Pre Cana Insane

Try harder. Your lack of enthusiasm for the program is vexing me.

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.



Filed under 1, cowards, disasters, mean, pre cana, running away, why we don't get a lot of invites

19 responses to “Pre Cana Insane

  1. love it love it love it. Don’t know if you remember but I did my fair share of doodling, and the doodles actually became the cover for a cd.

    Also don’t know if you remember the few times I openly laughed or blurted out innuendo and horrified everyone.

  2. This is so very Catholic of you.

    I’m actually one of those people who went on similar retreats (in college it was called Awakenings) and got a lot out of it. What this tells me is that you are most likely the couple who will produce the Anti-Christ and, based on your previous posts, he seems to be in full training.

    When Veronica (not religious) and I (lapsed) were going through our wedding prep crap, we had a really hard time getting a priest to commit. Our parish priest LIED to us (as in, we caught him and he actually admitted it) about how he couldn’t marry us because he was busy that day (when in reality, he just didn’t want to drive downtown for our wedding. (We chose downtown because it is the halfway point between her family and mine.) In fairness, we’d never actually gone to mass at our parish and he had no idea who we were, but still…

    Our second priest agreed to help us after a long and desperate search (the first priest agreed to do it, went on vacation two weeks (in the interim, we booked the reception and church), THEN told us he couldn’t do it). We finally got the guy in charge of recruiting future priests. Bad idea. After three sessions, he was visibly frustrated by us and the final straw for him was when I asked him how the natural family planning was different from birth control when in both cases the couple was wanting to have all the pleasure of sex without the consequences of children. He blew a gasket and kicked us out.

    Our third priest was from my parents’ parish and he was a good ol’ Irish (genuine Irish, not my brand of pseudo-Irish) priest who had no problem marrying us. But by this point, I was proposing that we have a sort of drive-by wedding on the Landing by the Arch… everyone drive up, jump out, say the vows and disappear before the Park Rangers could catch us (like they did the time I got a public urination ticket when we were parked in the Arch garage… I was drunk and waiting for my female friend to finish her makeup and I peed in the grass… nothing like trying to finish up while two Park Rangers watch.)

    We never had to do the weekend retreat thing, but I would imagine Veronica would have gotten us kicked out eventually with her hedonistic shenanigans.

    But me, I love retreats.


    I’m so lame.


    • p.s. You should have called this post Pre Cana Insana… that would have been awesome.


    • dufmanno

      The first guy who was going to marry us left the priesthood before we got to the altar so we got substitute guy. We showed up and we were like “where the hell is the cool priest?” his sub told us he had a crisis of faith after his sister died in a car crash the previous week. He was totally hot (the first guy) so I imagine he was looking at this opportunity to shed the collar and never come back.

  3. Dios de Salve Maria! blasphemy! The day after the PALM.
    We headed straight for the married presby minister that gave us a sex talk ABOUT HAVING SEX. That was our pre-cranker. My husband will never stop confessing this to any and all members of the priesthood because it was MY IDEA. And his mother still prays for us everyday. I have “guilt” stamped on my forehead in invisible ink…. for eternity in everlasting light.

    • dufmanno

      I’m praying for you right now.
      Come to find out we could have gone to a few local evening classes in the basement of a church somewhere and skipped the weekend retreat.
      Just another big black spot on my darkening soul, but whatever.

  4. Wow. It’s like a whole other world in that Catholic church, ain’t it? In the south, all we have to do is promise we aren’t related and suddenly there’s a marriage license all ready and waiting.

  5. Angel

    I always thought that Nuns were really kind and caring women who gently prepared you for the adult world.

    Your experiences do explain why the local Catholic school kids used to come to our school on Friday afternoons and beat us to a pulp. I hit one girl with my hockey stick (in self defence) and she hardly blinked, she gave me a little tap and I woke up three days later.

    I went to a CofE school but defected to the Goth side so I was an obvious target. Oh well happy (but painful) days.

    I loved this post by the way, I am quite a moody thing on the quiet but I have not laughed so much in ages 🙂

    • dufmanno

      Man, we never sought others out to dole out justice. We just bottled up our anger and misdirected it when we got older. A sort of repressed rage syndrome!
      Sorry that bad Catholic school people beat you up but we are a tough lot. Blame the nuns. I do.

  6. Gotta love the Catholics.
    I never made it past 8th grade – as soon as I got to public high school I never looked back.
    However, you guys have a really fun memory to share…..I don’t have that….all I have is the memory of how cranky my soon-to-be husband was that he was stuck in a small room dying from the heat of the hairdryer his brother was fondling while I was in the slick suite with a professional hair and makeup artist.

    • dufmanno

      I think I want to trade memories with you. Professional make up and hair trounces lopsided pigtails and freshly scrubbed freckled cheeks any day. Especially if the penguins are pulling on and smacking them.

  7. Um, this may be one of the funniest posts I’ve ever read. And as a recently lapsed Catholic… still not sure if the “lapsed” part is going to stick, I find it even more hilarious.

    This story is the EXACT reason I always respectfully declined retreats with my church even during my super involvement years… there’s only so much Catholicism one can endure.

    And really? They tried to teach you the rhythm method? Oh dear Lord. LOL

    • dufmanno

      Yeah, it was super nuts. I wanted to plop my pills on her lap and let her in on the wonders of going to hell in a handbasket.
      Retreats scare me, unless rock stars are coming. Then all bets are off.

  8. Our “pastor” is a guy who works for my husband and he is an ordained minister of The Universal Life Church Online. (google it) My made of honor was/is a lipstick lesbian. I wore blue, and he wore blue suede sneakers and sear sucker. We had a blast!

    Also after my baptism, my relationship with god took the path less traveled.

    • dufmanno

      I knew I should have gotten the high priest of funk with the bone in his hair to marry us. Your wedding sounds like it was much more fun with the exception of the obscene amounts of good food I was putting away.

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