Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, March 3

Gapers Block

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Every week, I go on and on about my deep fondness for classified ads. Sometimes, I try to use them to point out that life is full of weird shit. Sometimes, they so beautifully illustrate the heartbreaking desperation we can feel. And they always, always talk make me filled with hope. Even the ones about glory holes and tranny threesomes.

But instead of reading them, I'd like to tell you about the ads I've posted, and about a little experiment I'm running.

I think most people my age have placed a personal ad on the Internet. It's just not that weird. But I will admit that it is a bit strange that most of the people I have dated have come from Internet personal ads. Because meeting people (or, well, selecting them from an anonymous on-screen list of folks preening and posturing, just aching to be chosen) on the Internet is safer, emotionally. You know what I mean.

The writing of a personal ad is an experiment in the absurd. Each time I'd pen one, my hands would hover over the keyboard for minutes at a time while I tried desperately to find the words to coax someone to love me. It is very, very hard to win over a stranger when you cannot even win over yourself.

And what are most people looking for? Confidence.

While I've placed more than a handful of personal ads, I haven't ever advertised a couch for sale or apartment for rent. And I wondered if it feels the same to place an ad for an object as it does to place an ad for myself?

Would I check my inbox every 20 minutes?

Would I wonder what was so unacceptable?

Would I realize that what I was selling was a dud?

But what to sell? I've sold a few things on eBay (which doesn't count, thank you very much) and really didn't have anything that I wanted to part with. And because I'm -- according to my dad -- a "fucking smartass," I chose an item mildly offensive and vaguely stupid, while still being completely necessary.

I am selling our pre-cana certificate.

I can literally hear all the non-Catholics go "What the fuck is that?" When you're engaged and Catholic, the capital-C Church mandates that you take this marriage preparation course called Pre-Cana. (The "Cana" comes from a Cana in Galillee, where a wedding was held at which Jesus turned water to wine. Which, you know, is cool.) If you want to get married in the Church, you have to present a certificate that states you completed a pre-cana workshop.

We don't really give two craps if we get married in the Church. Although my intended was raised Catholic and I converted to Catholicism at age 19, it's just not something we're down with anymore. But I'd heard great things about the Church's marriage prep class, and we figured, "Hey, wouldn't hurt." It's actually a fabulous experience. Pre-Cana isn't all about God and the Church, but rather about the practicalities of married life, like children, finances and even sex. And although the mention of "cervical mucus" during the natural family planning talk was gross, I felt slightly dismayed that we were the only couple in the entire group that took the workshop because we wanted to, instead of being forced to.

And when we left, they handed us this certificate, which has stayed in the car for the past month. Until today, when I listed it for sale on Craig's List at $50.

Pre-Cana Certificate for Catholic Weddings - $50
Reply to:
Date: 2004-12-02, 10:13AM CST

Are you looking to get married in the Catholic Church? Are you surprised by the amount of stuff to do -- and pay for -- before you're allowed to cement your relationship in front of God and co.?

Well, friend, today is your lucky day.

Instead of spending a day in some church basement learning more about your partner ("What more do I need to know? We already paid for the cake!") and spending $180 on the class, buy our pre-cana certificate!

For just $50 you can receive an Archdiocesan card certifying that you completed pre-cana and can marry in the Church. Exciting? Yes!

Why are we doing this? We attended the class, paid the dough, received the certificate, but don't want to get married in the Church.

The class is great, but if you're short on funds, time, or interest ("Oh my god, I care way more about finding trained doves than learning about budgeting!") reply to this ad!

I don't think it will sell. Actually, I wouldn't sell it even if someone wanted to buy it. Because if someone wrote me and tried to seal the deal, I'd know that person was a jackass. And this, precisely, is how I always felt when placing a personal ad.

Even though this item has no chance of getting sold, I have needlessly checked my inbox a dozen times looking for replies. I'm still sort of sad that nobody wants it.

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About the Author(s)

Shylo loves ironing, baking, and dancing naked. She dreams of being a naughty housewife. Let her know what you think about Public Notice at .

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