You know, I used to respect tradition. I used to think that because certain things always have been done a certain way, they should continue to be done that way.

But as you get older you begin to realize the excuse “it has always been done that way” doesn’t always justify an action. In fact, I’ve come to realize that if a custom causes deliberate harm to someone else, historical acceptance of the activity means jack.

Still, I’ve excused a few odd things in my life for the sake of tradition. Like everyone else, I wore a big goofy robe and threw my big goofy cap in the air when I graduated from college.

I had no problem with that. I worked hard for my goofy outfit.

Here’s what I do have a problem with: garter tosses.

I recently learned about this doozy of a tradition when wedding planning with my fiancée. Side note for those who read my columns: I still hate the word fiancée.

Anyway, hearing about the garter toss absolutely amazed me. What is this decadent, degenerate ritual? Aren’t weddings supposed to be sacred events? What’s the point of wearing an angelic white dress when your new husband is going to put his head under it in front of everyone and tear off a piece of lingerie with his teeth?

I feel weird even typing that out, so I can’t actually imagine doing it in front of everyone I know. How is this acceptable?

Did my grandparents do this? Did my great-grandparents do this? And if so, why are their generations judging mine for having tattoos and texting all the time? You guys are cool with biting underwear?

I looked up the origin of this tradition to see if I was perhaps missing something. Apparently, it goes back to the Middle Ages, when the bride had to throw her garter to fend off single men who literally tried to rip off her dress for good luck. Wholesome stuff.

The garter toss thing is obviously misogynistic and gross, but the truth is, I don’t like the bouquet toss either. How is it not awkward to single out every unmarried person at the event and make them feel as though matrimony is the end-all-be-all of happiness?

“Fight for my flowers, you big bunch of losers!”

If you like traditions such as the garter toss, that’s your prerogative. I’m not going to judge any ritual as long as everyone participating feels comfortable. But let’s not act like every custom with history is sacred.

If being overtly lewd in front of my great-grandparents is the traditional way, I’m fine with being labeled unorthodox.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1746 or