NOTE: This conversation runs backwards! For the benefit of regular readers the newest comments are put at the top.
Music Playing: The Quirinelles singing "Stupid Cupid"
Miss Barbara, we are not in your position, but we do feel for you most terribly. We are sure lots of girls must be in your position, and it really is necessary to create local groups where civilised ladies can meet and be themselves. Goodness knows, there are groups and associations in Telluria for every shade of strangeness. Is feminine sanity to be the only thing unrepresented and left without nourishment?
WARNING: The following document contains explicit language which some readers may find offensive. Although it is a confidential clinical record, we publish here with permission of the patient, Ariadne, in the shared hope that other pettes might avoid the Pit-falls that have reduced her to her present state. Pit Affective Disorder can be prevented! - The Management
PATIENT NAME: Ariadne
EMPLOYER NAME: Miss Symone de V.
GUARANTOR NAME: Miss Symone de V.
PATIENT D. O. B.: 30 March 1923
DATE OF ADMISSION: January 15, 1951
1. Acute Pit Affective Disorder with psychotic delusions of marriage.
2. First trimester pseudopregnancy (pseudocyesis).
3. Secondary amenorrhea
Ariadne is a 27-year old domestic companion and personal secretary admitted with psychotic delusions that she is the fiancée of her 35-year old brunette employer and is three months pregnant by her. The brunette, a Miss Symone de V., manages a multi-national gyrocompass business; she contacted our admissions department today after receiving an urgent telephone call at her office from the bridal registry department at Harrod's, where the patient apparently had tried to register bridal patterns for silverware, china and crystal for her forthcoming "marriage" to Miss de V. The patient became tearful, incoherent, disoriented, angry and combative when the bridal registry staff enquired about the exact wedding date and she was unable to name it, precipitating a public disruption and causing closure of the bridal registry until our attendants arrived to remove her by ambulance. She was able, however, to give the staff the telephone number of her employer's firm, allowing Miss de V. to be contacted. Miss de V. relates that she hired Ariadne as a personal secretary and shopping companion approximately three months ago and that Ariadne performed her duties more than satisfactorily. She apparently works well with Miss de V.'s other servants, a chauffeuse (brunette) and a maid/cook (blonde). Ariadne recently began working after hours with both these servants in a small but extremely profitable exotic cosmetics business, modeling for high fashion photographs for a brochure advertising the products, for which she received payment in kind, all of which she distributed as Christmas gifts to other girls. Miss de V. recently returned from a trip to one of her plants, in Siam, to find Ariadne in a state of acute confusion. In Miss de V.'s absence, Ariadne had been corresponding with several patronettes of the notorious Aphrodite Cocktail Bar, using the chauffeuse (Theda) as a private messenger service, and at least one of these correspondents told Ariadne that she must be pregnant, based upon certain symptoms Ariadne had written about, but which she, Ariadne, had been unable to interpret. Miss de V. was so concerned about Ariadne's mental condition that she had actually made an appointment for Ariadne to be seen on an outpatient basis at St. Yvyanne's on January 17. This admission obviously preempts that appointment. Patient is unable to state time of last menstrual period, but relates recent breast swelling and areolar tenderness. Until about ten days ago, she suffered from symptoms of classic morning sickness, but claims normal appetite at present.
Ariadne was a patient here at St. Yvyanne's October 26-November 2, 1950 for treatment of acute neuraesthenia following an unsupervised visit to the Aphrodite Inner Sanctum. On that admission, Ariadne demonstrated signs of nascent P. A. D., manifested by a smoldering conflict between inborn feminine impulses to be a good girl and compulsive tendencies to act out the Pit adage, "If it feels good, do it." During her admission here Ariadne, apparently unwittingly, interfered with nursing routines to such an extent that one sister responded unprofessionally; Sister Athleen was constrained to discipline this sister, who, coincidentally, frequents the same Aphrodite Cocktail Bar (Yrsula) After an urgent staff conference, Ariadne was judged sufficiently recovered to permit early discharge.
Unknown: patient was an adopted child, denies all knowledge of her natural parents.
Place of birth: Unknown. Grew up in Devon. Left school at age 15 to become apprentice hairdresser/manicurist in Exeter. Worked as apprentice for six years without advancing: apparently chatted too much with clients. Left hairdressing to work as file clerk/telephonist. Unemployed from July, 1950 until being engaged by Miss de V. From early September, 1950 until her hiring, spent almost every evening at the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar, eating little but drinking heavily and terminally overdrawing her bank account. Was evicted from her flat in early October, 1950 for non-payment of rent.
Denies tobacco use or recreational drugs; admits to 6-7 Gibsons daily, 7-10 on weekend evenings.
GENERAL: Patient is a well-developed, slightly undernourished adult blonde looking her stated age. BLOOD PRESSURE : 118/74; PULSE: 76/regular; TEMPERATURE: 97.6 p. o.; RESPIRATION: 12/min; HEIGHT: 5' 6"; WEIGHT: 8 stone; INTEGUMENT: normal Caucasian; HEAD, EYES, EARS, NOSE & THROAT: normal; NECK: normal; CHEST AND LUNGS: clear to percussion and auscultation; HEART: normal sinus rhythm, no murmurs; BREASTS: mild to moderate engorgement with moderate areolar tenderness; ABDOMEN: No scars; early linea negra of pregnancy; FEMININE EXAM: Normal, nulligravida, adult virginal blonde but with patulous cervix; EXTREMITIES: Normal; NEUROLOGICAL: Normal.
Disoriented to time and place: insists the year is 1996 and that she is in a flat in Mayfair; correctly identifies herself as Ariadne, however. Frequent crying punctuated by bouts of giggling. Unable to perform serial sevens or rudimentary arithmetic calculations and names only six days of the week (skips Monday) -- normal blonde intelligence quotient. Demonstrates concrete interpretation of proverbs, e.g., for "why maidens in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," she replies, "Because their houses might shatter." For "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," she replies, "La! Birds a girl can actually hold cost twice as much per pound as birds a girl might find in a bush." Insists she is engaged to be married to her employer; is afraid chapettes at the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar will consider her "a bad girl" unless Miss de V. marries her. Upon being convinced of her "pregnancy" several days ago, in addition to being obsessed with her impending "marriage" to Miss de V., she has also become rather preoccupied with daydreams of incipient motherhood. Recently knitted a pink "tea cosy" which started out as a jumper, but she omitted the sleeves, which she later knitted separately in orange yarn. Final garment possibly suitable for an unusually proportioned, microcephalic infant orangutan, but patient insists it is "perfect" for a human baby.
Blood and urine chemistries completely unremarkable, including negative serum chorionic gonadotropin: Ariadne is not pregnant.
Ariadne is a 27-year old blonde ex-hairdresser with serious, incipient alcoholic tendencies, classic first trimester hysterical pregnancy and an acute delusional psychosis that she is shortly to be married to her brunette employer, Miss de V. Miss de V., however, denies that anything has transpired between them that could be interpreted, even remotely, as romantic, much less as an offer of marriage. Miss de V. values Ariadne's services and desires her to return to work after discharge. Ariadne's intake interview and physical examination reveal a sexually mature, anatomically virginal adult blonde with normal sexual orientation, and physical findings consistent with first-trimester pseudopregnancy. Ariadne is deeply conflicted between her natural feminine impulses to be a good girl and almost overwhelming Pit pressures to "do what comes naturally." This conflict is the likely source of her psychotic delusions. Ariadne believes she has been Miss de V.'s mistress for the past three months and is convinced that her forthcoming marriage is the only possible antidote to perpetual social opprobrium. This constellation of signs and symptoms is classic for Acute Pit Affective Disorder. The situation is further complicated because Ariadne visited the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar about six weeks ago and told all her blonde friends she was Miss de V.'s mistress, had been set up in an elegant Mayfair flat and had been showered with gifts of jewellery and expensive clothing. In her rare lucid intervals, Ariadne is mortified lest her friends discover that she was a mere employee, and that the only reason she went shopping with Miss de V. was to carry her employer's purchases. Ariadne has overly sensitive blonde responses to peer pressure and is now caught between her desire to impress and her guilt about lying to her friends, thereby fueling the delusion. As for the pseudopregnancy, it is a completely unconscious conversion hysteria designed at some subliminal level to "ensnare " her employer in matrimony.
3500 calorie, high-protein diet with six ounces of Arcadian white wine daily; modified bed rest; medicinal rhubarb to strengthen self-esteem; tincture of laudanum for sleep and relaxation; tartar emetic for delusions, as needed; cochineal tea for melancholic intervals; daily flower arrangement therapy; daily lessons in deportment, diction and pronunciation; weekly piano lessons; croquet; and, of course, C. P. B. (Complete Pit Blackout).COMMENT: False pregnancy, or pseudocyesis, also rather paradoxically called hysterical pregnancy (as "true pregnancy" is by definition literally hysterical), has been a well-known phenomenon throughout the ages. The condition is never voluntary in any sense -- indeed, it cannot be willfully induced. Its physical signs and symptoms are almost identical to those of true pregnancy -- save for the absence of a foetus --up to and including distention of the abdomen and breasts, increased areolar pigmentation and tenderness, appearance of a central abdominal linea negra extending from the navel downwards and even production of colostrum in the very latest stages.
Music Playing: Marychild's Dance Orchestra playing "Night and Day"
Do you like how I look, Jewel, and how I sound?
So I see you are feeling rather contrite about saying I was the mastermind of some kind of swindle. Well, I assured you I wasn't, you sweet thing, and now your very own eyes and ears can be witness to the truth of what I was saying.
Really, darling, you ought to try out some of our cosmetics. A blonde like you could probably use a little, well, something, you know. Try them and you'll see what I mean. Didn't that sweet Ariadne give you some for Christmas? Yes, I thought so.
I don't hold it against you at all, Jewel dear, just an honest mistake, well-intentioned, I'm sure.. But I have to admit I felt rather implicated when you spoke of a "devilishly attractive brunette with a penchant for uniforms." That sounded rather like me, now, did it not?
Shall I buy you a drink and we can talk all about it? But if you'd rather
not, we can talk about Flemish Renaissance painting, pre-baroque music
or the transcendental imperative instead, or anything else that enters
that sweet blonde head of yours. Shall we? I see a vacant booth in the
Music Playing: Marychild's Dance Orchestra playing "The Lambeth Walk"
Or perhaps it simply the pure air, delicately scented with the luscious
aroma of nylons and cologne and lipstick and Turkish cigarettes that has
gone so to my poor, foolish head?
Well, I just don't know what to think. If Mme B is right and it IS Theda and her chums, well oughtn't one do something about it? And if Mme B is somehow mistaken or even investigating quite a different group of young women, then I have as good as slandered Theda's name and reputation. However am I to know which is the case? And how could I right the wrongs I may have committed?
Perhaps there is a clear-thinking brunette here tonight who could help me sort out this dreadful mess.
A rather bewildered,
This place is very appealing to me. It's the sort of thing I'd hoped to find "on-line" because I haven't found it anywhere else.
I'm 24 year-old and a third year law student at the University of Wisconsin. I'm training to enter a very traditionally male profession, but I'm very much a woman, and I'm trying hard to balance the two. More specifically, I like to be feminine, and, while I believe that women should have all the legal rights of men, we are different, and I don't want to lose that difference. Too many women here want (I think) to really be men. Poor things.
Maybe you could tell me, what is a "pette"?
A pette is a girl - short for chapette.
As it happened we who worked there had our work stations right below this observation ledge. One had a view right straight up, without being seen. Of course this was a great place to be when ladies wearing full skirts came by above.
I remember one day that members of a national ballet company came touring. About a dozen women dancers in the group. Proud sophisticated ladies from their early twenties to late thirties.
All the women that day were wearing skirts full enough to gain view from high heels to almost the top of garter belts.
(This was in the era just slightly before women began wearing pantyhose or even mini skirt. The last great era of heels hose and garter belts worn as everyday clothing, especially in that panties had become snugger and tighter that in times before. Thus a good pair of full fashion stocking with tight garter belts with straps worn with good line no longer looked like contraptions. Garter belts worn underneath panties as nature intended!)
The view was up past handsome ankles, narrow knees, a glorious expanse
of lower thigh, and even more sublime contrast of bare inner thigh. Tightly
gartered hose tops, garter straps that disappeared underneath sensational
tight thin light colored panties. Splendid high hipped-dip-front white,
pink and yellow underwear so snug outlines of garter straps would be seen
and mounds of Venus moulded in a heady display of erotic topography. As
the hems of skirts and wide frothy slips passed above I swooned at the
heavenly leg show display of heels and hose and garter belts and panties
and the smiling faces of lithesome cosmopolitan ladies.
And as a matter of fact, I have taken up knitting, (how did you guess it?), its a useful craft for a girl to acquire, after all. I've already knitted quite a nice jumper but I left off the sleeves by mistake, so Brydgitte said that it might have made a good tea cosy if it hadn't come out rather to small. And if not for the collar. But I did knit the sleeves, a bit after the fact, but Brydgitte kept asking me did I know a pette in the Highlands for who I was knitting stockings? But I ran out of the original yarn, so the sleeves don't quite match the rest of the jumper, in color, I mean, but a blonde wouldnt notice at all, I mean the important thing is its all knitted by hand.
But I do quite agree that I have rather an interesting condition to deal with, sweet Yrsula, as all my fine new clothes Symone bought me have started to shrink, and most of them havent even been worn yet, so they must be all made of very strange fabric indeed that they shrink by themselves in the air of the wardrobe. I tried almost everything on to be certain, and my dresses are quite noticeably tight in the, um, top, around my, um, my, well, around my *top*, I mean. Don't get me distracted.
But what's even more of an interesting condition, Yrsula, (and you mustnt tell anyone this) is that I've become rather sensitive in that very department, I mean in my top or, to be more precise, in the, um, tips of my tops, um, or whatever theyre called.
Now stop simpering! You know very well what I mean. So please don't get me confused. Like I was saying, I can hardly bear to have anything rub up against them, not even the softest of fabrics. Perhaps its some odd sort of virus. A virus can do just about anything to a girl, you know. But if it isnt a virus it must be something I've eaten.
But speaking of eating, I'm not having any more trouble with breakfast at all, thank goodness, so now my appetite's better than ever before. But for some reason or other Brydgitte isnt too pleased when she notices just how much I am eating each day. She keeps saying she'll be in some kind of trouble with Symone because it was her job (so she says) to make sure I took those silly little pink vitamin pills (that are sometimes green, as I've told you before), but why would Symone care one way or the other about some silly vitamin pills?
(And please tell that lovely Miss Cherry Uno that plain biccies didn't make any difference at all, but the chocolatey ones, against which she warned me, work wonderfully well, so I'm now eating at least two dozen a day. Of the chocolatey biccies, I mean, not the plain ones.)
So now day after day Brydgitte keeps appearing quite a lot more worried than ever before, so she hardly touches her meals anymore, so I finish them for her. I suppose that's why she told me this morning that I'm "eating for two". For Brydgitte and I, I mean. Brydgitte's quite sweet, even if she thinks I can't figure anything out. But I can, you know. I know the score. A girl has a sense for these things.
I feel quite content.
It's Miss Jewel, innit? You're the one that's saiyin' we're some kind of drug dealers, or something very like. Well, with all due respect, Miss, that's simply not true. This Butterfly Brand is on the up-and-up .. no, please don't interrupt me, Miss ... I need to saiy me piece first. Yes, me and my chums twitted Yngrid, that's the pilot, when she first told us about it one night at the pub, the Hackney Arms, sometime last year. I mean, who ever 'eard of butteryfly wings having any powers at all? 'Cept for flyin', of course, and then only in the case o' butterflies.
But, see, Yngrid was just back from one of 'er trips to the orient, and she had a few of these lip glosses on 'er that 'er and 'er chumettes had maiyde up from these butterfly wings, that Vanessa Semperjuvena business that 'er Doctorship Laidysmith wrote about in that book whose paiyge was 'anging up 'ere in your fancy pub all durin' Christmas (I think you can find it now in the 'Harchives), which you call it a Cocktail Bar, (and hit don't even 'ave darts). Well, Miss, loiyke I was sayin', Yngrid 'ad these lipglosses on 'er, so me and my chums passed them around at the bar and tried them out to see what moiyght 'appen.
Well, foiyve minutes after we put on this 'ere lipgloss, all of a sudden we all started talkin' loiyke foiyne laiydies, and haitches started appearin' all over the bloomin' plaiyce like mushrooms after a rainstorm, and words loiyke "quaiyte" and "rather" started flyin' back and forth. Then I 'ad this uncontrollable urge to rush 'ome and get out of my uniform and slip into something more comfortable, and, 'ow do I say it, more feminine. For my part, since the Mistress was travellin' and we're pretty much of a size, I suddenly found myself hupstairs in 'er dressing room tryin' on 'er slips and suspenders and foiyne stockings and such, and searchin' like a fiend for a long cigarette 'older and some of them pink cigarettes the Mistress is always smoking.
Well, after a few nights trying out this lipgloss, we learned that hit sort of fills in what's missing in a girl's presence or poise or 'her way of speaking or walking. I mean, a pette always lacks something, doesn't she, whether hit's 'er skin, or the shape of 'er legs, or 'er voice or 'er manner of speaking. Not all of us working pettes could go to fancy public schools and then get degrees at Michford in Art 'Istory or Linguistics and such, now, could we? Well, this 'ere butterfly powder sort of fills in whatever gaps there 'appen to be. For one of you fancy pettes, it might do something quite different.
But see, Miss, hit's not what you imply at all, hit's not one of those things like an aphrodisiac at all, is it? You should try some yourself and give some to your detective friend Mme. B, and stand back and see what 'appens. Hit's always a bit of a surprise, but a nice one. Just look at what 'appened to that Colonel pette and 'er mem sahib as she calls 'er. Now that didn't do either one of them any 'arm, did it?
Now some pettes, like this Hariadne that sent all the presents, for some reason don't need it. Hit's just waiysted on them, you see. But for most birds and pettes, it can 'ave an amaiyzing effect.
And with all due respect, Miss, all of our products have the real butterfly powder in them, you can take any lipgloss you want and 'ave it assayed for this halkaloid substance, and I think you'll find that hit's really there, in each one. And you can't find it in the Yucatan or the Caribbean or anywhere else your detective friend says, except from the real Vanessa Semperjuvena butterfly. And I think we have the 'ole world's supply on our ranch.
You and your laydyship friends can try to breed them yourselves, but it haint easy, you see, that's the whole trick, innit? And some of us 'ave put our life saiyvings into this ranch, haven't we? and we're selling an honest product and trying to saiyve up something for our old age, aren't we? We're not running some kind of bucket shop, Miss. And, see, if I put on some of this lipgloss, then I'd sound just loiyke your ladyship's friends and you'd probably believe me in a trice (as I'd probably say), but if I did *that* I'd 'ave to rush 'ome and put on me frillies, and I'm still on duty, aren't I?
And you ought to advise your detective friend, Miss, that according to Laidysmith's Lepidoptera there's a false or pseudo V. Semperjuvena that mimics the real one, and is found in the locations you mention. Hit 'asn't been studied nearly as much as the real one, but from what I 'ear, its wing powder may 'ave the opposite effect, so if Mme. B. tries any of it 'erself, she might find 'erself drivin' a cab all of a sudden. THEDA
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