In a small rural town, it was either in Quirinelle, or Western Kadoria--I forget which--lived a young brunette, Daphne, and a young blonde, Myrah. They had known each other since they were children. Well, as it was a smallish place I expect that all the youngsters knew each other, but we digress. Daphne was (and still is, we might add) a sensitive brunette, soft and romantically inclined, and not the sort of girl ever to sow wild oats and "play the field", if you know what I mean. What a darling she is--the sort of protective, understanding, loving, chivalrous, unselfish brunette that every blonde would dream of. Myrah is a dreamy sort of girl, wise and loving, yet curiously practical for a blonde. Not in physical-type things, of course--she couldn't find her way to the car even if she had noticed where she'd parked it. I bumped into her only last week, and she had been wandering around for half an hour with the keys in her hand, looking for it unsuccessfully. As she is so dreamy though, she wasn't worried and I don't even think she had noticed that she hadn't found it. That is assuming that she had noticed that she was looking for it, of course.
Anyway, they were the most darlingestly adorable pair of young sweethearts that you ever did see. From the time that they were about nine, they seemed attached to each other. And when they were a little older, they were inseparable. They fitted together like a hand in a silk glove. They went everywhere together, Myrah leaning on the gentle brunette strength and wisdom of Daphne, and Daphne gravely worshipping at the shrine of the little blonde.
Daphne and Myrah knew that they wanted to marry as soon as they were old enough. All their mothers knew what was in the girls' minds, so they met to discuss it, and decided what to say to their respective daughters. Both sets of parents believed that the girls were too young, and that the sweet young love affair could and would not last. "Childhood sweethearts are soon outgrown" was the firm opinion of all four mothers. Besides, Daphne and Myrah were rather young for their ages, and their mothers could not believe that they really knew what they wanted. How could this be true love? Surely it was only a childhood dream, soon to vanish like a wisp of steam in the light of adulthood? They regarded it rather indulgently, but did not take the two pettes seriously at all.
This was evident when Daphne asked permission of their mothers to marry. They looked so sweet, standing hand in hand in front of their mothers, that the blonde mummies had to restrain a tear. Myrah's brunette mother was so moved by them that she couldn't bring herself to say a plain, brutal, no, and Daphne's mother didn't disagree. They didn't want to spoil the girls' beautiful dream; so instead of coming out with it and saying no, Myrah's mother said that they could, but only if the chapel bells rang for the wedding.
The chapel bells had been broken since Heaven knows when, because there was a problem of some kind about mending them. It was only a tiny chapel, with a ministress, or madre, who was rather poor, as is not unusual, especially in rural areas. She was very pleased to see Daphne and Myrah, and made them tea and gave them cake. She was quite struck, she told me later, by how ethereal the couple seemed, as if they hardly set foot to the ground. They only had eyes for each other, and the madre said how sweet they were, how innocent and lovely, and how they seemed young, in a simple way.
The madre listened gravely when the girls told her about the condition that their parents had set for them to be married, and was a little surprised when the girls started arranging their wedding with her. However, she felt, rather like their mothers, that she could not do the discourtesy of taking them less seriously than they took themselves, so she made no objection. The girls did not want to set a wedding date, but to have all the arrangements made and discussed, and to have their "marriage lessons" form the madre. You know, girls, that is where the madre tells you how serious it is to get married and how important it is, and how that it is really something spiritual, and that kind of thing. Daphne and Myrah held hands tightly all through it. The madre felt that it was rather odd. The girls never raised the question of the chapel bells being mended or anything like that, they simply went ahead in perfect faith that they were going to be married, never questioning when or how. The madre saw them down the path when they left her house, and shook her head a little. They were a pair of sweet children, and secure in a faith that many adults would envy.
Later that night, after Daphne had seen Myrah home, and had held her around the waist on the doorstep, and looked adoringly into her face, and given her the chastest kiss on the cheek (Daphne was a girl of the most refined sensitivities. She adored Myrah, but she respected her too much to want to do anything that might not be good for her, and her kisses were always aetherial), and they had said their good-nights, Daphne walked home, under the moon, thinking of Myrah, as always. She said good night to her mothers, and took herself off to bed. Her parents stayed up a little while longer, talking, and then they went to bed too.
One by one, the lights in that little town went off. All was dark, with only the glow of the stars and the friendly moon to light the roof tops. All was silent. Even the cats curled up and went to sleep. All was still. All slept.
Then, quietly at first, a noise began, becoming louder and louder, the sound of bells, echoing over the sleeping town. Lights came on one by one, windows were opened and heads popped out, brunette and blonde alike, some long-married blondes even sporting curlers, to see what was happening. The madre rushed from her house and fell on her knees in front of the chapel as she gazed at the little tower. The chapel bells were ringing, singing; cleaving through the silence of the dark night with their paean of joy.
Daphne and Myrah were married on the following day. Myrah looked wonderful, in a beautiful white dress (not altogether dissimilar to the ones which Norma showed to the Cocktail Bar), that her mother had worn when she was married, and carried a simple posy of mock-orange blossoms. Her veil was light and diaphanous. She seemed to float down the aisle. Daphne wore a white brunette's dress, rather simple and plain, one that had been handed from one brunette generation to the next in her family for long, long years. The beautiful, simple ceremony was immensely moving, and the guests and the madre agreed that there was no superficial excitement in the girls' demeanour, only a natural acceptance, as if marrying each other was as natural and as simple as breathing; somehow as if they were in another world. The guests had helped to prepare the wedding breakfast early in the morning, and it all went swimmingly. One of the guests had offered to help them go away for a honeymoon, and another helped Daphne prepare the tiny house that the couple would be taking up residence in; Myrah blushed enchantingly at the guest who had offered the honeymoon and said shyly that she was very grateful for the offer, but she preferred to stay in the little house that they were from that day calling "home", and to start as they meant to go on.
That was quite a long while ago now; there has never been a Happy Event for the couple, but all the pettes who know them aren't surprised. The couple are so deeply attached that they find Dea in each other, and anyway, they don't seem to be made for the common course of events. Daphne is still as gravely worshipping and protective as ever, and despite the years, in her eyes Myrah is the same fresh young girl that she was when they were married. Myrah is still the shy loving heart, the essence of femininity, ever mindful of her wonderful brunette.
And the chapel bells? They are still broken.
the cultural Eclipse which took place in your 1960s, leaving all values inverted, replacing the love of beauty with the love of ugliness, the love of order with the love of chaos and giving over all normal human loyalties, decencies and truths to vilification or to mockery.
I am currently "entrapped" (meaning that I know that I am not truly "of" this time and place) in the US. Perhaps in Britain, you are familiar with the concept of Political Correctness. Well, here PC has gotten completely out of hand!
And women are so "colonized" (as you put it) that they do not understand PC really is about eradicating lovely and subtle differences between sexes and races. Most of the poor dears who subscribe to PC have coronaries when I tell gently point out how destructive PC really is to women.
I have been reviled and vilified for my viewpoint, and for the fact that I am "blonde" (as you say). I am unjustly accused of pandering to male stereotyping of what a girl should be. HA! -That- is complete rubbish (as you would say). I fell in love with my lovely reflection when I was a flaxen-haired child, and my dream has -never- included having the innocent that I am, being pawed and mauled by males, I will tell you!
I only wish that there was a way for US Femmes to assemble on the internette. Your sites are quite lovely, but I detect many inherent cultural (idiomatic, and spelling) differences. Although, truly, in the final analysis, being here is more like being "home" than where I currently have the misfortune to reside!
Welcome to the Cocktail Bar, Valerie. You will quickly find, as you voyage through the Archives, that a good proportion of our regulars speak an idiom that will be very familiar to you.
I, like all the other girls, have been perfectly bewitched by Norma's always enlightening forays into the Bar. As for wedding dresses, I have been dreaming of them just as instructed. But rather than imagining such exquisite confections adorning my own figure (when I marry, I hope to be resplendent in vermilion, gold and mehndi) I've been planning my little role as a blonde attendant to the blonde bride. Ah well... perhaps Evangeline or some other dear friend shall find her Right Brunette soon. All of that decorating, cosmeticising and coiffeusing! And of course, the collective anticipation constantly inspiring the sacred preparations. Until about now, I've been too young to take any more harrowing a part then that of a spectatress, but I know I should love the whole charming rigamarole - the fabulous ritual of it all.
And speaking of "coiffeusing"... Well, that is a delightful feminine art for which, I'm afraid, I've not the least talent. You see, I'm much more a make-up girl (literally) and I've been told I've a gift for fashion and most other aspects of Real design and decoration, but confront me with a girl's lustrous tresses, and I'm at an immediate loss. I can cut it, I can wash it, but I simply cannot dress the stuff. Unfortunately this rule applies to my own voluminous hair as well. Simply put; it reaches to around my hips, and I've been rather struggling to find something genuinely Vintesse to do with it. Oh, I know the usual image of a Vintesse girl is a peachy Pippsie with a bob, but I just can't bring myself to cut the old hair. I know, spiritually and traditionally, that I ought to obey my intuition to keep it - being an Indian girl. Also, erm... I've been told that it's gorgeous and well... who would want to deprive onlookers of such glory? Ahem. But really, all I ever see done with long hair in Vintesse is a basic knot at the nape of the neck. I've happily let all manner of pettes and their mothers (not to mention my own) have at it and transform my hair into any and every creation in the real world. It's all been lovely, and I've had Trentish, Kadorian and no end of Arcadian hair - but nothing sure to be true-blue Vintesse. So would that forementioned low knot, if sported with a really divine hat, be adequately stylish?
(Oh, and one more thing. Some months ago, at this very Cocktail Bar, I verbalised some 'blonde distress' and uncertainty about the labour and efficiency possibly present in the undertakings of a married blonde, to which the girls replied with customary graciousness and wisdom. I was greatly edified, reassured and educated by such pettes as Carala, Amabel, Marcelene and the learned Sagette, to all of whom I offer my v. belated thanks.)
MISS MINA KUMARI
Well, of course, an invisible birdie isn't quite as easy as an invisible dolly. We have a whole shelf of invisible dollies, just waiting for good little girls (You ought to hear the silvery chatter when they think no one can hear them, and how quiet they go when a human comes into the room). But real, live invisible birdies - the only place to get them is from the star-fairy, and at this time of year she doesn't check her chimney-post nearly as often as she does before Nativity. But don't worry we shall arrange a birdie soon. Should we send it to your address, or has your friend her own Elektrapost?
Our wonderful reporteress suggests a minimum of three pairs of gloves, but I rather wonder exactly how many pairs each of us pettes really does own. Hands up all those girls who have three winter pairs...and three summer pairs.....and three autumn pairs....and three pairs for those spring days when one can't quite manage with either the spring or the summer ones....quite as I suspected, a very large number of hands And how many hats does each pette possess, yes, do include the one that you have just bought, and haven't confessed to yet as it was a trifle expensive--and the one that doesn't match any pair of shoes or coat that you own, but you couldn't quite resist it because it was so delightful, and, yes, do include all the ones in a hatbox or on a shelf in the wardrobe, and don't forget the ones that you are currently wearing for winter. Yes, it is quite a large number, is it not? A larger number than you realised? I thought it might be!
Even so, you may find it hard to compare with the blonde that I met last week, who truly epitomises the hat lover. No slouch in the old hat-weakness department, she has two whole wardrobes devoted entirely and solely to hats, and she worked as a hat-model (partly so that she could buy very expensive hats more cheaply!) before she got married. Luckily, the brunette concerned has never asked how many pairs of shoes and gloves she has bought since to accompany the hats!
Well, here we are at last. The Philosophy of Stockings. No one, we think, has explained the question better than Miss Regina Snow in her novel The Feminine Régime, so here, with kind permission of the authorette, it is:
"Oh, yes, my lady, and is it not precisely because they are immodest that they have so little to be immodest about? Womanhood is like a deeply-coloured crystal phial, containing the rare and precious essence of femininity: leave the phial open to the rude winds of the world and the common light of day, and the essence evaporates. They are open and frank about everything, but there is no longer anything of value to be open and frank about. They hide nothing - but then they have nothing to hide."
"And they are so two-dimensional that if one of them were able to overhear this conversation, she would certainly imagine that we were speaking simply of the erotic nature of woman. That is a part of it, of course - an integral and essential part - but it is by no means the whole. It is an immodesty of the entire being that is in question : a banalisation and democratisation of the soul. It is that which makes the bongo-woman so flatly unerotic a being, but it is equally what makes her so un-fascinating in every other way as well."
" For some reason, my lady, I always associate the banality of which you speak with the wearing of tights - as if the two were symbolically connected."
" Yes," said Lady Chelverton, catching at the idea eagerly, like an intellectual bloodhound on the trail of a new concept. "They are certainly closely connected historically - that is, bongo-woman was born at about the time she started to wear tights, though she still had a long way to go before she reached the state she has come to in the Pit as it now is. But what is the symbolism, do you think? "
" For one thing, my lady, when one wears stockings, there is a part of the leg which is secret and private by definition. When I was at school [an Aristasian school, not a Pit-school - editrix] I read a book edited by Miss Noël Streatfield entitled The Years of Grace, which is about everything an up-to-date young lady of adolescent years should know. There was a section on underwear, and it discussed the question of stockings. It asked 'are stockings underwear' and could not be quite sure, because the tops are 'undies' in the sense that they are hidden, while from the knee down they are definitely 'outy'. Stockings, then, represent the borderland between what is open and what is hidden in femininity. As they darken toward the tops, we approach the line which modesty bids us keep concealed: we approach the first circle of the Secret Places; far yet from the penetralia of the feminine mysteries, but still hidden utterly from the eyes of the profane except on ritual occasions or by breathtaking chances. With tights, everything is, as Miss Streatfield would say 'outy'. The entire leg is democratised; and if some of it should be hidden beneath a skirt, there is no particular reason why it should be. Degree and differentiation have been abolished. What was once the secret and magical world inside the skirt is now just the same as the open world below it."
"Yes, you are right. Everything has been standardised and homogenised. The entire mermaid-part, from waist to toe, is 'packaged' in stretchy shrink-wrapping, like something on the shelves of a serve-yourself bazaar. Everything is sanitised and strip-lighted; everything is demythologised; everything belongs to the market-place, and whether it is actually available or not, is always potentially available in the most matter-of-fact, no-frills, essentially masculine way. Yes, Lavinia, your intuition was wonderfully right: tights represent the end of modesty, the prosaic glossing-over of all mystery, the abolition of the inner depths. Tights are the perfect symbol of the banality of the bongo-woman, and of the soul-impoverishment of the Pit as a whole.
"And what is more, I am sure they all know it. The symbolism is so true that, even though we have only just enunciated it in this very conversation, we know that we have always known it, and they have known it too. When a bongo-woman says tights are 'more convenient', or stockings 'uncomfortable ' what she really means is that she is afraid of her inner self: disturbed at the thought of reviving the mysteries that have been swept under the fitted carpet and widening the papered-over cracks in her serve-yourself universe. She is afraid of unleashing the passions for which slick, post-Freudian "sex" is merely a cheap substitute; afraid of finding that the secrets still exist: that the ancient mystery of femininity has not been explained, but only explained-away, and that it is still there to overwhelm her very soul. She is afraid of pulling at the thread which may begin to unravel the strait-jacket she is bound in -the strait-jacket of sub-standard, de-feminised, commercial Pit-culture - afraid, because, however tightly it may bind her, it is, like the whole world that produced it, cheap, artificial and shoddily made. A few good pulls and it will disintegrate altogether."
Maid in the moon is
As sad as can be
She looks down from heaven
And what does she see?
And broken-hearted me.
You go to parties,
You have your fling,
I hope you'll never regret.
You go to parties
To dance and sing
I do the same to forget.
And when I look at
A couple in love,
I watch them with envy
And keep thinking of
And broken-hearted me.
Well, I am a bit young to have gone through all these grown-up dramas, I must admit. But from this song I feel I know just how it must feel. How dreadfully dreadful!
With love to you all,
Only twice in a lifetime does a pette get a complete new wardrobe - when she's born and when she's married. We all know what the first wardrobe looks like, of course: it is Dea's own gift, it is timeless and never seems to go out of style. But such a wardrobe is hardly suitable for a wedding, though it serves as the most perfect underpinning for all Real feminine garments, which evoke and enhance, suggest and reiterate the basic, um, style eternal.
So close your eyes, darlings, and dream: clothe yourselves in something sheer and white and billowy, organdy over crinoline perhaps, wide panels of fan pleats, frothy lace edging, a long-fringed white taffeta sash, a wisp of a jacket in almost transparent rayon georgette (which comes off to reveal your soft white shoulders). Remove the jacket, change the white sash to mauve or to peach, and Voila! You have your dancing dress for summers to come. But sorry, darlings, I am getting ahead of myself: we are still not married quite yet, are we? So you must not neglect to imagine your full-length white lace mantilla, your short lace gloves, your pendant pearl earrings, and your bouquet of white lilacs and ivy (white lilacs are fragrant and virginal, ivy clings and never lets go).
But remember, a wedding wardrobe is much more than just the dress you are married in. So you must dream further of a slim, crisp rayon suit well-cut, the way a brunette likes to see it ... a pure silk polka-dot dress ... a bare-top paper-taffeta print dress with a jacket ... a pretty pastel wool jersey dress ... a grey flannel skirt with a matching cashmere cardigan sweater ... a coral-red finger-length coat. Add a bathing suit in shimmering rayon crepe and a plain cotton dress and ... and ... Voila again! A perfect trousseau!
But don't forget the accessories! A big, floppy white hat banded in soft Spanish leather ... white beads to go with the taffeta ... a coral red cloche to go with the finger-length coat and to wear with the suit or jersey dress ... a black leather bag, perfect with suit or coat ... a natural raffia one to go with the silk dress. Short white, gray and chamois gloves, (yes, a pette must have a minimum of three pairs of gloves), one pair of off-white and one of black kid pumps to go happily with any combination!
Oh, but I almost forgot (and I actually did forget yesterday)! This is very important, girls, we don't often mention it in our magazine, as it is generally considered too riskay for our Middle Western subscribers, but here in the Cocktail Bar among like-minded girls I can say it: do not forget to dream about those flagrantly filmy, frothy, frilly, fluffy, um, removables, I mean, of course, those, er, naughty undies every girl likes best, the ones she wears right next to her delicate skin, the ones she puts on first and takes off last, the ones that rival her own delicate feminine softness and silkiness, without which a honeymoon might be just a bit of a dud. You can't allow that to happen, darlings, so exercise those atrophic imagination muscles, even if it makes you a bit sore in the morning. You will find that after a while, exercising your imagination won't hurt in the slightest! And all you New Girls, do keep coming back, we'll give you more delightful exercises to promote the strength and beauty of one's Dea-given feminine imagination.
This is your fashionpette, Norma, signing off for the weekend.
I don't mean to make you and the other girls jealous or anything, but I have sat at our lovely raven-haired sagette's feet at the Embassy and listened to her discuss the most lofty and philosophical matters, and felt my eyes tear up with how she opens her mouth and Dea's own Truth pours out, how she speaks with perfectly round vowels and with such erudition and wisdom, how her lovely eyes sparkle with her humble service to Our Lady. I know we all are a touch in love with her, but, pettes, really, you just can't know how it feels to be in the same room with her, listening to her as she speaks from the bridge between heaven and earth. And to think, I have even held her hand!
What is that drip, drip, you ask? Why, it's just my heart melting.
As for Norma's intellectual adulation for a blonde, well, many blondes are exceedingly bright, you know. Blondes are not only beautiful and wildly exciting; I know several who are terrifically brainy and think deep thoughts, and who are astoundingly wise. Especially the quieter kind of blonde, who may sometimes get a little overlooked. I think that Ellhedrine would agree with me. Brunettes are not the only bluestockings around! CANDIDA
And to Norma, Your fashion report left me breathless, (Where's my purse!). Though i am not blonde, I can imagine myself in the lovely wedding gown. Reviving in me as it dos, My favorite day dream of being on a picnic outing with that special blonde, the girl every brunette holds in her imagination. Kneeling on a blanket spread on a beautiful green field in the enchanting Aristasian countryside, my frilly skirt and petty coats arranged neatly around me, Unpacking the basket i have prepared for my sweetheart.
As i serve her she sits before me with all her blonde grandeur, delighted by my efforts to please her with my practical brunettish charms. We spend the afternoon by going on a walk, and thinking of, and reciting poetry to, each other, when we return we sit together while i gently brush her golden hair.
Until all to soon it is at an end, she squeezes my hand and kiss's me delicately on the cheek sending my heart fluttering and i awake from dream.
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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