Opinion: Ladies Of Leisure

I wonder what they're thinking?

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However, we are will to consider the possibility that perhaps it is us who is outdated.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.


  1. inertia says:

    How quaint.

  2. frenz0rz says:

    Quiet, you.

  3. sionsionsion says:

    I was interested in and enjoying Hoop & Stick long before it was fashionable…

    • Antsy says:

      I was fashionable long before Hoop and Stick became interesting! Ha!

  4. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Don’t be a spoil-sport, now.

  5. Dlarit says:

    What so they want to vote and play games? What’s this nonsense!

    • McDan says:

      Take my word sir, it will never catch on.

    • Mephisto says:

      Yes, this is completely unacceptable. Deploy the glass ceiling!

    • Temple to Tei says:

      It will be a passing fancy and soon none of either gender shall even bother to vote in a few years.
      Our betters know better so better let them decide.

    • The Hammer says:

      It is my strongly held opinion that these womenfolk should know their limits!

    • Sarlix says:

      Indeed. I recommend a standard corset tightening procedure should be carried out forthwith.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      I would agree sirrah, but overly tight corsets are of the devils working, promoting liscentiousness and a general lack of demurity amongst our womenfolk, which of course leads our young men astray and causes earthquakes.

      Instead, I suggest spanking.

      Friar John P. Pepperwillow

    • magichicken says:

      Mr. Pepperwillow, are you suggesting that our fine ladies demean themselves with practical dress? Such is the mark of the lower classes. You bring offense, good sir, with your unbecoming suggestion.

  6. Chris D says:

    Are you perhaps referring to this publications regular and most serious features on the merits of tea and biscuits, or perhaps the recent Crysis (as the vulgar are calling it) scandal? I wholeheartedly agree that for the rest of this newsletter to match them in tone would be a fine thing.
    Also, sir, in this year 1873 noon is some while off yet.

  7. McDan says:

    Where are your manners men? This is a gentlemens club after all. Pipes for everyone!

  8. Paul B says:

    Verily, soon they will be wearing trousers, and drinking warm ale. This must stop now!

    • The Hammer says:

      Indeed, before a lady goes gaga!

    • Paul B says:

      Yes, a harrowing sight it is, enough to give me night-shivers, when a lady goes Gaga. And sorry, I meant to reply to Dlarit’s communication – I just hope RPS can sort out this reply system in the forthcoming 138 years.

  9. airtekh says:

    Reminds me of this.

    • Fede says:

      And it reminds me of this :D

    • McDan says:

      Are you accusing him of fraud sir?

    • Fede says:

      Nope, I couldn’t, because he wrote also the other one and I like his output too much. But! :P
      And I’m also enjoying RPS’s commenters, there weren’t that many and they weren’t that brilliant back in the day.

    • Pace says:

      I do say, excuse me sir?

      Man I’ve been reading this site for a long time.

  10. Nighthood says:

    Ah, but how can one be sure these young ladies are not in fact young boys who have not yet had their voices deepen? Such games should have a boundary of age, forbidding those too naive from getting access to such gratuitous pleasures.

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Damn. Word of advice don’t research child prostitution in victorian england in an attempt to make a poor taste joke a non-poor taste joke.
      It is not possible.
      Depressed now.

      On a brighter note -bloody good commentators we have here.

    • gorgol says:

      Hmm, bit random there, but to depress you even more, its apparently still happening in modern day England.

    • Nighthood says:

      I’ve just realised my comment could be read in a number of different ways, some ways in rather poor taste. Rest assured, sirs, that I was in fact making reference to the way boys of younger years (14 and below) can sound remarkably similar in voice to women in adulthood. This was in no way intended to be a comment alluding to fornication. I admit to my error, born entirely of a lack of clarification.

    • The Tupper says:

      Mr Nighthood:
      While one applauds your appended clarification, I feel it my duty to set your mind at rest.
      I, like many other men of upstanding virtue, I’m sure, find nothing more bracing than the tender joy that a spot of rough housing with a callow roustabout embues. For me, few pleasures compare to afternoons spent with Sidney, our Gardener’s Boy, under the apple tree, with the scent of nature on our skin and the off-chance of windswept cox landing on our laps.

    • Crane says:

      Indeed so, sir! Why only yesterday, I was rendered speechless by the frequent ejaculations of delight emananting from a young sweep as he became acquanted with my great organ!

      As I had only recently acquired it from the local church, I was most pleased to see its august tones so profoundly appreciated!

  11. Makariel says:

    This is blasphemy! This is madness!

  12. Rinox says:

    I think you meant ‘Pimm’s all round!’

  13. Antsy says:

    During a heated game of Hoop and Stick (the original, and to my mind the best) at my gentlemans club, one of our members broached this very subject. I believe it was that Fothering-Smith fellow, frightful chap, lost his families fortune in some preposterous venture in the orient. His father lost his legs in the Sudan under Kitchener, bloody fool. Anyway….wheres my brandy?

  14. bigtoeohno says:

    I enjoyed that read. You man are gifted with the power of tongue.
    Anyways its like at my house it’s not uncommon to hear profanities coming from the dungeon where my wife is playing, ironically I guess, manshoots. She’s no slouch either. It’s also worth noting she still thinks my rpg’s are nerdy and dumb.

  15. JackShandy says:

    More troubling signs of the wave of Female Hysteria that has plagued this country of late. An overbalance of Yellow Bile in their humours, if I’m any judge, the naturally warm and dry nature of the humour leading to an overwhelming increase of horrifically choleric natures. They only partake in these activites to rouse the attention of the village males, mark my words.

    The only cure is hysterical paroxysm, administered as quickly as possible! In truth I do not blame the male companions of these women for forsaking their duty in this matter – I only dispair of the lackluster nature of these physicians of late! Hours of massage needed to achieve the effect a true man could accomplish within minutes – although I hear that, this very year, an electro-mechanical vibrator was used at an asylum in France for the treatment of hysteria to great effect.

  16. The_B says:

    I tried to dissuade my lady from partaking in these improper activities and tried to encourage her to return to her duties STOP

    After a while arguing we retired to her quarters where I did try to bed the young madam, however she seemed to have some form of DRM preventing me from accessing her undergarments STOP

    I was most displeased STOP

  17. Mario Figueiredo says:

    As a French, a patriotic, and a proud republican I approve of this. Since the Women March on Versailles last year, that the female strata in this country proved to have the skill and the brawn to face the conservative monarch pigs, that you gentleman no doubt represent with your criticism.
    If ladies in England can’t pursue activities of gameing, it’s not because such ladies are unskilled, as no scientific evidence was ever produced that the British empire women are any less skilled than any other women in this old continent. It’s because they are physically and socially imprisoned by the monarchic conservative in your country.
    And I urge women and men alike in that empire to insurgency. Follow our example and take down your corrupt monarchy. The republican march is unstoppable. Long live the Republic! Long live the Revolution! Long live France!

    • Unaco says:

      Godless French Monsters!

    • Nighthood says:

      How in God’s name can a country function without a monarchy? For such ideas to be held in Britain would be treasonous, the mere publishing of your letter in this periodical threatens our proud monarchal heritage.

      I am appalled by the way these wild, revolutionary follies are allowed voice in this otherwise excellent magazine.

    • aldo_14 says:

      You, sir, are partaking in the unseemly practice of provocation!

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I do believe these French people have forgotten the lessons the great Lord Admiral Nelson taught them at Trafalgar nary 68 years ago. Any more of that & King George III may decide it’s time for another whipping by the fleet of the glorious British Empire!

    • The Tupper says:

      Begads, Sir!

      I’ll take the blasted horse-whip to you!

      Long Live her Majesty!

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      You, sirs, are the reason why we have the Guillotine where many of the aristocrats, conservative and monarchs of this country have faced their end. And where, by revolution’s end, you sirs will too lay down to think carefully of yours words, in the few instants it will take for the blade of the republic to reach your neck.

    • cjlr says:

      My good cousins!

      The experience of my countrymen must also suggest that the fairer sex are well suited to many of the tasks heretofore reserved for men. The hardship of colonial life affords no such luxuries as segregation of labour, when said labour is in short supply, and work is never so.

      Further, is there not a place for cooperation, between our two empires? If I may proudly say, the Dominion of Canada, which has so recently been granted, graciously, by Her Majesty, full and proper self-government within the Imperial ediface, has ever benefitted from the influence of our French forebears, in addition to our English ancestry.

      Perhaps I am speaking with an ignorance of continental affairs; the trans-Atlantic newswire is too slow to dispel all rumours originating on these shores – but having observed the frightening advance of the Germans only three years ago, it would seem that they, not the French, are the true threat to the balance of power, and Great Britain’s pre-eminence.

      Further, I must hadd that I have heard rumours suggesting that the Third Republic is a temporary measure in France, and there is a great deal of support for the Comte de Paris or the Comte de Chambord resuming the throne – though which is more likely, I cannot say.

    • The Tupper says:

      Yes, yes, all fine words. But once my gout has cleared up I’ll begin talking in the only language the buggers understand: cold British Steel!

  18. SuperNashwanPower says:

    It has been claimed by the noisome and irascible local Town Crier (Fawkes Noose) that the immersion and temptation involved in Blind Man’s Buff will lead the minds of young men to turn to forcing uninvited fornication upon womenfolk. A local doctor also went on record to state that only the application of leeches to strategic areas of the men’s bodies can undo such mental befuddlement, however when contacted for clarification all he could offer was that he may actually have heard it off some bloke in the pub.

    • Antsy says:

      This sort of thing is only confounded when women are encouraged to take part. I was only recently witness to an incident in which a young lady, presented with a stick, was encouraged to “have at” the hoop. It was set in motion for her and of course almost immediately she was completely undone. The hoop careered over the cobbles and in her haste to engage it she exposed an ankle! AN ANKLE, SIR! It was only the timely intervention of a local constable, who had thereunto been enjoying the game, that saved the day. He immediately delivered a swift and sound thrashing to the impressionable lads nearby.

    • The Tupper says:


      Whilst I appreciate that the readership of this august organ are what Mr Merrivale would no doubt term ‘Men of The World’, I really think that discussion of anatomical detail regarding the weaker sex should be avoided at this juncture.

      Surely ribald conversation of this nature more befits the communal bath after a bracing game of rugger?


      Col.Tupper Tuppington (ret.)

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      I have read the many comments of outrage and been gladdened that the men of the British Empire – if not those godless and damned French animals! – have proper respect for the place of womenfolk in the eyes of god. The good book is quite clear that at no time should women be permitted to teach men, who are to recieve instruction from God and their peers. And yet if these womenfolk should persist in these games and, by some means that defies known medical and social science, become of quality at them to the point they could surpass the skills of man, they could go about ‘schooling’ others in the playing of these games. Most egregious, most sinful.

      PS: I wager Jezebel, slayer of our good John the Baptist, played hoop and stick. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

      PPS: The heretical French revolution will never stand before god.

      Friar John. P. Pepperwillow

  19. enshak says:

    Nice concept art. Is this Doublefine teasing us with another game we can’t play on our personal difference engine.

  20. Man Raised by Puffins says:

    For shame Mr Walker, for shame! I expect this form of smutty innuendo from Destructible Automaton Weekly or that oriental rag Kotaku, but never from this once upstanding telegraphic publication. I shall go to Mr Muggins’ Telegraphic Emporium to cancel my subscription forthwith!

  21. Orija says:

    The vulger prefer being called vulgar.

  22. Cael says:

    No but seriously, farmville and the sims don’t really count as games in my book, therefore there are no ladies of leisure.

  23. The Tupper says:

    Frightlever be damned! I’ve a mind to take you up the cherry orchard and give your hide a bloody good thrashing. I’ll leave my mark, I tell you.

    The impertinence!

  24. theleif says:

    I must say I was pretty disappointed with Hoop & Stick 2. While the general sound quality is greatly improved, it just don’t feel as “tight” as Hoop & Stick. Also, the heavier wooden hoop made a much more satisfying “thumph” when I ran over my Illyrian slaves with it.

  25. Sarlix says:

    It’s pipes and monocles . I hope you all have your pipes and monocles.

  26. bill says:

    I can safely say that when i read the comments on RPS I assume that all the authors and male, and i’ve never seen a single comment to make me question that assumption. I therefore imagine them all in a Stephen Fry voice.

  27. somnolentsurfer says:

    Is Hoop and Stick 2 a different game to Hoop and Stick II? Because I thought it wasn’t out until next Friday?

  28. bwion says:

    You can be certain that His Excellency, Lord Arthur Gearboxingham, Duke of Nukemshire, shall have a thing or two to say on this matter!

    Should he ever arrive. Has anyone seen His Lordship lately?

    • Temple to Tei says:

      The Duke of Nukemshire is, like this Great Empire of ours, Forever!

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I have it on good authority that the Duke is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.

    • McDan says:

      Your comment sir Digital Signal X caused me to laugh with mirth so much I sprayed my afternoon tea all over todays article! Someone hire this man to write in a respectable paper!

  29. Chris D says:


    You are indeed correct. I shall have the servants soundly thrashed for their incompetence. I would advise that you have your servants thrashed too, just in case.

  30. captainfuzz says:

    I found the forced multipayer mechanics of Hoop and Stick 2 to detract from the single-player experience. I was also informed (via carrier pigeon) I would have to ‘download’ an ‘update’ before playing with other people ‘online’ (ie outside) I have sent off my Hoop and Stick and await delivery of said update in two to three weeks via horse and cart.

  31. Jorum says:

    How can you deem “Snakes and Ladders” worthy of 92%?
    It is most evidently an intellectuality debased game pandering to the lower grade of populace usually acquainted with such pastimes as football and frequenting ale-houses.
    Having played the game for some hours I can tell you it is grossly simplified, and requires little application of any strategy or tactic. Indeed my impression was that the whole thing was more a matter of luck than skill.
    What is more, the so called “community” of Snakes and Ladders players I found to be a bunch of frightful boors and uncouths.
    Having played only three games I had already been taunted and verbally accosted by such insults as “cad”, “bounder”, “newb”, and other such terms of abuse as I have not heard since my service days in the Crimea.

    • Antsy says:

      Indeed, I have found most of the more frequent and vocal supporters of Snakes and Ladders to be callous, obdurate, vulgar and on the whole, congenital lack-wits of the worst kind.

    • GHudston says:

      Agreed. Snakes and Ladders is far too linear and I suspect that the 92% given may have something to do with the Snakes and Ladders advertising located on this very same page at the time of the review.

    • Sarlix says:

      Yes, I too have heard of this ‘Snakes and Ladders’ It can often be found circulating amongst riff-raff in the back streets and opium dens. It is claimed that prolonged use can even lead to unthinkable activities such as adultery and even rape!

    • Daiv says:

      My good man Sarlix, just the other day our vicar informed us that it might even lead to vulgarity! I myself heard a lady exclaim “shoot” on my way to the parsonage for tea. I located this wretch’s husband and advised him to administer a sound thrashing!

  32. Joshua says:

    I have seen quite a few women play Hoop and Stick*, and actually, don’t remember it being a men only sport. Contrary to what you belief, the femine mind appears to posses a much greater sense of dexterity then most men have. Men do have more physical prowess, but at the more difficult to navigate courses, women usually come out on top.

    * I must say that I do live in Holland, where people tend to be more liberal on this subject then the British.

    • The Tupper says:

      Mr Joshua:

      Whilst I in no way wish to reproof your perspicacity, I must take issue with your thesis that women are of a dextrous nature. No one would disagree that a comely young girl with a properly-fitted and rigidly-laced bodice can make a spendid partner in a round of pick-whats. Any physical activity beyond the gentlest of menial labour, however, has been scientifically proven by the est. Mr Logan of Dainsborough to result in a coarsening of the humour and a propensity for hysterical gyneo-hyperborealism.

      As is generally understood, in matters of dexterity even the best of the fairer sex will always be in apogee to the grounded stoutness of the lumpen, trogloditean English Working Man.

  33. Orija says:

    I take your mispronunciation of my name, subtle as it may be, as an insult, Mister Dee. To stoop so low in order to cast a shadow on his own shortcomings is unbecoming of a gentleman. I would have let your arrogant cheeks feel the twinge from my fine, muslin glove hitting them had I been aware of your whereabouts.

  34. Chris D says:

    I see I have erred again. I had intended no such insult and I apologise. However, I am compelled to point out that had you chosen a fine, British name instead of a dangerously foreign sounding one, such an error could easily have been avoided.

    Still, honour must be satisfied. You may choose swords or pistols, as is your right. Though, if I may venture my opinion, firearms have grown so ubiquitous in recent times that their use is only fit for the common masses and not gentlemen of fine breeding.

    There only remains to settle the matter of a venue. If you would be so good as to name one I will instruct my servants to make the necessary arrangements to meet you there in as few weeks as decency permits.

  35. Orija says:

    Hearing a gentleman with a queer name as yours complain about mine provides much mirth to proceedings. I would have accepted your proposition had not the fellow member of the Rock, Parchment, Musket, Mister Smith, the gay fellow that he is, lamented about fighting being dumbed down in such heart wrenching tones. I have decided to forgive your buffoonery but let me state in this in clear terms, your kinsmen shall never be welcome in the house of the Orija family for as long as my bowels work.

  36. MadMatty says:

    I hear that women dislike games in which there is a built in (pre-set) conflict.
    Apparently, all this men bludgeoneoning each other with increasingly big sticks don´t quite set the ladies minds afire with tillitation.

  37. Serenegoose says:

    It should be noted, that the lack of pink hoops is more an impediment for game playing menfolk, rather than ladies, who have a plentiful supply of feminine blue hoops to utilise. The sticks on the other hand, require extensive application of the unofficial ‘ribbon’ visual modification to bring them into line with our delicate sensitivities.

    • Tssha says:

      Indeed, it is far beneath a man’s dignity to play with a blue hoop, and thus we must demand that these folks provide us with a pink hoop forthwith, that we may play with the manly colour of pink instead of the comely colour of blue. For as we all know, red is associated with blood and action, and all shades of it are considered manly. Blue, on the other hand, is sedate and pure, as evinced in the blue wedding dress, a vaunted symbol of purity. Something blue should always be worn by a woman on her wedding day, as the ancient poem goes.

      But perhaps I am old fashioned. I am not ashamed to say I am proud of this attitude. My forefathers have been right for generations and I see no reason why the onset of modernity would change these timeless cultural traditions.