CHICAGO — Remember the Old Maid, the long-nosed and less-than-lovely lady on the card you wanted to avoid?
Two women have discarded the Old Maid and replaced her with the Old Bachelor. He combs his hair over his bald spot, keeps his mother's picture on his dresser and has a thick "little black book."
"It's Old Maid for the '90s," said Jane Johnston, who developed the game with Debby Eisel. They are Chicago-area editors for legal publications.
Old Bachelor went on sale recently at 75 area stores for $10 a pack. The characters include a cardiologist, a stockbroker and a rock star.
And they're all women--except, of course, the Old Bachelor, a preening type in a tweed suit, bow tie and pocket handkerchief.
Both women said the Old Bachelor is meant to be a figure of fun, rather than the cruel caricature they saw in the Old Maid.
"Everything in the traditional game was based on the Old Maid's unattractiveness," Eisel said. "We wanted to eliminate that."
"We didn't want the Old Bachelor to be misconstrued as a put-down of any kind of man," she added. "He's kind of from another era--out of step."
"He's basically a nice guy, but something's lacking," Johnston said. "He doesn't have an interesting job like the other characters, and he's more interested in himself than what's going on in the world. I think I dated him two or three times, at least."
The women said the idea for the new game came to them five years ago when they were playing Old Maid with Eisel's daughter, now 11.
"We noticed that all the male characters were supposed to be fairly competent, but the female characters weren't," Johnston said. "And there was a particularly ugly Old Maid."
And the women always appeared in very traditional roles, such as librarian, schoolteacher and secretary.
Eisel and Johnson created a whole new set of characters with names like Josephine Judge, Consuelo Cardiologist, Primrose Plumber, Stella Stage Manager and Ann Archeologist.
An artist, Susan Wise, made wry illustrations, using women from various ethnic and age groups as models.
"The point is to show girls they can do whatever they want to do," Johnston said.