The Annulment

A couple of strange things happened recently: (1) I was asked to discuss my sex life while buying a new car; and (2) My ex-husband asked me for an annulment.

Let’s start with the car. Last week, I traded in my Subaru Outback for the 40-miles-per-gallon Ford Fiesta, because (1) I believe in America; (2) I believe in saving the environment; and (3) I believe in parties…errr, hence, Ford Fiesta.

I bought the car at the small dealership in a small town where my girlfriend and I take our cars to be serviced. So, everyone at the dealership and in town knows us, and knows that we’re “deviants” (their word, not mine).

Frankly, I’d like it if we were a touch more deviant—something I plan to work on with my girlfriend this weekend.

As the sales guy and I were going over the paperwork, he suddenly looked up, and said, “I’ve got a question to ask you: My wife left me for another woman. Why?”

“Probably because your penis is too small,” I said, hoping a joke would nip this conversation in the bud, and we could go back to letting him screw me over on the car negotiations.

Instead, his eyes flew open wide, and he said, “Oh, that wasn’t it. She loved sex with me. That’s why I don’t get it.”

I sighed, knowing I wasn’t getting out of there without talking about my own sex life. I started by explaining the Kinsey scale of sexuality, and how some people are closer to the center than others, thus attracted to both sexes.

“What about you and your girlfriend?” he asked, leaning closer. “Are you into guys?”

I sighed again. No matter what the conversation is, straight guys always manage to bring it around to whether the lesbian wants to sleep with them.

In fact, the only straight guy who didn’t ask me this question was my former husband. And he should have.

I got married in my 20s. I shouldn’t have done it. I knew when I got married that I preferred women to men, but kind of forgot to mention it to my husband.

He was a great guy, and didn’t deserve it. I was a cad, and still am ashamed about it.

The only good thing I did in that marriage was to get out of it quickly, so that he could get on with his life. And he did. He got married a year after our divorce.

I hadn’t heard from him in 15 years, until last week, when I received an e-mail asking for an annulment. Because I’m not Catholic, I know very little about this strange practice, only that you need grounds for one, unless you’re a Kennedy. My ex-husband had grounds in spades.

My guess is that the Catholic Church, no great lover of gays, quickly would stamp its approval on the annulment as soon as it learned I was gay.

But here’s the uncomfortable part: My ex couldn’t bring himself to ask me for grounds. He hemmed and hawed (weirdly, it’s possible to do so via e-mail), and danced around the subject.

I knew he easily could find the evidence he needed on the Internet. I write a syndicated column on being gay. I wrote a book about being gay. I chat about my sex life with weirdo car salesmen.

But after 15 years, I still couldn’t bring myself to discuss it with my ex.

I sent him the information he requested. He’ll get his annulment, and our marriage then will vanish from the spiritual record—something I’ve been trying to do for almost two decades, but was too cowardly to deal with.

I never thought I’d say this, but here goes: Thanks, Catholic Church!

Hey! I wrote a book. You can buy Dateland on Amazon.

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