Nobody should have been shocked to read a story on Thursday's front page that reported 40 percent of people in a national survey said marriage was old news.
The shocker should be that the other 60 percent are married or would try it.
Because almost all marriages involve a husband who is a man.
There is a reason that marriage vows have "for better or for worse" in them. Men are the worst.
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Dogs can be trained to "use" a newspaper. A man can't even be trained to pick up a newspaper off the floor - in the bathroom, where he read it and left it, in sections, spread out like a BP oil catchment boom.
I am not talking about Internet geek men who play fantasy football and wait in the lobby while the fiancée gets her nails done.
Not these guys who coach their kids' sports teams to relive failed glories because they were nerds who sat the bench as youngsters.
Those men are fine catches as husbands, and clearly those couples sit on the couch watching "Dancing With the Stars" together two days after the nuptials in boredom so complete that there would never be thoughts of divorce.
I am talking about real men who forget to pay the light bill and to make up for it, come home a day later with candles.
Men who complain about paying for women's shoes, but buy $30 cigars when a kid is born - and brag.
Men are vain, stubborn, ignorant - and even the best ones smell. And for some men those are their best qualities.
Some of the rest of us gamble, drink, and wouldn't wash a dish if we had to eat soup with fingers.
There is a term in the American lexicon, "deadbeat dad." There is a reason for this term, and the courts garnishing wages for child support or alimony. The reason is those dads are men.
Most employers require direct deposit for paychecks nowadays. That is purportedly to save money and paper.
But the real reason is that men cannot be trusted to get a paycheck at noon Friday and deposit that check into the account that keeps a house afloat.
Men with a paycheck in hand - all have seen them at the bank - hop from foot to foot, quavering, then cash the check while promising to take the money straight home.
Those men arrive home Sunday, with $7, to face the wife who has taken care of the children and all other household chores as she peers at the worthless bum over a mountain of unpaid bills.
Yet women plot, scheme and worry themselves sick trying to marry Prince Charming. Thankfully, women give up and decide to marry us instead.
Women have intricate bridal showers to celebrate the pending union. Girlfriends and family bring gifts, the hall is decorated with flowers and streamers. The ladies dress up.
The words "I will change him!" ring out shortly thereafter from the soon-to-be bride at the rehearsal dinner before the wedding, as the groom-to-be shows up with bloodshot eyes two hours late because he was playing golf with his buddies after a bachelor party that had to be kept secret because half of the stuff involved was illegal or immoral.
The woman spends her savings and months planning a wedding. The man tries to get her to buy the flowers from a guy on the street with a pushcart, to save some money for the honeymoon in Las Vegas so he can spend the money on blackjack and slot machines.
Still, the woman marches toward the altar.
The great York County Judge John C. Hayes III might consider forcing marriage instead of probation. Marriage to a man is far worse than any community service penalty, because unless there is a divorce, marriage to a man is the sentence that never ends.
Most men also come with that certain attachment which started at their birth and only got worse because he is a man and therefore weak and puny - a bond that cannot be severed with hacksaw, blowtorch or nuclear bomb.
That is the man's mother, who becomes, for that poor woman about to be betrothed, the mother-in-law.
A mother-in-law for a man, the mother of the bride, becomes at worst an irritant - and often becomes an ally. The rotten man - such as me - is called "him" by the mother-in-law.
But the woman who inherits a mother-in-law gets the woman who tells her how to clothe the son, feed the son, nurture the son. The son, a man, loves his momma because Momma spoils him and so never takes the wife's side.
Still, the woman seeks marriage.
Each week in York, the county seat of York County, people come to get married. Almost 400,000 people have been married in York over the years - second most in the whole state.
Not as many come as in years past, when South Carolina had easier marriage laws and a no-wait system. Still, plenty show up.
Many just knock on the door at 3 W. Madison St., where the marryin' probate judges, the Nunns, lived for generations. Freddy Schronce and his wife Pam live in that house these days. They have been married nine years themselves.
"People sometimes just show up thinking this is still the marrying house," Freddy Schronce said. "They hold hands. They look into each other's eyes. They want to get married."
I asked Freddy why any of these women full of hope would want that pitiful man on his doorstep, why that woman loves him so.
"Beats me," Freddy says. "Nobody has ever figured out why a woman would marry one of us."
Freddy is a notary public, too. Several times when those couples showed up, Freddy didn't send them on to the Probate Court downtown in York. He has married them right there in his living room.
"The women, especially, they are so excited to get married," Freddy said.
Every one of those women left happy, with the man driving away. The happiness ends when the man gets lost a block away - and refuses to ask for directions.