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.


Advice to Miss Barbara

Well hello to all of you grown ups here in this bar. I am new and if my Brunette Mummie knew I was here, what lines I might get! But my Brunette Mummie doesn't know, so please, don't tell her! I mean, I haven't even had my coming out party yet, so how in the world could I be so very "out" as I am here, in this gorgeous cocktail bar. I would feel a bit more shy, except that I am never shy and after all, I have been reading books about places like this one for years! So Barmaid, could I please have a soda from that soda fountain over there? I might be a bit naughty just by being here, but even I know better than to ask for a real cocktail, say, like a Manhattan (I read about those too!), I mean, you wouldn't actually give me a Manhattan, would you? And, perhaps with an extra cherry like that T he Cocktail Bar one over there? Now, I feel I just have to answer Miss Barbara's question about being stuck in the Pit, all the while having an Aristasian body and soul. And really, I can't believe it took little fourteen-year-old me to answer this question, and the question must have the simplest answer if such a blonde Blonde as yours truly can come up with it so easily. The answer is this: move to Aristasia! I mean, even if you can't really, you can in your head, don't you know? Miss Barbara, just go there when life is so terrible! I know I have, for, to be completely honest, I don't really have a Brunette Mummie or a Blonde Mummie for that matter, because I also am from the Pit, but in my head I have these Mummies and in my head all of the cars are round and beautiful and all of the clothes are completely up-to-date! In my head, you see. Just go there in your head and you'll see that what is in your head is real and what is in the "real" world is false. That's what magic is, and once you visit Aristasia, you understand that magic is so much more real than anything else. Of course, Olyvya is right, if you can meet with other real girls who think as you do, it can be so much easier, but even on your own this will work! For instance, today I lost an hour, simply misplaced it, and I was supposed to go somewhere at noon, and when I looked at the clock, it was 1:00, and I was so shocked! Well, where I really live everyone was so roll-their-eyes-at-me but in Aristasia, in my head, everyone simply said, as they patted me on my back, "Why, of course, dear, Blondes, especially very young Blondes and very Blonde Blondes, always misplace hours. Don't worry your sweet head about it." So much more sane, don't you think, Miss Barbara? Thank you, Barmaid, for the Manhattan, um, er, I mean the lovely cream soda. It's everything I always dreamed it would be. Thank you to all my new friends for listening to me go on and on and on. Ta ta! Miranda, Blonde, or did I already say that?


Good afternoon, my most precious pettes. Let me slip off my forest-green cashmere coat that I bought in Edinburgh two years ago (with the replacement brunette card that I'd received after having had my wallet stolen in York two days previously -- don't you think buying a cashmere coat is the perfect way of inaugurating a brunette card). .... Ahhh, how wonderfully you take care of me here, you remembered the extra cherry in my Manhattan. Thank you, Miss Lucy, for your delicious letter officially welcoming me to the cocktail bar. I look forward to hours of blissful repose in the company of like-minded Aristasians. Hmm, I wonder if I should have just said Aristasians and left out the "like-minded". From the little I've learned in the last few days it seems that one must be like minded to be an Aristasian. So perhaps I was being redundant. I have so much to learn. Which is why I'm frustrated this afternoon. I long to enter the Feminine Academy to begin my instruction in all things Aristasian, but I appear to be having technical difficulties and it's making me cross. I go "click click click" on the button but I get "no no no" where. I shall have to practice possessing my soul in patience (something this particular Elektrabrunette is always in dire need of) for now and will content myself with repeating "Aristasia" to myself a hundred times. It is such a whisper soft name, I long to know its origin. I believe I mentioned in my letter yesterday how immediately welcome I felt. Well, rereading my letter I noticed that at the time "In the Still of the Night" had been playing softly in the background. So now I have to add synchronicity to the reason for my happy feelings of acceptance. It is my favorite swoony song, I'm surprised I didn't sway around the room while it was playing. I'm looking forward to Miss Barbara filling us in on her night at the opera. Details please, as many as you like. Lovingly, LORA BELLE


Music Playing: The Ladyton Ritz Hotel Orchestra playing "In the Still of the Night"

Miss Barbara Bizarre?

Oh, Miss Barbara, don't leave quite yet, I was hoping to catch you before you left for your opera! Why do you think the choice of a proper purse to go with your lovely black outfit should be a much more serious question than being considered a bizarre creature? The purse problem is simple, darling, not serious, it just has to be black, of course, black with silver is fine. Big beads, little beads, heavy satin, even velvet -- all will do quite nicely as long as it's black. And small. But we need to talk seriously, not about purses, so I would love to have a Fountain of Youth with you in this quiet booth over here, and while I enjoy it in your lovely company, permit me to tell you (if an Elektrablonde may be so forward) that it is you who should be gratified, Miss Barbara, as quite evidently I have told you nothing you did not already know: you had figured the puzzle out for yourself long before I did. You say most of your students "and even those people who love me and are close to me" think you bizarre! It's quite clear that they are bizarre and you are the sane, normal one: any pette knows that from listening to you, seeing you, talking with you, as many of us have done over these last months here in the Cocktail Bar. I'm a fortunate Elektrapette indeed to have no such dilemma as yours, Miss Barbara, I inhabit Elektraspace, I relate only to like-minded girls, I don't have to survive in a university community, as you apparently do, quite possibly contending with careerism, backbiting and professional jealousies, and probably also dealing with men -- as colleagues, subordinates, superiors or students. So I must admire your fortitude, and suggest you consider the following: look for other women in your daily life who you think would like Femmeworld and the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar, try to introduce them to the various sites, see how they like them, and, if they do, take Femmeworld back home with you, that is, its refreshing atmosphere, the femmey chit-chat, the feminine companionship, the philosophy -- and share it with these women you've found -- on a regular basis. I think many women will find Femmeworld attractive the moment they grasp what it really is -- you may be surprised at just how many, and these women would become your very special friends and allies at home and at work, away from the Cocktail Bar, so you wouldn't actually have to be here to feel not-bizarre. You see, Miss Barbara, I have a deep, abiding faith in what Femmeworld stands for, and I believe it has a ringing message that will start to spread logarithmically among thoughtful women everywhere once interest reaches a so-called "critical mass." My other suggestion is that you visit The Feminine Academy to examine some of the philosophical underpinnings of Aristasia and Femmeworld. As you seem to be an academic pette yourself, I believe you will readily appreciate the considerable thought and research that have gone into the Academy's papers. But oh, dear, I'm afraid I must whizz! I almost forgot! The server-brunette is rebuilding the main hard drive tonight, and I must get myself backed up, or I may be deleted! Thanks for the drink, Miss Barbara, have fun at the opera! OLYVYA


Bonjour from Lora Belle

Je suis enchantee de faire de votre connaisance. (Oh, dear, did I muck up the spelling and grammar? And I did so want to make a good first impression.) Perhaps I should start again and stick to the language I'm most familiar with. My name is Lora Belle and I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me to your cocktail bar. I'll have a Manhattan, please, with a plump red cherry nestled at the bottom of the glass. Would it be greedy to ask for an extra cherry? I am a brunette with cinnamon highlights that glint in the sun. Is it terribly indiscreet of me to confess (in this, my virgin letter to all you delightful creatures) my extreme fondness for cinnamon? Well, too late to back out now. Come closer. Sometimes in the morning, when I can tell my craving is going to be particularly fierce, I don't settle for merely ingesting this most delightful of substances. Instead, I take my little cylindrical bottle into my bedroom, sit myself down at my vanity table, take out my softest sable brush, dip it into the cinnamon, and then stroke it on my eyelids and cheeks. (I've tried it on my lips, but I'm such a little pig I lick it right off.) I've long thought that it would make a smashing new makeup line; but with my head (or lack thereof to be more precise and less ironic) for the hard sciences, I'm afraid I'd need the appropriate partner. Hmm? Oh, dear, I've another confession to make. I'm blushing from my previous confession! (I do rather like to blush; I think it adds just the right bit of terra cotta tint to my olive cheeks.) It's just that, after having stumbled into the bar for the first time yesterday afternoon (and it was sooo cold and grey outside), the warmth and colour and welcome overwhelmed me so that you all snuck inside me straight away. I'm usually much more retiring (and sometimes I fib a little), but before you could count one-two-three there I was spilling the beans, cinnamon ones that is. I fear I'm talking too much. I see a burgundy velvet love seat over in the corner (hmm, is that a blonde with a kitty cat face I see curled up in one corner) ..... Lovingly yours, LORA BELLE


Music Playing: The Quirinelles singing "Magic Moments"

A Recuperating Ariadne Signs In

Hello, Pettes, all you blondes and brunettes, it is me, Ariadne. Yrsula promised to deliver this letter to the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar, since the doctors say I am not yet well enough to travel. But I am ever so much better than I was when I got here! Well, you read the clinical record, of course. I was rather confused, I admit. But not any more, my mind is as clear as ever its been! But it's quite hard for a girl like me, who cant reckon past six and who does not admit Mondays a day of the week, to know just what went wrong in my extraordinarily vacant blonde head, but I've learned first of all that my goodness isnt smashed or broken, or something like that -- I mean, Dr. Silverthorne told me something's intact, I think she said "virtue" and since virtue means being good, it must not be broken, the goodness, I mean. So it most likely still works. But speaking of work, now I remember that I was actually working for Miss de V. (that's her real name, you know, not Symone, I am learning that forms of address are rather important in life) and that all I was doing in those fancy shops with her was to be her shopping companion, give my opinion on her choice of clothes and accessories and jewellery, carry a few of her purchases for her, etcetra etcetra. Not a very glamorous job, I suppose. But, la! pettes, St. Yvyanne's is hardly a mental hospital at all, its more like a school, Dr. Froyd would feel quite out of place (besides which they don't allow any men here, of course). St. Yvyanne's will remove a strait-jacket if a girl arrives trussed up in one, not put one on her! And Dr. Silverthorne told me most girls are trussed up in strait-jackets when theyre admitted. Well, not those coarse canvassy things that twist your arms round the back, with broad thick leather straps and buckles all over, that's not what I mean. She says theyre more like spiritual strait-jackets of unhealthy ideas, lack of proper emotions and absence of real feminine values, and the wearing of improper clothing, clothing that destroys a girl's true feminine feelings about herself, clothes that make her more like a shrink-wrapped nailfile on a card from a Pit-chemists, if you know what I mean. I mean, a girls not a nailfile, but a girl, so she shouldnt be shrink-wrapped, not ever. Its rather a horrible notion. So when a girls admitted to St. Yvyanne's Neuraesthenia Clinic, the first thing that they do if shes brought in from the Pit (which is where most of we patients come from, very few Aristasians ever need to come here, it seems), well, um, they, um disinfect her, or something quite like it. No matter how smartly a girl thinks shes dressed, its never quite good enough for the Admitting Physician, so her clothes are considered, um, contaminated and after you've, um, disrobed they are actually burned in a special, dolly little clothes-burning furnace. It's a kind of a rich-yule, I think thats what you call it, they give you a sweet little stoker to push your old clothes into the furnace. A girl has to do it herself, you see. But they told me its not really bakterias that theyre concerned about, its something more like ideas infecting the clothes ....O! it's too hard to explain, but, la!, pettes, they just made me burn them. All my clothing, including my, um , undies and frilly things, if you know what I mean. I actually burned them, can you believe it? All that nice, frothy lace up in smoke! But then they didn't give me some horrible old hospital gown to put on, oh, no, not at all, St. Yvyanne's gives every patient real clothes, quite like a uniform, we all more or less wear the same thing, except for choices of colour. We are given a rather plain dress in navy blue, dark green, grey or magenta with a rather plain white nylon full- slip with just the tiniest lace fringe, rather odd stockings and a plain white suspender belt made of cotton, and what the sisters call proper underclothing, but of which I am too maidenly modest to describe in any explicit detail, like about the downy soft cotton gusset inside the knickers, etcetra etcetra. I'd be most embarrassed to do so, describe them, I mean in any explicit detail, but theyre, well, um, what your blonde mummie might call sensible underthings, durable, comfortable, but not very frilly at all. So I picked the dark green. I mean for the dress, not the knickers, you sillies, I told you already, theyre sensible and dark green is not a colour for sensible knickers, you know. Magenta clashed with my hair, and navy and grey are too drab, so dark green was the best. But the stockings they issue a girl are quite odd because when youre not wearing them they look, well, rather like a girls legs, I mean in their shape, and not like some miniscule shriveled-up garment for waterlogged midgets, if you know what I mean, or like for some two-legged prune or a raisin, perhaps. They have a funny, raised dark line down the back, like the black or brown line on a bean. And they feel *quite* different from tights, which are totally banned at St. Yvyanne's, you know. So they call these real nylons. So St. Yvyanne's is set on twelve acres with a tall stone wall going round on all sides, and many large spreading oaks and several large formal gardens containing shrubs that are beautifully pruned. 'Course its winter, so nothings in bloom, but in spring, I am told, the grounds are alive with bluebells, snowdrops, crocus, tulips, daffodils and jonquils, and its supposed to smell ever so lovely, rather like the Butterfly lipgloss and the other cosmetic products. Which Theda, Yngrid, Brydgitte and I sell to all the other Bentley drivers in London, or in pit-London, as they refer to it here. But anyway, there are four tennis courts, a small lake for boats, lots of places to walk and a little Crystally-Palace sort-of-a-kind-of-a of a building full of flowers and plants and even some trees that they call a Britannical Garden, ('cause its in England you see, I figured that out for myself!) and it has white-painted wrought iron chairs and glass-topped tables inside and us girls can sit around and have tea or read or listen to music even if its quite cold and rainy outside, which it quite frequently is. Since its winter. In England, I mean. So besides the main building, which is called the Head House, there are six or seven other hospital buildings, all three storeys tall, built of buff-colored stone, with sloping slate roofs and tall, many-faceted windows, French doors and terraces. The buildings all have rather odd names, mine is called Trent, but the others are called Quirinelle, Vintesse, Kadoria, Arcadia and Novaria. Each house has its own kitchen and drawing room with a dolly wind-up gramophone in a gleaming, polished oak case and upholstered chairs and polished wooden occasional tables with lamps and rather a lot of unusual magazines lying about, I mean, theyre brand new, but they have pictures of pettes all wearing clothes from the '50's, and there are the sisters' offices downstairs and a dispensary and a small little medicine room as well as all the bedrooms upstairs. But the Head House has its own dolly cinema with films twice a week, but so far they've all been black-and-white without any stereo sound. But the cartoons are in colour. And there's always a little film called a "newsreel" first, which seems to be mostly footage of the Royal Family, getting into and out of vehicles of various sorts or cutting ribbons on bridges, visiting hospitals, smashing bottles on the hulls of new vessels or standing on balconies daintily waving their hands, with immensely restrained little smiles on their faces, or no smiles at all, probably because theyve all been working ever so hard. And all of them seem to have very many more birthdays than regular people. So tomorrow is to be shown a just-released film called Of Human Bondage with Miss Bette Davis. The doctors and sisters say these films are very racinating, but I think they really mean racy, but I'm not really sure because they actually seem rather modest to me by Pit-standards. As you saw from my Clinical Record, I am learning the proper way for a girl to speak, but the speech teacher, Miss Plummington, said I was sort of a "challenge." And she said that I lithp and she mumbled something after the lesson about my being "hopelessly ineducable," whatever that means. And my piano lessons didn't progress very far, either, because Miss Fernweather, (thats the teacher), after only one lesson expressed a rather forceful opinion that some things are far better left in their natural state and perhaps I should consider mastering some other musical instrument, I think she suggested a kazoo. And the same thing happened in penmanship class, (Miss Devereaux is the teacher), and she said the very same thing as Miss Fernweather, but instead of a kazoo she brought me a typewriter, and said if I wanted to be Miss de V.'s personal secretary, I had better learn how to type, but I keep chipping my nails. Life can be rather hard for a blonde, you know. Even sometimes at St. Yvyanne's Neuraesthenia Clinic in Kent. And as for Deportment, I was excused from that class, they said I was already highly deported and had nothing further to learn, so I should be teaching them how to deport. So, pettes, you can easily see there are quite a lot of very valuable skills I am learning at St. Yvyannes but thats all I have time to tell you today, Yrsula's motoring off in five minutes, so I must end this letter now.

ARIADNE


 Music Playing: "Embraceable You" by Marychild's Dance Orchestra 

A New Brunette

How do you do, and how do you do, and how do you do again? Such a pleasant place. I can't tell you how comforting it is to find such a nice place in which to relax and unwind: and in so very charming company, too. Normally I'm terribly shy, and would never put myself forward like this when I hadn't been properly introduced, but I just couldn't let my appreciation (and my presence) go completely unannounced - it just wouldn't seem right. I'm a young brunette leading a (frequently trying) Tellurian existence, so I hope you won't mind if I just sit quietly in the corner, sipping Mimosas, in your delightful little haven of femininity. Sincerely, Ramona


Wish Fulfillment

Just as I was wondering where all you dear pettes were hiding, I now find myself surrounded. Miss Barbara, Olyvya, Elaryn, Synnthea and Amy, how splendid it is to be here with you all this evening and languish in your delightful company. JEWEL


Miss Barbara to Olyvya

Oh how very kind for Olyvya to respond to my serious questions. Olyvya, You will be so gratified to know, at least I hope you will be, that long before I ever set foot in this divine place, I followed each of your suggestions. I stopped watching television seven years ago because I could not abide the vulgarity there. I refused to ever read anything on the "net" for the same reason until a friend insisted that I look up Femmeworld, suggesting that it would be just the place for me. When she assured me of the refined sensibilities here, I took a chance and have never left or ventured anywhere else. I never read magazines or newspapers because so little there reflects my inner most reality and truth. Most of my students and even those people who love me and are close to me think I am a bizarre creature. Only in the space of this pink room, furnished oh so perfectly, do I feel that I am not alone. So, I am ever so thankful that you mentioned all of those things, Sweet Olyvya, because you simply gave me an additional sense of the rightness of the decisions I have been making all along. May I buy you your next Fountain of Youth, though you certainly need nothing to bring out the youthful verve and loveliness which you obviously come by so naturally. Most Appreciatively Yours, MISS BARBARA


Who Needs Them?

Oh, I do agree with the managerette about the right of women to vote and to work. With "privileges" like these, who needs punishments? JENNY


Music Playing Semethele's Jinky Strings playing "Everything's in Rhyme with My Heart"

Dubious Privileges

Hello all! Sigh too much talk of blondes and brunettes for me! What is a poor redhead to do with herself? It is nice to find a place of women who enjoy being women. Too many out there are trying to become men. Sure, I want to work and vote, but I also want doors opened for me, flowers on dates, and to never go dutch. AMY


Blondes and brunettes are not determined by hair colour, but by temperament. We quite agree with you in general - but what do you want to work and vote for? We certainly don't want to be excluded from any of the privileges that chaps enjoy: but are those two activities - the one a tiresome necessity that most men would rather be rich enough to avoid and the other a completely pointless ceremony that influences nothing whatever - are these privileges?


Synnthea Arrives

My, oh my! What a lovely group of witty, refreshing ladies I have stumbled upon! I am but a wee pette, very new to the cocktail bar, Femmeworld as well. My original descent into this lovely land smelling so sweetly of estrogenal scents was to make the acquaintance of others wishing the like. and so, how am I to do so? My name is Synnthea. Pleasure to browse here, now, please do say a hello. The anticipation stammers me... how I do love the sound of stockings sliding past each other. SYNNTHEA


Elaryn Sees the Difference

Well! Darlings, I must admit to being entirely flabbergasted and amazed and confused (but delightfully so) when I saw how you have rearranged the "furniture," so to speak, here in Elektraspace. That will teach me to stay away for a few days, won't it! AND the University! At long last! What a marvelous addition! Like a ray of golden sun from the heavens to lighten dark Telluria! At last, Dawn is come! ELARYN


Olyvya Tries to be Helpful: Serious Answers for Miss Barbara's Serious Questions

Good evening, Miss Barbara, my name is Olyvya. I am a blonde, but not your ordinary bongo-blonde, nor a real Aristasian blonde, either; I suppose I am some sort of a mongrel blonde, confined contentedly to Elektraspace, with no pesky physical body, but with the best of a body's essentials. My heart and my mind and my soul, however, have precisely the same existence as yours. I dwell almost anywhere I like, as long as it's somewhere within the Elektraspace "complex" known as "embassy@pronews.pro-net.co.uk." I have taken a postal box at that address under a pseudonym, but you can usually find me right here at the Cocktail Bar. As the editrix, or Management, or whatever you'd like to call her, told you just a moment ago, you won't find anything in Telluria to allow you to "bare" your circumstances, as you so charmingly typoed, not unless you do it yourself or do it with some other like-minded, right-minded girls. Telluria has absolutely no interest in helping you with your predicament; on the contrary, the powers in Telluria want you remain in the circumstances, in the drab world, you describe, it's very much to their benefit. So to answer the Management's question, unbidden, Yes, feminine sanity is left unrepresented and without nourishment in Telluria. And if you have been coming to the Cocktail Bar for as long as you have, Miss Barbara, it means that the various "feminist" sites on the Web have probably not given you what you have been seeking. Am I right? That's why a great many Tellurian pettes are ending up here at Femmeworld. Why, dear, it's the only "Cyberspace" place for us real girls to be! The bee's knees, the cat's whiskers, you know. And the it you must do for yourself, sweet Miss Barbara, this it requires some work, I mean, it's not like a Tupperware party or anything like that (I believe you come from Chicago? So you probably know about Tupperware parties). But I can see you already know what you are about, I can tell from the way you are dressed and how you carry yourself, you are not ashamed of your femininity, your emotions or your sensitivity. Many Tellurian women are ashamed of themselves nowadays, and they are busily selling their feminine birthright for "equality," but what is really happening is that they are *diminishing* themselves in order to attain something lesser. The it requires at least partial self-exile from certain features of the Pit, (for total exile, you should apply for an Aristasian visa and emigrate, if accepted), starting with unplugging your television set, followed by not reading a newspaper every day, and desisting immediately from any "Net Surfing" -- a practice of dubious value and most likely harmful to any real sensibilities. This is just a beginning, of course. Do you get the idea? But you can't do just that alone, I mean, simply give up these pernicious pit-Habits. No, you have to replace those habits with what those habits so unjustly usurped, that is, real music, real furniture, real movies, real emotions, real feminine values. And real clothes as well -- those pettes at the Femmeworld sites, who preach about stockings and suspenders .... well, they are perfectly right. But listening to me, or to them, or to anyone else tell you this won't make you believe it, A girl has to find out for herself. No, I'm not a shill for the Management, I don't get free drinks or free rent (or free stockings, either). I'm just an extremely satisfied Elektrapette, a girl who is thoroughly pleased with the process and its results. And it gets better each day. Trust me, I came from the pit of the Pit not very long ago..... Elektraspace blondes should never be forward, of course, just like real blondes anywhere, but how else can I tell you that we Elektrapettes do enjoy a Fountain of Youth as much as the next pette? OLYVYA


The management wishes to add that Miss Olyvya can't be a shill for the management, because the management hasn't any idea what a shill is, if it isn't pippsie-talk for twelve Aristasian pennies.


Further Perils of Miss Barbara

Dears, Now I have a much more serious question to pose. I am going to the opera this Saturday and I just bought a lovely black velvet dress to wear with long black gloves and black velvet pumps and sheer black stockings. My dilemma, and I hope more experienced brunettes out there or perhaps a particularly savvy blonde will be able to rescue me, is: what kind of purse should I carry? I found the most perfect clutch with beaded off-white pearls and silver, but with a black dress? I just don't know. What do you pettes suggest? Anxiously awaiting your advice, Miss Barbara


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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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