Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Can You Name the Singles-Bashing Game that has Endured Since the 17th Century?

Centuries of singlism as entertainment

Over at Jezebel, Tracie Egan Morrissey treats us to dozens of images of a singles-bashing card game that traces back to the 17th century. She also offers some observations about how the images of that particular single person have changed over time.

Who is the single person in question and the name of the card game? That's too easy - it's the Old Maid. (Don't click on this link to the awesome picture gallery until you've tried your hand at the quiz below.)

For more of a challenge, see if you can match the version of the Old Maid with the time period when that depiction seemed to be most popular:

1.      Earliest versions

2.      1930s

3.      1950s

4.      1960s

5.      1980s

6.      Contemporary versions

7.      These versions never go away (pick two)

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a.      Stuffy and sad Victorian women

b.      Well-off women in straw hats with flowers

c.      Not so stuffy, sometimes not human

d.      Glasses, witchy-looking

e.      Old drunks

f.       Creepy cat ladies

g.      Into knitting

h.     The literal version: elderly women with feather dusters

[answers are beneath the image]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1d

2e

3b

4g

5h

6c

7a, f

For the historians out there - professional or amateur - why do you think this card game has lasted so long? How do you make sense of the pattern of changes?

[Thanks to Natalya and Molly for the heads-up about the Old Maid gallery!]

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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