The floral hat pictured in the archive reminded me of the time when mother took me to her favorite dress and millinery shop and bought me my own first hat. Even though it looked nothing like the one pictured, it still invoked my memory. I was fourteen, aflush with anticipation and nervous. I must have tried on thirty hats, from pillbox to extravagantly costumed styles. It was then that mother stepped in and directed my attention to a wide brimmed straw in navy. A white polka-dot navy scarf and a navy polka-dot scarf were hap-hazardly twisted around the flat crown. The ends separated at the rear and then formed an opposing bow at the rear. Walking out of Malina's shop with my hat box swinging from my fingertips was an act of shouting to the world ... "I. Kresha Matay, am a woman!!!"
May I join my sisters in the deeper reaches of our world?
That smart little cloche, incidentally, was the very item which completed my ensemble - plus an emerald-green cape - just before I went skipping like a sprite out the door and away to the library, in determined search of anything by the venerable Ananda Coomaraswamy. Alas, there were no tomes of his to be found. I shall try elsewhere, but in the meanwhile I must give my thanks to the astoundingly sagacious editrix for recommending him. I was immensely pleased and happily surprised when, some months ago, I encountered him in the inspirational Feminine Academy. (In fact I could have kissed you all twice just for that.) I recalled at the time that I had once read something generally about, of all things, agricultural labour - in which Dr. Coomaraswamy was amply quoted - and that I had thought then "how right, how good and how very wise this would appear...".
Now Miss Ellhedrine, you radiant pink angel you! You've told me such a great many delightful things, my head is positively swimming. I've never known a Blonde could be so eco- and bio- logically proficient; and darling - I hope my saying so won't embarrass you, but - you really are a light unto us all. There! I've said it. Furthermore, you have doubly reinforced my faith in Aristasia and in the boundless feminine potential for Beauty and Kindness. (Not to mention my gladness for the promise of a happily hairball-coughing-up-free world, with beasties gracefully shedding whole, perfect little coats at once.) In Aristasia Dea seems to have fashioned a most wondrous design for the harmony of a planet.
But what is this I hear about your despondency over a silly belief of yours that you lack exoticism? Pickles! You ought always to remember that just as Amazonia may be unutterably exotic to a Quirrie girl; such a perfect epitome of the West as Brightsea is surely just as exotic to many an Amazonian pette. And as I've heard Miss Barbara's wise advice to you, Ellhedrine, I know I must refrain from offering any response to your queries in the quest for Blonde Perfection - but I was ever so thrilled by them. How naughty you are! But I am as horrified as anyone when I think of my carelessly almost leading us further down the path of corruption... Why, I now wouldn't dream of telling you about how even more alluring and unattainable you would appear with a new lip rouge I've just seen in one of my most up-to-date Quirrie magazines. (It's called "Ripest Mango Deluxe" and it's just your colour.) And I can't imagine what got into my head when I nearly answered your curiosity about the Wiggle with: "Well, it depends on whether or not you want to interest Brunettes in the location of your 'whereabouts'. As Ariadne can attest, a wiggle must be the surest way to give such Brunettes an excuse to take great sport in locating them." Whatever was I thinking?
Still, Ellhedrine, the only true answers to your amusing questions are in the fact that you are surely the very pinnacle of Blonde youth and lovelyness. Wiggle or not, there is always an effervescent spring in your step, and to merely be in your presence for an evening is quite rejuvenating for a Blonde.
And now I shall relate without further ado the sorry tale of my first exercise in social imbibement. In attempting that hoary Golden Dragon, well, I not only climbed the mountain with a single step - I fear I fell right into the volcano. Oh, it was most exquisite, and queerly aetheriel - so that it was all I could do to be sure I had really drunk any - which was quite possibly the reason for the eventual disappearance of nearly all the goblet's contents. So miss Ellhedrine! We should both be thankful (especially after Miss Barbara's advice) that I hadn't the shekels to buy one for your sweet self - as I had been naturally inclined to do after you expressed such awe and "squiffy"ness at the sight and scent. For I can attest that it is a powerful substance indeed. Although I swear I felt just fine when I left for home... And as for what happened when I did get home... Well, I hung my coat up, took a little compact from my beaded bag, and looked. But instead of my face, all I could see in the mirror was a silken golden mist. I peered resolutely into it, and found I could make out what appeared to be scales - or, as I peered closer - fiery-gold chainmail... And then a figure slowly turning toward me, occupying all my field of vision...
Of course, I promptly fainted. Fortunately Evangeline heard the compact crash to the floor, and came rushing in. She went flying then about the house, upturning all-and-sundry in search of her 1903 'Home Notes' annual, which at last she found - and I was eventually revived with the reliable "Remedy for Fits and Swooning Spells."
Could it be, I consider now, that the Golden Dragon is one of
the most decisive Aristasian sex-determination tests as ever there was?
If so it ought to come with instructions. ('Brunettes: Partake of the Golden
Dragon without recourse to the smelling salts. Blondes: Experience abnormal
phenomena and lie in for a week, resting languidly in yards and yards of
something rather pale and
And to make matters worse, that night I had an awfully distressing nightmare in which one of my favourite brunette film stars, the delectable miss Delores del Rio, established a terribly sophisticated Latin dancing academy in my town - only just as I was sent sailing off to Culveria to be educated at Vassar College... How I pined, yet I could not turn back. Oh! Quelle horreur!
Your inordinately loquacious
MISS MINA KUMARI
Oh, yes, and also a delightfully airy summer bonnet, set off with gay ribbons, that is actually called Fountain of Youth! (No kidding!)
Oh, but why keep you waiting for the Fountain of Youth? I see our liquid ones are already being set on their tray, so I suppose there is no better time to show you the eponymous hat. So here it is, too! The model's name is Sydney.
Well, of course one doesn't have to be irritated beyond endurance to benefit, but it is good to have, in that "annoyance" section of the psyche something that is innocent and real and annoying rather than slick and corrupt and annoying, like the advertising of the Pit our aim is to build a whole world, and a whole world includes irritating things as well as pleasant ones. So, for example, some of our wireless-windies include Quirrie songs that none of us really like, but they are still real and racinating. As we re-build our image sphere (do remind me to say something about the image-sphere soon), things we like and things we dislike (which, after all, occupy a significant place in out mental world should both be real. Bongo things should come come into the category not of things we dislike, but of things to which we deny all recognition whatever.
Now being a philsopherette is not an employment prerequisite for a Kadorie junior fashion editrix, so I can make no claims to any particular sagacity, yet it seems to me that hats allow Maid to display, nay, flaunt her essential feminine links to beauty, fecundity, gracefulness ... indeed, to the most exalted other-than-Maid aspects of Dea's creations. So Maid appropriates the most beautiful, not-Maid manifestations of the manifest world - feathers, flowers and fruit, and fur - which for this very reason have found their way into the milliner's art, so that they might adorn and embellish, indeed crown, the head and brow of Dea's finest creation - Maid herself. When a girl wears a fine hat she is glorifying Dea by wreathing Her finest creation in the subservient beauty of flowers, feathers and fruit - indeed, Maid would adorn her hats with butterfly wings, too, were they sufficiently durable.
But too many words, not enough pictures, pettes, so here are some proofs from the session Stephanie G. shot today on the hotel veranda, after the sun had gone behind the wall, so that the light would be softer. Remember, we are always shooting the next season's fashions, so we do spring hats in November! Please take note of the long, soft, green gloves (how can you miss 'em?)
Last night we watched a lovely up-to-date film, full of charming Trentish pettes and Art Neo sets and marvy music. Then we went for coffee at a little Quirrie café. Look, I don't want to break the spell, but you know, it is the easiest thing in the world to have a cinema and a café if there are two rooms in your house, even if there are only two of you. All it takes are the two inations, imag and determ.
Anyway, after that we went to bed and I didn't wake up until early in the morning when I heard some car doors banging and footsteps in the street.
So, as I didn't need to get right up, I lay there (it was still dark) listening to the wind and the rain and the car doors and the footsteps. And I got a picture of the street in my mind. Not a photographically-clear one as my mind doesn't work that way, but quite a distinct one nonetheless.
I saw real up-to-date cars. black and lovely, with running boards (it was their doors I heard banging). I saw neat pettes in hats and gloves and high heels (and other clothes too!) hurrying through the windy rain about their business. I saw real children wrapped against the wind in smart little coats and hats. I saw it in my mind's eye and heard it with my physical ears.
It gave me the most delightful realisation that our minds do not have to be trapped in the Pit. The world that lives in our imagination can be re-shaped completely. The Enemy may have the power to distort and poison the world about us, but that distortion need not be allowed to extend one inch further than its physical boundaries. And the one boundary it need never be allowed to cross is the boundary of our sacred homes.
With love to you all,
Dateline: 27 November 1951
Now, after Ellhedrine's excitement at being called exotic, imagine mine at the sweet, seductive suggestion that I might be thought of as...dare I repeat it?...voluptuously blonde! And coming from the sagacious (and saucy!) sagette, at that! All I wanted to be was just prettily blonde...well...perhaps a little more. Actually, the other day I was looking at the Pin up Page, especially that languorous, reclining blonde, barely covered by her diaphanous nightgown, and I have to tell you that the deepest part of my soul yearned not only to be just like her, but...to be her...to be the singularly desired object of sensual pleasure, to be caressed by the gaze of a powerful brunette as I turn my fully, but transparently, clad body toward her hungry eyes, my own eyes, of course, filled with amazement and innocent surprise that I could bring a beautiful brunette's blood, rich and ruby red, to a bubbling boil...
There I go again! But, honestly, am I really beginning to understand the innocence that all blondes claim as their birthright...the physical display and tantalizing teasing that only a blonde can do without shame...that a blonde may even be expected to do? Oh, I hope so! I would never want to be as serious as a brunette. I don't know how any of them ever have any fun. But I do like to look at them. Which reminds me, my marvellous Mehitabelle, that your pictures are so exciting. I want so much to be at the...well... beck and call of that kind of pette: strong, dedicated, knowledgeable, beautiful, possessed of a reservoir of restrained sensuality that only I can release and satisfy.
I just can't seem to stop myself! But, maybe I'm not supposed to! Is that what you mean by voluptuous, my amorous, anonymous sagette? I have changed since I came here...so many things are delightfully different for me now. If I am a voluptuous blonde...what rapture!...I melt at the thought.
La! That's all for now, my delicious darlings. I shall be on holiday for a few weeks...as if anytime away from the Cocktail Bar can be considered a holiday. I will check the archives when I return, my dainty damsels, to see what has happened and bring myself up to date. And I have a wish, too. I hope that many of you newcomers...yes! all of you gathered around the bar there...and you over there in the booths, too...will look up from your drinks, get a feel for this wonderful feminine world, find your voices, and join this conversation that celebrates Maid and all of her vibrant, vivacious virtues, so dazzlingly displayed here.
Until we converse again, I remain
Bye-bye Barbi! We shall miss you!
And the other blonde is at it too - I let her post from my old home account, and the dizzy female that she is, she left my name on it. So if any of you were wondering why the ever-sensible and poised Miss Fox should sound like a dizzy blonde - blame Petal who is staying with me for a while. Now excuse me while I rescue her from the top of the ladder she has ascended in order to pick me some apples. And the apples weren't even ripe! Blondes!
You're quite right about the Missing Link. Why are brunettes always right? We've mended it now (we think).
But to complicate matters further, there are other, at times vague or almost sub-conscious reasons besides season, occasion, age and mood that dictate wearing a particular hat. Should her wardrobe suddenly prove deficient when such reasons make themselves felt (though often not known), a pette may find herself irresistibly drawn to the milliner's shop, like an iron filing is to a magnet, for still just one more hat. Take Amanda R., brunette, for example, shown in the accompanying picture, seated before the milliner's mirror, a possible hat on her head, two more on her knees (note the stole on her lap, by the way). Amanda has been recently disappointed in love, she recently lost a most eligible and delectable blonde to another brunette (there was quite an ugly scene late one afternoon at the office). Amanda fancies that a new hat - a new look, a millinery make-over - will help her hold on to the next blonde, even as far as the altar, she secretly hopes. Perhaps she is right, though her look is not the reason her blonde went astray: it had really to do with some little imperfection of character, something out of harmony within herself, (look carefully at her expression), which she will no doubt discover in time. Amanda is seeking consolation in hats, another ancient ritual, but one suspects she is ignoring the truth and wants to believe a new hat may answer her prayers.
Norma, thank you ever so much for your fine millinery advice. I, too, am a strong believer in hats, and I simply must have one (or maybe two) to go with every outfit. It is only when my Aristasian roots come out that I let all this hair down--as you all have seen, I usually keep it up ever so primly. I love cloches and those Quirrie fedoras that some brunettes get away with simply drive me wild--in the best way.
And now I must tell a story. Yesterday when I got up for work (I am a music teacher, if you are a recent arrival and don't know that), I realized as I stood in the dressing room (looking and feeling all fuzzy and bleary as any decent brunette does at six o' clock in the morning) that my hair looked even fuzzier than it usually does. So I leaned forward to check it, and found that it looked just fine when I got closer. I leaned away and poof! there it went, all fuzzy again. Of course, that's when I finally figured it out--horror of horrors, I needed glasses! My dears, I am a very YOUNG schoolteacher, and although it is true that I wear my hair all bundled up and I have a baton, I am certainly not an old-maid type! Not at all, I assure you. And my eyes! Why, next to my hair, my eyes have been my pride and joy. Just look--aren't they nice? They are grey, and long-lashed, and, well, it just breaks my heart.
Practical brunette that I am, though, I went right out to the eyeglass-doctor (where the nurses were just as strong and gentle and nurturing as Mehitabelle could dream of) and had my eyes examined, and yes, it's true, I need glasses. But not all the time, thank Dea. That's why I'm not wearing them right this minute. But here they are--I'm sorry I'm so timid about taking them out, but I want to break the news now and not cause a sensation later--such as when I take them out to read my bar bill.
There. They're not so bad, are they? Do they make me look too ancient? Please, my pettes, tell me what you think--Norma, as a fashion editrix, what is your opinion? I must ask you all before I go out into public and wear them--for I know that you are all my dear friends and can be trusted to give me good advice--and not to laugh...
Dear Diana, needing to wear spectacles is one of those minor disadvantages that can be turned into a great advantage by an Aristasian. What you must do is find a really lovely pair of up-to-date speccies at a fleem or at what, for some unaccountable reason, the bongos call an "antiques fair". Take your time, look around and find just the pair that suits you, and then have lenses of your prescription put in them. Nothing, not even a hat, gives quite such a devastatingly real effect as a stunning pair of up-to-date speccies. Miranda gave a wonderful pair (all the way from New Quirinelle) to my cousin Julia when she visited the Embassy, and she (Julia that is) just adores them. Sometimes I wish I could be a bit more short-sighted just so I could get some real speccies. Isn't that wicked of me?
Anyway, Diana darling, you've the best of both worlds, because you only need to wear them sometimes. We can all see your delightful eyes, and you can put on your real speccies whenever you need to - or whenever you want to produce an effect.
How lovely to find such informative instructions on hat-wearing in Kadoria. I love the pictures and the advice that accompany them. I wanted to put my two pennies in about hat-wearing in the Pit, since many of the girls here tonight unfortunately live there. Well, when you first start wearing your hats in the Pit, of course you might feel a little bit funny being the only girl around with her head covered. But that passes and eventually you begin to feel, as Norma has said, vulnerable and undressed without one. Soon the people you see -- green grocers, gas station attendants, butchers, and bakers -- expect it of you and you begin to understand that you brighten their day by being the only real person to walk through their doors.
Hats are like the fur-badge Julia wears when she has to go down into the Pit. If you wear a hat and a pair of smart gloves, and of course a dress or skirt and stockings, and if you hum a little up-to-date song in your head as you walk through the Pit, you create a protective bubble around yourself that effectively keeps the Pit out. All of the vulgarities, tawdriness, and small-mindedness of the Pit simply can't get to you because you have risen above Pit; you are no longer in the Pit; you are instead in Aristasia, where the air is so sweet. By donning the hat and gloves, etc. you take the sweet magic of the Cocktail Bar with you where're you may go. The light and joyful feelings you feel here, in this room, with your tender and kind friends, can go with you throughout the day.
Until next time dearies,
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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