What is an old maid? The short answer is that an old maid is a woman who is unmarried. It is a derogatory phrase used to describe a woman who is considered to be “old” and who does not have a husband. The phrase “old maid” has been around at least since Victorian times (if not before). Back then, the idea of a woman remaining unmarried was shocking.
The card game called Old Maid has been around since Victorian times. In short, the game requires players to try and avoid being stuck with the Old Maid card. The game reinforced social rules of the time. It implies that women should marry while they were young so they would not end up an old maid. It also implied that men should marry a young woman to avoid getting stuck with an old maid.
In Victorian times, Old Maid was played with a standard deck of 52 cards. The black queen was considered to be the Old Maid. One of the other three queens was then removed from the deck in order to ensure that the Old Maid card would not have a match.
Today, you can find a box of Old Maid cards that are designed for children to use. The box will probably have a drawing of an older woman who wears glasses and Victorian style clothing. There will only be one Old Maid card in the box.
Deal out the cards equally to all the players. Each player looks at his or her hand of cards. If a player finds a match, he or she puts the two matching cards on the table – face up. Players must put all of the matches they can make from their current hand onto the table. Eventually, the players will run out of matches that can be made from their current hand.
The player who sits to the left of the dealer holds their remaining cards up to the player on his or her left (keeping the back side of the cards toward the other player). That player must pick one card out. If the player can make a match with the card her or she selected, they must put that match on the table.
This pattern repeats, as each player offers their remaining cards to the player on their left. Eventually, one person will be stuck with the Old Maid card that does not have a match. The game is now over.
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