The Cocktail Bar

Memories of Evenings Past

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NOTE: This conversation runs backwards! For the benefit of regular readers the newest comments are put at the top.


Music Playing: The Quirinelles singing "Secret Love"

Blonde Vacation

Hello one and all,
What a relief to walk into this lovely establishment after facing all of the ugliness of the "real" world -- though I am coming to believe that this world in Telluria isn't REAL at all, but is only an odd construction, one I must endure until I can rejoin you delightful pettes here in the Cocktail bar.

Ellhedrine: I see that your sweet brow is still wrinkled a bit with fret over your recent bold move regarding Janet. Dear heart, I have listened to the chit chat around the room and I can report to you that the blondes are all fluttering with admiration for you. "I only hope I have the courage if it comes to it," is one of the more choice bits I overheard. The brunettes, it seems, are having two responses to your quick-wristed slap. The more honorable brunettes, myself included, are filled with respect for how you defended your innocence and delicate sensibility. The other kind of brunette, and I am quite ashamed to admit to you that there exists another kind of brunette, though I believe you have learned this truth all too well recently, this kind of brunette is saying that she knows now not to approach THAT one over there, "she may look gullible and innocent, but she knows enough about matters of the heart (and it seems of the hand) to protect that gullibility and innocence." In short, dear Ellie, for I will call you Ellie since we are speaking in such soft voices, you have earned yourself a place here with that slap. You came through the Cocktail Bar doors an innocent, wobbling creature and you will leave, though I do hope not too soon, a woman of the world, and a respectable woman of the world at that. I feel honored that I have had a small part in such an important moment of your life.

And now, if you don't mind, dear girl, I must speak for a moment to Ariadne about her holiday plans.

Dear, sweet Ariadne (for I do hope you are still speaking to me since my comments about your hair color), I must advise against you going to bongo-America for your vacation. I know that you do not have a history of heeding my advice, but nevertheless I will give it. If Telluria has become the Pit since the eclipse, then America is at the very bottom of that Pit. For your own good, you should stay far, far away from a country characterized by ugliness and vulgarity. But if you DO decide to holiday at the all-femme dude ranch, please come visit me, and add a touch of loveliness to my drab world. As for traveling together (did I see you look at me when you made that general announcement, or was that my wishful imagination?), what would people say seeing a blonde and a brunette taking holiday together and not being married? I do not think that I, for one, could bear the scandal of having a hotel clerk surreptitiously look at your left hand ring finger when we ask for a room! And once we got to that room, how could I keep myself from watching as you adjusted your suspenders, your slip, your lovely silky underthings? Oh Ariadne, in short, you must find a blonde to travel with you, for I am sure that if even upstanding, honorable me would be overcome by the situation, just about any other brunette would be even more so. And just think of the wonderful stories you would come back with if you took another blonde along with you! What a delicious comedy of errors and adventures you would return with!

Well, I have gone on and on, so much so that I hope all of you pettes will forgive me. I do so love each and every one of you lovely loves.

MISS BARBARA


Where Are We?

After a week or so visiting Femmeworld I thought I had the hang of Aristasia, Telluria, the Pit, Quirinelle and all the rest of it. But now I come to the Cocktail Bar and my head spins - without one Blonde Bombshell! Where are we? Ellhedrine talks of coming from Quirinelle and has clearly never seen a man in her life. Ariadne and Yrsula give the impression that we are near London, yet it is a London with blondes and brunettes in the Aristasian sense, and also men and a Tellurian Middle Ages. Can any one give a few hints to a lost brunette?
ROSEANNE


Well, the simple answer is that we are in Elektraspace, an electronic fourth dimension that can be reached from both Aristasia and Telluria and from certain other parallel worlds that seem to be between the two. One place near here is a London that is broadly Tellurian, but has a number of Aristasian-like blondes and brunettes in it (possibly descendants of the ladies mentioned in Ariadne's story which emanated from Yrsula who has a decidedly un-Tellurian name and seems curiously anxious to pooh-pooh the tale now it has become public). This London is clearly not the Pit-London, but one which has many characteristics of the 1950s without actually being in the 1950s. Possibly this is some variant on the Aristasian province of Quirinelle. Ellhedrine, on the other hand is obviously visiting directly from Quirinelle in Aristasia. Miss Barbara, on the other hand, seems to be teaching in a college in America, Telluria.


Advice to Marisa

Dear Marisa: How nice of you to join our pleasant conversation. I also am having a bit of trouble seeing if you are blonde or brunette, and I will have to know that before I can give you any advice about that girlish figure of yours (and as all the pettes here in the Cocktail Bar know, I do so adore giving advice).

I CAN tell you that being large-bosomed is infinitely easier if one is a brunette than if one is a blonde. As a woman with more of a Jane Russell look than a Kate Hepburn look, I understand the concerns one might have: finding proper-fitting undergarments, blouses with ample space, etc. And the stares. Well, whether you are blonde or brunette, darling, just enjoy them. I have known a few dears who actually felt so uncomfortable with the attention that they underwent surgery to alter their shape. But I say, live it up, and love every minute of it, especially if you are a brunette and have that special brunette-air about you. If, however, you are a blonde, perhaps you will have to take a lesson or two from our own Ellhedrine sitting demurely on the stool over there. She can tell you how to wield a bit of blonde courage when circumstances call for it.

In any case, welcome.
MISS BARBARA


Music playing: Freda Staire singing "Let's Face the Music and Dance"

Femme Counseling

Dear Ariadne, Andrea, Ellhedrine et al.:
Thank you for your great conversation and manners, your rouge lipsticks, your stocked legs and your whole embracing femininity that astounds me. I've been hearing Bianca Crosby and couldn't help writing you some thoughts I've been roaming for the past few months. What a discovery! I really didn't notice my femininity until I heard you chatting. I didn't pay attention to what kind of skirts could bring some kindness on me. Though I'm big busted, this is troublesome for me. I'm always misunderstanding the furtive glances on me at the office or the shopping mall. I'm always thinking of that this is the only thing they want of me. It's very sad and I need some femme counseling on it. Would you please send me some stimulant words?. Maybe that in replay I could dare to tell some other disturbing thoughts: Can a woman be alone for years, five or so, without companion?. I've have nothing but hard work at a public hospital. I'm MD and PhD.
Thanks in advance
MARISA


We are sure the pettes will have some words of help for you, but right away let us give you a Manhattan on the house and tell you that a feminine figure is one of the glories of the world and you should be proud of it. Furtive glances can be unpleasant, but often they mean no more than the genuine admiration that is your due as an attractive girl. Take a stool and make yourself at home - oh, and it's a shade hard to be sure in this light: are you blonde or brunette?


Invitation to the Dance

Hello Dear, Dear Pettes:
What a delicious flurry of activity in the Bar tonight; such drama and delight.

Kind Ellhedrine: that you worried, that you fretted over what was so perfectly the right action DOES make me pensive, as Ariadne has so intuitively noticed. You are such a breath of clean mountain air in this smoke-filled place. Your instincts are true, and that you had the courage to do the honorable thing before even hearing my sound advice, well, it fills me with the kind of respect that every blonde should have from every brunette, though, sadly, that is rarely the case.

Dear Ariadne: May we slip into this nearby booth, and speak tete-a-tete in softer, more demure voices? For what I wish to say to you is certainly for your ears only. Darling, I know there is value in a well-placed lie, a mistruth that saves feelings and smoothes out the tension between the sexes, but, Dear, I am not good at the quick-witted fib. My downfall as a brunette is my dedication to honesty and the truth. So, sweet Ariadne, it is quite painful for me, but state this particular truth I must: When I was first drawn to your barstool, before you ventured into the unmentionable room, before your visit to St. Yvyanne's, and days before Ellhedrine entered this lovely place and caused a (thankfully temporary) rift between you and I, I was captivated by your dark Trentish bob, by your fiery locks, by, in short, your red hair. I never felt you less a blonde for being a redhead. And now, with the "help" of a bottle of dye, you may have become "more" of a blonde, but in my eyes, granted, the eyes of only one of your many, many admirers, you have become a bit less of a blonde. Dear, I do hope you will allow it to grow out into its former glorious hue; but even more, I hope you will forgive me for my bluntness, and if you can find it in your beautiful heart to forgive me, would you stand up with me and do me the honor of dancing with me, for I do so love the music our mistress is playing this evening.

Blonde or redheaded, you continue to captivate me with your girlish charms.

Love and Sweetness to All,
MISS BARBARA


Music playing: Bianca Crosby singing "When the Blue of the Night meets the Gold of the Day"

Ariadne Seeks Advice

Hello Andrea, Paula, Ellhedrine, Skipper, Barbara, Iris! (I know I'm forgetting several other Pettes, but six is the limit for anything I can ever remember; I'm doing well if I can recall the six days of the week in their proper order). It has become so crowded here in the Cocktail Bar that I had to wait for a stool to be vacated! So many new faces, such a cornucopia of comely legs, vermilion lips, smart hats and ever so subtle suggestions of lacy hems! The fragrant blue smoke of unfiltered cigarettes! And don't you just adore the music?

Miss Skipper, what a charming offer you have made me, particularly the poetry reading. Lovely words do make me positively melt. Who is your favourite poetess? As for having returned too soon from hospital, Andrea, you should know I was fairly pushed out the door of St. Yvyanne's, so thoroughly did I recover. They told me they hoped never to see me there again! And yes, I found my slip; it was under the bed and not half as alluring as yours, from the tiny glimpse I got. And yes again, I'll swap petticoats with you any time except now of course.

Dear Yrsula, (not "Sister" now I've been discharged), I am so glad you were not sacked! Hearing your sobs, I only imagined that . . . but I understand you have told everyone my imagination is rather too flighty. On the contrary, I really have no imagination at all: I deal only in facts, plain, tangible facts. I am a proper scientist, you see. I must tell you sometime about my out-of-body experiences. . . Miss Barbara, you are looking rather pensive this evening. Your tender feelings have not gone unnoticed. I can barely endure the pleasure of hearing your velvety voice addressing me. May I come over and join you in a just a moment? No Gimlets tonight, however: I am on the wagon indefinitely.

But first, I need some femmy advice. I've just been reading the travel section in this month's Modern Blonde, seeking a suitable venue for a holiday later this month. Two were reviewed, an all-femme dude ranch in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico and an all-femme luxury photo safari to Tanzania. I cannot choose between them. "Ojo Caliente" sounds so enchanting, but I am rather reluctant to straddle a horse, even a dainty mare, and I don't know if Wild West pettes may ride sidesaddle! On the other hand, I'm not sure if the night noises on the Serengeti will allow a girl her proper beauty sleep. And I cannot imagine what arrangements there are at either place for washing one's delicate underthings. Are there any equestriennes here tonight or any girls who have been to Africa?

And, whichever I choose, would anyone like to come along and share expenses, or other things.....?
ARIADNE


Ellhedrine's Relief

Sweet, sweet Miss Barbara, thank you and thank you again for your kind advice. In truth my Mummie has taught me a few little things; but in any case, sheer shock and terror taught me in the heat of the moment to do exactly as you counseled. There are some things, I think, which a blonde knows without any teaching.

Do not think, however, on that account that your advice was wasted. In truth it was even dearer to me after the event than it might have been before, and the reason was this: When one screams aloud in a lovely Art Deco Cocktail Bar, alarming all the patronettes, when one slaps the face of a very attractive brunette, one acts, of course from instinct, but a moment afterwards one begins to doubt oneself. "Did I do right?" one thinks. "Have I behaved like an idiot? Does every one now despise me for a noisy trouble-maker and a fool?"

When the managerette came over, I was half afraid that she would politely ask me to leave as well as Miss Janet, and that I should never be able to show my face in this delightful rendezvous again. I was relieved when that did not happen, but still I have been torturing myself with doubt ever since. Should I have handled the situation more tactfully? Quietly but firmly removed the offending hand from the nylon sea inside my skirt, for example? Calmly told the bar-blonde (even while she was, well, feeling me)? Did I act, in short, like a silly. panicky schoolgirl instead of a refined habitue of such a place as this? Am I now an object of pity or of scorn?

Such were my thoughts, Miss Barbara, and how tormenting they were only I can know. But when you publicly told me what I should do, and your advice was just about exactly what I had actually done - why, my dear brunette, I almost cried with relief. Twice now you have rescued me from the depths of embarrassment. I begin to feel like Lois Lane to your Superpette. Yes, of course you may call me Ellie - but not too loudly, as I should not like every one to start doing it. Dear Nurse Yrsula, I think we begin to understand one another at last! How foolish of me to take amiss your gallant remark. I do hope we can become friends.

Oh, no. I was not suggesting that dear Ariadne was doing anything wrong in using the words and names she did. Indeed, they are so strange to me that I should hardly be in a position to know if she was! I had rather supposed them to be her own invention and am fascinated to hear you speak as if they had fixed and definite meanings - meanings, indeed, that some one might take offence at. Well, be assured that I am too ignorant in these matters to have taken offence even if there was offence to take!

I certainly was not suggesting that they be censored. Perhaps it was my use of the adjective barbarous that makes you think so; but I meant it in a rather romantic sense as signifying things at once exotic and outlandish, somewhat like Egaralene Poe's Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. Whether there really are such things as men or dragons or unicorns in "the lands beyond the Mist", I cannot say (can any one?), but I rather hope there are. I should like to see such creatures one day, though I am sure I should be terrified.

But above all, dear Nurse Yrsula, I am delighted to hear that the rumours of your dismissal, like those of Marcia Twain's death, have been greatly exaggerated. Really, apart from my own behaviour in the Cocktail Bar the problem of your dismissal has been worrying me more than anything. I was wondering if Blonde Mummie would have let you stay in the spare room as my guest until you found something to suit you, but it would have been no more than a temporary solution to your problem. I had an idea about your setting up a private clinic in our drawing room, but I am sure Brunette Mummie would have fussed. Anyway I am not sure it would have worked. I had terrible visions of you destitute and starving, and if the worst came to the worst you could have lived secretly in our cellar and I should have smuggled food to you. But I am so glad the problem has turned out to be no problem at all, because none of my solutions felt terribly good, even to me. Anyway, Brunette Mummie (who looks after lots of secretaries and such at her office in the City) says that the good thing about having a cane in the office is that it is most extremely rare for any one to be dismissed. A good caning solves most problems. I am sure it is the same in hospitals too, and I shall not have to worry about you too much.
With love to all.
ELLHEDRINE


Music Playing: The Quirinelles singing "At the Hop"

Slips at the Office

Iris asked how we dress for the office. I have sometimes worn a frilly petticoat and sheer stockings under my more formal office dress, where one would not expect to see the hint of lace. Like Iris, I found that this can cause some interest from my fellow workers and I have felt a strange mixture of excitement and embarrassment at revealing too much. I now save my more feminine lingerie for the evenings and weekends when I am with my girlfriend, Susan. She does sometimes humour me by dressing up in silky underthings and dresses but she does not have quite the same enthusiasm as I do for such fine feminine things.

Dear Ariadne, it is nice to see you in the Cocktail Bar and I hear that you have also been sighted in the Common Room; but I do wonder if perhaps you have rushed back from St Yvyanne's a little too soon. Perhaps a couple more days in the fresh country air might have cleared your head of the silly suspicions you hold against me about the disappearance of your gorgeous cream slip and about the tipped bottle of nail varnish. As you can see I have on, tonight, my own cream silk slip, it is similar to your missing one but mine has a different lacy hem. Oops, sorry, did I reveal a little too much of my sheer black stockings and suspenders? So you see, I have my own beautiful lingerie and have no need or desire to misappropriate petticoats of other girls. Perish the thought, no Aristasian lady would do such a thing, we do have moral standards to maintain. Now swopping petticoats would be a different matter. I do so hope you find yours. Lastly, as a natural blonde I have no need for a hair colourist, perhaps you could look in Pink Pages, if such a thing exists.

I do hope that Janet and Ellhedrine are not going to get too carried away in the Cocktail bar with touching each others' suspenders, stocking tops and slips. Please girls, do have some decorum in a public place, is it really a good example to set us younger girls? I am getting just too excited at the thought of it! Finally, I had hoped to hear from Paula again, but she does not seem to have been around for a while.
ANDREA


An Offer to Miss Ariadne

I was so sorry to hear about the unfortunate mishap that befell our delicate Miss Ariadne. I wish her a speedy recovery. I also wish to volunteer my services as private nurse help bring her delicate constitution back to vigorous health. I could provide such services as sponge baths, foot massages and reading of her favorite poetry. I could also bring fresh pink roses every day.
Sympathetically yours,
MISS SKIPPER


A Disturbance at the Bar

"Miss Janet! Please! Take your hand out of my skirt!"

Ellhedrine slaps Janet's face with her small, white hand. It is doubtful whether the slap of such a frail young blonde could actually hurt the tall brunette, but it certainly makes a noise. Not as much noise, however, as the hysterical scream emitted by the said frail young blonde. Within seconds the two are surrounded by bar-belles, blonde and brunette.

"Come along, my dear," says the firm but not unfriendly managerette, "you've had a Fountain of Youth too many."

Ellherdrine Speaks

Oh, dear. I was so frightened. Really I was. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. And she looked such a charming brunette, too. Is it not remarkable that any one could act so foolishly over little me? I really must try to sit more demurely in future and not show anything I shouldn't. I just did not realise how -well, what an effect I could have. I feel as if I have grown up years since I have been sitting here. I mean. what an extraordinary thing to happen and, gosh, I mean me. Funny immature little me. Just as if I had been one of the blondes you see in films with their bobbed hair and cupid's-bow lips. I can't quite believe it. I feel shocked and tearful and strangely elated all at once.

And dear Nurse Yrsula. I seem fated always to put, as Ariadne so aptly says, my stockinged foot in it. There I was twitting you (you did sting me a bit, you know, with that remark) and all the time you had been dismissed from your situation. I could not know of course, but I feel so dreadful. Were I a brunette I should buy you a drink, but I know that would be an even worse gaffe being a blonde. What can I say except that I am terribly sorry, and I hope you will find a new place very soon. The "Nightingale Cane" sounds just dreadful. I have been caned twice at school (I am quite a good blonde and do not often get into much trouble), but the "Nightingale Cane" sounds much more formidable than that; but I understand that you bore your ordeal most bravely and I am filled with admiration.
ELLHEDRINE


Miss Barbara Drops In

Dearest Pettes: I haven't been very present at the Cocktail Bar of recent because professional Tellurian matters have been keeping me far too busy. But know that I always find a moment or two to sneak a look in the windows and overhear a bit of the conversation.

Dear, innocent Ellhedrine: I just noticed Janet boldly touch you where none but a wife should be allowed. I am glad that I was the first to approach you, for it seems that I am the lone brunette here who doesn't have schemes and plans for abusing your innocence. Ellie, may I call you Ellie?, if your mummie hasn't told you, perhaps I should: as a blonde, it is your duty to stop the advances of a brunette more worldly than yourself (and aren't all brunettes more worldly than you, dear pette?). We brunettes may be good at making lists and attending to the business of the world; we may never have words like gaffe and gauche used to describe our nature; we may be protective and exciting all at once to you blondes; but the one thing we are not expert at is knowing at all times when an advance, a gesture is a bit too much. It is your job to let us know with a sound slap of the face, a quick, shrill "MY Goodness," and a precise turning the other way. It is a big thing for you to do, I know, and perhaps the world is too much with you at this moment, dear, but Sweet Ellhedrine, slap her face you must. Or the other girls here will begin to say quite unflattering things of you.

To my own dearest Ariadne: welcome back. The room brightened so when you walked through the door. And now, I may exhale, for holding my breath I was all of those hours I spent hoping you would forgive me, praying you would return and in high spirits. And you have. You are like a clear church bell, ringing out through the fog. You, dear woman, are sweetness and light in a world of bitterness and dark.

Love and kisses (air kisses so our lipstick won't smudge!) to all,
MISS BARBARA


Miss Barbara's remarks to Ellhedrine raise an interesting point concerning the passage of time in the Cocktail Bar. As you will see, her sterling advice had been anticipated before it was given, and yet the whole affair took place within the space of a few minutes. Time here seems often like time in dreams or ancient plays, where whole speeches may take place in the minute interstices of passionate action. Rather jolly, what?


Yrsula Explains

I see that Ariadne has already been here trumpeting it about that I had been sacked from my position at St. Yvyanne's. Surely we all know by now just how fertile is Ariadne's wonderful blonde imagination. She is a fascinating dear sweet wide-eyed gullible creature, but she flits like a hummingbird from reality to fantasy with scant regard for which is which. I daresay that she can hardly tell the difference half the time.

No: I was not sacked; I merely received some well-directed (and gratifying) nursely discipline from Sister Athleen (she of the quick wrist) for some trifling verbal indiscretions, which had been stirred up and magnified by . . . Ariadne. One must mind what one tells that girl! I certainly shall in future.

To Ellhedrine: Darling, I fear you have completely inverted my meaning! When I said "Thank goodness" you are not my patient, I was bemoaning the ethical bar that we nurses have against any social intercourse whatever with patients under our care. Case in point: Ariadne. But, fortunately, no such bar exists between me and you, as you are, in fact, not my patient, and I am so grateful you are not! Forgive my clumsy phrasing.

And as for all those frightening words and names in the Hallowe'en piece, not a one of those were Ariadne's own; she was simply parroting what I had told her that day in Chalk Newton. It was I who concocted the counterfeit manuscript she quoted to you, and, in all her blue-eyed gullibility, she believed the whole tale unquestioningly. You should be neither frightened nor offended by such words; after all, the tale was set in Telluria, where it is widely known, I believe, that almost half the people happen to be male, whether we girls like it or not.

Femmeworld is a welcome refuge for those girls fortunate enough to have discovered it, but surely we are feminine enough to be able to countenance the physical realities of Telluria without importing so-called political correctness (a loathsome Bongo depravity) that would banish words we happen not to like from our language! Men are barred from Femmeworld, sure, but words are words are words. We need them to say what we dislike as well as what we like. The only censorship should be dictated by good taste, do you not agree?
YRSULA


Paula Breaks Her Silence

Dear Ariadne, Andrea, et al,
I apologize for being so quiet lately, but this blonde like to sit back and listen at times. It is often fun to watch and see the interactions of all. I am always learning more of my feminine ways. Trying to survive in a world that is not the time I like to be of. For thirty years past I would be happy. It is good to see Ariadne back and well and I hope that I did not contribute to her ill feelings by my past letter (if I did I apologize publicly myself). It was meant as a criticism only and I will try to observe what I write in the future. Let us meet over a drink and discuss this if you feel the need.

Andrea I am interested in the swap shop (you must help me a little and give me the American size reference or a chart to make the change so I know the fit will be right). I also seek information on finding nice corsets (with garters) and girdles. I wear one of these all the time. My significant other enjoys what they do for my shape. Being a little older I can wear the longer skirts and still be right at work, which is enjoyable. Plus only very special people really know what I have on underneath.

I will be dropping back to FEMMEWORLD more often and of course visit this meeting place more often.

Love to all,

PAULA


What I Wear to the Office

Iris asks what we wear to the office. Well, I am a blonde working in Yvyanne, Quirinelle. I usually wear wide skirts with at least three layers of petticoat. These skirts are quite long - mid-calf or below, though they swirl out when I turn round suddenly (which I sometimes have occasion to do, especially when some of the nicer brunettes are nearby). I wear a tight girdle to give me the smallest waist possible to go with my wide skirt, and one of those lovely cantilevered brassieres that give my bosom the pointy appearance that is so fash in Quirinelle. As for stockings and suspenders - but of course! What else could one go to the office in? Bare legs? Bobby sox? Believe me I should not keep my job a week if I didn't wear proper hose like any respectable city girl.
MISS DELIRA BRIGHT


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Some one has described Aristasia as "one long conversation". Well, Aphrodite is rather like that. If you want to catch up on the conversation so far, the Archive is the place to do it.
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