Social Question

GloPro's avatar

What makes one an Old Maid?

Asked by GloPro (8210 points ) 2 months ago from iPhone

As asked.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

30 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

A number of things. But it starts when the Old Man stops giving it to her.

talljasperman's avatar

Post menopausal woman with no children living alone.

Khajuria9's avatar

A wrinkled old face.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

A bitter person full of regrets.

longgone's avatar

Knitting for cats.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

The Queen of Spades.

JLeslie's avatar

I would never use that term now. I think it is an old term that has gone out of style now that women are not expected to be dependent on their husbands.

jca's avatar

I agree with @JLeslie: It goes in the garbage heap with a few other outdated terms like “Spinster” and “barren.”

canidmajor's avatar

Nothing, anymore. The term is obsolete and carries with it a stigma that no longer reflects the reality of women who choose a non-traditional path.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@longgone Knitting for cats? LMAO.
It’s when someone accepts the first part of the title. Old is in the mind. My inner child is still 12 to 13 years old. He bites me in the ass occasionally, but I still like to keep him around.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Getting stuck with the last card.

dappled_leaves's avatar

The age of the person using the term. It doesn’t exist anymore.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Society in general makes this assumption and labels independant women with it to send the wrong messege to younger women that they should be married etc

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

It is a term that has gone out of date. It used to mean an older, unmarried, childless woman, AKA a spinster, which is another outdated term. Funny that there was never a derogatory term for a male in the same category. They got to be called bachelors from the time they went through puberty until death.

However, I don’t think that it was men who coined this term. It was used mostly from mothers to daughters – such as “hurry up and get married our you will wind up an Old Maid.”

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt I believe the term dirty old man is the term for a male spinster.

canidmajor's avatar

@Dan_Lyons : “Dirty Old Man” is not necessarily a reference to older, unmarried men. It’s used to describe any man over a certain age who behaves like a jerk in various circumstances.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@canidmajor It appears that you are correct. I just surfed a few sites and the consensus seems to be that there is no equivalent term for a man for either Spinster or Old Maid. .

maybellekim's avatar

menopausal and wrinkled face.

JLeslie's avatar

For a man? Player if he is dating around. Men don’t really have a term, because they traditionally were the breadwinners. If they never married they might be perceived as lonely old men.

For women back in they day they were supposed to hope to find a man that would marry them. Then they would be dependent on their husband and the family could get rid of the burden of supporting a daughter. They even paid the new husband (dowry) in some cultures.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: Lonely old man is not usually a term applied to a single man. They are ascribed more colorful terms such as “confirmed bachelor” or “man about town.” The descriptions for a single man describe something fun and desirable, whereas for single women, it’s negative and sad (spinster, old maid).

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Even if he is much older? I guess old maid was used previously for woman at what we would now call fairly young. I was thinking a guy in his 40’s or 50’s, never married. He would either be a player, lonely with something wrong with him, or gay to some people. I was one of the firsts on the Q to say old maid isn’t used anymore, but a woman never married I think maybe is still looked at with question even now by some people. I don’t. I grew up with my aunt never marrying, and nothing negative was ever said about it, so it was just a normal thing to me. My sister never married either. I Think in especially the last 20 years it has become more and more acceptable for woman not to marry; not to want to marry. Especially divorced women, but that is a different category than never married.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: From what I understand “confirmed bachelor” could be another way to say “gay” back before it was incorrect to make judgments.

I think a woman who has never married and has no kids might be looked at, even now, as “crazy cat lady” or something similar. Having a child seems to take some of that stigma away, as single motherhood is not uncommon now.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I think you are right about cat lady.

I never knew confirmed bachelor might be code for gay. Interesting.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

You ladies are just being silly @JLeslie @jca . Many of us confirmed bachelors are nowhere near gay (unless you use the word for its original meaning [happy and carefree as a lark]).

JLeslie's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Men who never married were/are sometimes called confirmed bachelors and also it was not uncommon for men who never married to be gay, so I am sure sometimes the two things overlapped.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Nowadays it is not uncommon to use male/female adjectives intermixed. We call a man a bitch if he is being one. We even call a man a “virgin” if he is one. So I guess “old maid” would be fine for male or female.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

That’s absurd. It is also not uncommon for heterosexual men to remain unmarried. So I am sure those things probably don’t overlap.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Whether or not you think it is absurd, “confirmed bachelor” is often used as a euphemism for “gay”. Example.

It’s not meant to imply that all bachelors are gay. No one is that literal.

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