I used to play the card game Old Maid, never knowing that one day I might turn into the woman for which the game was named.
Makes me wish there were a game called Grizzled Manservant to even the playing field.
I can only hope it's normal to feel the sting of words such as "old maid" and "spinster" as I go through life as an unmarried, childless woman. It probably doesn't help that I've developed a deep appreciation for the show "Downton Abbey," which takes place in a time in history when any single woman over 30 was considered a spinster.
In that case, I'm way past my prime.
A little research (Google search) helped me discover that the word spinster originally tied back to women who spun wool. I admittedly have never spun a yard of wool in my life. I haven't even taken a spin class.
Yet the word hangs over my head like a scary baby crib mobile made of bats, bugs and spiders. The word is ominous because the only way to avoid being a spinster is to get hitched. Easier said than done.
Just ask Lady Edith from "Downton Abbey."
I suppose I could easily get married if I thought that would be the solution to everything. But I have already been there and done that, and I didn't exactly come out of it all smiles and giggles. I wouldn't wish divorce on my worst enemy. Unless of course if that worst enemy was someone I was married to but no longer wanted to be with.
I believe the connotation, from my research on spinsters, is that this lifestyle is a woman's choice. Not always so. This stems from the idea that spinsters are pickier than other women, or not interested in relationships with men. They might even be called spineless, if we are keeping up with the name calling. Some may never have even been kissed.
At least I know that's not my problem.
As my source for spinster-ish info, Wikipedia references William Shakespeare, who in "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Much Ado About Nothing," wrote that unmarried women were destined to lead apes into hell.
Isn't it bad enough already? First I don't get a break on my taxes. Then all I have to look forward to is an afterlife of shoveling hot molten lava with a bunch of feces-throwing anthropoids. Great.
Along with the painful historical information on spinster lore, Wikipedia also lists famous spinsters in its definition. This list made me feel a tiny bit better, since at least all of the women are or were successful in their single lives. There's Oprah, Condoleezza Rice, Coco Chanel, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austin, Diane Keaton, Amy Sedaris, Emily Bronte, Harper Lee and Louis May Alcott, to name a few. I couldn't help but notice most are or were writers.
Maybe being a spinster will help me out in the long run.
Honestly, I hope I don't go down on Wikipedia as a famous spinster. I suppose it can't be all that bad, especially if I ever make it big as a comic or writer. If I'm in the company of Oprah, Harper Lee and Amy Sedaris, I wouldn't complain one bit.
Still, there is that stigma in our culture still hanging around from 100-plus years ago. I really don't hate men or have unattainable expectations regarding them. I just don't want potential suitors to be arrogant, abusive, the cheating or lying type, in jail or living in their parents' basement.
Is that so much to ask?
If it is, then spinster it is. I imagine I'll be a lot happier without any of the above characteristics making my life as hellish as leading apes to an afterlife of eternal suffering.
At least I have my chance to be famous on Wikipedia.
"April in Glenwood" appears every Wednesday. April E. Clark would like to have a word with William Shakespeare. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.