@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.
It is a term that has gone out of date. It used to mean an older, unmarried, childless woman, AKA a spinster, which is another outdated term.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.”
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.
@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).
@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.
@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.
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.