The Nolita Bridge Club or Love the Player, Not the Game

As I’ve mentioned before, three friends and I have been invested in a year-long battle with our brains (and sometimes each other) to learn how to play bridge. Lately, we’ve taken to including a few fellas when we need a fourth or want to mix things up (my parents always played with other couples, after all), but most often, it’s just us girls. In the absence of any real instructor, we’ve learned what we know from books and the shared wisdom of moms, dads, aunts and grandmothers. (My aunt, who’s learning how to play with girlfriends in Atlanta, does have an instructor but I sent her one of the books we love and she consults it when her codgety teacher becomes too intimidating to question further.) If my group and I lived anywhere near Florida, however, Maggy Simony is the lady we’d ask for help.

Last night, Maggy commented on my last bridge post, asking about our ages and progress and passing along her web site for reference. Turns out, she’s a 90-year old bridge expert veteran who says her “unlikely end-of-life cause is the preservation of ‘sociable’ bridge.'” Sociable bridge–so there IS a name for what we’re doing! As opposed to “serious” bridge, which has an official governing body and is kind of intense and unemotional, sociable bridge is about more than just the game; it’s also about women playing and cooking and laughing together. As Ms. Maggy says in the book she published last year, Bridge Table or What’s Trump Anyway, “It took two women’s movements of the 19th century merged with a classic card game to create the ladies-only bridge club tradition. It deserves to survive another hundred years.”

I have to admit, I love that my husband has taken an interest in bridge. Playing cards together is such a simple, pure kind of group activity that makes me feel smarter and, I don’t know, more wholesome somehow. But there is a definite difference between playing with the girls and playing with the boys. And no one articulates that better than a 90-year old card-carrying historian of ladies’ bridge culture.

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4 Comments

Filed under Bridge and Other Card Games, Culture

4 responses to “The Nolita Bridge Club or Love the Player, Not the Game

  1. Susan O'Neal

    Hats off to Maggie. I love social bridge and how many times have I said “so what is trump”. Serious bridge at times can be a little scary to me. To me card games is all about laughing and having a great time with friends, whether it is with couples or the girls. Keep on going with your game!

  2. Alice Curtin Thaxton

    Ladies, I’m getting married this Saturday at 4:00. Would y’all mind starting the table a little earlier this weekend? How’s 10:00ish?

  3. Ann Palmer

    As long as there are mimosas!

  4. One quibble — I am NOT a bridge expert. Been playing for 50 years and for at least 30 of them didn’t improve at all. I moved to NH in 1984 and because I’d be facing new people I did take a few lessons. And did get better — mostly reading a series of the 90s that came with coded-back bridge deck. Today Audrey Grant has these cards that go with her Basic Bridge series.
    ANYWAY, now that I’m old and in Florida and play more and more, I have become pretyy good playing a hand — my bidding is still what’ I’d call whimsical depending on whether I feel cautious that day, or careless.
    Will leave in few minutes for a condo bridge game few blocks down the street. These are mostly women younger than me (60s, 70s) — some are also duplicate (skilled) players, some not as good at it as me. It is a noisy bunch as well. Very gossippy which I enjoy .

    maggy

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