell hopes that the event helps spread his broader message, that if men want to be in relationships with women, they should consider taking on more of the burden of safe sex and birth control.
This would be a good time to point out that Dad Vibes and Vasectomies is not a political event. It is not inspired by any news story or tied to any cause except to get men more invested in women’s healthcare and, indeed, the consequences of men’s own actions.
“There’s a very low percentage of dudes who care about it,” Farrell says. “They’re like, it’s the girl’s job to take care of that. Like, no, dude, you did a whole part of that up in there.”
The only complaint he has heard—aside from people who assume that support for vasectomies indicates a particular political view—is from people who think his campaign is trying to stop everyone from having kids.
“It’s not just about kids,” Farrell explains. “Dude, half the people that are getting this done are already dads. This is about unwanted pregnancy. It’s about the ideal. Everyone gets it done for their own reasons. This is our way of stepping up and trying to make a difference without hooting and hollering. We’ve been forcing half of our population to deal with an issue we could all be dealing with.”