Oh, You Don’t Want Us to Use Contraceptives? I Missed That the First 128 Times.


A Saturday morning spent shifting uncomfortably on metal folding chairs in the basement of a church while mentally molesting a box of rapidly staling Krispy Kremes must mean Week 1 of the five-week pre-Cana extravaganza was upon us! A retrospective, in highlights:

* Our course leader (who, inexplicably, is unmarried) loves Jesus and the Catholic Church like some people love the Yankees and Nip/Tuck. But as the two hours wear on she seems to grow increasingly dejected that the 16 of us in her class don’t share her memorized love for the catechism. Actual utterance: “OK, who knows about St. Catherine of Siena?” (crickets chirping) “Oh my gosh you guys, she’s like my favorite saint of all time!” The overall effect though is that she’s actually sort of endearing.

* Despite the discussion of mental fidelity to one’s spouse, I find my mind wandering to another man as the instructor talks. Specifically, to this one. Why? Because I can’t help inwardly cracking up over how he would be as giddy as a little schoolboy if he had the chance to be a fly on the wall for all this Catholic tomfoolery.

* Despite the claim at the outset that the point of pre-Cana is to help couples learn more about each other and their faith, it becomes perfectly clear within about 20 minutes that the point of pre-Cana is to convince couples that if they so much as walk by the condom aisle at CVS they’re going to burn in Hell and their relationship is doomed. Seriously, we were each given a folder stuffed with pamphlets and 90 percent of them were about Natural Family Planning (or as I like to call it, “actively throwing decades of scientific progress and women’s lib to the wind”) and how its reliance on timing sex to phases of the woman’s cycle is the only acceptable method of birth control. Otherwise, you’d be capriciously failing to pop out future donorsblessed miracles for the Catholic Church. And of course my packet of information held way more stern pamphlets on this than my fiancé’s on this topic, because after all, the Church would like to point out, it wasn’t Adam chowing on the forbidden fruit. (I am convinced that if the Pope himself were handing us the packets he would have raised one eyebrow and added “Just sayin'” as he handed me my “My Little Contraceptive-Lovin’ Seductress” packet.) This Natural Family Planning business will of course warrant extensive future posting, especially once I watch the DVD that I was given in my packet, Contraception: Why Not?

* There is one extra goodie in my fiancé’s packet. It’s a brochure titled “Man to Man” and it’s about how if you’re for some ungodly reason trying not to have children, abstinence when your wife is in fertile turtle mode is totally awesome and the only way to avoid burning in the aforementioned Hell. It includes the line, “Some men find that abstinence breaks up the anxiety of feeling pressured to have sex ‘on demand.'” Yes, I know scads of married men who are desperately trying to find ways to graciously bow out of all that sex with their wives.

* All the other couples seem as nervous as we were. But the too-wide smiles of the women and the too-firm handshakes of the men quickly give way to “Are you shitting me?” eyerolls and snickering into hands when we think our instructor isn’t looking. And by the second hour it’s clear that the women are all busy trying to slyly check out each other’s engagement rings and the guys are engaged in a silent but heated round of “Whose fiancée is hotter?” By Week 5 I’m assuming we’ll be blatantly exchanging vendor recommendations while the instructor is chirping away up front about how Satan is using our ovaries as a battleground. Onward Christian soldiers…

[Editor’s note: The picture above is one of my favorite saints of all time. Bonus points if you can name her and say why she’s up there. And double bonus points if you can beat commenter Etcetera to the punch on this one.]

36 Responses to “Oh, You Don’t Want Us to Use Contraceptives? I Missed That the First 128 Times.”

  1. Johanna Says:

    Margaret Sanger! Margaret Sanger! Margaret Sanger!

    bonus points taste gooood…

  2. rcr Says:

    “The undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind.”

    Hey, uh, yeah. Go eugenics!


  3. etcetera Says:

    DAMMIT! i just woke up! grrrrrrrrr.

    as soon as i saw the pic, i knew what my comment would be – before i even got down to the etcetera challenge!

    god bless sanger. i love her so.

  4. I-66 Says:

    How many points do I get if I just beat etcetera?

  5. Bridal Bird Says:

    J-And you don’t even need a Sharpie to eat them.

    RCR-One man’s source of criticism over possible eugenics justification is another woman’s reference point for how the Jamie Lynn Spears debacle could have been avoided.

    Etc-I’m guessing there’s a “This is What a Modern-Day Margaret Sanger Looks Like” T-shirt somewhere in your closet?

    I-66-Sort of a moot point isn’t it, Mr. One Minute Late?

  6. I-66 Says:

    No. I mean beat her.

  7. rcr Says:

    Here’s another gem to get the beatification ball rolling:

    “The lower down in the scale of human development we go the less sexual control we find. It is said that the aboriginal Australian, the lowest known species of the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain development, has so little sexual control that police authority alone prevents him from obtaining sexual satisfaction on the streets.”

  8. K Says:

    I know who St. Catherine of Siena is! Oooh, ooh, pick me! Pick me!

    Sadly, because I am not Catholic, you exclusionist Creationists probably wouldn’t even let me in your church to answer. And God forbid I want to take communion with y’all.

  9. Bridal Bird Says:

    I-66-I’m watching you, pal.

    RCR-Christ almighty, so the woman harbors a noxious and entrenched belief about the use of contraceptives to justify racial/ethnic/class warfare and you want to hang her. Party pooper.

    K-Of course we wouldn’t let you in our church, you silly heathen.

  10. rcr Says:

    Not sayin’ just sayin’

  11. I-66 Says:

    You shouldn’t be watching me. You should be watching etcetera.

  12. Hammer Says:

    Like I always say, to a guy raised Southern Baptist, sufficiently fervent Catholocism is indistinguishable from voodoo.

    (Not “fire, brimstone, snakes and faith healing under the revival tent” Southern Baptist, mind you, but I’d be lying if I said the Baptismo of my youth wasn’t closer to that end of the spectrum. Thank God, Fred or whoever that it didn’t really take.)

  13. Hammer Says:

    “Baptismo” is not a typo, btw. It has a better ring to it, don’t you think?

  14. etcetera Says:

    sanger said that? damn.

    que jill sobule:

    Why are all our heroes so imperfect
    Why do they always bring me down
    Why are all our heroes so imperfect
    The statue in the park has lost his crown

    William Faulkner drunk and depressed
    Dorothy Parker mean, drunk and depressed
    And that guy in Seven Years in Tibet
    turned out to be a nazi
    The founding fathers all had slaves,
    the explorers slaughtered the braves,
    The Old Testament God can be so petty

    Paul McCartney jealous of John,
    even more so now that he’s gone
    Dylan was so mean to Donovan in that movie
    Pablo Picasso cruel to his wives
    My favorite poets took their own lives
    Orson Welles peaked at 25, ballooned before our eyes
    and he sold bad wine

    Heard Babe Ruth was full of malice
    Lewis Carroll I’m sure did Alice
    Plato in the cave with those very young boys
    TS Elliott hated Jews, FDR didn’t save the Jews
    All the French joined the resistance after the war
    Raymond Chandler drunk and depressed
    Tennessee Williams drunk and depressed
    Think I’ll just get drunk and depressed.

  15. Arjewtino Says:

    The funny thing is is that I was as giddy as a little schoolboy reading this even before I realized you had linked to me.

    Next time, I’m coming with you. I want to ask that unmarried course leader something: if she deigned to call St. Catherine of Siena her “favorite saint”, that means she must have ranked all the saints and needs to illuminate us on her top 10 favorite of all time.

  16. Bridal Bird Says:

    Hammer-Baptismo is my favorite Catholic superhero. And per the rest, please just assume that I’ve jammed my fingers in my ears and am shrieking “ALALALALALA I’m not LISTENING!” That goes for you, too, Rambler.

    Etc-So true. (deep sigh)

    Arjewtino-Well my other half isn’t going to be able to make Week 5 (on account of him deciding his nana’s 90th birthday party in Texas that weekend is more important than God.) So if The Princess would graciously lend out your services, you could be my substitute fiancé. Oh and it’s your lucky day because the syllabus says that Week 5 is devoted to Natural Family Planning. And per the instructor, I’m sure that she’ll be happy to lend you her Heroes of the Church bubblegum card collection.

  17. I-66 Says:

    There’s a syllabus?

  18. rcr Says:

    “In my experience as a trained nurse while attending persons afflicted with various and often revolting diseases, no matter what their ailments, I have never found any one so repulsive as the chronic masturbator.”

    This woman is quotation gold!

  19. Bridal Bird Says:

    GodDAMMIT man! Did you just happen to have Chicken Soup for the Margaret Sanger Hater’s Soul lying around in your office?

  20. roissy Says:

    jamie lynn spears is hot. by that measure (which is really the measure that matters most) she should be having more kids, not fewer.

    id in da house.

  21. jess Says:

    what i enjoy most about the catholic church (as a hell-bound, lapsed member of it) is its keen understanding of human nature, and its appropriate response to said nature.

    this reminds me of the small blue pamphlet my mom gave me on teh sex, written by the catholic church, when i was too young to know what a disreputable source it were. luckily, years of porn and evil thoughts have undone the damage….

  22. rcr Says:

    I don’t go anywhere without it.

  23. Arjewtino Says:

    This might just be too crazy NOT to do.

  24. Question Says:

    A bit off topic, but does The Washington Post have a Bridal Section in the paper that details out weddings like the NYT?

  25. etcetera Says:

    pretty pretty please take arjewtino to christian class! added bouns – he’s a great body double for your fiance!

  26. sparklepirate Says:

    Thank GOD AUA and I opted for the Jesus-free route. Since we were both raised and baptized as Catholics, we’d have been doooooooooooooomed.

  27. Arjewtino Says:

    I’m going to take etcetera’s comment as a compliment even though I might be very, very wrong.

  28. Bridal Bird Says:

    Question-Not exactly. But on Fridays in the WaPo Express they do something called B.I.O. (By Invitation Only) about engaged couples. And keep your eyes peeled because guess who was asked to be profiled? Um, yeah…

    SP-I’m starting to wonder what in the heck I was thinking.

    Arjewtino-Oh trust me, when I think of you and my tall, gravitas-dripping sandy blonde Texan I think “twinsies.”

  29. Melly Says:

    Hi BB,

    I stumbled upon your blog when I googled something like “Is it okay to have a wedding in DC right after a major election?” (I’m a political junkie — fiance and most of the guests not so much — should be ok.) I’m really enjoying your posts! We’re planning a DC wedding for November. We haven’t started Pre-Cana yet but we will soon — your posts on that crack me up, and they’ve reminded me to warn my non-Catholic fiance about what’s to come!

  30. Bridal Bird Says:

    Welcome Melly! I’m so glad you found me with such a highbrow search, too. Most people arrive here after typing “hot redhead porn” or “brad pitt angelina no pants on.” Anyhoodles, always glad to have a new reader.

  31. Lucy Says:

    too funny. but i have to ask — if you don’t buy any of this, why even bother getting married in the church?

    i was raised catholic, went through all the “sacraments” and yet am not getting married in the church. why fake it?

  32. Bridal Bird Says:

    Whole post coming on that later Lucy. Probably tomorrow.

  33. sparklepirate Says:

    Whoa – there’s someone ELSE named Lucy posting here? Wild – I hardly ever run across someone with my name who isn’t either three years old or eighty-three years old!

  34. class-factotum Says:

    “you exclusionist Creationists”

    Not to get all nitpicky, but Catholics aren’t necessarily creationists. Even the Pope (JPII) says that the “how” of our existence is in the realm of science.


  35. Cordelia Says:

    If you’re taking a little break , you might find Dawn Eden’s blog, “The Dawn Patrol”, interesting. Especially the June 8 entry on Margaret Sanger.

  36. Cordelia Says:

    Sorry, the Margaret Sanger entry is at *July* 8 on Dawn Eden’s blog.

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