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: The Quirinelles singing Everybody Loves a Lover


Dateline: 7 February 1952

A Song for Miss Featherington

Hi 'Londies and 'Netties,

 Here I am, your own little Miranda. Sorry I haven't told you all about our last visit. Miss F's and mine, I mean. I didn't mean to leave you all hanging from a cliff like poor Pauline, really I didn't. It's just that she gave me another assignment and I've been dreffly busy trying to finish that one before our next meeting, so I haven't been able to tell you about our last meeting at all. But pretty soon, our last meeting will turn into our last meeting before the honest-to-goodness last meeting and then we'll all be in such a mess, won't we?

 I think it went quite well. She just took my report, read it quickly, and said she'd have to take it home to mark it before returning it to me. I really spent a lot of time on it, I know, but I thought an educated lady like the librarian wouldn't find it so complex that she would have to take it home to study it. I must have done better than I thought, so that's good, isn't it?

 Well, here's the real reason I wanted to stop in and say what-ho to all of you girls. I am thinking of a special Valentine's Day surprise for that special librarian, and I just need to know what you pettes think of it. See, I am going to put on my most Lana Turner-like dress when we meet next week. Then, when Miss F is about to say, "That is all for this week, Miranda. I will see you next Tuesday," I will ask her if I could say one more thing. And then I will not say that one more thing, oh contraire!, I will sing it. And this is what I will sing:

Teach Me Tonight

Did you say I've got a lot to learn?
Well, don't think I'm trying not to learn.
Since this is the perfect spot to learn,
teach me tonight.

Starting with the ABC of it,
right down to the XYZ of it.
Help me solve the mystery of it
. Teach me tonight.

 The sky's a black board
high above you,
if a shooting star goes by,
I'll use that star to write I love you
a thousand times across the sky.

 One thing isn't very clear my love.
Should the teacher stand so near, my love?
Graduation's almost here, my love.
Teach me tonight.

 One thing isn't very clear, my love.
Should the teacher stand so near, my love?
Graduation's almost here my love.
Teach me tonight,
Teach me tonight.

 Well, I know it isn't exactly right for Miss F and me because it's meant for a teacher rather than a librarian. But you don't think she'll mind, do you?

Love Always,

MIRANDA

 ps. Pettes, I just had to say that the picture you saw the other day, the one Miss Leslie took and said was of me wasn't of me at all, but of my Aunt Miranda. I was named after her, but golly gee, I am not nearly as pretty as she is. I am a Plain Jane, really. If I were as pretty as my Aunty, I wouldn't be at all nervous about if my song will melt Miss F's heart. But just take look at plain old me, shaking like a leaf in a high wind!



Well, we don't know quite how austere Miss Featherington is, but we should be absolutely enchanted in her place.

Wedding Dresses And Beyond...

Darlings! Norma again. Wasn't that a marvelous insight into the mysteries of matrimonial symbols? I knew that confetti was like rice and I had vague intimations and stirrings about the miniature suns, the tiara and flowers, but I never could have expressed any of it in with such eloquent erudition as did our anonymous Sagette. And she is a raven-haired blonde, too, by her own description! Next to her, I, a raven-haired brunette who writes for a living, am absolutely tongue-tied! Now, I know this may sound a bit too personal for the Cocktail Bar, but I would give almost anything to sit at her feet, dumb and awestruck, hang on her every word, and wait upon her hand and foot in exchange for more such wisdom! I never thought I would have quite such intellectual adulation for a blonde, but Aristasia is always full of such interesting surprises, don't you agree?

 Well, >blush<, enough of such sentimental musings. Back to the ever-important business of fashion and style, the endless feminine dance with steps of endless variation. But, variations or no, I must confess I remain rather partial to lacy-frothy-frilly wedding dresses (and to the blondes who wear them), so let us examine one of the finest.

 Now these pictures are not of a real bride, but of one of our most popular models who specializes in bridal fashions, though she sometimes poses for sub-deb fashions as well. Her name is Evelyn, she lives in Canarsie, she is really thirty years old and is a mother of three lovely children - two blondes and one brunette! But she never lost her figure. No, on the contrary, with each new baby, instead of, um, expanding, she becomes even more ethereal much to the consternation of her unmarried and childless competitors! So, seeing that she is a model, it makes it all the easier for each of you blondes to imagine yourself dressed in precisely the fashions she is modelling - that's what models are for, aren't they? To let the viewer imagine herself in the clothing which is, after all, what is being featured in our magazine articles. The model, as lovely as she is, is really secondary to the dress. So, all you unmarried blondes, this is you. Use your imaginations!

So imagine this is your wedding dress, an absolute dream of frothy lace and tulle that need not be put away after the ceremony and forgotten until your own daughter gets married. No, this is a versatile dress, and might get worn out before your first daughter ever is born! Changing its white satin corselette for a rose-colored satin sash, for example, you'll wear it dancing throughout your lovely "first summer," while the full blush of being a bride is still on your cheeks undiminished. It's a dress to love at first sight, a dress to buy or make yourself - (write me, and I'll send you the pattern). Your veil is short and sweet, your bouquet yellow hyacinths gathered tightly into a fragrant ball.

But a girl needs to think about after the wedding and going out into the world. What will you wear on the train? What about an outfit for dinner, or for the beach? As you leave on your honeymoon, your going-away suit might be this adorable sentimental blue one, in a lightweight wool mixture, its skirt simple enough for golf or badminton, with pink or white sweater and smart little visored cap. Here the honeymooning suit is shown with its jacket, Milan hat, chamois gloves and beige bag (note the gloves' yellow lining).

Tiny waistlines, romantic full skirts and slim basques were made to order for young pretty blonde brides on their honeymoons: imagine yourself in this yellow linen basque dress with 110-inch skirt, perfect for lunch, sunny afternoons, croquet or for just being seen about town. Being a married woman doesn't mean giving up girlish fashions in the least. After all, you've just turned twenty, so you'll want a taffeta dance dress, petticoat style, a half-skirt bathing suit in lustrous rayon jersey, one or two basque or bare-top cottons to wear everywhere .... and a short white coat that goes happily over everything. I am sorry that space does not permit showing you all these lovely creations. But don't worry, pettes, a trousseau like this won't mortgage your future, especially if you make some of the outfits yourself. And its accessories are inexpensive, too, and easily packed: two soft straw hats, a collection of colored bandeaux and silk scarves, a pair of brown pumps for day and satin slippers for evening, straw bags and sandals, several strands of crystal and multicolored beads. Why, planning a trousseau is almost as exciting as planning the wedding itself!

 Tomorrow I'll show you my favorite wedding dress, from far Western Kadoria. Once you see this gorgeous dress, you may want to get married to just about anyone, just so you can wear it! >Tee-hee< NORMA


Wedding Belles

Norma, what a wonderful report on what the Kadorie bride is wearing this season! A true tour-de force from our wonderful fashion reporteress, for which we are very grateful.

 A sudden silence fell in the Bar whilst we were perusing your words and pictures; only the crinkling sound of the pictures being passed around could be heard. Blondes and brunettes alike were enthralled by them, and one could almost hear the wedding-dress thoughts churning away in every pette's mind..."Would she wear that? Or this?" All the single girls were stricken with day-dreams of that particular girl--, how the wedding dress would look on her, what colour stockings she'd wear underneath it, how the two of them would dance the first dance at the reception (so romantic, isn't it?) , how their hearts would beat when it was time to leave on the honeymoon and to be alone together for the first time that day; how proud and misty eyed their mothers would be as they watched the exchange of Nuptial Vows in the Temple--each blonde was thinking about how it would feel to be protected and loved for evermore, and each brunette was thinking about squeezing her yielding blonde, knowing that she was now her very own for eternity... scarcely a dry eye in the house. Girls, the lights are low, the music is soft...what about a pette or two sharing her romantic day-dreams?

 CANDIDA


Music Playing: The Quirinelles singing Que Sera Sera


Dateline: 6 February 1952

Marriage Rituals and Symbols

It's Norma, darlings. I'm back, having done my duty to my sex. All the brunettes at the office saw the Cocktail Bar piece on brunette bridal fashions; they were so delighted that they took me to luncheon today. Laverne, a junior editress in the sub-deb department, proposed a little toast, declaring that my writing so incessantly about brides and weddings is a certain portent that my bachelorette days are numbered, and may that number be small! Then they spent the entire luncheon hour reviewing all the eligible blondes at the office, one by one, in sometimes blush-making detail, talking as if I were not present, really making it as much a hilarious discussion of my idiosyncrasies as theirs! But no miracles happened with a single one of those eligibles in the course of the afternoon, though the blondes certainly knew that something was up, from all the significant looks and whispered comments they got - far more than the usual number. I do believe the general levity lead to at least one or two pinches, judging from the most unworkmaidlike squeals I heard coming in through the transom. But at the end of the day I returned home still an unattached and unpromised bachelorette.

At any event, back to bridal fashions and back to blondes, my favorite topic! Here is an adorable Midwestern Kadorie blonde bride, wed just moments ago, emerging from church. She is being showered with colored confetti and still clutches her bouquet. As soon as the confetti settles, a bold blonde, egged on by her more bashful sisters, calls out to her to toss the bouquet, and a good-natured blonde chant of "Throw it! Throw it!" arises. After a few false starts (each provoking a fresh rash of giggles), the bride tosses the bouquet into the palpitant cluster of unmarried blondes hovering breathlessly at the base of the steps. Several girls (the ones who can't even catch a beach ball), jump far too early; the one who catches it is the next blonde to be married, of course.

 As soon as the excited blonde squealing and banter dies down, cries of "The garter! The garter!" are next heard, this time in distinctly brunette registers. So the bride modestly turns her back on the company, and with a quick rustle and billowy fluff of her voluminous skirts (which must have been practised any number of times), she deftly removes the coveted feminine article. She whirls back around, waves it high in one hand like a dainty victory banner, smooths her dress with the other and laughs gaily at the gentle taunts, ("You'll never throw it this far!" "Blondes can't throw anything heavier than a kiss!"). Then she tosses her garter into the slightly more sober (or less giddy) knot of unmarried brunettes waiting no less expectantly right next to the unmarried blondes. The one who catches it will, of course, be the next brunette to be married. Have any of you pettes caught a bouquet or a garter recently?

 As for the bride herself and her lovely costume, radiant would best describe them, don't you think? Her charming stiff voile tiara is, in fact, studded with miniature appliqued suns, whose rays can just barely be seen in this picture, which I have made a little larger than usual so you can catch a bit more detail. The dress, of silk crepe, is quite flared, held out by audible taffeta petticoats. It has one of those Pierette collars we mentioned last month, of expensive hand-made Belgian lace, with dainty lace cuffs to match, both collar and cuffs radiating the essence of soft femininity, ever refreshed from its living source just as blossoms radiate fragrance in sunlight. Her dress itself is of silk crepe. Her flowers: giant pansies and pale lavender larkspur, signifying that the month is June.

 But here I must leave off, and beg our editorial Sagette to comment on the ancient bridal significance of flowers, tiaras, little suns and confetti. Oh, I could speculate, hazard some guesses, but I am, after all, a mere junior fashion editress: I can deal passably well with fabrics, hemlines and styles, but have rather a poor grasp of the power and purpose of symbols. I do hope she can be enjoined to say a few words!

 NORMA



Well, after that we can hardly forbear to say something, can we? Of course, much wedding symbolism is concerned with fecundity, especially in Aristasia, where little teeny blondes and brunettes have always been harder to come by than in some other worlds, and a Blessed Event seems even more miraculous. In the old days there was often some concern that there should be enough babies to sustain the familia, especially in the dark times when many brunettes were slain in combat with Dark Forces. So the rice which is thrown at the couple symbolises the seeds of growth and generation, while confetti (a later development) has the same symbolism, but also signifies the variety and inexhaustible multiplicity of manifestation, the symbolism inhering both in form and colour. For we must remember that however pressing may have been the practical need for new Aristasians, the Creative Act of a married couple is far more than just a human event, but participates in and reiterates the entirety of Cosmic Manifestation itself; and maid, as the central being of this world is needed as a ritual participant in the Dance of manifestation. Flowers, of course, combine the virtues of both rice and confetti, being both growing, living things and manifesting the variety of form and colour of cosmic manifestation.

 Suns and tiaras are another matter. There has always been a certain ambiguity about blondes and brunettes, as to which is the Sun and which the Moon. Clearly, by her colouring, the blonde is first and foremost solar, while the brunette reflects the relative darkness of the moonlit sky; and yet in most of the affairs of everyday life, brunettes normally take the leading, or Solar, role.

 There is nothing really puzzling about this. Earth reflects Heaven inversely; so while the blonde is Solar in spiritual matters, she is Lunar in temporal ones. In older and more Easterly regions, all priestly and hieratic functions are carried out by blondes, and among more traditional temples even in the West, that is still the case in many respects.

 Wedding symbolism, being ancient and unchanged from the earliest times, is always very clear on this. It is the marriage of the Sun and the Moon, the Spirit and the Soul, and the blonde is the Sun. She wears the regalia of Solarity - tiaras, suns etc. - even when they have changed from ritual jewels handed down a hundred generations to mere fashion accessories. As Norma said, blondes are very conservative in the matter of wedding attire, and tend to adhere tenaciously to the traditional motifs and forms of dress. In Western provinces this is often more from a sort of "instinct" than from any conscious understanding of the symbolism involved, but I think no blonde bride, however "modern" is wholly unaware of her Solar role. Neither is her bride, nor any of the onlookers. All are participants in one of the most ancient of mysteries at a level only a fraction removed from full consciousness.


Welcoming the Littles

Welcome, Sheryn and Elaine. May I offer you a glass of Ovaltine? It is utterly charming to meet two lovely young ladies such as yourselves. Aren't you good and lucky girls to have a wonderful invisible dolly ? Any girl who hasn't got one doesn't know what she is missing. You'll be quite safe now, Sheryn. And Bar-pette, could you ask the girls to sing Que Sera Sera specially to welcome Elaine, please?

 CANDIDA


Music Playing: Miss Marychild's Dance Orchestra playing Valencia


Dateline: 5 February 1952

Don't Forget Brunette Brides!

Yeep, pettes! I almost made a terrible faux pas! There I was, getting all wound up over silky-glossy and frothy-lacy blonde wedding gowns, without making even the slightest allusion to brunette wedding fashions. If I don't say something right now, I am liable to get in Dutch with the brunettes at the office tomorrow - I won't be able to show my face there for a week!

 So about brunette wedding fashions - first of all, one can't pigeonhole them the same way as blonde ones. That is because blondes follow traditions to a "T," whereas brunettes like to set styles, not necessarily follow them, though they generally stay within reasonable bounds. But one never knows quite what to expect when a brunette bride and her party show up at the church, (always at least a few minutes late, just to whet the company's anticipation to a slightly finer edge).

Take this photo from last year's wedding season in Western Kadoria, for example. Here we are in the brunette bride's bedroom at her house, the room she has had since she was a little girl; it is perhaps the last time she shall see this bedroom for quite a while, as starting this very night she will be coming home to her own house with her new blonde bride. The brunette's Brunette Mother is adding the final touches to a dressing ritual which has been going on now for some three or four hours: she is fastening a fine, white tulle veil onto a crown of stiff lace to create a wedding mantilla. The gown has a daring fitted ballerina bodice in lustrous rayon satin, with a dainty faux collar of voile fringed with lingerie lace. Note the detached sleeves of fine, rayon film. How delightful to look at, how delightful to wear and how sensuous it will feel when her bride grasps her arm high up at the junction of film and soft skin, after the ceremony and in the car on the way to the wedding reception! I do apologize, girls, that the whole of the magnificent skirt is not shown. It's simply layers and layers layers of white chiffon not quite floor length - they fall an inch or so short of the floor so that they will sway gently about her like a single gauzy cloud as she moves, allowing just the tips of her wedding slippers to show.

 But look, girls! Behold this bride's clear-eyed expression, her apparent sang froid. Does she not look like the cat that has already swallowed the canary? This girl is so self-possessed that she gives the appearance that getting married is quite routine - bound to happen to a girl sooner or later, you know, no sense getting all excited about it. Of course, that's how she appears: a lifetime of brunette training and schooled reserve has taught her to maintain outward equanimity at all times, but, in fact, like her blonde fiancée already arriving at the church, her heart beats ever harder and faster as the appointed time nears - she is about to be driven off with her mothers and sisters and best maid in only five minutes!

 NORMA


To the Anonymous Dancer

Now I am absolutely fascinated by your question "Are you ashamed of me?" Nobody here is ashamed of you; I doubt if anyone even thought in those terms. Speaking for myself, first of all I don't even know you, so nothing you do can cause me any particular shame, and second, as you may have gathered from the response of our Sagette, nobody here much cares about what goes on in the Pit. Everybody is too busy having fun and, in serious moments, learning from each other and trying to be good.

 I have a charming, demonic nephew who, for a time, was bent on doing things he knew perfectly well he ought not to do: overturning flowerpots, pulling the cat's tail, that sort of thing. And after each such act, he would straighten up and turn to the grownups and smile wickedly and say "Am I bad?" You remind me of him.

 So I have two questions for you, Dancer:

 Why do you care if anyone here is ashamed of you?

 Are you ashamed of yourself?

 If you're looking for some joyless girl-hating authoritarian to rebel against, you're in the wrong place, you know. If you're asking if you've already breached the standards you were raised with, shouldn't you be asking someone who knows what those standards were (like your family)? If you're looking for some place where standards are higher, then maybe you should try speaking like a grownup, give us a name to call you by, and become a regular. Being a "bad girl" may bring good money in the Pit, but it gets tired pretty fast around here.

 So, Dancer, what'll you have?

 ELIZABETH RUTH


Cruel Blondes

Ah, Diana, I am sorry to hear that you have been heartlessly used by a cruel blonde. Indeed, I must agree that blondes can heartless wretches. I blame it on their mothers, as it is of the utmost importance that a blonde be brought up properly; do you not agree? Blondes tend not to be the most reflective and analytic creatures, and must be taught how to behave from the start. The very touch of self absorption which can be so fascinating in a properly-behaved blonde can, and will, be her downfall if it be not restrained and directed. And not only her downfall, but the downfall of a well-behaved unfortunate brunette, too. Can a blonde be a cad? I am not sure. I think that to be a cad implies that there is an element of uncaring deliberateness to the behaviour; perhaps a blonde would be a brat or a beast instead.

 I stick to my belief that a little fickleness can be charming in a blonde (at least for an onlooker), but never, never in an engaged pette of either sex. Or in a pette who has led a girl on to believe that she may be about to become engaged. A blonde who is fickle and means it does violence to Holy Matrimony, and I should hope is barred from all the company of all decent pettes. Sometimes blondes believe that they have a monopoly on feelings; as Diana maintains, this is not true. Does not a brunette bleed when you prick her?

 Speaking of blondes and brunettes, I think that we shall have to seriously consider a rescue attempt on poor Miranda's behalf.

 CANDIDA


The invisible dolly

Hello Girls

 My name is Elaine,

 I am a brunette, I work in the local library. Where I work efficiently and quietly. My hobbies include;

 Needle work
Dress making
Shopping
and learning to drive an Automobile.
Although I have trouble with most mechanical things.

 My favorite songs are by Doris Day.

 K sera sera is my favourite, Even if I can't spell it.

 I truly wish for an Invisible Dolly,

 Unfortunately I can not answer the questions. Though I promise to be good, and care for her lovingly.

 And promise not to loose her again.

 I say again because I feel I once held her but, she slipped away. I would sew her new gowns of white satin with tight bodice's and calf length skirts.

 Just like the ones I make for myself.

 I would be a good mummy for her.

 Applicant to Aristasia

 ELAINE EASTON.


Why I Have an Extra Special Need for an Invisible Dolly

I have completed my first task of finding my innocent little girl with relative ease. She was sitting in a little room with white walls and lacey curtains, wearing a pretty pink dress and having a tea party with other innocent little girls. Unfortunately I do not know the answer to the first question. This saddens me ever so much as I was so looking forward to having an invisible dolly to protect me. The reason I think I should be allowed to have an invisible dolly is that when I am tired I have trouble going to sleep because I am afraid, if I had an invisible dolly she could make sure I was safe. Thank you very much for reading my request and I shall continue trying to be good. SHERYN

Dear Sheryn and Elaine, please do not worry about that hard old question. You are both good girls and you must both have an invisible dolly.

A Happy Ending

greetings my dear pettes,

 I am compelled to enter into the conversation (I have been quietly eavesdropping from the corner table just over there) because the touching story of Amanda and Vivien is exactly what happened to me not so long ago, only it was I who was betrayed by the loveliest of blonde pettes imaginable. We were as close to being engaged as two girls could be, with the fullest of blessings from all four mommies. We were an ensemble for two and a half years until Rebecca (or Beckie as I fondly call her) developed a roving eye and betrayed me in a very cruel manner, the details of which are too complex to describe without a bottle of whisky. Needless to say, we followed separate paths for several months. My greatest fear was bumping into her whilst fleeming (a hobby we passionately shared) or in the cafés we used to frequent whilst we were courting. We are now ensemble once more, but only after many, many tears and much begging by Beckie. I must say, when I saw her lovely, radiant visage after so long, my tough brunette heart melted and I forgave her for her past indiscretion, with STRICT instructions to NEVER EVER do such a thing again. Yes, brunettes do have tender feelings, too...I agree with Diana. I was never so low as when I was separated from Beckie, and I was very angry and sad. But I do believe we must find room in our hearts for forgiveness. I dread the thought of becoming a bitter brunette whose heart was broken one to many times by a beguiling blonde. So I continue in the name of love, and hope Lady Luck is smiling on me! Yes, I have given Beckie another chance. But what will happen to Amanda and Vivien??? There's nothing I like more than a story with a happy ending.

 Fondly,

 CONSTANCE 


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