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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Music Playing: Stardust by Miss Marychild's Dance Orchestra


Dateline: 13 December 1951

Damsel in Distress

In the (lamentable) absence of our darling Barbi, I feel compelled to say: these culinary quarrels over Coronado Crown Roasts and countrified cleansing rituals are dangerously distressing to the delicate debutantes in this debonaire, entertaining and excellent establishment (not only alliteration, but alphabetical alliteration, also).

 That said, perhaps the wise sagettes in charge of Aristasian Elektraspace should perhaps open up a new establishment, one in which recipes and sewing advice may be shared. And while I certainly appreciate both millinery advice (I love the beautiful pictures of hats--and blondes--that Miss Norma sends us) and culinary wisdom (and Mrs. Marcelene's lovely and delicious-looking dishes--especially that chiffon cake--are so-o-o yummy), I really think that the Cocktail Bar is losing a bit of its flair in these slings and arrows, all flung over whether a lemon chiffon is a pie or a cake and whether one magazine is better than another. Let me assure you that, just as lemon chiffon is delicious as both a pie AND a cake, so both these ladies' magazines are wonderful and necessary to the mental well-being of all true ladies, be they blonde or brunette, farmpettes or citypettes, butcher or baker or candlestick-maker.

 Please, do talk about fashion, and please, do talk about the joys of motherhood and laundry and cuisine, but PLEASE, don't engage in these really frightful arguments. I think they are, perhaps, somewhat jarring. And also, let us not forget that this IS a Cocktail Bar, and not a church meeting room. They both have their place in society, and should co-exist peacefully, but the ivory cigarette holders and explanations of what should be done with a veil in the tantalizing eventuality that one should need to be kissed through it--well, those objects and subjects obviously do belong here in the bar and not in the church meeting room.

 Can we all just continue conversing and confiding and giggling and gabbing (and yes, disagreeing, but not so violently, I pray you) as we normally do? It would please me so completely...oh, dear, excuse me. Here's my hankie. No, no, I'm sorry, how dreadfully un-brunette of me. I do apologize. I'm fine now. Thank you so much just for listening to my little outburst. I hope no one has been unduly offended.

DIANA


A Brunette Chastened

Gosh, imagine me, a brunette, chastised by an Older Blonde With Two Grown Children! I felt just like a naughty little girl again, being bawled out by my blonde mommy for pulling some wicked prank. Really, dearest Marcelene, I am sorry! Sometimes I get carried away by my blindered devotion to High Fashion, though I must admit, I am not much for doing laundry - at least not for a whole household. (Of course, I do wash my own dainties, as every girl - blonde or brunette - does.) And now that I finally see it, your Coronado Crown Roast looks delightful! And I take back what I said about calico dresses and flats. I am sure I would not want to wear my silk shantung town suit and best pumps while feeding any chickens! There! Now that I have apologized, I feel ever so much better. Do a get a little motherly kiss on my forehead, now? Oh, that makes me feel better than ever!

But listen, Marcelene, professionally speaking (now that we have made up), the next day some of the girls and I had a little discush over a working luncheon at the office, on the whole matter of domestic fashion. Here we are (I'm the one in the yellow sweater). Sharon, the one in blue, and Judy, the blonde, both suggested it might be a good idea for me to do an issue on domestic fashions instead of always showing ultra-refined Paris creations and unrealistically expensive hats: not all our readers dress to take tea with the Queen of Quirinelle, after all. So they convinced me! (Not that I needed much convincing, as I am, um, curious to find out if you are right about the lingerie tastes of farmblondes).

So right after lunch I went to the hairdresser (I never go anywhere special without a new hairdo), then signed out the company car, whizzed up Riverside Drive and across the G. W. Bridge and found myself in the wilds of New Jersey looking for likely farms with farmpettes to interview. Here I am right outside Newark, heading south. Once I find some likely girls for an article, I'll be in touch with our housedress designers, then arrange for a location shoot or two in the spring and try to get everything into next June's issue. Wish me good hunting!

 NORMA


Maggie Offer

Dearest Darlings All,

What a lively group you have all become of late! How delightful. Dear Elizabeth, I'm sure no matter where in the dreary old Pit you might live, you'll be able to find real maggies. There are lots, you know: American Home, Woman's Day, McCall's (my favorite because there's always several novelettes in each issue, and no matter what's been said here, it seems to cater to both the hat and the wiener crowds), Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, and Woman's Home Companion. Every single maggie from the real world is full of real images of real girls and women and families. And the stories! They are so charming, and they really affirm a girl's inner sense of what is right and good and honorable and noble. They always have lots and lots of stories with housewives as the main characters, many with funny scenes between mommies and their children. If you're a housewife and a mommy yourself, you simply must read real magazines, because that's the only place you'll be told that you're doing the most important job in the world. Except for here of course. Well, even if you aren't a houseblonde or a mommy, you have to read magazines so that you can have mirrored back to you the real you, the you that deserves to be loved and adored for your feminine essence.

 Darling, I am proud to say that I have quite a collection of real magazines (December 1955 Woman's Day and December 1953 Ladies' Home Journal are on my entry way table this very mome!), and I just ache to think that any pette who loves Aristasia doesn't have a single real magazine to read, so here is what I will offer: if you send your name and your address to the embassy elektrapost office, I will send you a maggie you may borrow, providing that you return it eventually, so that it might remain in the Empire. Does that make you happy, sweet Elizabeth? I just can't help myself for whenever I see a girl wanting to be as good as you most obviously want to be, I simply must help her in any way I can.

 Eternal Love to All,

 MISS BARBARA


More Heavy Cream Kadorian Music

Time for more lovely lyrics, dearest darlings! It's your spiritual castor oil, you know - purges all sorts of poisons from your soul, and you naughties have not had a dose for almost a week! It may taste a bit strange to you now, but pretty soon you'll crave it, believe me! So now all you dears from that Pit-place listen to your Auntie Mehitabelle and open wide!

 This song is now at the top of the hit parade; one can hear it playing on every jukebox in every jinky jernt in Gotham! The singer is the luscious Kitty Kallen, the music is played by Harriet James and her orchestra. (If you want to hear Miss Kallen live, she's appearing with the band in the Cotillion Room at the Sherry-Netherland through next Friday, but you'll need at least a double sawbuck for the maîtresse d' if you want a table within sight of the stage!
 
 

I'm Beginning To See The Light

I never cared much for moonlit skies
I never winked back at fireflies
But now that the stars are in your eyes
I'm beginning to see the light.

 I never went in for afterglow
Or candlelight on the mistletoe
But now when you turn the lamp down low
I'm beginning to see the light.

 Used to ramble through the park
Shadow boxing in the dark
Then you came and caused a spark
That's a four-alarm fire now!

 I never made love by lanternshine
I never saw rainbows in my wine
But now that your lips are burning mine
I'm beginning to see the light.

 MEHITABELLE


Honey, if this is castor oil, who needs ice-cream sundaes!

Music Playing: Roses in December by Miss Marychild's Dance Orchestra


Dateline: 12 December 1951

Delightful Crown Roast

Mrs. Marcelene! I just had to pop in quickly to say thank you for showing us your Coronado Crown Roast of Wieners. It looks so lovely. No wonder you won a prize! Are you going to tell us how to make it? It's dreadful of me, I know, because this is the first time I've expressed my appreshe of any of the wonderful pictures, and after all Miss Norma's gorgeous hats - Oh, but that crown roast really touched my heart, I don't know why. Are you going to tell us how to make it?

 And I do adore your hats, Miss Norma. They are the only thing that has ever made me start to wish Milchford was in Kadoria. But please don't quarrel, grown-up darlings. We all love both your maggies.

 ELLHEDRINE


Heated conversation at the cocktail lounge! Oh my!!

Hello again everyone! Sorry that I have been away so long, but after my escapade involving the champagne with Miss Norma, well others felt that perhaps I was spending too much time here that would be better put to use on my studies. Luckily, I've been given a few hours reprieve from my studies today, so here I am.

 I am so sorry that I have missed such good conversation. I wish there was some way I could sneak away from my studies to spend more time here. I must admit, that I am somewhat shocked, why talking openly about kissing and veils, my goodness!! I shudder to think what is next. And the horrid disagreement between Miss Norma and Mrs. Marcilene, oh my!! I think both of your maggies are wonderful, and I just wish that I could lay my hands on a copy of either one. Unfortunately, I live on the edges of the Pit, surrounded by Pit dwellers. While our home is a proper home, we must venture out daily into the pit just to meet the basic necessities for survival. And the sad thing is, while I consider a copy of the Kadorian Ladies Home Journal or McCall's a necessity, I just can't find anything as up to date as that here in the pit. So therefore, I am dependent upon both of you wonderful ladies to bring the information that I crave here to the Cocktail Lounge. Otherwise, I'd remain ignorant for all of my days!!

 Mrs. Marcilene, do you think you could provide us poor souls who are forced to live on the edges of the pit with some of your wonderful sounding recipes, as well as any other advice you can give us on running a proper home?

 And dear Miss Norma, please continue with the fashion advice. All the wonderful pictures you provide us girls with are a true blessing, for if we can't find something at the fleems, then just looking at the picture, well, the more creative of us blondes can figure out how to make an item of clothing that closely resembles these marvelous fashions!!! It means so much to us out here on the edge.

 And dear ladies, please, can't you come to an agreement, perhaps to agree to disagree regarding which magazine serves a more vital service? Because, the only clear answer is that they, both do (tee hee, I amaze myself sometimes with my wisdom, I almost sound brunette even!). The both serve the most vital service, just in a different way.

 Sincerely,
ELIZABETH

 P.S. to Miss Norma- Miss Norma, my mind has been in a haze since we drank all that champagne. I still can't believe that the three of us managed to drink it all, and I am suffering from some strange sort of amnesia. I remember nothing at all hardly from that night, except that we looked at some magazine layouts!!! How did we manage to get home I wonder???



One way to get real maggies when you are on the edge is to advertise for them. Many pettes have placed want ads in local papers (it is often free) and bought lots of real maggies quite cheaply. They are then delivered on a weekly or monthly basis to your doormat by whoever is responsible for such things. It can be a good method of getting real stockings, too (though it isn't generally considered necessary to have them delivered to the doormat!)

Veils and Kissing

Honestly, some pettes do kiss through their veils, because I have seen it at the cinema, especially at railways and the emotional partings that may be seen there.

 But really, Miss Norma's comment makes me go quite weak at the knees. "And as for the blonde's veil, we follow Rose's suggestion and lift it daintily, but with a certain practiced deliberateness, for each lovely taste.". Well, really! What an overwhelming thought, to be thus mistressfully unveiled. How utterly overpowering! How at once frightening and comforting and terribly daring. And for Miss Norma to mention it just as if she was giving instructions on how to hold one's fork or something. How can even a brunette be so - well - so brunette?

 ANNALINDE


Hestia vs. Fashion: Another Shot Fired

Well, well, well, how marvelously predictable brunettes can be! I am hardly surprised that Miss Norma makes fun of my Coronado Crown Roast of Wieners (or my lemon chiffon cake) and calls me a "sweet, silly professional houseblonde." I frequently get just that sort of response from brunettes, particularly at work, where we blondes are used to being treated with great condescension and not taken seriously (and we get paid less, too!) Frankly, I am a bit surprised she did not bid me "not to trouble my pretty little head" about something or other! Certainly my Crown Roast is not haute cuisine like those other fancy, Frenchified dishes Miss Norma is talking about. But there is nothing at all wrong with good old hot dogs or meat loaf or Salisbury steak or Spam croquettes. Of our 4,000,000 readers, many, many of them are stretching limited budgets, trying to feed their brunettes and their babies and daughters good, wholesome food without breaking the bank. Besides, until quite recently, many cuts of meat have been rationed, while hot dogs never were - that is why there are so very many recipes for them, so lots of houseblondes are still in the habit of using wieners quite a bit in their cooking. At any rate, here is a picture of my prize-winning Coronado Crown Roast of Wieners.

 But, Dearest Dears, I, no less than Miss Norma, desire to educate the strangely ignorant girls (particularly blondes) who come to the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar from this place called the Pit - a place I have difficulty even imagining, but then I am not a well-traveled girl at all, in fact, I have never been more than 100 miles from Gotham! Anyway, today I would like, once again, to divert the new patronettes from the Frivolities of Fashion and talk for a few momes about another important part of running a clean, happy and efficient hestia: the laundry.

 The washing of bedlinen and garments is a very ancient, social and feminine ritual in many cultures still, which, besides getting clothes clean, also serves as a regular and valuable forum of sorts for gossip and chit-chat, not unlike this cocktail bar, really. In "modern" societies like ours the social component of laundering clothes is rapidly vanishing, due, in large measure, to today's amazing automatic washing machines, but laundering still retains its essentially feminine nature, whether it's washing out one's undies and stockings in the bathroom sink or running a whole week's worth of laundry in a machine. If a girl is alone while laundering, why she reflects and holds conversation with her innermost self.

Here is a picture of a very bouncy houseblonde and her daughter enjoying their brand-new top-loading automatic washing machine. Notice the absence of a wringer! This ultra-modern machine has what is called a spin cycle, which spins the washing tub at high speed after they have been rinsed. The tub is full of little holes, you see, so the water spins right out of the clothes so they come out all ready to hang on the line with no wringing required! I guess the holes all close up or something when the clothes are actually being washed, but it doesn't really matter how, sillies, it just works! Some modern machines have a little door in front for putting in the laundry, with a little round window like a porthole. The porthole makes it great fun to watch the clothes getting washed (and spun), but I heard from a brunette in the Product Testing Department that the rubber ring inside the door can crack or get folded, and then a girl has a Very Big Mess to clean up!

 And last, but not least, I simply can't let pass Miss Norma's frankly snooty crack about the tragedy of wearing a "drab calico housedress and flats." Well, perhaps not in the Big City, or even in citified suburbs - I do agree that far with Miss Norma. But there are hundreds of thousands of our 4,000,000 readers who live in rural communities, or even on isolated ranches and farms, women who not only work in the kitchen and laundry, but are also out feeding the chickens and slopping the hogs and hoeing the vegetable garden and even pumping and carrying water, all in the course a day. High-fashion dresses and three-inch heels don't really work very well for such women, so they do wear perfectly respectable, perfectly feminine calico dresses and flats. Here is a Country Pette with her basket of laundry in just such an outfit. I think she is absolutely adorable! I'd bet even the elegant Miss Norma would look quite attractive dressed like this: there is something very honest about it, you know. Besides, a girl can always wear something secret and silky and frilly underneath - farmpettes are notorious for having the naughtiest undies. I am willing to bet that the blonde with the laundry basket has on something delectable beneath that "drab calico dress"!

 MARCELENE

 P.S.: And Oh, Miss Norma, may I whisper some blonde advice? If I were you I'd avoid blonde expostulations like "La!" or "But, La!" We blondes generally do not find such mannerisms too attractive in a brunette, if you must know the truth, and if you were using it to mock us in mixed company, that's even worse.


Rayati

I was sorry to hear Miss Annalinde say Rayati Imperatrix in the Cocktail Bar the other night. It is distressing for our Embassy staff (even junior members like Miss Annalinde) who represent our Empire among the barbarians, to make such elementary mistakes. It is an extraordinary jumble of Old Arcadian, High Cairen and Tellurian Latin.

 If Miss Annalinde meant to say "Hail the Empress" in Old Arcadian, she should, of course, have said Chalvhe Imperata (or, in the case of a brunette Empress, which does not, of course, arise at present Chalvhe Imperatriche. If, as I suppose, she meant to say it in High Cairen, the expression would normally be Rayati Raihrianya. And this latter expression I really think Miss Annalinde ought to write fifty times in order to fix it in her blonde young brain.

 Incidentally, am I mistaken in thinking I saw a pupil of mine, Ellhedrine Joans, leaving this establishment the other evening. If so, I trust she is not spending much of her valuable time here at this vital stage in her academic career, and I sincerely hope she is imbibing nothing stronger than, shall we say, Ovaltine.

 PRIMULA PRISM (MISS)


Music Playing: Moonlight Becomes You by Miss Marychild's Dance Orchestra


Dateline: 11 December 1951

Reassurance From One Blonde To Another

Darling little Ellhedrine! Right now you should be swotting away for those important exams and not worrying too much, if at all, about Babies. But, in case you really have the teensiest concern about them, let me reassure you that you will automatically know exactly what to do when the time comes - nothing could be more natural than a blonde Mother caring for her baby.

Besides, to some degree, babies can hold their own. Take Margaret, for example. Since I first brought her home just a month ago, her hair has begun to turn brown. The other morning, her big sister Sarah had wrapped a sweet little present for her baby sister's first-month-birthday, but when she came to give to to her, Sarah had neglected to pull her hair back tightly enough, so Margaret, who fancied she could get her blonde hair back from Sarah, grabbed hold! And Margaret is strong, though Sarah is trying her best to smile for the camera. You will note, of course, that my hair is put up well out of the way of Margaret's acquisitive fingers. I automatically knew better, you see.

 PHYLLIS D. (MRS.)


Material Triumph

Hello pettes all. There are ever so many elevating sights to see here in this sanctifying temple nowadays! And such a lot of new pettes as well, especially radiant maternal ones. I'm much too young to be one myself, but in honour of sweet Phyllis's 'Mothers Night' remark, I thought I might say just a little bit (oh, it's trite, I know) in praise of that dear bastion of goodness and strength, the real Mother, and particularly in praise of my own Maataji.

 It's just that as the holiday season has been, and continues to be, upon us, I've been a dutiful daughter in attending familial festivities as per usual. (Oh, there was a real topper of a Divali, but more about that later, perhaps.) And anyway, I could scarcely help but reflect on a certain matter in which I think that Eastern girls in the Pit are fortunate. That is, I suspect we're a little more likely to have been blessed with racinated mothers (and aunts, grandmothers & c.) Hence there is often at least some feminine presence in the household, n'est pas? How I marvel at the fortitude of my own beloved mother! She accomplishes every conceivable domestic affair and inconvenience, most things related to food and it's preparation, and all matters medical, not to mention all that concerns finance and business. And she goes about her labours sweetly singing songs in Hindi, English and her own language besides. And whilst I am mercilessly indulging in craven clichés, I shall also say quite sincerely that she is both a Pillar of Strength and a Fountain of Youth and Beauty as well... There!

 Months and months ago, my mother and I were out engaged in an ordinary day of shopping, when we came to a modest little place selling up-to-date odds and ends. There my eye seized upon the most extraordinarily precious, utterly utter swathe of fabric from Vintesse, shining gloriously and illuminating all from a corner of the dusty shop. Words cannot describe it except to say that it is violet and gold, with faint, delicate little subtly embroidered flowers. But we went on elsewhere and I thought no more of it. Then last month, when I went home for the aforementioned festivities, who should pop into my room but Mother, bearing a box which joyfully contained that very Queen of Fabrics. Naturally, it made a beautiful sari and I merrily draped myself with it for our very most auspicious celebrations. But I had no wish to be the Belle of the Ball, for my desire was that all the ladies and girls present could also enjoy the rarefied pleasure of special and exquisite adornment. And on this occasion, my desire was fulfilled. From the smallest girls to the eldest matriarchs, nearly everyone was attired for a real, prestigiously racinating Occasion - with kohl, vermilion and passionate colours. (O happy day!)

 Well that's my little contribution to the famous 'holiday spirit'. So please winsome barpette; may I have one of those dolly-looking Pink Ladies? Oh, not to drink - I just know that it would make a pleasing picture placed here on the bar-top in front of my new lavender crepe de chine frock and matching gloves...

 MISS MINA KUMARI

 But Mina darling, you say the loveliest things in a way that makes it seem you have the teensiest fear we may laugh or scorn them for being good and true as people would in the Pit. You must learn to be assured that you are among friends and kindred spirits here who treasure all the goodness of your heart. Here's a toast to your dear Maataji and to all true mothers everywhere.

 You are very right about the advantage of Eastern girls in the Pit. What worries us, though is the question of whether it can last another generation. Will the mothers of your age - so large a part of whose souls have been shaped by the bongo mass media and by the bongo miseducation system - be able to give to their children what your mothers have given to you?

 It is terribly important for us to spread the gospel of racination to all who are able to understand it, that the loveliness you describe may have a chance to survive.

 On a lighter note, your mother's use of Vintesse material to make an Eastern sari reminds me of the reverse process that has taken place more than once in Aristasia. Arcadiennes find that one of the most affordable and beautiful ways to acquire the material for their gorgeous crinoline dresses is to make them from the beautiful saris that one can buy of Eastern traders.

 When I lived in Arcadia I wore crinolines often and several were made in this way, though, sad to relate, the fashion is not so prevalent at the mome. I have also worn a sari as a sari when visiting the further East; but I don't think I was awfy good at it.


The Competition Heats Up

Well, I never! Free publicity, indeed! Blondes simply do not understand at all! (Especially houseblondes who work for Ladies' Home Journal). I am not plugging my maggie at all, you sweet, silly professional houseblonde, just trying to educate Cocktail Bar patronettes, from that bizarre Pit-province, in some elementary millinery matters. But with so many images zipping back and forth through Elektraspace - mothers, babies, little girls, kitchen ranges, lemon chiffon cakes (Hah! Everypette knows lemon chiffon is a pie, not a cake) - why, I feel like a carnival barkerette, trying to draw distracted crowds to my particular side show.

Well, I shouldn't have to, now, should I? If I had a choice between beans every night and elegant hats, there is no question which I would choose. Why, fashion is everything, Darlings! What good is coquette au vin or aspic de faisanne five nights a week if one must go around hatless all day long, clad in a drab calico housedress and flats?

 But, La! (as blondes sometimes expostulate), judge for yourselves: would you rather have a Coronado Crown Roast of Wieners or, say, an Eastern Kadorian Java Turban, (close to Trent), with matching shirred bag of multicolored jersey? I do not have a picture of the former (but you can imagine it!), whereas my archives readily yield up the latter. Here it is: one decade only separates this magnificent hat from the futuristic oystershell hat I showed you last time, the one from far Western Kadoria on the Quirinelle border.

 NORMA


P.S.: Besides, we brunettes can always eat out in restaurants and live in elegant hotels where everything is done for us by an attentive staff! And no babies in sight (or in hearing), either!

Faery Tales

Oh, all this talk of the Star Fairy has gotten me so much more excited about this holiday season! I have been away for a small time, trying to get my little girl students all ready for their Christmas concert ("Silent Night" and "Jingle Bells" and of course "The Holly and the Ivy", and more, all worked up to three part treble harmony--they sound lovely). I have missed the cocktail bar dreadfully, but it is the time for the holiday rush, as you all know! So here I am, thankful for a breather and for all this interesting conversation about gloves, hats, babies, and cooking. As far as film stars go, I don't know quite who I AM, but I would love to be as poised and quite frankly as beautiful as Audrey Hepburn. Perhaps that is shallow, but really, isn't she completely exquisite? I adore her completely. Well, on to more serious topics.

 Belief in faeries: of course, we must all believe in faeries. I don't think I ever went through a time when I didn't--my own blonde and brunette mommies would never have permitted such a thing. Why, one of my very first memories is of my blonde mommie holding me up to the window on a frosty morning and showing me the snow faeries, dancing across the grass of the lawn and leaving their thin tracery of delicate, lacy ice wherever their teensy feet fell. And even if I had been too sleepy to see the faeries themselves, I surely couldn't have missed their patterns on the windows--you know, those lovely snowflake patterns they leave when they touch the panes with their wands? Well. Not believe in faeries. One might as well say that one does not believe in trees, or clouds, or genii.

 Wishing you all the happiest of holidays,

 DIANA


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