But when among friends, especially when there may be a special friend among them who may appreciate one's most personal qualities in a very special way - oh yes the dress to wear then is the one that expresses and enables a willingness to communicate, a willingness to be moved, to yeild. In such a dress, among such company, I feel so blissfully happy to be vulnerable that - well, I think it must be a little bit like being blonde, or what I imagine blonde to be.
I agree, to be on one's guard all the time is a most undesirable state, and I agree, too, that that is one of the ways in which the Pit induces us to give up our femininity.
And I shall keep an open mind about stockings, I promise. Shirley, you are so right about "what people will say". That's exactly what they say; and I think your advice on how to react to it is just about perfect.
Somebody said something about Arcadia... I'm very intrigued. Can anybody tell me more about it that isn't in the Femmeworld geography?
Petal is perched on the end of the bath, and is giving my poor misguided feet a well-deserved pedicure and massage. I ask you girls, is there any more blissful way to forget the first day back at work after the holiday break? And she's even made the most cunning little shortbread biscuits, and dinner is a salad that can wait another hour happily for us both to be ready and eager for it.
Someone wake me in time for dinner please!
Susan's first sensation is that she is chilled, although it is a hot August day: the building seems like an icebox to her. Without turning, swaying slightly, like a person balancing on a slippery stone midstream in a brook, she glances quickly about, at first reassured by the contents of the refrigerated display case before her: milk, not in bottles, but in bulky translucent containers and in what appear to be thin paper boxes decorated with blurred photographs of small children. She sees butter, eggs, orange juice, cottage cheese - nothing too strange in that.
But as Susan looks up from the dairy case and gingerly turns to take in her surroundings, all reassurance evaporates instantly, displaced by a surge of sickening panic. She sees people pushing shopping carts almost as large as small bathtubs, people clad in unmatching clothing in colors that clash. None of the men wear jackets or ties. Some look like overweight hoboes, others like cowboys or clowns. The shuffle loutishly, slack-jawed, with lusterless eyes. Several are unshaven and sallow, wear greasy headbands and radiate an unsettling aura of simmering violence barely contained. Shirts are worn mostly untucked; some are tattered and have had the sleeves ripped off at the shoulders, leaving jagged, gaping holes through which tattooed arms protrude. An angry-looking young man who wears his hair in the shape and approximate color of a rooster's comb (he is otherwise seemingly bald), has three diaper pins impaling an ear and two diamond studs piercing a nostril. The men appear uniform in their shocking ugliness.
But the women are even more unsettling: Susan is appalled by their unfeminine appearance and demeanor. She discerns no unifying style of clothing or hair. Make-up, when present, is garish, no, positively ghoulish: purple, green or even black lipstick, nail polish to match, eye shadow lending a feverish or diseased sheen to the wearer. Many women are dressed like the men, in trousers or jeans with front fly closures, some so tightly fitting that ... that ... that Susan finds she cannot not even conceive of the words to describe how tightly fitting are these disgusting garments! One bedraggled woman, perhaps in her forties, slouches by, so hunched over her shopping cart so that she is partially riding on it. A slatternly girl slinks about in shorts so brief and flimsy that Susan at first thinks she must have gone shopping, in some trance, perhaps, forgetting to put on her dress. Then she notices with a breath-taking jolt that the girl's blouse is of some semi-transparent cloth, and that under this blouse the girl is, well, she is not wearing anything, no slip, no brassiere!
Two young (and overweight) women are clad in baggy farmer's overalls, torn at the knees. Some wear men's undershirts emblazoned with various slogans, advertising products, like beer, or with unspeakably crude epithets in bold letters, containing words a proper girl never thinks about, much less utters in public. Some of the clothing appears to have been purchased at rummage sales: it is too large, rent and in tatters, as if the wearers had recently trekked through a briar patch. Dresses and skirts are hardly in evidence. Shoes range over a spectrum from flimsy, sponge-rubber sandals to high-laced, bulky soldiers' boots in bilious dark green. Susan finds she is the only one wearing heels.
TTo BE CONTINUED...
Here are some lyrics for you!
THERE'LL BE SOME CHANGES MADE
There'll be a change in the weather,
A change in the sea,
Before long there'll be a change in me.
My walk will be different,
My talk and my name,
Ain't nothin' 'bout me gonna be the same.
I'm gonna change my way of livin',
And, babe, if that ain't enough,
Well, then I'll change the way I strut my stuff,
Nobody wants you when you're old and gray,
There'll be some changes made today,
There'll be some changes made.
Now, if you don't know this song, you can conjure its effect in your mind by thinking of a lovely big band in the background and a very brunettey voice (a la Mae West) singing in the foreground.
I definitely think you are a brunette, and I've always thought it was harder for brunettes to enter into our world from yours, because there are no examples of brunettes in the Pit. Dear, you simply must watch movies with good brunettes in them to learn how one moves, acts, etc. Miss Jane Russell, Miss Mae West, Miss Rosiland Russell, Miss Katherine Hepburn, and, though some of the brunettes in the room might differ with me on this one, Miss Myrna Loy really have got that certain brunette it!
Now, I do hope I do not offend you with this next little thing I want to say, but whenever I must go down into the Pit and I see the very kind of girl you have described as your former self, I always think, "What a waste. And she would make such a fine brunette too." But darling, please don't think I am flirting either. I'm not, I'm not, even though you do look, um, quite knee-weakening in that pillbox hat you're wearing tonight. But I m not flirting, for if I were, I'd sure get it when I got home (and I don't mean the kind of it everypette hopes she has)! I'm married, see, and shouldn't even be alone with you at this table, so I think I will go now, and take my blonde, married, and blushing self elsewhere.
Anyway, welcome to our little world, and good luck.
Love to all,
The first is a lead-pipe cinch for the busy mom whose baby has become a toddler and has just moved into her first bed. A thick strand of black yarn holds this necklace turban in place, the beads are from baby's crib, now empty (at least temporarily). Or, if you don't have a baby of suitable age, with no beads handy at the mome, you can pick the beads up at your local five-and-dime. And, if another baby happens to come, you can always string the old beads back on the crib, and get new ones for your hat! Baby won't know the difference!
The next hat is a little harder to make, as it requires some steam blocking over a bowl of appropriate size (one can use certain irons that pulse out steam with the push of a button). This is a dolly little shallow rolled-brim pillbox in taupe felt with a brace of downward-raked goose quills, skirted with a full veil of ultra petit-point chenille. The goose quills can be gotten at your neighborhood poulterer's, as can the goose, so this is a good hat to make after the holidays!
The turban is Pattern No. NT-542 (three cents); the pillbox is Pattern No. RBP-981.
Especially hello to you, dear Karen. So nice to see a new girl about the place. I do hope you stay around and learn more and more about discovering your inner femininity. I have been haunted by how you mused about, "what will everyone think" (about the changes). I can answer that question, having at one time not so very long ago, been in your rather practical shoes (I am just assuming from what you've said that they're practical; I didn't see you come in the door, and you are hiding your feet so demurely under the table), and today, look at me now, for here I am in these lovely purple three-inchers! First, though, let me tell you what they should say about the changes: "Thank you, Karen. Thank you for making this drab world a little brighter by your presence. Thank you for reminding us of the finer things in life, the lovelier things, the things we have lost sight of for the last thirty and some years. And Karen, especially thank you for setting an example worthy of following."
Now, before I tell you what they probably will say, I must ask all of the Aristasia-Aristasians to please take a little powder break, for this is not for your ears. Ellhedrine, Mehitabelle, Norma, and you other giggling blondies, please don't make a fuss. It's not that I am going to say anything interesting while you're gone, just the sort of thing you shouldn't hear. So, off with you, and Karen and I can have a little talk all by ourselves in this corner.
Well, the first thing most of them will say is, "what's the occasion," a question I grew to find increasingly annoying. In the world before the Eclipse, women always dressed well unless they had an "occasion" not to (painting a room or mowing the yard, for example, though Inner Aristasians find ways to do even these chores in frocks, or to have a serving girl do them in frocks!). Then some people will react nicely to the changes, and some will react not-so-nicely. But, as I have said earlier to another girl, it's important to remember that whatever they say, it's not really about you, but about the femininity that you are showing them. And remember, most of them are just moving their mouths in service to the Puppeteer who controls them; that is, they are merely mouthing what they have been taught by the bongo-vision, and by everything else around them in the benighted time they live in.
Finally, they will get used to it and then they'll try to remember, but have a very difficult time at it, just who that old Karen was. And all the while, you, the real you, who has been locked away for so long, will be shining through and, I do promise you this, you will be happier than you've ever been before because of it.
Oh, one more thing...as you continue to visit the Cocktail Bar and to allow your inner feminity to shine through, and maybe to grow as a warrior--for I do sense that there is that Amazonian in you, who is waiting for something good and right and true to defend side-by-side with your sisters, well, as all of these things happen little by little, you will care less and less what they say!
Happy to have found a new friend,
And Darlings in the Little Brunettes Room and the Little Blondies Room, "Olly Olly In Come Free"
Things were not always so, of course: in the fifties, less than four decades ago - a short time, by historical standards - people lived in a Normal culture, a patriarchal one, to be sure, but one in which Archetypes, including feminine ones, were everywhere abundant, though sadly frayed and attenuated when compared to Traditional times. Frayed or attenuated they may have been, but nonetheless easily recognizable, particularly in the historical fifties, characterized, as they were, by a resurgence of innocence after decades of war, depression and war.
Less than four decades ago even television itself, despite its often heavy-handed commercialism, was wonderfully innocent, (even in its heavy-handed commercials), like many of the racinated images that appear in these pages. The Story Of Susan M., which first aired Friday evening, January 5, 1951 on WNBC-TV in Gotham, is from that era of innocence and may be of some interest to the Cocktail Bar's patronettes: the story is Miss Bland's time machine idea in reverse - a Real person, from a Normal culture, suddenly finds herself in the Pit for just an hour or so and is utterly appalled. The synopsis for this program, from which the screenplay was written, recently made its way through the Iron Curtain; it is an original, which bears the scriptwriter's annotations in longhand. Apparently, the writer had some philosphical aspirations, or must have been studying Essentialist philosophy at the time, as the whole middle section has, scribbled in the margins, reflections on the writings of the Essentialist philosopher René Guénon. [In Part III we have placed the scriptwriter's annotations in square brackets]. It is a blood-curdling glimpse into the then-future, the Pit's heart-sickening now, from which Aristasians (Dea bless their courage and wisdom!) have managed to secede. So here, for your enjoyment and possible edification, is the first part of Miss Bland's "gruesome bit of science fiction come to life."
But first, you must imagine that you and your family are curled up on sofa and soft easy chairs before your band-new nine-inch Philco television set, fully four feet tall and enclosed in a gleaming walnut-burl cabinet with Grandmother's best crocheted doily on top, on which stands a heavy opal glass vase holding a fall foliage arrangement. Mother has just turned on the set, it is now warming up. (Yes, you younger pettes, real television sets and even radios take quite a while - a special anticipatory magical while - to warm up, as if they are carefully weighing which images and sounds to sift from the ether before admitting them to the sanctity of your Hestia!) But, Shhhh! No more questions! Don't break the spell!
Is truth is really stranger than fiction? Consider the case of Mrs. Susan M., a young suburban housewife expecting a child, who suddenly finds herself transported to a terrifying world only forty-five years in the future. This world is not in some distant galaxy: it is on our very own planet. There has been no atomic bomb nor third world war, no epidemic or famine, no profound economic depression to make this world come about. Nor did this terrifying world abruptly emerge fully-formed after some vast cataclysm of nature. No, this world evolved incrementally, with the general assent, even approbation, of its denizens. No writer's imagination, no madman's delirium can possibly rival what really happens to Mrs. Susan M in .... The Twilight Zone.
TO BE CONTINUED...
I also believe we need to be nourished and supported in living in a way that exemplifies those virtues. Like-minded friends is the best support, I think. Surrounding oneself with beauty, with objects and images that constantly remind us of those virtues is another. Dressing in way that expresses femininity and reminds us that we are women is reasonable and, for me, necessary. Just between you and me and anybody who might be listening, garter belts make me feel not like a woman, but like a marionette. But if somebody else feels more feminine and can be more virtuous (i.e.: joyful, innocent, whimsical, etc) and more herself, in stockings, then obviously she should wear them, and I take delight in her doing so.
The objects and fashions of Trent and Quirinelle do not speak to anything in me. And there are definitely dresses in which I feel vulnerable. My favourite dresses make me feel confident, strong, feminine, and very much myself, but it took me a long time to figure out what they might be, and then I had to make them myself. Maybe I belong somewhere entirely different than the Aristasian provinces I've heard about. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Karen, I wish you all the best in that most fulfilling and worthwhile of searches, the search for what is best in oneself, and I hope you also have fun at it.
Oh, that's so serious, isn't it? How does one order a drink here anyway?
When you say that some dresses make you feel vulnerable, you should consider that this. in itself, is not a bad thing. We all should feel vulnerable at times. Blondes more than brunettes, of course, but brunettes too. Their authority, after all, only comes from their yielding and submission to what is good and true. Now you will say that this is not quite what you meant - that you do not want to feel yielding and vulnerable in the Pit. And you are quite right. All of us, for example, ought at times to relax. It is good and necessary for us, but a field with a wild bull in it is not a safe place to relax. And the Pit is not a safe place to be vulnerable.
But - and this is a terribly important point - because some fields have wild bulls in them, we should not close the possibility of ever relaxing anywhere. If we do, we shall do it to our own immense cost. Now the Pit is like a vast field full of wild bulls, and it claims to be everything and everywhere. But it isn't. This Cocktail Bar is not part of the Pit, for example, nor is our Embassy, nor are the homes of many girls here who have made them a true sanctuary. Nor need your home be. And having made created a certain territory outside the Pit, we must not act in that territory as if we are still in the Pit. In our own sanctuary we must learn the things that are not permitted to us in the Pit, and one of those things is the magic of vulnerability.
So think about the dresses that make you feel vulnerable, that the Pit does not allow you to wear (for the Pit has very special reasons for not wanting any of us to be vulnerable ever - this feeling of being "constantly on guard" is one of the ways it enslaves us - but more of that later), and think where it might be lovely to wear them and just feel vulnerable, and know that you are completely safe. Perhaps nowhere you know at present; perhaps only this Cocktail Bar. But it is terribly important for us not to allow our thoughts and actions to be conditioned by the Pit. Just because we can't consider being vulnerable in the Pit, that doesn't mean we can't consider being vulnerable.
On stockings, from what you say we would guess you haven't worn them enough to become used to them, and that they may create a sense of vulnerability too. Well, we shall post something on the philosophy of stockings soon. But just keep an open mind (as you are already) and see how your feelings develop over time.
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.
And here are LOTS of delightful girly places to go
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