This is my first visit to the cocktail bar, and if there is any willing brunette, I would most enjoy a Tom Collins! I read the conversations you girls have been engaging in, and I am quite anxious to meet all of you! My name is Daphne, and I enjoy sparkling conversation, arranging flowers, and inventing new hair-dos. I am unfortunately a pit-dweller, and am most upset with the demise of proper lady-like manners in the pit. Will some lovely, sweet and strong brunette please save me from the horrid, savagely mannered pit-dwelling girly girls??? PLEEEASE!!!!
I await a reply with wide crystal blue eyes and an open heart,
Darling Daphne! Hello! What with all the dear old friends returning and the new girls arriving too - come along, pettes, find Daphne a seat - and a Thomasina Colettes. No, it's on the house, the first one. And a brunette? Well, they're not on the house, we fear, but there are quite a few in the house. Do look round and make yourself at home.
How wonderful for you. How bittersweet. And I know exactly what you mean by longing for your London. I feel similar longings for this little town, even though it is too tiny ever to have had glamour or glitter or shine. But, how I long for it to be real, for all the co-eds to be in skirts and blouses, the undergruggers to wear the right kind of hats and to take them off while indoors, the cars to be rounded and lovely, the salesgirls to be polite, the librarians prudish, the teenagers innocent, the night to sparkle with innocent intoxication, the days to be filled with diligent hard work, the denizens to swell in their hearts with noble feelings of patriotism and devotion to family and church, the neighborhoods safe and clean, the children's greatest worries over who has more marbles or a more sure right jab, the bullies always getting theirs in the end, the mothers superior to everyone else, the professors loving Truth and their students, the students feeling proud about getting an education and bettering themselves, the ... oh how I could go on and on. I know life in the real world isn't perfect, but golly, it is gazillions times better than in the dreary old Pit.
But as someone once said, (Annalinde, was it you?) in times of war, everyone is so much nicer to each other. Not that you'd wish for a war just to bring out the niceness in folks, but at least there is a silver lining. And you all here are my silver lining, darlings. I think I'll have a Martini Cocktail this evening, dear barmaid. And, please, another one for each of my friends. They're on me tonight. The drinks I mean, you sillies, the drinks!
But that isn't what I want to tell you about. We saw lovely young Queen Elspeth on a visit to the Dark Continent in the news. But that isn't what I want to tell you about either. In between those two things (the Gaumont having a Full Supporting Programme) we saw a lovely Musical Paintbox animation called A Fantasy on London. Oh, I don't know if you know those Musical Paintbox films, made right here in Quirinelle they evoke the Real World so poignantly that it is like being stabbed in the heart by the loveliest golden dagger.
But just after our Editrix's cri de coeur (Oh, Editrix, you must cri your coeur a touch more often. It makes you seem so human) about if only London could come back into existence if only for a day. Just after it for it was only an hour after I had read it. An evocation of real London. How wonderful, how sweetly painful. But then, listen, my pettes. In all the little houses in suburbia (in this animated fantasy, I mean) a wireless set was turned on, and what began playing? A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square! It did, it did, it honestly, absolutely did! (colonial pettes please note, that is pronounced bark-li, not berk-li - just as "sergeant" is sar-gent, not ser-gent). Well, gosh, a lump came into the swan-like blonde throat. And the orchestra was Berkeley-ing away, bless their little hearts, when who should start singing but Miss Vera Lynne herself. Now there are at least a dozen version of this song, recorded by as many different artists - each version twice as good as all the others put together. But of all the versions of all the nightingales in that great big cockamamie Real World, they had to play that one.
Darlings, I was prostrate. Can you imagine watching Dracula after that?
Ah! What a week! What can I say? We are all whipped up to a perfect feminine frenzy in the Cocktail Bar, like a rich sauce or a sugared meringue! Such heights have never before been attained! Sacred fire, to sear the sacred meatloaf in the sacred hearth! (In Amazonia, a girl has to stalk her own sacred meatloaf, you know, and bring it down with a golden arrow - but watch out for that bowstring alongside your right breast!). No, all kidding aside and anyway, anywhere and anyhoo, (as you say), we are all melting together into an universal feminine solvent, an aqua regia, it seems, we girls are ratcheting ourselves up a notch or two on the Old Triangle, lifting ourselves up by our bootstraps (or by our stocking-tops, if you will), in a mass levitation. Don't you feel it? Pictures, fleeming forays, four-foot Gibson fridges, music, lyrics, advice from married blondes, Arcadian brooches, Ellhedrine cramming to get into Milchford, (but in her cups and backsliding a bit)... why ... if we get any more racinated than this, we won't be able to pull our feet up off the floor for all the roots that have sprouted!To which the second pette (let us call her pette 2) replied:
Here I woke up at 5:30, happy to have at least two hours before anyone else gets up, ready to do some grading, but first, a note to
----. And lookie here, such a lovely letter waiting for me! Even before reading your missive, I knew I wanted to point out how very magical the Cocktail Bar is, and lookie here, you've done just that, without saying the word magical, but describing it precisely nonetheless. I have felt myself in its power these last few days, thinking about what I should say next, remembering what I'd recently heard. I think perhaps the Fairies have a very special reason for the beehive frenzy, for there is at least one girl who is reaching out in a very real way. You once said that Miss ----gave you back your mind and your happiness (I think those were your words). Dear ----, there are many many girls out there whose minds and happinesses are still locked away, and it is to those girls we give ourselves, isn't it? Yes, it's lots of fun for us to write, but it's important to keep in mind that more than just having fun as individual, atomized pettes, we are working together to build something for the lost little ones. That's why the blue pencil is important. Our editrix does know better than you or I how to build that world because she has been building it longer (though it is not her page, it is our page). In the Pit, if an editor imposes his will on a writer, a minor skirmish ensues because one ego is at odds with another. But in Aristasia, our world built upon feminine principles, a cooperative effort is more important than a competitive one.
Barpette? A Mimosa, please. I know it's late, but I refuse to let brunch end today. I have taken a position in an office. From such a long time of being a quiet and happy house-frau, I am thrust into the world of business. Such bustle, such fuss! I am capable and as hard-working as I can be, but, really girls, my brunettish capabilities are taxed nearly to an end! And I nearly decided to have an end to it just a few days ago when I was dashing to catch the 'bus and my heel caught in the sidewalk and over I went, pitched forward onto all fours in the early morning rush at the corner of 79th and First! Well, all I can say, girls, is that I'm awfully glad I wasn't caught without them! (Well, not them exactly, of course, but awfully near!).
And as to getting things done at home! Why I've been putting such a strain on my poor maid that I'm beginning to suspect I shall have to increase her wages or lose her! I'm not sure that would be a completely bad thing, mind you, she can be a trifle sloppy (just between us, you understand), and the way her awful sensible rubber shoes go suck-suck-suck against the floor is like to drive me out of my mind!
But I'm complaining. I'm so sorry, my dears, I do not mean to darken your gentle brows with my nasty old grumpiness! It's just that the end of the day has become so dull for me, without the beauty and comfort of home as I once kept it. It's not ugly or dirty, mind you, only rather lonely. Perhaps this is what sends the most determined brunette bachelorpettes suddenly careening towards matrimony - the aching promise of a round pair of arms and a sweet, yielding smile, kept safe in the house in a blonde excess of satin and ribbons.... Or am I just being selfish? Perhaps I am. But being in the presence of such beauty is bound I think to make the even the most sophisticated of brunettes feel a little, well - greedy.
Elektraspace has undergone an exciting renovation since I was last here! Who can tell me who this delicious stockinged tennis-racketed blonde is, over in the nylons pages? The accompanying text says she is a 50's girl, but might I detect a trace of Gibson in her? Either way, I don't think I have ever seen such beauty!
Vowing never to be away so long again, I remain your,
Ramona! Welcome back! First Ellhedrine, now you. The old place is looking like home again! We can't see anything selfish about wanting to take a blonde under your wing in Holy Matters (as the Pippsies call it). As for your maid, well perhaps you should redesign her uniform to include less - well - sensible shoes. Yes she is a gorgeous blonde with a tennis-racquet isn't she. "Do I detect a trace of Gibson in her" you ask. Why, Holmes, that is remarkable. Only a true brunette can tell what a blonde drinks just by looking at her.
With that in mind, Dearest Barbi, close your eyes and imagine you are in a supper club in Kadorian London with your brunette. Your tummy is full of a good dinner, you are slightly flushed with the wine, the lights go down even more, a blue spotlight comes on, slicing through the swirls and eddies of fragrant cigarette smoke. To more than a ripple of polite applause, slightly muffled by the gloves on so many feminine hands, Miss Lynn comes on to the little stage, bows modestly, adjusts the microphone. She seems terribly shy, with that bit of an overbite. Then she begins A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and you are instantly overcome by her power and magic. Her wonderfully soft, smooth, pure voice with its perfect, cut-crystal diction caresses you, rocks you like a lullaby. The song is almost unbearingly sweet, you want to hold every note so it will not ever end. You close your eyes and you are transported.
But now, Barbi, you must open your eyes just enough to see the words you are hearing in your imagination:
Our homeward step was just as light
As the tap dancing feet of Astaire
And like an echo far away
A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square
I know 'cause I was there
There! Wasn't that lovely? Racinating pictures and songs and music and maggies and films all serve to settle a girl, bring down her center of gravity, so to speak, make her stable, serene and content. She purrs. I know I do.
Since you found the article on the New Femininity enlightening, my lovely Laura, be sure to look over the entire site. This place is a tremendous treasure trove of feminine charm and philosophy. And, once I set my delicate virtual feet, beautifully accented by my pretty peach, high-heeled, ankle-strap sandals, my toenails perfectly polished, across the threshold of the Cocktail Bar, well...I just couldn't forget the experience and had to keep coming back again and again. Please stay, won't you? You will be richly rewarded and your life may never be the same.
What happened in the supermarket, my marvelous Mousy? Could you tell us, or must it be a secret? I have secrets, too, so, if you choose to keep it to yourself, I will understand. I really will. As for a pette's age, well, speaking for myself (a risky thing for me to do these days!), I think that age, especially in Elektraspace, which, of course, is where we are when we leave cyberspace and the Pit, that is...here...in this fantastic, feminine atmosphere...well...if you're young at heart...and who isn't?...well...age is something that we all have, don't we?...hmmmmm...maybe I should leave the discussion about age for the sweet sagette or someone...anyone...else!
Thank you for your thoughts about petting parties, my darling Diana. I am sure that you and the sagette are quite correct about them. Mary, dear, do you intend to have a petting party soon? If you do, I have a wonderful, adorable dog of my own that I would love to bring along.
And now, my delicate Diana, I am fashionably flattered that you value my advice about what you might look the best in, which I'm not sure I'm qualified to give, but I'll try, too, and, since I have never been fleeming before, I would love to join you. But, tell me, do fleems have dressing rooms? It might be very hard to tell how something looks on your exquisite self unless I can see it on you. If not, I suppose that I can use my imagination, but, I fear, my imagination sometimes gets out of hand and, in your gorgeous, goddess-like (the resemblance is remarkable!) presence, I might, recovering Pit-maiden that I am, find myself moved by somewhat immodest thoughts in my efforts to dress your imaginatively unadorned form in lovely, flowing fabrics and ravishing, red colors...like the color that my cheeks must be right about now! Oh, dear...there I go again...I hope that I'm not spoiling it, because I want so badly to go fleeming with you! No matter what I might think...if I promise to keep it to myself...would you still like me to come?
La! And brunettes think that their lives are so hard and complicated, what with all the things that they are expected to do! Why, if only they knew! A blonde's life isn't just lipstick and eye shadow...no, mistress...it's also perfume, foundation, rouge, nail polish, hair spray, the perfect underwear, the perfect outerwear, the perfect shoes, crossing her legs just so, keeping her thoughts focused on her brunette companion's every word, instead of...well...whatever innocent indelicacies might come into her sweet, sensitive, sensuous mind...yes, indeed, it's more, much more, than they realize!
Restrained and hopeful, I remain
I am all tingling right now, shivers going up my back and all, and it's because of the things Miss Elaluminhela has said. See, even though I live with my family in New Quirinelle, my heart belongs to Amazonia. I have such longings to live there, where every word, every action, every thought links Maid to Maid, to Dea, to the land, to Sacred Truth. My soul yearns for each moment to be a physical playing out of a spiritual Truth. Thinking about Amazonia helps me know that as I go about my daily duties of preparing the food and keeping the house clean and tending to the little one, I am doing something more spiritual than mundane. When I cook dinner, for instance, I am using sacred fire to transform what the land gives us into food my family will eat and then be nourished by.
AMY de CULVER (Mrs.)
Well, golly, Laura, that seems enough to start with. To be twenty-four is a species of genius, you know Can we get you a drink on the house?
Anyway, anyhow, anywho (brunettes can be silly too you know!), all this talk of furs reminds me of two, no three little stories I must share with all of you girls. You already know the first one, Ellhedrine, (goodness gracious! I think you are the one who told it to me), so just close your eyes while I tell it. One of the founding girls once was told that, really, most people don't think it is acceptable for women to wear furs any more, and she replied, "Oh I do know, but I think I'd probably still wear one even if that weren't the case!"
Then the second little story is from one fall, when I was teaching, and my class read a lovely little novel by Miss Sarah Orne Jewett called, The Country of the Pointed Firs. Well, one of my students wrote a paper about the country of the pointed furs. I imagine it was a place of fox furs, the kind with the claws still in the fur. I thought how much I'd love to go there on a cold winter day, just to see all the pettes in their splendor.
The last isn't really a story, but a glimmer into the life of an Aristasian in a little college town in Pit-america. I giggle just about every day because all over town are these little signs, instructing everyone everywhere to stop wearing fur. Well, I giggle because in all my years in this little town, I've only known one person ever to wear a fur...me. And all that fuss over little 'ole me? Well, a girl usually has to do much bigger things in life to get so much attention!
Oh, I lied, for I have yet another story about furs. It's about my first-ever real stole, given to me by , well, by some of you here tonight. That evening at the Embassy, when you girls gave me such a perfect light mink stole, wrapped it around my shoulders and watched me melt into its softness and glamour, those tears you saw sparkling in my eyes, they were pure tears of joy at the gift of femininity you gave me, not only with the fur, but also with the Truth you've spoken in Elektraspace all these months, the truth that the darkness can't completely obscure, the truth that femininity is real and eternal and powerful and, well, gosh, worthy of a little ermine or mink to help encourage it in a girl. And pettes, you've never felt fully feminine until you've stood in Daisy Mae's shoes, in your stockings and undies, and your mink coat, all melt-y like.
Well, I've had quite enough of my drink for the night. Usually I can drink like a brunette, but tonight it's just about made a chatty blonde out of me.
Girlies, here I am back from a long day fleeming, to tell you all about...fleeming. What's fleeming, you ask. Well, it is how Aristasians make their homes sanctuaries from the Pit. And it is a whole lot of fun to boot. And it's something just about everyone can do, I 'spose. In the Pit fleems are called (whisper) "garage sales" and "boot sales" and "flea markets." A fleem is any kind of sale where bongos sell used things. And some of these used things are real things, and very often the silly bongos don't even know the difference, so they'll sell something real for pennies right next to something from the second decade of darkness for dollars. The more you go fleeming for real things, the more you can almost magically tell the real from the obsolete. My own brunette is a whiz at it. She can walk into a fleem and in a moment pick out the only thing on a table that was made before the Eclipse. The reason for this is too diffie for a blonde like me to explain, so I won't, but I think it has to do with archetypes and essential truths manifested in the objects from a true civilization. What I do know is that the more you learn about the real world, the more those real things begin to glow when you find them at a fleem. And the more you can bring that glow into your own home, the more you can build a sanctuary against the Pit.
I better put dinner on now. The family is sure to be hungry after such a long day of treasure hunting. Oh, I almost forgot to say what we found today. Three boxes of up-to-date stationery, three pairs of stockings from Quirinelle (still in their wrappers, of course), two gorgeous Quirrie serving bowls to match another one we had found years ago, and several little Nativity gifts, but I can't tell you what they are because, well, they are for some of you pettes who are here tonight!
Goodbye for now darlings. Lots of love,
AMY de CULVER
So I have selected one of my favorites, guaranteed to make a Kadorie blonde melt and then swoon: a Brunette in Uniform. Here is Maureen, a W.A.C. Cadette I met last month at a U.S.O. club in Gotham, where I was one of the faceless (but what great legs I've got!) blondes in the chorus line. She bought me a champagne cocktail after the revue, took my phone number, but her furlough was up the next day, she never called me (sob!)
I know what Mrs. de Culver means when she talks about the magic of real things. When I was very new, and feeling quite miserable because so much of my life still had to be lived in the Pit and I didn't have a proper sanctuary in my home, I would find relief from the misery by looking at a little Arcadian pin I owned made out of amethyst, in the shape of a shield. It was one of the few things I had that came from the real world and I pinned it on to whatever coat I was wearing. When I felt the poison of the Pit, I would pretend that I could shrink down to the size of a Borrower and somehow step inside that little pin. I felt comforted by the thought of this little pin shielding me from the poison.
Thankfully, I have a lot more protection than just a tiny pin these days. And I heartily agree with Amy that the more of a defense you can build against the Pit, the happier you will be.
Love for now, and this place is lots of fun! Glad my friends told me about it. Barmaid, mine's a Martini tonight. Sometimes blondes like to see how the other side lives, you know.
Lots of love to all,
And Mehitabelle writes:
I will be happy to share the names and numbers of the best Kadorie shinies I have found, then she can have the words and the music. If Barbi is in a city in the Pit-U.S., she will have little trouble finding (or ordering) them. Please let her know.... if she is interested, she may contact me directly (you may give her my address) or she may reach me through you, likewise my reply, direct, or through you, as you and she wish.We won't publish the names and numbers here as they might sound a bit gratingly bongo, but if Barbi or any other pette wishes to drop a note to the Embassy, we'll be happy to forward Mehitabelle's information.
I sent a little bitty "hello" about two weeks ago, but I fear there are blonder blondes than me about (Tee hee - and who let THEM work in the Aristasian Post Office?) And then my nail-varnish chipped and the wireless started on some sweet little ditty and la! the thoughts just fled out of my pretty curly-locked head so all I can think of now is the night and the music and I've got to go and change so - Bye!
My dear Miss Fox, are you by any chance suggesting that the Aristasian Post Office is not a model of efficiency? Well, all right. Perhaps we had better not discuss that too deeply!
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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