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Ladies Of Leisure

Look, our website has yellowed with age.

Every now and then it’s fun to look back through our 135 years of archives, and pull out a post that time might otherwise forget. Today we’re taking a look at one of our oldest posts from 1873, when we decided it was time to tackle the issues of women and gameing.

Recent reports have shown that an ever increasing number of young ladies are partaking in the activity of gameing. We took it upon ourselves to investigate this unlikely phenomenon.

Pray, imagine the scenario. Whilst walking down the street you see a young child gaily rolling a hoop, tapping away with his stick, and merrily laughing. But what is this? His laughter seems of a higher pitch than you might otherwise expect. Can it be? Those are not trousers, but a skirt! This street rascal is a young lady, and she’s playing a game.

It might strike you as the very height of the absurd, but spend any amount of time outside of your door today, or even in the parlours of the well-to-do, and you will likely spy a girl engaging in the pursuit of gameing.

These young ladies llook as though they are coping. But are they?

So how can this be? It has always been accepted amongst the gentry that a young lady’s hands are too frail and dainty to become involved with games, and the dexterity involved far too complex for the feminine mind. But are these assumptions to be thought false? Could it really be that playing games is something of which young ladies are to be considered capable?

In our effort to discover the truth, we invited a group of ladies to join us in an afternoon’s multiple person game of Blind Man’s Buff. It seemed improper for a lady to play the part of the Blind Man, so rather our print boy, Quintin, had his vision obscured by a gentleman’s neckerchief, and the remaining group of both gentlemen and ladies scattered to the corners of our scullery.

Perhaps we need not tell you of the unseemly scenes that followed. In his enthusiasm for the game, Quintin swung his arms wildly the air, groping in pursuit of his foils, and we will save you the blushes of the results.

As you can see, Quintin was quite out of control.

It seemed to our minds that despite the implied willingness to participate with gameing, the ladies were not in any position to compete alongside the men. One young lady in our company hooked her cuff on a loose nail, and her sleeve was quite ruined.

However, we are will to consider the possibility that perhaps it is us who is outdated. The ladies who visited our web-quarters that afternoon expressed that it had been pleasurable, despite our doubts. Some even claimed to have already learned the rules to last 1871’s Snakes And Ladders, although time was too short to put this to the test.

So will the gameing industry have to change in response? Will we soon be seeing the streets filled with games of Blind Woman’s Buff? It is quite a time we live in.

We take a look at three of the games that young ladies are apparently playing.

Snakes And Ladders
Jaques of London
1870, 92%

Surely the snakes are too frightening for girls?

The adaptation of the classic Indian Dasapada (200BC, 75%) updates the Sanskrit chess board to the all new rungs and fangs action with which we are now so familiar. We are told that ladies are playing it in drawing rooms all across the south of England.

Jacob’s Ladder
Pilgrim Enterprises
1622, 88%

Very modern looking, those Victorian toys.

While dating back to the 15th century, there’s no question that Jacob’s Ladder has never been bigger than right now. The click-clacking can be heard in the halls of every orphanage, and you’d be mistaken to think that some of those playing weren’t female. Even the Puritans will let their daughters play.

Hoop & Stick 2
Hooping Kauf
1864, 84%

Look again - might it be a young lady?

Taking the Ancient Grecian concept and revolutionising it by replacing the wooden hoop with a metal one, Hoop & Stick is back in a big way. While assumed far too physical to attract girls, and with very few pink hoops in production, we have seen a number of ladies taking part.

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John Walker

Senior Editor

One of the original co-founding robots of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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