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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VISITING THE EMBASSY:
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: Miss Marychild's Dance Orchestra with Margie
Dateline: 10 January 1952

Library Warning!

Girls, Miranda is right - the new DL is really something. She's apparently frightfully well-read, and instead of using the strap (which at least has the benefit of being quick and done with) she supposedly will make a girl memorize bits from the classics, even CHAUCER (and not just the Prologue!) I wonder that Miranda dares to meet with her after hours - surely no blonde could maintain a regular schedule of reading classics, so she's sure to be memorizing late into the night. Personally I'm staying well out of Miss Featherington's way!

 MISS KATHERINE


Another New Quirinelle Girl Heard From

Hi! My name is Candy, and I live in New Quirinelle too, the place where Miss Miranda says nothing exciting hardly ever happens. 'Cept this new librarian she is so excited about, but I hate to read books, so I would have no reason to go to a library anyway, so I really don't think a new librarian is so very exciting, 'specially a brunette one, and besides I have never seen a blonde librarian, not that I hang around libraries a lot (I hate to read books, you know). I like blondes ever so much better than brunettes, so in my personal opinion blondes are about the only thing exciting here in New Quirinelle. Not librarians.

 I think I'd probably like to meet this Miss Miranda and tell her a thing or two about librarians, blonde or otherwise. (But I have yet to meet a blonde one, like I said, not that I know too much about libraries or the pettes who run them. Since I don't like to read books, I hardly ever go into a library, so perhaps there are lots of blonde librarians I don't know about. But I doubt it.)

 But I do know quite a lot about blondes, I was raised as a blonde, actually. But lately I have gotten a little bit worried, my hair has gotten quite dark and as I grow older (I am almost eighteen now, honest I am!), I find I am attracted mainly to blondes, I mean, well, um, (this is a confesch of sorts), that is, er, well ... I like blondes a lot and want to protect them and maybe even marry them, so I am afraid I might be turning into a brunette, even though I'd rather be a blonde and still be protected and have babies. And if I really am a blonde, (which I hope I still am), I would still like blondes anyway, not brunettes, and would want to love and protect blondes and marry them and have babies anyway, you know what I mean? So it really doesn't matter, does it? I mean, either way I like just blondes. I can't help it, I am fated to like them. Blondes are just tops, a girl would be a fool not to like them. I mean, she wouldn't even be a girl if she didn't in my personal opinion, because there is nothing so feminine as a real blonde, nothing. I would much rather be a blonde who is crazy about blondes than a brunette who is crazy about them.

I think blondes who are crazy about brunettes are just plain crazy! It's a complete waste in my personal opinion, liking brunettes. Well, liking them as acquaintances (or even as librarians, perhaps) might be O.K., I suppose, but loving them, I mean, that's different. Blondes are the thing!

 So I guess I am just a crazy, mixed-up kid, (that's what my mothers both say, and most of my teachers), so when I get so crazy and all mixed up like this, I head straight for the New Quirinelle Ice Cream Emporium on Main Street, peel off my gloves and have a black raspberry ice cream soda to calm me down. Which is what I like second-best after blondes. Ice cream sodas, I mean. Black raspberry ones. Black raspberry is my favorite flavor of ice cream. It has a very nice, soothing color.

 CANDY, NEW QUIRRIE BLONDE-OR-BRUNETTE


Librarians, Elegance and Superiority, Oh my!

Hello everyone! As I came in I managed to catch the tail end of several conversations, and I just must join in. First to darling Miranda (whispering here) I think your new lovely librarian may have several things on her mind by asking you to stay after at the library so that she may show you the classics! Oh no, don't look scared dear, for I'm sure it's nothing sinister!! She just probably admires you for your innocence and natural sweetness, and would like to get to know you better. Also, she sounds like a fine librarian, for all librarians are interested in opening the minds and broadening the horizons of their patrons, and her suggestion of introducing you to the classics is a fine idea. You'll much enjoy them I'm sure, as well as the extra time you get to spend with this lovely brunette!

 Now to dear Karen, I heard your apology, and first I want to say please don't think I or any others here think badly of you or that anyone has judged your comments to be below the mark for I, as I'm certain everyone else does, think very highly of you, and your comments help us all to think and feel and learn what it really is that we believe in. If it weren't for serious philosophical statements such as you have made, that cause one to really think, I fear that I might grow complacent and just "think I know what I think" if that statement makes any sense. Your comments regarding being feminine as being weak weren't wrong from your own inner self, for you were only stating what you had been taught to think, but not what you really really thought!! I hope I am making some kind of sense, but fear that I'm not.

 Let me try again. You were raised to think that by showing your true self, your feminine self, that you would be displaying your "weak" or "lesser" side. It wasn't what YOU thought, but what you'd been taught to think. For example, if you had been taught from birth that A was really G, and G was really A, then when I spelled the word agree you would say "No, wgit, thgt is wrona, it should be spelled garee. Unless I could come up with something that absolutely proved beyond a doubt that my way of spelling was correct, and yours incorrect we would be at a stalemate. We are much like the characters of the story "The Alleghory of the Cave", for all along we have been taught that stepping into our true feminine selves is a frightening shadowy world, but we've always wondered about what was really "up above". All along we have accepted what we have been taught, that the world of femininity is a horrible place, with frightening creatures who are weak and vain and can't think. And that only by acting masculine and strong could we get ahead in this world. These words though, have become misused, for look at a tree, isn't its strength in it's ability to yield and bend with the breeze? Flexibility is considered a feminine virtue, yet it keeps the tree from being snapped in two whenever a storm comes rolling by. You, much like myself, have decided that you aren't happy living in that dank, barely lit cave and are climbing out to discover with your own eyes and senses what is really there, and your learning that you have been taught wrong. Your learning new meanings to words, and new ways of thinking. It's scary at first though, for you keep thinking, much like I do, at the very back of your mind, what if my new impressions are actually wrong, and what my elders back in the cave have been telling me is actually right? What if I end up getting hurt displaying my new found me, or what if I end up getting laughed at. Or the even scariest thought, what if these new creatures that I've found in the world above the cave laugh at me for what I have been led to believe is true, or don't like me or make fun of me! Or what if I accidentally insult them or make them mad with my beliefs that I still carry from the cave? No one likes to be ridiculed or humiliated, and you won't find that here at the Cocktail lounge or anywhere in Aristasia I believe. No one thinks badly of you nor will they, for most if not all of us have been in exactly your shoes (nice ones too, where'd you get them?) We are learning to walk once again, and we might as face up to the fact that we will stumble along the way. When that happens, others will be here to help us get back on our feet, to dust us off, and send us back on our journey of self-discovery. I would be really saddened if you stopped dropping by here, for you bring up fascinating subjects for discussion. Also, it helps to grow within oneself if there are others growing right along with you! So please, please don't think anyone thinks badly about your comments, or that you've angered anyone for you haven't.

 Sincerely, with love,

 ELIZABETH O.


Powder Room Intrigue At The Aphrodite Cocktail Bar

Let us join Mandy and Madge (very young blondes), on their double date with Ronnie and Harriet (brunettes who are rather younger than Mandy and Madge suspect). The four have gone - where else? - to the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar to warm up for the evening. The weather has been unusually cold, so The Management has been doing a land-office business serving hot toddies at two-for-one prices. Ronnie and Harriet, it seems, wasted no time exploiting such a special offer, so after five or so rounds, blonde jokes* are flying back and a little too loudly, bar stools have been drawn up rather too close for comfort at this time of the evening and poor Mandy and Madge already will find themselves black-and-blue next morning in certain strategic locations (sometimes referred to as "whereabouts" elsewhere on these pages).

So our two young blondes have found it necessary to beat a tactical retreat, under pretext of shiny noses, to the sanctuary of the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar Blondes' Powder Room, there to regroup, as it were. Here they encounter Betty, a slightly older (and far more experienced) blonde, taking her "regulation" hourly breather from the action at the bar. Betty is the girl in the white dress, fixing her hair; Amanda is seated, and Madge is standing to the right, holding a mirror (she decided not to wear her red hair ribbon after all).

 BETTY: So, girls, sounds like your fired-up brunettes have had a couple too many and are getting just a trifle rough, what? Not uncommon, you know, when they're as young as these two. Some blondes like it, you know. But the only real quesch is, do you want to stick out the evening with them or do you want to go home?

 AMANDA AND MADGE: (They look at one another for a moment, then turn to Betty, nodding their heads vigorously in unison) GO HOME!

 BETTY: Do you have taxi fare?

 AMANDA: Taxi fare? That's money, isn't it? Er, um, I just took my essentials with me in my purse, you know, lipstick, compact, hairbrush ... but no money. I usually don't need money for anything when I go out. Well, last week I made a phone call, some old coin or other was needed and I actually had one on me!

 BETTY: Madge?

 MADGE: Um, same with me, too, I'm afraid. Not a farthing.

 BETTY: (Sotto voce, only half-suppressing a small smile) Typical. (Then aloud) Well, you'll learn soon enough. A girl never goes out on a date without, um, shall we say, "emergency funds" in her stocking-top or some other place as convenient. Ten shillings at least, these days. For jams just like this.

 AMANDA: (Her eyes beginning to glisten and shimmer, about to dissolve into frank tears) B-but we haven't any money! W-what are we to do, then?

 BETTY: Calm down, Pigeon, don't cry! Time to get initiated into one of the many mysteries of being a blonde. This situasche comes up rather more frequently than you might imagine, so The Management has worked out an efficient escape plan for Blondes in Distress, a sort-of-an underground railway. The key is the next drinks you order: ask for a Jeroboam of Champagne Blanche de Blanches. That is secret blonde code for, "I am in a sort-of-a-pickle with a brunette, have no cab fare, and need to get home." The price of the bottle is so very outrageous that it will cover cab fare to anywhere in the city, and, ca va sans dire, the brunette (or in this case, the pair of 'em) is left with the tab. Upon receiving such an order, the bar maid will discreetly phone for a taxi. Then, about ten minutes after the champagne arrives, excuse yourselves once again right here to the powder room. (You needn't give any pretext, you know. Just say, "We're going to the powder room," and just go.) See that door over there? No, the one to the right of the loo. That's a rear exit into - guess where? - Bottle Alley, where your cabbie will infallibly be waiting, her fare pre-paid by special arrangement with The Management. Then you're home free, literally speaking: just tell her where you want to go.

 MADGE: Gosh, Betty, do girls really do this sort of thing? What about Veronica and Harriet being left in the lurch?

 BETTY: Happens every night, loves. By the time you're safely home, your dates, if they happen to notice anything at all, will most likely have found some other brunettes in similar straits, will order a few more rounds for each other and expatiate on the eternal faithlessness of blondes and drink to the confusion of the fairer sex, tell some more blonde jokes of the racier sort, you know. Maybe they'll all order gin and cry in it. Besides, these two young pups need to be trained a bit, so you are really doing them a favor. I'm sure they'll make fine brunettes one of these days, a joy for any blonde to be seen with. Maybe they'll even get married and settle down.

 AMANDA: But what about our coats? If we head for the check room, Ronnie and Harriet will get wise. And we really need our coats tonight or we'll freeze in the taxi!

 BETTY: Don't worry, silly, that's all part of the plan, too. Sally, the blonde bar maid, passes a note to Effie, the cloak room girl, who never forgets a face or a coat, so your coats and wraps and mufflers'll all be waiting for you right here in the Blondes' powder room. It's all just blondes helping their little sisters, we've all been there, Darlings! It'll come off perfectly smoothly. You'll see.

 AMANDA AND MADGE: Gee, thanks, Betty, you're swell! A brunette couldn't have planned it any better. We're going out to order that special champagne right now and do those two a big favor!

 BETTY: Wait a sec! What did'y say those brunettes' names were?


* We have heard that some particularly foul and obscene jokes are termed "blonde jokes" in the Pit. Needless to say, Aristasian blonde jokes are nothing like that, but tend to centre on the impracticality, silliness and sometimes vanity of blondes - such as:

 How do you make a blonde burn her ear? Ring her up when she's ironing.


Oh thank you Diana for your support

Dear Diana,
Your letter welled up emotions in me that I didn't know were there. Tears came to my eyes when I realized that there were girls here that had come from the same horrible place that I'm currently in. I mean the Pit-masculine jeans and hiking boot way of appearance which I truly dislike, but have become so much a part of me and the friends that I associate with. I only recently read the "Beauty Myth" and "Backlash", both of which had a terrible Pit-feminist effect on my psyche. Can putting on makeup and enjoying one's femininity really be that bad? This Cocktail Bar almost brings me to the point of wanting to burn them for the things they have put in my mind.

 Currently I'm "between jobs" so to speak so the opportunities for looking nice don't come by too often. When I do manage to obtain employment though (in the very brunette ordinator field), I intend to make some positive changes in my style. Forgive me for asking a stupid question, but I've always managed to wear flats and very low heels to work and would like to know if there is an optimum heel height that I would wear that would be feminine, but still acceptable to the Pit "professional" world? I really want to wear heels for a change!

 Your Vintessian hestia must be beautiful! For what I've learned about Aristasia, Vintesse seems like home to me (other than the fact that I've always dreamed of a small Arcadian waistline, maybe sometime in the future). I love the styles of that province and have recently taken a small step and had my hair done in a Vintesse bob. I'm finally starting to think that I can be pretty again.

 Yes, this is a conversion, but one that seems to be making me a more complete human being. As difficult as it is, I'm trying. The girls here have accomplished a lot in their lives and are very much respected for it. Your support means a lot and I really mean that.

 With much love,

 KAREN



When you say "I only recently read the "Beauty Myth" and "Backlash", both of which had a terrible Pit-feminist effect on my psyche.", you speak more truly than perhaps you are aware. Psychic poisoning is not just a turn of phrase or a figure of speech. It is a very concrete and terrible reality. We are poisoned psychically by things like this. The Pit tries to tell us that we should see everything, hear everything, experience everything, as if we could not harm ourselves merely by seeing and knowing. But we can. Most are very careful about what they put into their mouths. We learn as children not to pick up any dirty thing off the street and eat it. But very few people are careful about what they allow to into their minds. We should be, for psychic poisoning is every bit as real as physical poisoning.

 For an Aristasian such as myself, reading a bongo newspaper - any bongo newspaper - would make me terribly ill. Watching a bongo television programme - any bongo television programme would make me feel even worse. Now you may ask why it has this effect on us when it has no effect on bongos. Is it poisoning us but not them? No, the truth is that our psyches are sufficiently clear of such poisons to reject them when we do ingest them; and the rejection of psychic poison, like the rejection of physical poison is unpleasant. It is, quite literally, psychic nausea.

 Bongos do not feel this psychic nausea because they are not rejecting the toxins. They are accepting them and becoming psychically poisoned.

 So you have made a very important step. You can feel that these books are having a terrible effect on your psyche. You are starting to experience the psychic nausea that comes from rejecting psychic poisons. That is a great step forward.

 Another important thought is expressed when you say "This Cocktail Bar almost brings me to the point of wanting to burn them for the things they have put in my mind.". This is a much more profound reaction than you know. Purification by fire is one of the most ancient ritual ways of exorcising an unclean object. We would recommend that you do exactly that. Burn the books, and when you do so, call upon Anya, the bright Angel of fire to purify the poison away from your home and your heart. Along with the physical books, let the invisible soul-poison be consumed by the purifying flames.


A Quirrie Discovery

Girls, you'll never believe,

 Now I seem to be Kadorian brunette mainly, (although I'm sure there's some Arcadian in me waiting to get out) but I DID find the most delightful set of Quirrie dress patterns on my last Fleeming trip! And wouldn't you know it, there's a stunning dress with just miles of fabric in the skirt and the cutest bodice - yet, sadly, the waist measurement is a little beyond me, even with the correct underpinnings. At 27 inches, it matches what I wore many long years ago, not what I manage now. And Petal is much to small for it - I could manage some alterations but I fear the spirit of the whole would be lost. So, alas, this one beautiful pattern sits in my sewing box and dreams of what it could be. I shall have to bring it in to the office and send a copy of the front through the ordinator so you can all see it.

 Never mind - Karen, all your talk of gradual racination has further inspired me. Although my job involves a lot of crawling under desks and climbing up ladders, I can, of course, bring myself closer to the real world without compromising my femininity. Think of that wonderful brunette, my utter idol, Miss Katherine Hepburn, who wears the most adorable pants suits without seeming in the slightest bit bongo ( well, at least to me she doesn't). Time to hit the fabric store for a few yards of a silky floral jersey or georgette, a suitable pattern, some hours at the trusty Singer, and a new pants suit is on the way! A touch of make-up and we're done! (And, of course, a hat, but then I wear hats all the time anyway - this is merely an excuse for the right one).

 Your very inspired correspondent,

 MISS FOX



In Aristasia proper no one ever wears bifurcated garments, even though they are certainly worn in some parts of the free world. That is because, there being no men, I suppose the things never came into being, while in Aristasia-in-Telluria we feel it necessary to counteract some of the damage of the past three decades by moving firmly in the opposite direction. However girls in different circumstances will undoubtedly find their own personal balance.
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