The Cocktail Bar

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


PUBLIC NOTICE: On a lighter note, that wonderful Aristasian story Strangers in Paradise has sprouted a new episode at last; a delightful scene in a bar in Quirinelle, with a blonde barmaid and a fascinating brunette. Do pop over there. Well, enough Public Notices. On with the show.


Music Playing: Marychild's Dance orchestra playing "Stardust"

Jewel to Ariadne

Dearest Ariadne
First let me say how profoundly relieved I am to know you are safe and well and not at the mercy of some unspeakable landlady who would throw you out onto the cold and snowy streets for vicarious pleasure and a mere two or three months unpaid rent. I was thrilled to see you, perched on your stool, back where you belong, among the belles at the cocktail bar. If only you had been able to stay a trifle longer, as I did so want to ask you more about your thrilling adventures and complement you on your exquisite earrings - were they a gift, by any chance?

Alas, you had more pressing concerns. So, when I take my tumbler back to the bar for another of those delicious hot rum punches, I shall leave this note for you with the bartendress. Order yourself another Gibson, dear - it has already been paid for - and assure yourself that there are no curious brunettes in the immediate vicinity, as this is strictly between blondes.

I fear that there are those among us here, who would cut short your fun. Since your revelation the other night, tongues have been wagging and opinions expressed as to the unsuitability of your relationship with Madame de V. Would they have also have denied you access to the inner sanctum, I ask myself, or declared that a dude ranch was no place for a blonde? It seems to me that there is a certain "double moral" at play. Were a brunette to strike up a liaison with a glamorous, impeccably dressed copaine of the opposite sex, there would only be admiration, I am sure. Yet, we blondes are expected to wait around for Miss Right to decide it's time to settle down. Well, Ariadne, you have thrown caution to the winds in the pursuit of romance and adventure and I for one wish you every happiness.

Your confidante,
JEWEL


Go Gently, Sweet Andrea

For Pette's sake, Andrea! Just because poor Ariadne misplaced her full-length cream slip and asked whether you had seen it (that was more than six weeks ago!), you really shouldn't keep giving the poor sweet misguided confused pette such a hard time. Surely she has enough troubles right now as it is without being pilloried for "eating in a basement!"

Dearest Andrea, I cannot but wonder whether my brunette sensitivities detect just the faintest whiff of feline overtones to your solicitousness. No ...no, of course not, I am clearly mistaken.

And thank you so much, Andrea, for sharing your tip about Classic Fashions of Tulsa. It is so gratifying when one's all-absorbing interest in lingerie pays off so handsomely! I do hope Classic Fashions of Tulsa can deliver by air to Great Britain in time for the holidays: on your recommendation I have already placed an order for several of the very items you listed, putatively genuine Kadorian and Quirinellian stockings for a song! I can hardly wait to show them off here in the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar: they will go so well with my Nightingale suspenders and my starched uniform.

YRSULA


Music Playing: Glenda Mullerein's Orchestra playing: "Moonlight Serenade"

A little help with stockings for Ariadne

I was most concerned to hear about poor Ariadne's financial plight and then her disappearance. I did consider whether I could help the Bureau of Missing Blondes appeal for more precise details about her lingerie, but this is a rather intimate subject for Aphrodite ladies to discuss. I only caught a glimpse of her full-length cream slip next to her bed when I visited her in hospital at St Yvyanne's. I think it had a Harrods label and was a size 14, but beyond this I could say little that would have been of much help. However, she did return, but in what strange circumstances.

She seems to be moving in rather high circles, fancy eating in that rather posh establishment called La Gavrochette. Who would dream of eating in a basement? I can not but be worried that she has made a mistake taking up with her new rich friend. Is the price of a pair of new nylon stockings any substitute for the warmth and friendship she has met here in the Cocktail Bar? I may be able to help Ariadne about being able to afford buying new nylons, especially if she comes to her senses.

I have recently discovered during a new source for real 1950s nylons, that do not cost the earth. They come from Classic Fashions of Tulsa. For those of you that come to the Cocktail Bar through Elektra Space they are only just round the corner. Their WWW address is:

http://www.tulsa.com/cftcathd.html

This is a snippet from their elektra catalogue:

Ultra Sheer Stocking
Our glossiest stocking, the ultra-sheer is made from some of the sheerest nylon available. This increasingly rare style was most popular during the late 1950s through the 1960s, and continues to be one of our biggest sellers!. Features include a reinforced heel and toe, with a special run-stop at the toe, and at the top of the stocking. 100% non-stretch nylon. 3 Pair for $23.95.

Fully Fashioned Stocking
Our most requested style! Most popular during the glamorous 1940s, these stockings feature matching back seams, keyhole-top, classic hourglass sole reinforcement, and a square-top French-style heel! Our version is a full 37 inches from heel to top (size C) for today's shorter hem lines. 100% non-stretch nylon.
1 Pair for $9.95
3 Pair for $27.95.

The dears at Classic Fashions will supply these stockings by mail order for a modest shipping charge.

There are also some rather nice black stockings and panties pictures of 1950s pin up Betty Page (I am sure that I have seen her over in the Common Room) at this WWW address:

http://www.azstarnet.com/~buster/

It was through this site that I found a link to Classic Fashions.

I do hope, Ariadne dear, that you will see the light of day and take heed of these little tips from your real friends before you make a decision that you might later regret.

Yours affectionately,
ANDREA Music Playing: The Quirinelles singing "Great Balls of Fire"

Canada Says Hello

Hi there - can I buy you a drink ? Ice tea maybe ? Or would you like champagne and strawberries ? Oh - I love this song, would you care to dance ?

I'd love to talk with you...
SUSAN


Fragrance of Femininity

If not for my shortness of breath I would have more to say...so dare I say that this wonderful lounge of blonde and brunette flavors linger on my tongue and I must remain still...and catch my breath inside of this fragrance known only as femininity!
VICTORIA


Heartfelt Advice to Ariadne

(for Blonde ears only)

Oh, dear, delightful Ariadne, how heavenly to have you back among us. But really, the story you have told us blondes is too fright-making for words. Have you any idea of the perilous position you have placed yourself in? Indeed your pecuniary problems are solved; but for how long? And at what price?

Oh darling do not think that my heart is not with you, or that I would for one moment spoil your joy, if it were true joy. But consider: if this rich and charming brunette loves you as she leads you to suppose, would she not ask for your hand in marriage? Would she not commit her own life as yours has been committed? She gives you, dear, what she can easily afford to give, but with no security; and she takes in return your most precious gift, which can only be given once.

And how, sweet Ariadne, how if an event should befall you. I mean the sort of event that is normally termed blessed. How will you term it, dear blonde, unhallowed as it must be by holy matrimony? And what then will your friends say? What then your dear blonde Mummie? Your brunette Mummie? Your sisters, if you have sisters?

And then, dear Ariadne, suppose your sweetheart should prove untrue? What then, when the precious jewel that should have been reserved for the brunette who will unite her life indissolubly with yours has been bought - yes, bought - by a philanderer and cast aside like the outworn plaything of a spoiled and too-rich child? My sweet friend, what will become of you then?

Oh, Ariadne, desist, repent: turn aside from this primrose path to ruin before it is too late. Do not let mere temporary impecunity blight and despoil a fine young life. Perhaps we can raise a subscription here at the Cocktail Bar to help you through your present difficulties with honour and seemliness.

Oh, yes, you have fallen, dear Ariadne, as you yourself admit. But perhaps all is not lost. Rise again, sweet one; put temptation behind you and rise. Here are hands to take yours and help you to your feet. You have spoken only to the blondes here present; no brunette yet knows of your fall; and we, rely upon it, shall engage ourselves in a conspiracy of silence. We shall never speak. Rise now, Ariadne, while there is yet time.

With love and deep concern,
MARY


Audrey or Katherine - Blonde or Brunette

I was just out browsing this morning when I happened upon this cocktail bar.

Do you know how it feels when you've been searching for the perfect accessory? You've envisioned it in your mind but have looked everywhere for it. The challenge of the hunt, the uncertainty ("Am I really so unusual as to think that this perfect item can be found?" you might think to yourself) and finally, the thrill when you find it.

That is how I've felt ever since finding a seat here in the bar, listening quietly, breathing easily, admiring, now hoping to be admired.

And wondering, too - faced with the interesting question to take home this evening after I've finished my toddy here. Am I a brunette or a blonde? I've always thought of myself as a brunette, with the attitude of a Katharine Hepburn (and, yes, even her film characters' clothes, too. Wouldn't you just die if you became the owner of those fabulous suits she wore in the film "Adam's Rib"?) But perhaps I'm a blonde, like Audrey Hepburn. After all, ladies, what girl doesn't yearn to be taken care of the way Audrey yearned to be and (to continue the comparison) to wear oh-so-feminine costumes from "Sabrina"?

I've felt ostracized by others -- even women! -- outside. I love the company of girlfriends, but the politics of "The Pit" say I'm too feminine. Yet I've always felt that to be feminine is to be powerful in -- dare I say it? -- a "superior" way.

Enough wondering. It's just enough to find a home away from home. It smells so good in here, and the sounds of blonde and brunette laughter, the dancing by Orlando and -- ah, who was she?? They made such a fine-looking pair ... well ... they just melt my cares away. I'll return soon, I hope, perhaps to the Inner Sanctum, where I may let my brunette tendencies prevail a bit more. But now, home. I just bought a pair of the loveliest slate-colored stockings and charcoal-leather high-heels, perfect to wear with the pearl gray silk blouse and black tweed skirt with the kickpleat. Maybe I'll wear them when I visit next.

Take care . . . It's been lovely.
TRACIE


Music Playing: The Quirinelles singing "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"

Ariadne Steals Out to Visit the Cocktail Bar

FOR BLONDES' EARS ONLY

Dearest Pettes! It's been simply ages since last I balanced myself on the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar's target stool, crossed my legs with that acutely delicious frisson of nylon against nylon, cocked my chin up and hoisted high a Gibson (and my hem, just a trifle less high). I hear that at least a few of you, not just here but in the Common Room as well, have been trying to find out where I have been these last weeks and more, so let me fill you in. I have so much to tell you . . . you blondes, that is.

[We beg the indulgence of our other readers and contributors for the space devoted to this article: Ariadne has been absent a month and she really has got a lot to tell you. Whether or not she realises it, (the latter being the more likely) her story raises a number of interesting questions about relations between the sexes -- The Management]
Do draw nearer, Ellhedrine, Andrea, Jewel, Mary, Ophelia, Sabrina and . . . and . . . o dear! . . . I fear I have exhausted my quota of six! . . . very well, then . . . and any other of you blondes here in the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar whose names I cannot recall. And as for Yrsula, Miss Barbara, Sarah, Hevelyn, Polyhymnia and Janet -- kindly remain at the bar; keep your distance, please, if you can restrain yourselves at all. This is strictly blonde femmey chit-chat. We Pettes do require our privacy, you know, and must discuss our tradecraft amongst ourselves unbothered alone. Unbothered particularly by brunettes on fire.

Well, Pettes, (Do we all have drinks now? and are we quite alone? no brunettes lurking about?) . . . after my bank account evaporated and the landlady began pestering me every day for the back rent, I did not know quite where to turn -- I was becoming desperate: not even enough shillings for the gas meter on those raw November nights. I am embarrassed to admit that funds were so very low that I was down to one meal a day, and rather meagre fare at that. So I felt very fortunate one evening several weeks ago when I was asked out to dinner by Miss N., a brunette you may have noticed in the Cocktail Bar from time to time. You know, the one with the mother-of-pearl Dunhill cigarette lighter? Always orders a Manhattan? Very classy but also very quiet?

Well, in any event, she invited me to meet her at La Gavrochette restaurant at seven one evening, so I arrived promptly at nine-thirty: no Miss N. I was shown to the table, and after patiently waiting another hour and a half (my patience bolstered by four or five gibsons), Miss N. still had not arrived (some brunettes simply have no sense of time!), so I decided to order dinner anyway as I was absolutely famished. La Gavrochette offers superb cuisine, beautifully prepared, presented and served: I had myself a memorable dinner. But as the blondes' menu at this particular posh spot has no prices, I didn't realise what a bill I was incurring! (Mary, I see your glass is empty. Why don't you flit over to the bar, dear heart, and have Polyhymnia buy you another blonde bombshell?)

Needless to say, Miss N. never showed up. When I had finished my after-dinner cordial and had been given the bill, I presented my BlondeCard to the waitress: she took it but did not return. Several minutes later, however, the maitresse d' did; she informed me curtly that my card had come up as canceled. She rather gratuitously added that, even if it hadn't have done, the bill exceeded my monthly credit limit anyway. (I have since learned that blondes, whether single or married, are almost never permitted monthly credit limits in excess of 100 guineas -- credit manageresses at banks are evidently all brunettes and for unfathomable reasons operate on the ludicrous assumption that blondes can't handle money. Is there no end to the humiliations we blondes are expected to endure at the hands of brunettes?)

Naturally, having no more than a few small coins with me and not knowing what ever to do, my first line of defense, as always, was to burst into tears, creating a modest diversion: a girl needs a little time to collect herself and think, you see. (You Pettes will understand exactly what I mean, I do not doubt.) A couple of minutes and several lacy handkerchiefs later, a very elegant brunette suddenly materialised and murmured a few quiet words to the manageress. Before I realised it I was being whisked away to the brunette's flat in Mayfair in a mauve Bentley, a slim, liveried brunette driver at the wheel and the very elegant brunette in back, hovering over me in solicitous attendance.

Now, Pettes, comes the best part! The brunette turns out to be Symone de V., the 35-year old heiress to an avionics fortune. Her firm, Aviontechnics Ltd., "is the largest privately-held manufacturer of gyrocompasses in the world" (so says Symone). No jet aeroplane is allowed to fly anywhere without at least a dozen of these pricey gizmos on board, not even her own Ladystar company jet. Her firm has plants in Ladychester, Bellefast and Malaya, so you may assuredly take my word that Symone has oodles of money. She has flats in London, New York and Sydney as well as houses in Palm Beach and Sun Valley and a villa in Bellagio. (That's six, is it not?)

And Symone is gorgeous: a bit taller than me, with short-cropped hair and blue eyes: actually, almost the same pale shade of blue as mine. High cheekbones, rather like Dianna Rigg, but with short hair. And when she decides to do something, there is virtually no stopping her. One can barely keep up with her on the pavement.

To make a long story short, your Ariadne is a very fortunate blonde indeed: Symone took a strong and instant fancy to me. She even told me she liked my mind! No one, Pettes, simply no one, has told me that for ever so long.

The very next morning Symone took me to a number of expensive clothing and jewellery shops where she has accounts. Most of the day was spent measuring me -- measuring parts of me I never knew even had measurements -- for hats, gloves, shoes, dresses and much more intimate apparel I did not conceive could be made to measure for a girl. (I must say the seamstresses were most delicate when it came to measuring for the most intimate items.) Symone has such defined tastes in blondes' clothing and accessories that I had no decisions to make whatever: she knew exactly what suited me best. Tomorrow we must make the rounds all over again for the first fittings: such travail!

And, even better, just a week ago Symone set me up in a charming little five-room flat in Hampstead, with my very own maid, Brydgitte, a diminutive blonde. Almost every afternoon another piece of jewellery arrives concealed in an extravagant floral arrangement. In the evenings it's been one elegant restaurant after another and then on to the theatre or opera. And every night, Pettes . . . every night . . . how ever shall I tell you about the nights?

Here I must pause to catch my breath lest I prattle on and reveal all. Scarcely two months have passed since I was the New Girl in the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar: diffidently did I assume my perch on the famous art deco stool, ritually shifted my legs with an audible shiver of nylon, discreetly displayed my slip's lacy hem -- as all new girls must do -- and declared to all assembled that I was too shy to reveal anything more than my name. Scarcely two months ago. . .

And now . . . now shall I, like a wanton shameless brazen hussy, reveal what transpires at night betwixt the sheets? O, what ever would mummie say? Or Matthilde? Might my Blonde License be revoked? My Invisible Dolly confiscated?

But, soft, do not be alarmed, decorum shall prevail. Aphroditism has taught me that the less said or shown and the more implied or imagined -- the more feminine, though even the oblique admission that follows may forfeit me forever any claim I may have had to being a good girl -- I do *so* fear the consequences. If ever I am called to account I shall plead the triple defenses of diminished capacity, pecuniary necessity and divinely irresistible opportunity.

But, la! Enough! With quintessential feminine modesty, suffice it to say that I should be less than candid were I not to tell you Symone is a proper Renaissance brunette, talented in many spheres of feminine endeavour. Especially how she uses her . . . but no, I've told quite enough. Why, then, am I here at the Cocktail Bar this very evening? Mainly, I longed to see all my old friends. More to the point, just this morning Symone has flown off to Kuala Lumpur on business, and as this was the maid's afternoon off as well, I thought I'd steal out for a few minutes to let you know that things are definitely looking up and not to worry your pretty heads about me.

I daren't remain here even a moment longer as I must get back before Brydgitte returns; I wouldn't want Symone to learn I'd gone out on my own. Not just yet. I shall be back in a few days' time. Wish me luck, Pettes!

As ever, your fun-loving, adventurous and now ever-so-fortunate though fallen
ARIADNE

A special post-script from Ariadne to Jewel

Dearest Jewel,

It is so wonderfully generous of you to have been concerned for my well-being. Surely enduring a long cold dark bleak winter without silk stockings, hot toddies, fresh flowers and the thousand natural pleasures that blondes are heir to -- that would have been quite unbearable indeed. But now, you see, such a trial is simply out of the question because of my great good fortune.

If memory serves, "Once December starts the management shall be serving hot rum punch at the Bar at threepence ha'penny," (my memory always serves when it comes to bargains in beverages), and as December is now hard upon us, on my way out I shall ask the bartendress to set one up for you. I am almost certain I have a shilling somewhere here about me. Sorry I can't join you, I really must run now.
-- A.


Mauve Bentley Sighted Again

To: Inspector Sarachild
From: Detective Inspector Annechilde
Subject: Mauve Bentley resurfaces

At 6:30 a.m. today we again sighted the mauve Bentley, described in my previous minute, leaving a Hampstead address, driven by a slight brunette in uniform. As the passenger windows were black glass, we were unable to see the other occupant(s). We tailed it to the private aviation section of London Airport, where it delivered the fashionable brunette previously described, to whom the codename Lynx has now been assigned.

Lynx strode through the terminal, carrying a briefcase, boarded a black Ladystar private jet bearing no markings and was flown off at 7:42 a.m. Departure Control was not able to inform us of Lynx's identity, but did say the jet belongs to Aviontechnics Ltd. and had filed a flight plan to Kuala Lumpur.

The blonde individual was not seen. We followed the Bentley back into town, where it was garaged at an address in Mayfair.

Details of addresses, routes driven, etc. may be found in the attached log. Please advise by return if you desire me to obtain warrants to search the two addresses for M. B. Ariadne. Has your contact Yrsula provided further lingerie details? Do you wish me to attempt an identification of Lynx? Shall I inform our stringerette in Malaya? Time is of the essence, as with only one refuelling stop the jet's E.T.A. is sixteen hours from takeoff, at approximately 11:42 p.m. G.M.T.
DETECTIVE INSPECTOR NYCOLE ANNECHILDE


Will I Fit In?

You all seem so intelligent and speak so eloquently. I am afraid that I might not fit into this group, having grown up in the heart of the city- so coarse and unsophisticated.

I am afraid that I don't write stories or anything very interesting. I do photograph, but I can't share my photographs with you here. Perhaps someone would like to come over and see them sometime? They are mostly self-portraits. Does that make me self-centred?
LAURA


Of course you will fit in. Just hop on a bar stool -- careful, we don't want every one to know the colour of your pink slip and tell us whether you are blonde or brunette (not your hair-colour, of course!)


Ariadne Sighted?

Ariadne missing? Goodness I'm sure I saw her the other day. It was a grisly cold day. Steam was rising from the ground vents - smoke billowing out of chimneys.

As I was walked down Long Acre I caught an unmistakable tinkle of laughter. My heart jumped and I turned to look as Ariadne left that delightful French restaurant Le Palais du Jardin. She was dressed in a crimson silk suit with creme lace stockings and leaning on the arm of a rather majestic brunette.

The brunette was wearing a leather catsuit similar to Emma Peel's and her dark hair was cropped in a rather severe short style. Her piercing blue eyes caught my glance, challenging me to look away. She was quite menacing and quickly walked the other way almost hauling Ariadne along behind her.

The shock was immense - I stood watching them as they disappeared towards Drury Lane. Ariadne almost tripping to keep up with the brunette.

KATALINA


Minute to Inspector Sarachild

To: Inspector Vyolet Sarachild
From: Detective Inspector Nycole Annechilde
Subject: Missing Blonde Ariadne

A blonde answering to the description of M.B. Ariadne, as posted in last week's Missing Blondes Bulletin, was seen leaving Asprey's jewellery establishment in Bond Street at 3:14 P.M. yesterday in the company of a fashionably dressed brunette. They were driven off in a mauve Bentley, number plate M-65854, and were followed to Penhaligon, a perfumery in Covent Garden which they entered at 3:49 P.M. At 4:52 P.M. they emerged and were directly driven away in the same car. But I regret to inform you that we lost them in heavy traffic.

As nothing appeared unusual, however, and as the blonde was evidently enjoying herself, no attempt was made to approach the pair. Therefore no vital lingerie details could be verified and no positive identification was possible. In this officer's opinion, if the blonde individual is indeed M. B. Ariadne, she did not appear to be very missing.

A computer vehicle check reveals the Bentley is registered to Aviontechnics Ltd., a firm with headquarters in London but research and manufacturing facilities in Ladychester and Bellefast.
DETECTIVE INSPECTOR NYCOLE ANNECHILDE


Has Peggy Defrosted Yet?

Peggy, darling, you've been defrosting in the corner for some time. Is that not your fourth hot chocolate and cognac? Surely you must have thawed by now. We are all dying to hear all about the Arctic girly-girls' amorous adventures under the northern lights.

But are you quite sure you wish to visit the Inner Sanctum? Although you haven't declared it, I sense you are a brunette, and therefore constitutionally sound enough to survive a visit unscathed. Nonetheless, you might want to catch Miss Barbara and ask about her visit there several weeks ago. And, if you check the Archives, you will see what effect the Inner Sanctum had on at least one blonde, our own Ariadne, who has never quite recovered her wits, such as they were, and has now gone missing.

Sure, I'd be happy to accompany you. I'm a sister at a mental hospital, after all, and I've seen everything. But we'll have to go on your secret password: I don't have one.

We are all listening, aren't we, girls? ... YRSULA


Peggy's story follows later. But Yrsula -- if you haven't a Secret Password, you can't have seen everything, can you?


Waiting for Dorothy

Hello, all, and thank you so much for cheering my otherwise dreadfully drab day! Please allow a redhead to introduce herself -- I'm Sarah, new to your world, admittedly, but I could not possibly be more charmed or feel more welcome among such lovely and articulate companions. (I fully expect Dorothy Parker to walk in any minute) With such intimidatingly exquisite a gathering, I am indeed grateful to have dressed with special care this crisp fall evening. The black silken corset that presses me with gentle reassurance, as though I were poured into it, and my admittedly shockingly high new heels with all their quaint straps give me the re-assurance to dare converse bit . . . even as I find one glove has come unbuttoned, and my hat is dangerously askew! Gracious, what can you think of me?

Melanie, might I complement you upon your lovely poetry, as well as your lovely smile? And Janet, what a horrible tease you are! I do hope you can sit down soon, love. Seeing the thoroughly delicious Ellhedrine, I can certainly see how anyone could be tempted into sin. And Cynthia, how delightful you look perched so decorously upon your stool. All of you are a delight to every sense. My work in Philadelphia has quite exhausted me, and it is such a pleasure to relax for a change for an evening.

But Patricia, I must confess it is a special pleasure to meet you; one auburn-haired firebrand to another. (I consider myself a brunette who's on fire!) (smile) Might I be so bold as to offer you a drink?
SARAH


Nice Girls

I have never seen such a nice group of intriguing ladies gathered in one place You seem to be having a jolly time of it. Nice to stop by.
DEBRA


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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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