Once, way back when we tried to always do the right thing, my husband and I had a crazy idea. He would make an attempt to transition from his godless existence straight into the loving arms of Catholicism before our wedding.
Since we were getting hitched in a Catholic church in New York followed immediately by a kick ass reception in one of the biggest wedding factory banquet halls in New jersey (you should have seen the fucking food) we figured this was the way to go.
Looking back now I know this was neither a good idea nor a rational one. As a matter of fact it may have been the worst idea in a decision-making history littered with disasters.
I am a garden variety dirt bag Catholic. I guess a nice way to say that is a “lapsed” one. I endured the ruler smacks, the public humiliation and watched my little knee sock wearing friends suffer the same fate. One of my most vivid memories is of being dragged down the hallway by my left ear trying to keep up with the nun with the Prefontaine sprint. Good times kids!
Since there was no chance my Roman Catholic crucifix wearing, god fearing mother was going to let me be married on a hedonistic beach by a high priest of funk with a bone in his hair and a shrunken head around his neck, my dream of a bohemian wedding was down the shitter.
Now the traditional route seemed the way to go.
We visited the priest, completed some paperwork and got our catholic conversion kit for savages so we could start my husband down the road to redemption and salvation. Next came the revelation that we would be required to voluntarily commit ourselves to some sort of crazy cult weekend where we would be forced to live apart, listen to crackpots lecture, be banned from drinking and carousing late at night and made to talk about our fucking feelings. I found myself secretly wondering if they had co-ed dorms for the already fallen in the group since I had no intention of pretending we hadn’t been shacked up for the better part of six years.
It was called something like Catholic Engaged Encounter and we would need to go.
My husband’s level-headed nature prevailed and we sent the reservation form in while I secretly hoped they’d be overbooked and give us a pass.
No such luck.
Doomsday arrived and we made our way to this retreat like setting hoping for the best but braced for the worst.
I listened to a fruitloop and her equally batty husband talk about the joys of twenty thousand children flying out of your vag and how you have to make time for date night no matter what! They let their crazy kids run all over the room filled with terrified engaged couples who wanted to bat them away with a stick and run home.
We also spent time learing the rhythm method of birth control which was fucking useless since I’d been on the kick ass birth control pill for fifteen years. Sorry Catholic lady, reading the calendar combined with pull and pray does not a full proof method make.
They kept sending us upstairs separately to write in our “journals” about our feelings for one another. My future husband at least made a valiant attempt to communicate while I drew doodles of us escaping and made snarky insulting comments about our relationship.
When bedtime came I broke the number one rule when I found out my fiance’s roommate had never shown up. I snuck down the hall like a dirty school girl and stayed there all evening. Scandalous.
Finally, we had both endured enough. Mid way through the second day we tip toed out, jumped in our car and took off.
We ran away from Pre Cana.
No one noticed.
My husband never made the full transition to god fearing guilt ridden catholic but we managed to get hitched inside the church without the floor opening up and swallowing us both.
Still, I wonder about these life affirming stories I always hear about the transformation couples undergo during these Pre Cana events. How is that possible? I began imagining elaborate escape scenarios from the moment I arrived until I could no longer see the place in the rear view mirror.
We learned a valuable lesson that day. Events like these are never a good idea, they bring out the worst in both of us. While surrounded by others having a genuine experience we gave ourselves intense headaches from the amount of eye rolling and brow furrowing we were doing. Super procreation catholic lady really wanted us to have twenty kids and she was telling us from her heart exactly how to do it but all we had for her was a big serving of disdain.
Her = good
Us = bad
So looking back I feel like maybe we were a little cowardly and out of sorts so our natural reaction was to flee. The enthusiastic group was better off without us and since we had contributed nothing of value during the sessions we were not missed.
I have a sneaking suspicion that we continue to inspire sighs of relief every time we half heartedly bail on events like this but it’s just as well. No one needs a couple of nefarious skeptics habitually bringing the group down.