The origins of the card game
Old Maid trace back to the 17th century, with players trying to form pairs out of all of their cards until someone—the loser—is left with the lonely, unmatched, single old maid.
In the past 130 years, retail card decks have been produced specifically for Old Maid, always featuring illustrations of the dreaded losing card. It’s interesting to see how the Old Maid has evolved over the years. I trust you don’t resemble her.
The game of Old Maid is known world-wide, though the name and the rules may vary. In the United Kingdom
, it’s known as Scabby Queen
. The person left holding the Queen is penalized by having her knuckles scraped with the edges of the entire deck of cards, by each of the other players, causing the loser’s hands to bleed. Hence, the ‘scabby’ part.
, it’s called Fedor (Stink). Egypt
‘s version is Abu Foul (Blind
King). Ireland, Sweden, Holland and
Poland play Black Pete
. These versions are not quite so derogatory toward women.
Today’s unmarried women over 50 are more often professional, educated and, dare I say, hip. The Old Maids of years past were seen as stuffy, prudish and sometimes witchy-looking. Their scrunched up facial expressions gave men, especially, the inkling that she might not be the sexy, fun-loving gal he was hoping to find. They may have appeared to be crazy cat ladies or those who spent every waking moment with knitting needles clutched in their bony fingers.
The stigma of being an unmarried ‘mature’ woman may be long-gone, and there are baby boomers who would marry again, but many women are financially independent and emotionally secure enough to create a fulfilling life as a single person.
Please take a look at one hip Grandma. I want to dance like her when I ‘grow up’.
If you’re an older, unmarried woman, do you think people look at you as an ‘old maid’? Do know anyone who qualifies for that distinction?
I love hearing from you and anxiously await your comments!
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