Manuela, worldly and mysterious, gone (forever?) with Marie-Louise in tow. If it is true, I hope that that pesky Dorothea will disappear with her. Ramona, my dispirited darling, I feel so sorry for you on realizing your loss of so cultured and engaging a companion...and so unexpectedly, too! It may be to blonde of me to think such, but, I fear that, perhaps, the more sophisticated the company, the more precarious the relationship.
Ariadne, surely overworked, underpaid and unjustly punished (the impertinent "Toffee" Mirensie got the "whizzums" she asked for, didn't she?), is busy sharing her sad narrative with that beautiful brunette reporterette for the Morning Letter, Miss Mereline fi'Amala, and, it appears from the look on Ariadne's face, that she is seriously considering other employment. I will miss her so if she goes. I've grown so fond of her lovely face, her delightfully functional milkmaid's attire and her amusing thoughts. Even if she never did bring me that martini that I ordered. I really should let her know that I understand her predicament. Four pounds six shillings a week, however much that turns out to be here in the Colonies, doesn't sound like very much, and, while a girl can't live on bread alone, she can't live at all if she can't buy the bread that she can't live on alone, and, she needs to do whatever she needs to do to get enough money to buy bread and, well...you know...sometimes, my delectable darlings, blonde intelligence can be such a burden...but I'm sure that Ariadne will know what I mean, being blonde herself and all. But, maybe I should say something to Miss Heatherington, so that she understands that some of the patronettes, such as myself, are quite fond of Ariadne, and that we may just leave ourselves if Ariadne won't be properly compensated. La...it's all so difficult!
And Miranda, checking in after such a long absence! My heart has truly grown fonder. More, Miranda, if you please!
And darling Jan...the manifold charms of blonde companionship, contrary to what some brunettes seem to think, is one of Elektraspace's most enticing attractions!
And last, but certainly not least, Miss Fox discovers the identity of her secret admirer. What a delicate detective you are, my dainty darling. And what a remarkably stimulating way you have with words, not to mention blondes! Your restrained, but oh-so-expressive kiss; your ardent, oh-so-implicit conversation with the Office Junior, in such an unlikely place! It's Aphroditism brought to its most innocently passionate life. Take it from a recovering Pit-maiden, my sensuous sweetheart, my glasses, if I needed any, would be positively steamed over after hearing you! I blushed from head to toe as it is. Gillian with a hard "G," if you will forgive my forwardness, do tell us more!
About your Romance Agency...I have met someone, and invited her to come to the Cocktail Bar sometime, and, if she should ever appear, well, perhaps, I might just need to spend some time with Miss Vernon and your Office Junior, to learn some of your oh-so-expressive Elektraspace skills! And then again, maybe not. We shall see.
Recuperated and optimistic, I remain, your sweetipops,
And Barbi, dear, I know just what you mean, and your loving gushes of kind words fell on very receptive hearts! I felt just the same way when I found Elektraspace. And you might be happy to know that it was only a matter of months from the time I first entered the Cocktail Bar as an awkward Pit-dweller who knew there had to be a better way to the time I was fully an Aristasian lady and had actually physically visited the Aristasian Embassy!
So, if you, or any of you new pettes, find yourself changing a
bit here and a bit there, wearing stockings, for instance, or feeling just
sick when you put on those clothes that, gosh, used to be comfortable,
Sweetipops, just let it happen, for the transformation is so glorious and
life above the Pit, a real life based on unchanging truths and lovely traditions
and kindness and goodness and loveliness, well such a life isn't only worth
living, it's simply divine.
Love to all of you,
Blondes! The film isn't a ditty. The ditty is called Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend. But it is a swell idea. What say we all try to watch it and discuss it, and have our first International Elektraspace Cinema Showing.
Delightful, isn't it?
Those chromium stools and light fittings; those pink lights and dreamy cocktails; those even dreamier blondes in pink lace and brunettes in black satin; those glimpses of frothy petticoats as the pettes mamoeuvre themselves delicately onto their stools; the delightful music; the whole atmosphere of opulent chic.
Yes, That's how the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar looks, and for its fortunate customers, that is how it is.
But have you ever thought of the blondes who serve behind the bar - and more dangerously, out in front of it? What kind of life do they live?
I have been talking to the most beautiful barmaid at the Aphrodite, and she has told me a tale of horror that made my blood freeze. Yes, freeze in my very veins.
A tale of long hours without rest for a miserable pittance. A tale of constant insult and cruel pinches upon the tenderest parts of her anatomy by unfeeling (well, feeling) brunettes until the poor, delicate creature is black and blue. But it doesn't show. She is still pretty in all her public parts, and that is all that matters to a rapacious management and a cruelly hedonistic public.
But that is not all, dear readers. If it were all it would be terrible. But it is not all. Merely for making a minor mistake in serving drinks to a group of young hoodlums who had insulted her, she was whipped on her "whereabouts" (as she so delicately and shyly terms it) with a cruel implement known as the Number Two Bar Strap.
Bravely making light of her injuries, she said to me: "if this bar was a Technicolor film I'd get my own special effects Academy Award for being a prize-winning study in russet and purple." The dear sweet child. Still cheerful, still joking among all her intolerable hardships.
Perhaps you will remember the recent occasion when Miss Kiki lia Caerelinde graced the bar with one of her most breathtaking performances. You will certainly be aware of the devastating effect Miss Caerelinde has on blondes - inducing fits of screaming, and, often as not, fainting. Well, this barmaid - perhaps the most delicate and susceptible blonde of all the wonderful blondes it has been my privilege to meet in a long career - was forced to work throughout the performance. Only a blonde can appreciate what a terrible ordeal this must have been.
The Aphrodite Cocktail Bar. Glittering palace of Art-Neo splendour and up-to-the-minute femininity? Or waking nightmare of cruel exploitation?
It depends which side of the bar you find yourself on.
And Blonde Mommy, well everyone adores her. She is the sweetest, most lovely, kindest, and softest mommy a girl could have. She always has time to play with her girls, to run around with us in the garden or play badminton in the back yard. She is so intelligent too, knows more than I ever will. You can always ask Blonde Mommy a question, and she'll know the answer! She actually prepared at the university to be a professor, but even with all of her intelligence, she knew that the home life was more suited to her temperament than the academic life, so she is here with us. She is just so peachy. Do you know that she thinks only one birthday a year is not nearly enough for her little girls, so she throws each of us a half birthday party six months after our real birthday. She gets the half birthday girl half of a card, half of a cake and little silly gifts, all cut in half! Well, that's the kind of mommies I have, so you can see why Trudy and Rosie were thrilled to meet them.
So we all went back to the house and spent the afternoon playing lawn darts and badminton in the yard, that is, all the blondes did while Brunette Mommy cooked dinner (We know it's a bit unusual, but she's such a good cook and realy does like it, and Blonde Mommy enjoys playing with us in the yard so much, that it all works out). Then it started to sprinkle some, so the blondes all had to run indoors, squealing and creating such a fuss over a few drops of rainwater (at least that's what Brunette Mommy said when she saw us). So, we went downstairs to our wood-panelled basement and played Monopoly (Culverian Monoply, girls. The properties are all named after New Trent and New Quirinelle Starlets, "Katharine" and "Myrna" and "Marilyn" and, well, you get the idea.) Then Brunette Mommy called us to dinner and we ate roast beef and potatoes rolls and lettuce salad, and R. and T. commented that even with all of Miss Barbara's wining and dining, she never could have given them such a good meal in Kadorian Gotham as they got right here, in Miranda's home. Then somebody commented that really it's true that "There's no place like home," and then Brunette Mommy let out an uncharacteristic little yelp and when we asked her what was the matter, she said what with all of the excitement of the new guests, we forgot to say grace, and all the blondes felt ashamed for forgetting, so we bowed our heads and thanked Dea for bringing all of us together and for giving us each other, and then we asked Her to protect all of those we love who aren't with us at this meal.
So, then came the hot apple pie (this is Culveria you know!), which was quite delish, and then came the best part of the evening, I thought, for we all went into the living room and turned on the baseball game and listened to the Mettes playing the Squaws in the Brunette (what else?) Professional Baseball League. But before the game began, as we were finding our seats and deciding which blonde got to sit next to which blonde, everyone began noticing that something just wasn't quite right with little Rosie. Rosie, who is always rather quiet and timid seemed, well, quiet and timid, but not in her rather lovely way. She obviously was troubled by something and when we asked her what the matter was, she burst out into tears. After Brunette Mommy helped soothe her and calm her down, she was able to speak a few words, broken up by little whimpers, "It's our coz Ariadne. She should be here with us. She's so unhappy."
We all knew she was right. Mommies both visit the Cocktail Bar,
and they all knew about Ariadne's difficulties with continuing to feel
atomized even with a good employer and an Aristasian job. She obviously
needs a home, so that she can discover the delights of belonging to a loving
family and community. All of the blondes in the room began sobbing right
along with Rosie as we thought of poor Ariadne, needing just what we had
right there in that room. Then we all noticed Brunette Mommy smiling. Blonde
Mommy said, "Why in the world are you smiling?" and Brunette Mommy told
us that she and Elaine already had discussed it, and cousin Ariadne is
at this moment being swept away by Elaine, to enjoy the comforts of the
Queen Mary, as she makes her way here. "She'll be here within two weeks."
Well, Brunette Mommy couldn't say all of that as fast as it might seem
in the re-telling, because in truth she was interupted every second or
so by some blonde: "Mom! You mean, you know Elaine?!" and "Do all
brunettes know each other?" and "Oh Dear Coz! How perfect." So, though
we all understood Brunette Mommy quite perfectly, her story didn't manage
to come out perfectly. So, tummies full of dinner and hearts full of anticipation,
we all sat back and enjoyed listening to a very close game between the
Mettes and the Squaws, (the Mettes finally won in extra innings, 3-4, in
case any of you pettes keep up with the league).
First Ariadne threatening to quit (and who could blame her? Her bottom must be black and blue, and not all from Miss Heatherington, either!) and now Manuela called away to the East on business, and planning never to return? If you must go, Manuela my dear, please promise to return. Your sophisticated presence will be sorely missed. And Ariadne, is there any way your most loyal (and gentle) admirers can persuade you to reconsider? Would starting a teensy rumor that Miss Caerelinde is about to appear in that little supper club across town help?
You will remember I had come back from lunch to find another note from my mysterious admirer. Well the next day, Friday, I gave the rest of the staff the afternoon off. I wanted to sit and think and ponder about this adoration I was receiving - to which I was not at all sure I was entitled! I have no doubts about my beauty, my intelligence or the delicate femininity which gently lays about me, but I felt I had done nothing especially good to deserve such devotion.
Well, I resolved to close the office early and head over to the Lounge to mull over the situation with some of you (the quiet before the evening rush can be so soothing to a pondering mind). So I ducked into the washroom to check the hair and powder the nose. And as I returned to the office, I saw someone at my desk. Naturally, I though it might be some horrid intruder after my petty cash box, but then I recognised the Office Junior, all 5 foot of her (including the lovely blonde locks and the high heels). She was gently placing a large bouquet of wonderfully scented gardenias on my desk, and had a look of sweet joy on her face.
I gently walked across to her. She must have caught my footfall, as she stilled, but did not turn around. I laid a hand on her shoulder, and looked over at the flowers.
"I believe I have found the source of the attentions", I softly said, "and the attention has not at all been unwelcome"
"Oh please, Miss Fox, I only came to work for you because I've adored you for years. I used to watch you come to work as I waited for my bus to go to beauty school, and when I found out I wasn't any good at that stuff, and then you advertised for the office job, I thought it was an answer to my prayer!" At the very end, her voice cracked, and she started crying.
"Pette, please. There there." and I patted her on the back, and passed her my lace-edged lawn hanky. As she dried her eyes, I turned her towards me, and looked at her with the eyes of a woman, not those of an employer. Her long lashes, surprisingly dark and yet naturally so, glistened with the tears dropping off them. I smoothed the hair back from her forehead, and looked her in the blue, blue eyes. "You know it's against all good working practices to have anything more than a good friendship with an employee." She sobbed. "Hush, my sweet. I have a plan."
"Don't send me away, please. I'll work for nothing, I'll slave all night, I'll even cook the afternoon tea, just please don't..."
I gently slid my fingers under her chin, tipped her head back and kissed her soft, sweet lips briefly to silence her sorrow. "Child, sweetling, we both know by now that an office life is not what you need. Your ... capabilities are not slanted in that direction. One has only to see what a mess you made with the mail yesterday to see that's not your forte." She hushed. I gently wiped the tears from her eyes. "I have seen your other talents - the ones for making other people very happy. Was all this your own idea?"
"Oh, I know it was terribly forward of me, especially as a blonde, but I just felt it was the right thing to do. The flowers, the perfume..." Her eyes widened as an obvious idea started to work its way through her head. "You mean ....?"
"I have often wanted to diversify. This office business has become stale, not fun at all. I shall team your talent with my friend Miss Vernon's know-how, and we shall start a romance agency. The place where interested women go to obtain the things and themes to tempt and entice the object of their desire. The location to buy those oh-so-beautiful blooms to say 'thank you for caring'. To set up the dinner in a jewelled grotto lit by candles and lanterns, or the quiet lunch whilst drifting down the tree-lined river. You have made me feel so happy, so cared for and wanted, that I'd like to share this joy with the rest of woman kind."
"But Miss Fox..."
"And sweetheart, you haven't made the connection. You will no longer be working for me - so the rules no longer apply. Would you care to discuss this over dinner at my place tonight?"
"Oh Miss Fox!"
"If we're going to be dining, then it's not Miss Fox - it's Gillian. With a hard G - unlike the rest of me. What do you say?"
FINIS (for now!)
My visits to the Cocktail Bar these past few weeks have been most eye-opening, yet last night whatever scales were left dropped from my eyes like a ton of bricks. I was on my way out after after an emotionally eventful evening not unlike all the other nights in this truly bewitching establishment. The moving and insightful conversation with Miss Ramona and the long-awaited appearance of Kiki, that did lose some of its magic due to the presence of a certain patronette who shall remain nameless. (Were I in different circumstances, Ramona, I could not but continue to pursue your sophisticated company. Faint heart never won fair lady!) had filled me with an overwhelming sense of well being. So why did I have to catch a sudden glimpse of a rather all too familiar face lovingly held by a pair of grubby, little hands belonging to a darkhaired midgette I'd seen casting about many a hungry glance all evening? Marie-Louise, occasional light of my life but mostly load on my mind, sweetie, I know, I know. I should have been the last the person to have leapt up and forcefully thrown myself between you and that, that... stunted roguette. But my responsibility as elder and sole next of kin overrode any shred of understanding I might have had. How can you throw yourself away on the first brunette (ha!) you meet? Whatever happened to romance and love? And implicating an eleven year old (well, mentally speaking) to boot!
Wretchedly torn by guilt I am; your enticing presence and conversation led me to neglect my educational duties. I know the girls from next door would have instantly whipped up appropriate measures, but I decided to take her with me on my travels I now should no longer postpone. It is about time Marie-Louise saw a bit of the world.
Business takes me East, pleasure I leave here by leaving you, wonderfully breathtaking creatures. No longer will I impatiently await yet another bend in the tale of four blondes. Never shall I learn the conclusion to Miss Fox' mystery. No more marvelling at the wit of the Nameless Sagettes. Will Sweetipops celebrate her newfound blonde bliss with the exuberance we have come to expect of her? And will Ramona forever feel the need to be on her guard, even in Elektraspace?
Love to all...Blonde and Brunette
Darling! You took the right turn!
It was just after the youthful but vivacious Marie-Louise von Meinhard and her presumptuous and intemperate friend Dorothea had joined us blondes (yes...US blondes!) gathered around the bar that the Quirenelles took the stage to begin their set. And, bye the way, Marie-Louise, please express my condolences to Dorothea for hurting her hand when I knocked it away after her pinch of my by then thoroughly abused derriere turned into a full fledged grasp of my right buttock. I observed her eagerness earlier when I saw her give you a pinch--her best friend, too!--but I was quite unprepared for such careless impetuosity! Please, darling, if you want sneak into the ranks of the grown-up blondes, let her know that if she must express herself - er - physically, she can't have much to say, and no one of with any decency will listen to her, and, if she isn't careful, something worse than a quick smack might await her.
Well, as I was saying, when the Quirinelles finished and retired from the stage, the mood was positively electric with anticipation, wouldn't you all agree? Then, as you all know, bathed in the spotlight's rosy glow, the magnificent Quilenquithia lia Caerelinde ("Kiki"--how inadequate to her sublimity!) made her appearance. Well, my pretty pettes, after she took the stage, I am barely able to tell you how profoundly I was affected. My life, my cherished darlings, was changed. In a way I have never felt before, I was completely hers. Body and soul. The sound of her voice, at one moment, soft and delicate, the next, husky and sensual, her rich vocal range, her complete brunette mastery of the feminine romantic arts of nuance and subtlety, cast their spell, mesmerized me, and left me, after every song, embraced in her brunette fire, hungry...Yes, hungry...for more. After a few songs, with other blondes collapsing all around me, seduced by her manifold charms, my breath came in dainty blonde gasps, my chest heaved with emotion, my heart throbbed with desire and longing, my identity as Barbi, Pit-maiden, dissolved before the ineluctable feminine power of this incredible brunette. Literally melting at the stroke of her verbal caresses, I was (dare I say it?) seduced, embraced, and thrilled beyond my wildest expectations.
The intensity of the experience grew with each softly articulated word, each carefully modulated tone, each precisely perfect movement of her hand, face and body. Then, like a feminine coup de grace, came the...pardon me, my precious pettes, if I cause any offense, but...the...well...the climactic moment of my impassioned adoration of the quintessential Brunette occupying the stage. During her unbelievable performance of "Unchained Melody," when she uttered the words "I've hungered for your touch..." her enthralling eyes were focused on ME! Did you see her? My delightful darlings, how can I possibly tell you? I experienced a rapture that I thought possible only in more vulgar circumstances; but (and here we will pay a price for the inadequacy of words), before the croonerette's captivating gaze, it was more, much more, than something physical. It was a lifting and merging; a transfiguring experience that revealed a glimpse of the sublime secrets of the Feminine itself. My legs nearly gave way as I fell hopelessly and deeply in love with the pure essence of brunette passion and sensitivity embodied in the person of Quilenquithia lia Caerelinde and it was all that I could do to remain standing. But stand I did. Until the very last song, until the spotlight faded, and a final, blissful tear of gratitude rolled down my cheek.
There. I've gone and told you everything...well, almost everything. You see, my special sweethearts, blondes and brunettes alike, contributors to the ongoing conversation in the Cocktail Bar, and Aristasians at the Embassy, I've left something out. It's not just Quilenquithia lia Caerelinde that I love...I know now, in a way that I didn't, couldn't, know before, that I love, with all of my heart, each and every one of you! There. Now I've gone and told you everything...well, almost everything...
Consummately and breathlessly, I remain, your blonde Sweetipops,
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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