The Cocktail Bar

NOTE: This conversation runs backwards! For the benefit of regular readers the newest comments are put at the top.
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Dateline: 6 December 1951

News from Miss Elizabeth

Hello, loves! It's me, again--Miss Elizabeth. My goodness, how long it's been! How well you all look. Since I last reported in, my darling Rebecca and I have seen each other twice. You must imagine how difficult it is, as the miles between us are vast. And yet, when we are together, it is as if we were never apart!

 I must tell you that Rebecca has been quite unwell! She was in a terrible carriage accident, and was seriously (though not critically) injured. She is in such pain! And yet, she is so brave! So courageous! So brunette! When she joins us here shortly, be very gentle in your embraces, though embrace her you must. She needs a great deal of kindness and affection from all of us now.

 Well, now. What have you all been up to? And may I have one of those lovely pink, frosty things to drink?

 Hugs and kisses,
MISS ELIZABETH


Eating With a Veil

Dear Norma,
May I try? I think that the proper etiquette for managing luncheon with a full veil is: That I would daintily lift the veil out of the way for each morsel or sip!

 Ohh! I ever so exited to have an answer? do tell me, am I even a tinsy weensy bit close?

 ROSE



Thank you, Rose sweetie, but we don't think Norma was setting a test, she was really asking. Even grown-ups ask sometimes, you know! (Isn't she a darling?)

Veils and Gloves

I looked in my lovely Trentish Etiquette Book and it doesn't say a thing about veils and eating. I usually wear a veiled hat when I go out, and my own practice is to turn the veil back over the hat when actually eating (it looks quite pretty that way. But I must admit I haven't worn a close-round-the-chin veil like the one in the picture. That might create problems.

 Incidentally, it is easy to smoke with a veil (Turkish cigarettes only, of course - not bongo smellers!), but one must use a long cigarette-holder otherwise one will almost certainly burn little holes in the veil - I mean more little holes than there are supposed to be! But then no one smokes without a cigarette-holder these days, does she?

 And what about kissing through a veil. I think there is something very charming about that, don't you, although, of course, it can place a certain restraint upon brunette forwardness! - Dear me, what a dreadful thing to say. Doesn't this Cocktail Bar just seem to bring out the worst in one at times? I blame Ellhedrine. She really should try to set a better example to her elders.

 So Gothamettes never eat in gloves, Miss Norma. I am not sure your fellow Kadoripette Miss Rosalind Russell - brunette sophisticate par excellence - would agree with you. She does everything in gloves, and eats rather delightfully. I wish I had the courage to do it!

 One last thought - in certain parts of Quirinelle I have noticed a habit of wearing gloves but no hat to go out. Is this a touch of degeneracy, do you think? And what about the neat head-scarf in place of a hat. It must be legal as District visitors often seem to affect them - but hardly the height of elegance - or is it? It is the sort of thing Miss Audrey Hepburn might carry off with great chic.

 Blonde love to all you darlings,

 ANNALINDE


Dateline: 5 December 1951

Secret Life

Darlings! We have just seen the loveliest film at our cinema here. It is called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and I have never spent a better 6d. Among other felicities (and a few Janes and Marys), it is full of lovely girls in wonderful Kadorie hats just like the ones in Norma's wonderful pictures. And all in glorious Technicolour too - just like the Cocktail Bar!

 It is wonderful how one's taste gets educated, isn't it? You know, I am sure I should have loved the film anyway - no doubt about it - but I don't think I should have loved the hats so much, or understood them aesthetically, without Norma's expert guidance. One scene is actually set at a hat show, and has a lovely convertible hat, the pin and brim of which can be removed or the pin replaced - oh, I can't describe it the way Norma does, and I haven't a picture, but it is a glorious purple glittery thing. You must see the film!

 The only thing is that for those of us who, unlike Norma and dear Ellhedrine live - in my case - not in the Pit but on the edges thereof, in a tiny outpost of Aristasia-in-Telluria, such films can make one feel sad and quite furious at the ugly emptiness that surrounds us in place of all that glory and loveliness. But that only makes us the more determined to build Aristasia on earth, and that can only be a good thing. Raya Imperatrix!

 It also made me think about how girly-girls see films that are - well, not quite Aristasian (though certainly not bongo, of course I had rather eat a bucket of sand than watch a bongo film). Some girls suggest we identify with the hero in kissing the girl. I don't think I have ever quite done that, and I am not sure quite what I do do. But in this film, I know I saw the wonderful Kadorie blonde-haired brunette as something more than just a human being; as the glorious, golden symbol of the true heart's home, and if that seems a bit abstract, I can only say it was quite un-abstract enough to move me to floods of tears at several points in the film. Tears in Walter Mitty? Well, perhaps a romantic Aristasian does not see quite the same film that the director made. It represents so much more on so many levels, doesn't it, with all that the Pit has lost in the intervening years, and all that Aristasia has gained; and all the delicate romanticism of our New Sensibility - not to mention all the silly, over-emotional blondeness of this particular cinema-goer.

 Here's to you, sweeties. All of you.

 ANNALINDE


Tired Of Hats Yet?

Did we really finish off those eight splits of champagne last night? Even though there were only the three of us? I trust I did not make a great fool of myself or anything, and if I did, please don't tell anyone, sweet Elizabeth and darling Ellhedrine. Oh, bite my tongue! Forget I even said that! Of course I didn't make a fool of myself, great or small: brunettes never do anything so blonde, I was as sober as a magistra the whole time, but for some reason I can't quite recall how I got home. Nor how I managed to come by an extra pair of stockings (almost new) in my purse, not my size or color or scent at all. Awffy good quality, though, could they be that New Lady brand all the pettes are talking about?

 The quesch is, did I promise more hat piccies last night? Are you getting tired of hats? Do you want dresses or shoes or stockings or pettes in the kitchen, little girls, lovers or brides? Gosh, we have just tons of photos in our maggie's archives, you see, and I have the index. But I think I heard a vote for more hats.

So here are a couple more. The first is of two very elegant pettes who have just finished an equally elegant luncheon in the Atrium Restaurant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in Gotham. (You can tell they have finished, as they are drawing on their gloves. A Gotham pette never dines with her gloves on, particularly if she has ordered a sandwich with mayonnaise or mustard on it, or corn on the cob.) The girl on the left has a lovely tilted Breton in plain tweed, with a brush of feathers, matching the skirt and four-in-hand of her otherwise dark green plaid suit. Her companionette is wearing a pheasant feather toque (the roundish breast feathers are layered, rather like fish scales, just as they are on the bird itself), engagingly tipped, with full veil, blending nicely with her russet wool suit and her gloves. (Do any of you know the proper etiquette for managing luncheon with a full veil? Does one remove one's hat with the veil, roll up the veil, or do you think one daintily lifts the veil out of the way for each morsel or sip? A free pair of nylons to the first pette with the right answer!)

Today's second image is of green-eyed Audrey again, this time in a daring black sidesweep of satin-bound felt, edged with dark grey tulle and fixed with a diamond-studded pin. I must say I don't favor headgear like this of Audrey's: I can't stand having my ears covered - I find it quite unsettling and disorienting, especially if just one ear is covered - I must hear every word of what's going on around me and who is saying what to whom. But I suppose we are all slaves to fashion to one degree or another (I confess my feet sometimes get rather sore after a whole day in heels, particularly three-inchers, but I could never go to work in flats, I'd be sent home immediately just as an improperly dressed schoolgirl would be by her teacher!)

 NORMA


For our part, I don't think we could ever tire of these delightful Kadorie hats.

Music Playing: Stardust by Marychild's Dance Orchestra


Dateline: 4 December 1951

Blonde adventures er, make that mishaps!!

Hello pettes!! I am so happy to have made it back here to the cocktail lounge in one piece. I have had one of the most trying days. I do hope that I can find a nice brunette to buy me a drink, and perhaps offer me a little sympathy.

 Oh, you want to know what was so awful about today? Well, as you know the holiday season is upon us. And, I decided to surprise everyone and go out all by my blonde self and get a Christmas tree.

 Yes, all by myself. I started out so brave. I went to this tree lot, and wandered all over this place looking for the perfect tree. I was wearing a very Christmasy velvet green high waisted dress, and one of my favorite pair of pumps. I didn't realize how much of a challenge walking in this tree lot would be in these shoes first off. That of course, was the most minor of things that went wrong today.

 I looked and looked at all of these trees, and some were rather scraggly looking. Some were, in my opinion, way to small for the room the tree was to go into, and others were way to big. I finally settled upon a tree that was about a foot taller than myself. Then, I don't know what it was, but a humanoid creature was there, assisting all the pettes in buying their trees. It offered to cut the bottom off for me, for it realized that an axe in my hands could probably weaken the economy, if not worse!!! Well, I had already paid for my tree at this point, and I knew that I myself couldn't handle the axe so I told it to go right ahead and chop. After the creature chopped the bottom off of my tree, it strapped it to the car. I drove home, so happy and proud of myself that I had gone out and gotten a tree all on my own.

 I came home, and unsnipped the tree from the car. Well, the thing just positively fell right on top of me, nearly knocking me over!!!! I somehow managed to lower it to the ground, and drag it over to the side of the house. I then went inside, and kicked off my pumps and decided to go up into the attic to get all of our lovely victorian decorations. I succeeded well enough in that mission, getting down boxes and boxes of decorations. I set up the tree stand, and went back outside, (in my stocking feet no less, shhhh, don't tell) to drag the tree in. I wrestled that thing into the house, and popped it into the stand. Oh, the horror!!!! That creature had cut off a good foot or more of my tree, for it was only barely as tall as I am, and that was once it was in the stand.

 I knew that this would never do, that everyone would laugh at my tree, so I pulled it out of the stand and drug it back outside. I was just ready to have a swooning fit I was so upset. I decided to take a break, lay down on the sofa and drink some hot cocoa. As I propped my feet up, I noticed that I had a big run, no doubt caused by when, in my excitement over bringing in the tree I had walked out into the yard without my shoes.

 This just upset me even more. Nylons are so expensive, and I had ruined one!!! Oh no!!! I went and changed, and decided that I was not going to keep this tree. Oh no, I would just take it back. So then I tried to load this ugly tree back onto the car. That proved rather fruitless though. What to do, oh what to do!! Well, in a moment of pure genus, I decided that I would just plant this tree outside and decorate it. Visions began swirling in my head, of the fun I could have year after year decorating my outdoor tree!!! I then drug my hapless tree over to the side of the house, and went back in search of the perfect tree.

 I visited a different tree lot this time, and this tall brunette was most helpful to me. She showed me some really tall trees that were hidden on the back of the lot, and even let me have one for a discounted price!!!! I was happy once again. She also cut 2 inches off the bottom of the tree, so that it could get a drink whenever it is thirsty. (I'm not sure how it does this though, and everyone keeps telling me it's over my head when I ask) Anyway, she loaded my tree up on top of my car, and off I went home. Once I got home, I unsnipped my tree, and drug it into the house. It was even heavier than the first tree, but I somehow managed to get it into the stand. Just the right size!!! I was so proud.

 I put the tinsel and the lights on, and then decorated it just so. It was so so pretty. I turned off all the other lights in the house, and then turned the tree lights on. I felt like a small child again. Then I remembered my first tree, laying on it's side outside the house. I went and changed into some gardening clothes, and got the shovel and went to work planting my tree. This took me about an hour, but I managed it. My tree was firmly in the ground. I decided that some popcorn strands would do just great on my outdoor tree, for not only would it look festive and Christmassy, but it would also give the hungry birds something to eat once they got home. I went inside and started popping and stringing corn.

 I was having a great time, and then some of my brunette friends showed up. They noticed my new tree in the yard, and asked how I planted it. When I told them the story, they all laughed at me, and had the nerve to tell me that my tree wouldn't grow because it was no longer alive. They wouldn't even listen when I tried to tell them how vibrant and green it looked.

 The final insult occurred after we went inside though. One of my cats, Muffin, came inside with my friends. The minute she saw the tree, she decided to climb it, and the whole thing fell over, breaking several ornaments in the process as well as nearly hitting me on the head!!! It was awful. My brunette friends started scolding me, even going so far as to suggest I go visit the wildfire forum for a suitable punishment for my carelessness as well as waste of lucre on two trees. And all I was trying to do was surprise everyone.

 Well, that sums up my day. And how was your day I wonder?

 ELIZABETH



Brunettes can be so insensitive at times (though I must admit all the brunettes I know are delightfully sensitive). The important thing, of course, was your lovely tree-lights and the magical feeling of Christmas.

Music Playing:When the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the day by Marychild's Dance Orchestra


Dateline: 3 December 1951

Hatsh Off To Fabric, Feathers and Furs

Oh, Hi girls, it's only you. Gosh! You gave me the fright of my life! I did not expect any late visitors! Did the Night Watchmaid let you in? Oho! I know who must be on duty tonight, it has to be Beverly! You ought to be glad she's a blonde, or you'd have never made it inside. I thought I'd stay late at the office tonight to make up for my little spur-of-the-mome fling in Bermuda last week, so you caught me working on the layouts for our next big hat issue. You like my hair now? Good! Me, too! That Clothilde is a real artiste, don't you agree? (And she took ever so long, too!) Well, now that you're all here, let's see, first things first: there's a concealed wet bar in the senior fashion editrix's office right here 'cross the hall. C'mon, let's raid it! Oh, just look at the view she has downtown all the way to Grand Central Station! One of these days I'll have such a view, too!

 What luck! Here are eight chilled splits of champagne, just enough for all of us. Um, Elizabeth there! Bring over those glasses, wouldja? Yes, sweetie, I mean you, in the dolly black pillbox hat and fishnet lace half-veil, and that sweet black satin suit with the mandarin collar. Who'dja think I meant, Charlene Chan? Don't take it wrong, Sugar, but you don't look all that mysteriously oriental to me,, just rather disarmingly innocent and perfectly blonde. You wouldn't be looking for a job in a Gotham maggie fashion department, now, wouldja, by any chance? (But a quick little serious aside, Elizabeth: quite frankly, as a fashion editrix, I am puzzled by your description of the stockings you are wearing. Why, you speak as if seams are something from another planet! And garter belts, too! Why, besides garter belts and girdles, how else does a girl keep up her stockings? And there you go again, like some of those other new pettes, talking about that strange Pit-province again. Oh, I wish somepette would tell finally me what this Pit place is all about. Perhaps I should take my next vacation there? What are the blondes there like, all as sweet as you?)

 But I ramble, too, how very un-brunettish of me! (Tee-Hee) Ahem. (Cough-cough) We were on the subject of champagne, were we not? I see there is a shaker bottle of Angostura right here in the "A - E" file cabinet drawer along with some sugar cubes, so, Voilà! Champagne cocktails! Oh, Mehitabelle, darling, watch those bubbles! It'll be my job if you drip champagne on the senior editrix's mahogany desk! Ellhedrine, dear, don't gulp your champagne cocktail, it's not Ovaltine, you know!

[Minutes later] Ah, that's much better, champagne cocktails lend a certain, um new perspective, shall we say, to all sorts of pettish endeavors. So now let's have a look at my layouts, whaddaya say? OK! OK, Ok, ok ...I know, I know, I've laid out only two sots sho far. Number One: here's Sydney again, good ol' untouchable Syndey, wearing a red silken halo with oversized pink and red roses of silk, choker and serpentine bracelet of diamonds. Nice?

But I promished you no less than fabric, feathers and furze for the fall, so here is a non pareil number. I blush to show you Number Two, Pettes, but thish is me, Norma, decked out in a perfectly smashing dipped wing parchment beige cloche in beaver felt (quill at a daring new angle for this season), with an exquisite mink choker. I jusht pasted it into the mock-up for a lark, you know. You blondes don't really think I should keep it there, do you, at all? Maybe, you say? Perhapsh? Lets have another round of champagne cocktails first, then we'll make a deshishion. Elizhabesh, may I have your glash please? Oh, blondes are so very intoxicating! Who needs champagne?

 NORMA


Honey, believe us, you don't want to know about the Pit. When ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.

Music Playing: When I take My Sugar to Tea by Marychild's Dance Orchestra


Dateline: 2 December 1951

Fall Hats At Last

Dearest Hat-loving pettes, here are a couple of this season's fall models for you to ogle (remember, we start shooting for next fall now).

First behold Marissa again (our own high fashion model, remember?) in tipped tricorn of rich red velour, with red gauntlet gloves and purple tweed coat. Marissa, if you must know, is a very sweet and shy blonde from a small West Virginia town. One would think that she would say "Dahling" and "rawther" and "tomahto," but she speaks with a pungent Appalachian twang, chews bubble gum between takes and usually comes to work every day wearing a plain blue skirt, green blouse, bobby socks and saddle shoes - just like a high school girl with poor taste in clothes. You see, Marissa has no fashion sense whatsoever! (Well, she will occasionally wear a yellow skirt with pink blouse.)

 Now you must meet Monica, a pure Brooklyn pette if I ever saw, er, heard one. You all know how Bugs Bunny talks, don't you? Well, that's Monica: whenever she opens her mouth on a set, the photographerette, the dressers and the lighting crew dissolve in laughter, and Monica consequently believes herself a great wit. Here she is, hands on hips, just about to say something acerbic, no doubt; she is modeling a crumpled ocelot tocque and the latest fall jacket by Kadorie fashion designer Pauline Trigere which has matching ocelot cuffs that don't show in the picture. Unlike Marissa, Monica always looks as if she has just stepped off a set. She and Sydney share an apartment on East 58th.

 But Golly, Darlings! I have the Pan American Clipper to catch this evening, back to cold and grey Gotham - and my hair is an absolute fright from all the sun and sea and sand; the Warwick's hairdresser is the most adorable little Parisian blonde named Clothilde who sounds just like Pepee la Pue and I'm already late for my appointment. I am getting the works, which will occupy most of Clothilde's afternoon, I fear. Bye! See you in Gotham.

 NORMA



Darling! The Ocelot has vanished. The picture seems to have been scrambled on its journey through Elektraspace. Please teleport another!

 And - um - how else can you say "darling" and "tomato"?


A New Blonde

I am so glad that I found your web site! I found it by following a link from the Wildfire site. I am trying to learn how to recapture my femininity. I think, from reading your site, that I am a blonde, but at times I try to act like a brunette. I have gotten in a lot of trouble for this with my teacher, for she feels I am not being my true self. I would like to learn more about proper real undergarments, as well as hats!!! I absolutely love hats, especially the type that you can find when you go fleeming. I don't know what they are called though, but the description of the one I most recently purchased is such: It's black, I think the style is called pillbox, with some type of almost fishnet lace that covers the top half of your face, making a blonde appear very mysterious!! I love to wear it with a black suit, that has a mandarin type collar on the jacket, and an a-line skirt. I feel like such a lady when I am dressed as such. Also, recently I went and got a pair of nylon stockings, and I was so happy wearing them that I could cry. These stockings aren't the type that girls from the pit wear, they are much nicer than that. You have to wear a garter belt with fasteners to help them stay up, and they have a seam that runs down the back of my legs. Anyway, I am so sorry for rambling on (is this a blonde trait I wonder?) The reason I am writing, in addition to applauding this wonderful web site, is to ask for permission to visit the inner sanctum. I am trying to learn all that I can about being a proper girl. If you'd like me to, I can still mail in the dollar via snail mail, but I don't want to wait for the mail if I don't have to. I read somewhere, femmeworld I believe, that if I knocked three times and told you wonderful ladies that they had sent me that I would be granted permission to enter. So, knock knock knock, teeheehee. Please, forgive me for my sillyness, and if I have offended please suggest a way for me to make amends. If I am granted permission to enter, I would like the name of Elizabeth, for it sounds very proper as well as up to date to me. I will try not to bore any of the other girls with my silliness I promise.

 ELIZABETH


Dateline: 1 December 1951

Music Playing: Putting on the Ritz by Marychild's Dance Orchestra


Marychild Present

Here's an early Nativity present for you delightful pettes. We often hear Marychild's Dance Orchestra playing here at the Cocktail Bar, but some of us - owing to the curious conditions of Elektraspace, never quite manage to see them. So here they are. Ladies and ladies, we are proud to present Adelia Marychild and her celebrated Orchestra, all the way from Trent for your entertainment and edification

 That is Miss Marychild, in front with her saxophone, on each side are her two brunette vocalists, Mereline Ladyton and Valda Joans (there, Ellhedrine, you've a celebrated namesake). The blonde vocalist Amarinthe Cherry (formerly of the Cherry Sisters, and the only blonde in the Orchestra) is not present on this occasion.

 ANNE


Advent

My dears, it is Sunday once more, and even though you received our little hym-singing very kindly last week, it is not my intention to remind the Cocktail Bar of spiritual matters every Sunday! However, this Sunday is rather special, being the first day of Advent - the First of December in the Western calendar and the Third of Astraea in the Eastern.

 It is the time of year when we prepare our hearts for the descent of the Divine Child, for it is in the innermost cave of the heart - your heart and mine, that are all, ultimately one Heart, the Heart.

 It is a season that is defined as at once semi-festive and semi-penitential, which means we should make little acts of sacrifice to purify our hearts for Her coming, but should also enjoy ourselves, anticipating the joyful Feast that is to come.

 And, of course it is the time when children of all ages (which, I rather think includes quite a lot of the pettes here!) feel the first tinglings of that thrill which foreshadows the wonderful night when the star-fairy and all her host comes to the chimney-tops in her silver chariot, with her eight snow-white, silver hoofed mares.

 With seasonal love to all you good blondes and brunettes.

 LUCIA


Dateline: 30 November 1951

My first hat!

Dearest Sisters;
I came across your beautiful site thanks to a link from Femmeworld. Expecting just another waste of time. Oh, how truly was my surprise when I discovered Aphrodite is a world for real women of today, a sensuous place to ermines over the feminine styles and fashions of my girlhood, while still remembering we are the superior sex.

 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?



But which sex is superior - blonde or brunette? On second thoughts, please don't anybody answer that question. We like to keep a nice peaceable Cocktail Bar here!

The Millinery Saga Continues

This morning at breakfast, Sydney, the Fountain of Youth hat model, a girl of few words (as most models are), threw a hot buttered muffin at me when she learned I was going to show only one summer hat before moving on to fall models. She absolutely insisted (a whole pineapple from the fruit tray in hand) that I show you pettes the famous White Rose hat, made of silk, with fine black veil. That Sydney happens to be modelling it is not the point at all, of course; the point is Sydney's aim with the muffin was quite accurate, so I did not want the pineapple following a similar trajectory. All the same, it is a dolly little number, don't you agree? (The hat and the model.) Don't you just want to touch the rose to feel how silky it is? As for Sydney, well, touch at your peril...

Edging into fall hats (with one eye still on Sydney), here is green-eyed Audrey in a demure pillbox in rust velour with a bouffant tulle bow.

 And, Oh! Miss Mina, I am so pleased that you have found my hat pictures an inspiration. But I am green with envy at you and the other pettes from foreign provinces who seem to be able to buy these delightful millinery confections at some sort of wonderful discount store called Fleems, where Miss Barbara, for example, says she spends only pennies to buy what must be overstocks or last season's models. Lucky girls! We don't have a Fleems in Gotham, not yet, so a girl must pay retail, or if she is lucky, like me, wholesale, but, even so, these hats are tres, tres chers.

 NORMA



Golliwogs (as young Ellhedrine would say), what brunettey brunettes! They could make a girl go quite weak at the knees!
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Some one has described Aristasia s "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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