A Singles-Bashing Game, Can You Guess Its Name?

 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.
In Brazil, 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?

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10 thoughts on “A Singles-Bashing Game, Can You Guess Its Name?

  1. I’m single and definitely over 40, but I’m a crazy chick who still feels 12 on the inside. The vid is awesome and I’d love to still be able to dance like that when “I grow up.” Cool post.

  2. I’m in my early 40’s, divorced and living with a partner but unmarried … I guess that’s more “different than the norm” than “old maidish.” It always bugged me that there was never an “old geezer” game to poke the same fun at the guys. I know older single women who are living a life of fun, career, adventure and travel and never seem old maidish to me just because they don’t date or “have a man.” I also know older single women who seem to live a monotonous life of traveling the circle between their jobs, their apartments and the grocery store, and don’t seem to have lives filled with fun activities or friendships. That makes me sad. Then I have to remind myself that I”m looking through my own eyes, and that maybe to them, what they do IS fun.

    • That last sentence…”I”m looking through my own eyes, and that maybe to them, what they do IS fun.”…something I should remember, too, before pitying women with lives like that. Thanks, Pam!

  3. Great post Marcia! It’s good that the social moors have changed, the greatest power humans have is found in working together, which includes across genders.

    Great history research 🙂

    • Thanks, Gene. Yeah, across genders…makes me wonder why there isn’t a negative connotation to calling an older, unmarried man “Old Gent”. We could call them “Old Farts”. 🙂

  4. My aunt is an old maid. I hate to say it, but she is. She’s around 60. She’s never been married and just has nobody and nothing in her life. I know that if my mom passes away before her, I’ll be stuck being her caretaker.

    Very interesting blog post. I never knew the origins of Old Maid.

    • That’s sad, Catie. She’s still young enough to get involved in a women’s group or find a man. Although, my mom was married 23 yrs to my dad, then had a serious relationship with another man years late for about 12 yrs. The past 25 years she’s been alone. It’s hard to find a good man as you get older, and some women don’t want one. I just got lucky.

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