Monday, January 11, 2010

A pair to draw to

I'd never heard anyone say of a couple that they were "a pair to draw to," until a friend said it today. I wonder whether she listens to much country music, or just plays poker.
    She said it of me and my wife. I like that.


  1. I think she's saying that you and Carolyn are ready for a menage a trois. What else could she mean?

  2. Ha! Well, the true background seems to be the poker angle, at second hand:

    My friend replied to my query: NO country music, just oldies, and NO poker, just cribbage and pinochle.

    I asked: Was "pair to draw to" original with you, then (even if out there already, in these other contexts)?

    She explained: My first husband was a compulsive gambler. Maybe I heard it from him, I really don't remember. That was almost 40 years ago! How did I get so old???

  3. Ken just shared with me privately something that's too good not to share with my readers:

    I'd like to speculate a little about "a pair to draw to." The words "pair" and "draw" tell me that poker is the origin of the phrase. I'm not a poker player, but I can imagine situations where I hold a pair and don't draw to it. (For example, I might also have the possibility of making a straight or flush, or someone has a face-up card that could have given me 3-of-a-kind.) So "a pair to draw to" is a pair held when drawing a third is blessed by the odds — a pair to build on rather than break up. But even if this is a good guess, who will get that?

    While I took the comparison from my friend as complimentary and benign, I have to acknowledge, after Ken's insightful analysis, that the comparison has some logical problems. This could explain why country music has picked up the phrase.

    And maybe my friend's compulsively gambling first husband was so far gone that he'd draw to almost any pair he held, ever.

    Ken also clarifies that he asked, "What else could she mean?" for information, not rhetorically. He didn't intend to be making a joke (as I assumed).