The Cocktail Bar

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girls in Pit-london who love Aristasia and would like to visit Aristasian soil may discuss a Visit to the Aristasian Embassy, which is five minutes from an Underground station. Pop us a note if you are interested.

Music Playing: The Quirinelles singing: Winter Wonderland

Dateline: 1 January 1952 - New Year's Day

Let's Start the New Year Right

How delighted I was to hear you playing Let's Start the New Year Right in the Cocktail Bar last night. It has been a sort of family tradition between my brunette and I to play this record just before midnight on New Year's Eve every year. The words go (I hope I have remembered rightly:

 Let's start the new year right,
Twelve o'clock tonight,
With our hopes as high as a kite.
Kissing the old year out
Kissing the new year in:
How can our love go wrong, dear,
If we start the new year right?

 It always brings tears to my eyes, and we always have a little kiss as the old year leaves us and the bright, baby new year comes in, full of hope and promise. We have always started the new year right, and our love never has gone wrong.

 May your loves never go wrong either, my dearies, and may all your new years be right,

 With love from,

 EUGENIE


Ring In The New Year With A Hat, or, um, Hatty New Year!


Happy New Year, Cocktail Bar pettes! (Never fear, I shan't repeat that frightful pun again - once a year is more than enough.) Norma here, wishing each and every one of you a happy and prosperous '42!

So to start the hat year off in the right direction, here is a sophisticated new one, a soft black velvet toque set over a dainty blue taffeta bib which drapes demurely over the forehead, rather like the flounce on the skirt of an Arcadian dress. Regina, the model, is wearing matching blue taffeta gloves with an outrageously broad (and playful) Pierette-ruffle just above the wrist.

 But who is Pierette, you ask, and what is her ruffle? It just so happens I have a picture of Pierette, too! (Well, a young pette dressed as Pierette, anyway.) Pierette is an 18th. century French pantomime character.

And here is our very own switchboard operator, Dora, just last night, snapped by the photographerette as she arrived at the maggie's New Year's Eve party in a dolly Pierette suit with just masses of Pierette-ruffles round her collar!

 All right, let's see how much you pettes have learned after all these months of hat lessons. Now that we've taken care of Pierette's ruffles, who will try to describe Pierette's hat? It's an easy one. Elizabeth? Ellhedrine? Annalinde? What, no takers? Cat's got your tongues? Too shy? Well, all right. Just this once, Auntie Norma will tell you. Say after me, all together now: "It's a miniature tricorn in stiff felt, with a jaunty swirl of black lace off to one side." There! That was easy! Next time you see a lovely hat, try to describe it. It makes a girl much more observant, you know, describing hats.

 NORMA



For the benefit of new pettes who may be confused enough already. the official Aristasian year is 1952, though for reasons too complicated to enter into, it is allowable (though confusing) for Kadorians to refer to it as 1942 if they must, and, we suppose, for Trentispettes to say 1932 and so on. But we should like to say that 1952, the official year, is not a piece of Quirinelle aggrandisement and should really be used by us all as the Imperial Standard.

New Femininity

I would like to pay my compliments to your writings and if I might, explain what brought me to them. Perhaps it is the dawning of a new year combined with your fondness for the year 1951 when I was six, or maybe it's just middle age on my part but some things seem to now require reexamination.

 I've always rebelled against feminine things. Growing up in a suburb of NYC and going to Catholic school, I was required to wear the uniform of plaid pleated skirt, white blouse, maroon jacket. A leather strap across the hand was the punishment for any infringement and it seems as if my memories were of having sore hands frequently. I hated it. Having a small bust and being forced to wear a bra as part of the uniform was the worst! Needless to say, I learned to wear one. Sometimes, when in an introspective mood, my casual and unfeminine appearance dissatisfies me. I have never been able to do very much about improving it though. Indolence always seems to prevail. More time was spent on trying to perfect my technical skills than in developing a sense of femininity. I'd always believed that successfully competing with men would bring happiness. It hasn't. It seems that although I've managed to develop an intelligent mind, satisfaction with my public persona is painfully wanting.

 Finding your webpages has brought both relief and confusion. The "New Femininity" interview with Annalinde Nightwind really started me to think about things in a very new way. The voices in this forum are different than anything I've read lately. Matthilde's "Magic of Lingerie" has me seriously considering therapy as I do not know what to think of it. Picturing myself in the sensuality of the story terrified me, yet awakened buried feelings about maybe what life should be, should have been. I've always seen myself as a strong feminist woman and part of that belief was that to be "feminine" was to be weak and to have to care about our appearance (clothing, makeup and such), a male construct to be scorned. There are a great many feminist writers, Naomi Wolf (the "Beauty Myth") among them who portray a very different world than you do. I've always truly believed in that world but now seem to be in a muddle after reading your articles above. Are there any books that one could read, other than those dealing with discipline that are advertised on some of your pages? It would be interesting to read more of your philosophy for women. I'm thankful that there are women out there who envision a new direction, though I'm not sure of its benefits for me at this late date.

 Although I would like at some point to address some past behavior in the discipline forum, right now is not the time.

 Bless you all.

 KAREN


We are always amused by the argument that when women behave in a feminine way it is a "male construct" and when they behave in a masculine way they are "just being themselves". It is rather like saying that if Chinese people speak Chinese they must have been influenced to do so by the Japanese, but when they speak Japanese they are being truly Chinese.

 Of course the real hidden assumption behind this argument is that masculine behaviour and values are the normal, standard, truly-human way of being, while femininity is something odd and artificial. That is why we say that bongo feminism is the highest form of patriarchy. It is the ultimate development of that ancient masculinist ideology, which has finally succeeded in extirpating the feminine from its last place of refuge - the heart of woman herself. No ancient patriarchal fanatic ever dreamed of such complete success.

 Returning to your childhood in the historical 1950s. The real, underlying, reason many girls "rebelled" against feminine dress was that they could feel that the masculine was grossly over-valued at that period and the feminine consequently under-valued. A feminist movement was truly needed at that time. A real feminist movement which would have re-stated the glory and beauty and majesty of femininity, and its immeasurable spiritual value to a world so greatly in need of it.

 What happened instead of that was an inverted "feminism" which swallowed hook, line and sinker the over-valuation of the masculine and the devaluation of the feminine, and instead of trying to reinstate femininity accepted masculine values completely and idiotically destroyed the last vestiges of the feminine quality that had, against all odds, pervaded every society up to that point and made life worth living.

 In fact, Pit-"feminism" reminds us of nothing so much as the bongo who went to a drive-in movie and slashed the seats because he didn't like the film.

 The fact that women like yourself are beginning to see through this kind of "feminism" and to question the teachings of the past thirty years is one of the most hopeful signs for the future. And please don't worry. It is never too late to reclaim your femininity.

 As to your question about a book, the answer is - not yet, but soon. As Miss Barbara hinted a little while ago in this Cocktail Bar, a very important book is in preparation, probably to be called The Feminine Universe, which will give a complete outline of the Aristasian philosophy. It is a very large subject, since the Aristasian philosophy is a total philosophy of life, covering everything from "what is the true nature of matter?" to "Why are stockings philosophically sounder than tights (panty-hose)>?". But it is high time the fundamentals of this ancient and new philosophy were systematically outlined, for nothing else can make sense of the world; from what the world is, to why it is in such a terrible state at present and how we can cure it. The book is not available yet, but we hope it will be ready in the first half of 1952.


Beauty

Happy New Year to all the Wildfire Ladies.

 My name is also Diana, so to avoid confusion I thought I'd change the spelling. Although I visit the Forum as often as possible,(occationally posting) this is my first visit to the Cocktail Bar. So I hope you won't mind, but I wish to add one comment on the subject of beauty.

 In response to the statement that Sir Conan Doyle was "almost" right. (With the exception of extreme cases of disease and disfigurement.) With all due respect, it is in cases of extreme disease and disfigurment that oppurtunities for true strength and beauty are abundant. I don't mean to preach; however, I have met many a petty, self-centered woman who were healthy, and concidered quite beautiful. Again I apologize for my opinionated outburst. I only mean to say it would be a pity to limit our concept of beauty to the physical. That sounds too much like Pit thinking to me.

 Respectfully,
DIANNA



No need to apologise. We agree with you entirely. We were speaking specifically about physical beauty in that piece, as that was the question Diana had raised, but we also said at the time that there are: "many kinds of beauty - beauty of soul and of character as well as of body".

Music Playing: Bianca Crosby singing: Let's Start the New Year Right

Dateline: 31 December 1951 - New Year's Eve

A Rallying Cry for 1952

1951 has been a topping good year for the old Cocktail Bar - well, not that old, akch. When the year opened we were only a few months old, and this year has seen the place develop tremendously. Fifty archives no less, by Nativity and the fifty-first being laid down this very day.

 We know that lots of you visit us every day, most of whom we never hear from, but if the Cocktail Bar is helping to make your life brighter, we are very happy. We are happier still that over the year we have corresponded with a number of pettes who have come to realise through the Cocktail Bar that there is something other than the Pit; that we can live as true, feminine creatures in a world of grace and charm, that the madness and ugliness of the Fourth Decade of Darkness is not the only alternative open to us, however rich and powerful and insidious it may be, and however it may control every organ of public communication in the Pit. We can secede. We can build our own reality.

 For many of us, the Cocktail Bar and Elektraspace are the only place in which we can live outside the Pit. But it does not have to end there. Each one of us, even if she only has a single small room to call her own, can begin making her home a sanctuary of realness and sanity - casting out the poisoned artefacts of the Pit and bringing in up-to-date objects to nourish and heal the soul. Watching only real films and remembering all the time that they do represent reality - not some nostalgic and vanished past, but the only bit of reality that is left to us, from which we must learn and absorb and build if there is ever again to be a world fit for ourselves or our children to live in.

 And as we grow in numbers. As awareness of the Pit increases, and the revolt against it grows, we will begin to make "real-life" contacts with each other as well as Elektraspace ones. Aristasian Districts will grow up all over the world, and we shall have a world, a sane reality, however small, that we can inhabit.

 Let us dedicate 1952 to making the first steps toward achieving that reality. And let us remember that in a feminine world, the first building-block of the Empire is the Hestia, the home. That is where everything begins, and that is where you can make your very first steps, beginning with this new year.

 Because you know whose home is the most important of all, don't you? The most vital to the Empire? The fundamental building block of a new, sane reality?

 Yes, that's right. Yours.

 ALICE LUCY


Another Blonde in Uniform

This is your lucky day, Brunette Pettes! You have just gotten two practical hats from Norma, the girl with a hat fixation, and now as a bonus you shall get another Pin-Up of a Blonde In Uniform to top off the end of the year. Here she is, an absolutely darling WAVE ensign, presenting arms, er, I mean lipstick,, regulation, nautical seagoing lipstick, that is. All hands on deck! Reef those jibs! Anchors aweigh! Seams straight! >giggle<

 MEHITABELLE,
KADORIAN BLONDE


Resolutions

Darlings,

 How about a New Year's game?

 Answer the following question:

 What is it that you resolve to do In the year of Our Lady, 1952?

 I can think of lots of little things new pettes could do to make 1952 the best year ever! Begin wearing a hat and gloves. Place a free ad for stockings. Listen to more up-to-date music. Stop watching or reading or listening to anything made by the bongos below (but none of you pettes do that anyway, I know. I was just thinking of the very new girls, perhaps who just stepped in for the holiday, to see what real girls look like on New Year's Eve), go fleeming more often, etc.

 As for me, I resolve to throw at least one real Cocktail Party before spring comes and goes. I have several girls who are interested in coming, and I have all the right clothes for them to wear, so really, it is just a matter of setting the date and writing the invitations.

 I can't wait to hear what you other pettes will resolve to do in '52.

 Love and happy new year,

 MISS BARBARA


For The Adventurous Blonde

I know we have lots of Very Young Blondes in the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar every night: I have heard tell that the true number of patronettes outweighs those who speak up by almost ten-to-one! So I must conclude that many of the ones who don't speak up are so young that they do not want their mommies (blonde or brunette) to find out where they really are at all hours, for fear that they might be Kept In for two weeks. They have probably told their mommies they are swotting (as one young blonde is fond of reminding us) until closing time down at the library!

 Well, sweet little blondes, I just know you are in here, even if you are hiding behind the potted palms or in the deep shadows next to the Wurlitzer.

Can I tempt you out into the clear tonight with this Very Special Hat? Behold this darling harvest gold velveteen apronback hat, inspired by the classic Foreign Legion kepi, but with black stain bow in lieu of a brim. This hat is not just for any blonde, but only for those daring enough to set trends. I can almost promise you that apronback hats will be all the rage for 1942, so you should establish yourselves as early as ever you can with this avante garde design, so that you will be seen as leaders, not followers. Tell everyone that Norma was the first one who showed it to you, and in 1941, too!

 NORMA



Well, considerably more than ten-to-one, actually

Happy New Year

As we look back at '51,
We're not ashamed of much we've done.
And so for 1952
a single blush-
that will do.

 Love,
MIRANDA BLONDE


Of Truth and Beauty

Happy New Year, all! Or prospero ano nuevo, as they say in Mexico. I told Miss Barbara in a private missive that I live not too far from Tellurian Mexico, and so I can identify quite easily with that tropical blonde who shops for Nativity gifts in 90-degree weather! Indeed, it was 80 degrees in my hometown on Christmas Day. No snow in sight there, I can assure you!

 But on to the real reason I am corresponding today (although saying happy new year was certainly a real need): I am very intent on the discussion about form and function being related to (or not related to, as the case in the Pit is) beauty. The talk brought into my mind a book by a pette who assuredly believes in beauty, called "Winter's Tale." There is a quotation in it that goes something like this (but not exactly, as I haven't the book here in my hands):

 "Once we have learned to build a good railroad, why can't we learn to build a beautiful railroad?"

 Indeed, why not? Life in the more modern provinces and in the Pit is filled with items created to save time, to make life easier, to reduce work. And while saving time and effort and work is certainly desirable, is it to be put ahead of beauty and truth and love? No! Of course not.

 (And be assured, I do not believe that "beauty" is solely a result of looking desirable to others. There is a secret belief in many people's minds that physical ugliness is due somehow, in some silent way, to evil in the soul of the ugly person. This is a pernicious, horrible facet of human nature which I assume is negated in Aristasia -- no one here would be so stupid and unthinking and -- well -- unfeminine as to think such a thing. But I assure you again, in the Pit and even in Tellurian history, ugliness is associated with evil, even if the victim of the ugliness is only a poor innocent. Read "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" to understand what I mean.)

 So, the point of this interminable (I'm sure you're thinking) harangue is to say that beauty of the soul, the mind, and the body (if at all possible) should be as much a function of society as usefulness has come to be in the Pit.

 I'm sorry to be so very school-mistressy in such a place as the Cocktail Bar, but there, I've said my piece. And I wish you all a most blessed and beauteous new year!

 Love,
DIANA



You raise some fascinating questions. All beauty is, of course an echo of the Divine beauty. Beauty does generally look desirable to others but, that is not the criterion. Beauty is an objective cosmic reality, not a subjective human perception. A beautiful thing is beautiful whether human beings perceive it or not, just as a hot thing is hot whether human beings feel it or not. A thing is beautiful precisely insofar as it participates in the beauty of Dea Herself, because that is what beauty is. That is why beauty exists in the universe. So, conversely, ugliness is the absence of that beauty, just as cold is the absence of heat. Ugliness is a function of evil.

 Now, this does not mean of course that an individual who happens to be ugly, whether by accident or disease or by some misfortune of birth, is personally and individually evil. On the contrary, the evil has happened to her. To think that she is evil is a mistake that is tragically easy to make and which should be carefully guarded against.

 On the other hand, a person who deliberately sets out to make herself ugly when she is not naturally so is, whether she realises it or not committing an act of evil. The difference is exactly the same as that between a person who kills another by pure accident and one who commits murder. Killing is always an evil in the absolute sense, but an accidental killing (when it is not due to negligence) is not an evil on the part of the person enacting it. That is her misfortune, not her fault.

 A society that sets out to make ugly things, that prefers distorted and chaotic forms to harmonious ones, gross and garish things to gentle and civilised ones, is not similarly blameless. Such preferences are a symptom of a cultural orientation to the dark and the distorted; a hatred of Truth and Beauty. In this case ugliness is a mark of evil and should be fully recognised as such.

 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said: "There is no such thing as an ugly woman: some women are more beautiful than others." I believe he was almost right (the "almost" allowing for relatively rare extremities of disease or disfigurement). At least he was when he wrote it, because at that time virtually all women made the best of themselves; and there can, in any case be many kinds of beauty - beauty of soul and of character as well as of body - though no truly good person should despise any form of beauty. In the Pit one sees a great deal of ugliness in people as well as things, and most of it is deliberate. Those who dress in ugly or sloppy clothes are perhaps not exactly personally guilty. They merely obey their electronic masters. Yet all of us have a conscience. No one who dresses in an ugly way of her own free will is entirely blameless even if ninety-eight percent of the blame rests with those who have persuaded her conscious mind that she is doing right and twisted her arms with threats of social isolation.

 We cannot all be perfectly good; but all of us should be as good as we can. We cannot all be perfectly beautiful, but all of us should be as beautiful as we can; and we believe that if we were all as beautiful as we could be, whether old our young, well-favoured or ill, there would be no such thing as an ugly woman.


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