The Cocktail Bar

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Music Playing: Dorita's Big Band with There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover

Dateline: Sunday, July 5th, 1952
5th July 1952 The technical difficulties have been resolved and the management is pleased to announce that we are open for business again. Please submit your contributions to the conversation.

It's busy tonight!

Oh my,I feel in a bit of a swoon after that heavenly set of steps with the barpette. Such sweet traces of heather linger in the air about me.Mmmm I must compose myself lest the other pettes perceive me as unsuitable. I'm still pretty new here.

The dance floor is certainly filling up with leggy brunettes.Oh I do see what appears to be a southern belle off to the powder room.And a rather shy blond sitting alone at a table.Careful girl, the brunettes will swallow you up in a Tellurian second.

Excuse me. Is it warm in here?or just me?Oooh I need to settle down.I have to remove my wrap.I'll place it next to my handbag on the table.Let's see, I have a few nickels left.My mother always said if you feel peculiar do something soothing.Well I think I'll chance a trip to the jukebox.Hope my ankles hold up in these heels.I'm so tingly.Here goes.I successfully navigate the dance floor,only getting one or two spike heels in my toes.Plop a nickel in the Jukebox.What to play?Looking looking looking,ahhh Que Sera Sera. Perfect. Back to my perch to enjoy it.I think a hot toddy should do me off splendidly, barpette. And one for the keeper if she so cares to enjoin.

nighty night

ESPIRENZA


Travelling in the right direction

Ah, there is Elizabeth Ruth, sitting tete-a-tete in the back corner with a few other well-tailored brunettes, if that is something that may be done by more than two, and what a lovely day to do it in, at least in Aristasia. May I just join you and watch all the lovely dancers for a bit, while I catch my breath?

Yes, I'm just back from another little journey to Bongoland, and yet, this time it was different....

I must tell you, my own hestia lies neither quite in Bongoland, nor quite yet in the Aristasian sphere. It is in the woods, which are timeless and always Dea Diana shines on them. Most of the time I am here alone, using the Ordinator to travel to various worlds, and reading dear Lucy Maud, Roberta Browning, and suchlike pettes. But occasionally I have an errand in Bongotown.

Now, I confess I'm not quite up yet to dressing for dinner in the jungle! For Bongo expeditions, I still use native-style bifurcated er, garments, for my lower, er, limbs, and ride astride, not side-saddle. But I have begun choosing the longest, silkiest, and most elegant of these each time I open my wardrobe. So today I went in silk, from neck to heels, and with covered arms, in a nice safari-style suit, all of a subtle cornsilk color and shimmery and with well-tailored collar, pockets, and decorations on the shoulders. With a matching hat (Tilley) and quite nice sandals. And, of course, walking tall and slow, and humming a nice Coleen Porter song.

And ... even in Bongotown it was as though I were finding one oasis after another. The all-over garments seemed to hold around me the cool clean air of the woods. Bongo temperature 101-F, so I wasn't tempted to browse: just calmly from one cool clean enclosure to the next. A vintage boutique playing Frances Sinatra. An old cafe with red and white tablecloths, graceful old bentwood chairs, and no music playing at all.

I sat behind the unstained window-glass drinking a chocolate soda (called, in Bongo, a 'seltzer float'), invisible to the crowd outside, like a naturalist in a duck-blind, and watched them through racinated eyes. Limbs exposed to the elements, female Bongos dressed like the males and trotting along behind them, older women in mismatched skirts and blouses, with underwear deliberately showing....

Somehow, I felt my own nice silk and hat and so forth were like a diving bell, shielding me from all this, and even from the heat when I did go outside, as firmly as the glass of the window had.... Making an aura as solid, polished, and protective as my dear Grandmother's brand new 1949 Buick....

Hello, Barpette, a Brandy Alexander please, and another round of whatevers with my compliments for the charming new dancers!

EMILY ROSE


Dateline: Saturday, May 17th, 1952

Vampire Makeup

Yes, Emily Rose for a long time I wore that kind of style.I'm delighted to see you can detect the innocence beneath.We all have our own time to learn our mistakes,and the octopus tends to win at first.But you girls, who know better, can help reshape the mind's world.

That's why I like this magical world.There's always something to learn.And sometimes going backwards in time lets us realize that it was feminime one time to wear such ultra fem foundations without vampire makeup. The octopus is never satisfied anyhow.Black lipstick,piercings,tatoos, all corrupt all too unknowingly.The Pit has the end to all our needs. Hah!

Feel like dancing.Miss barpette, how about sentimental journey?

ESPIRENZA


Sadly, it is not always innocence beneath, even in the young, who are usually young Bongos in the Pit. Yet for those who keep their innocence there is always hope. As you so rightly say, the Pit and the octupus always demand more and more, and are never satisfied, and eventually innocence, given the right vocabulary, will see the Pit for what it is and reject it.

Hello

Darling, what a lovely place. It's in the early eve here in the delightfully archaic New Orleans - filled with enough nuance to keep my blondish, not so bombshellish, but somewhat dizzy head spinning. I'd love to visit the photographic sites, but felt like a little Pimm's Cup, before proceeding. In fact, I feel as if I'm in a sort of speakeasy - where Charlene is the password and "knock three times" gets me where I'm going. Just a little aside, the years-traditional and popular refreshment site here in the Crescent City, the Big Easy, is known by no other name than "Charlene's". Miss Schneider has been a most illustrious keystone here since infratimes. Y'all should visit sometime. In the meanwhile, I'll sip my cocktail and wait for a whisper from you.

MISS KESM


Dateline: Friday, May 16th, 1952

A Little Mistress Finds Her Slave

My Little Luciline

Ah, my Luciline, there you are! Come over here, my little one. Let us sit quietly together, hand in hand, your little mistress protecting you and caring for you whilst you are with out a Real Mistress.

Here, sit close to me,

YOUR LITTLE MISTRESS


A Trentish New Face

What a darling wee place! I say, dear little barpette, could I have a Worcesterberry Wingtip with ice?

Actually, I only popped by to speak with Anita and ask for some tips, but I see she's been whisked onto the dance floor by that gorgeous leggy brunette. Could you sweet things tell her I'm looking for her? You see, I need to make a very special day dress for a very special day, and I wanted some ideas of dazzling examples. Can any of you darlings help? The name's Penny by the way, delighted I'm sure.

I reside in Trent most of the time, although I now have a splendid country home in Kadoria. Nonetheless, I really think a Quirre outfit would be more appropriate for my needs this time, something sculpted and tight and off the shoulder perhaps. Actually, to be frank, I shan't be making the thing myself, my good seamstress friend Benefica has offered to do so, and she is far more accomplished than I. Sculptedness is not a thing I could even think of trying!

You know, I really think this place is rather good now I see it from the inside. I'm afraid that when I heard about it (well, overheard about it) from two pettes in the milk bar across the road, I thought it sounded rather dull; lots of gossip about knitting patterns and what not. How wrong can one be? I had no idea how very glamorous you all were, if you don't mind my saying so. I shall certainly stay for a while. I do hope I get asked to dance.

PENNY FARTHING


Dateline: Thursday, May 15th, 1952

Garters

Clever Emily Rose! You're right of course; little black silk jackets for my hose grips will do the trick.

Brave Emily Rose! Have you made underwear before? It is the most difficult thing to sew, in my experience. It is certainly possible; I have made some wonderful underwear for special clothes, and for pregnant ladies, and other special circumstances. But I have to be in a very clear, strong mood to undertake it, because it is not easy.

Do you have a garter belt pattern? If you do, would you mind sharing the name and number? If not, I guess you'll be using an old garter belt as a pattern. But the thing is, if the fabric you use has a different stretchiness from the fabric in the original pattern, the finished product won't fit at all (once I made a brassiere from a stretchy light cotton knit, using a pattern designed for a stiff cotton, and you could have fit two of me into it!)

As far as fabric goes, you might try looking in the "stretch" section of the fabric store, for heavy cotton with a bit of spandex woven in (oh dear, I am sorry for using these Pit-words, but I just don't know how else to describe this stuff. (Don't sniff at me like that; "stuff" is a perfectly respectable Arcadian word for fabric.)

If that is too heavy for your taste (bearing in mind that you don't like corsets; I would imagine you don't like anything that feels sort of like a corset either) there is also a kind of strong stretchy transparent mesh - I don't know what it's called - which is just for making underwear (and the more revealing kinds of Pit-theatrical costumes; the ones that make you wonder how they stay up!). You might be able to find it at a real dressmakers' supply shop, but you'd probably have to ask for it. At the store I frequent, they have it tucked behiond the counter with the interfacings - when they have it!.

You can buy the necessary matching panels of hooks and eyes at a dressmakers' supply store, too. (One has to be careful at a dressmakers' supply store though; they have hat forms and all kinds of feathers and sequins and, well just every sort of mad splashy thing a girl could possibly wear, and some weak souls among us (ahem) might never come out again. Me, I get hypnotized by the buttons. I have been known to stand for hours, transfixed by all the beautiful buttons, like little jewels, and I have made garments for the express purpose of showing off a row of particularly gorgeous buttons. Oh dear, see how carried away I get just thinking about it!

But the hardest part about making underwear, I think, is finishing the garment in such a way that it is neat and tidy inside and out, but doesn't have any uncomfortable (or worse) protruding lumps or corners. A sort of modified French seam seems to do the trick, with special care and trimming at the corners. And of course one can use those pretty stretch laces for the edges.

You know, Emily Rose, I have a yard or so of black stretch material in my sewing room. It's very unusual, very heavy. I was thinking of using it for the top half of a strapless gown, because it has the body to hold itself up (although I'll use boning, of course) but I could probably spare enough for a garter belt if you can't find something you like. Let us know how it goes!

ELIZABETH RUTH


Dateline: Wednesday, May 14th, 1952

In Quest of Normality

Elizabeth Ruth, thank you so much for the tip about "hose grips"! I had been tempted to purchase a whole garter-belt and cut the "grips" off so I could attach them to something else, which would be better fitting; but it seemed a great extravagance.

As for trying to blacken the rubber, I doubt that would be possible, and fear any sort of black dye would soon rub off, doubtless onto ones good petticoat. I would suggest making a sheath of black silk with sort of apron-tabs at the appropriate places, to enclose each "grip".

Now that I know where to get the "grips", the next question becomes, how can I sew myself a really comfortable garter-belt to attach them to? I find the plain cottons insufficiently stretchy, elastic too binding, and , unorthodox as I fear I am, do not wear corsets.

And by the way, I must just share an amusing tale. Inquiring in Bongoland for a nice old-fashioned garter belt, I was referred to a store called "Victoria's Secret." Which certainly sounded promising.

But when I got there, in the very front door was a paste-board statue, full size, of -- Elvira, I suppose. It was quite a culture shock. Hints of the Hellfire Club belong in the back of an establishement, not the front!

And the clerks, in their Bongoian Vampire makeup, but with their true girlish sweetness and consideration showing through in spite of it--! And so niave! I'm sure they had no idea of traditional meaning of any of these things.

Well, the whole thing sent me into such a stupor, I felt as one sometimes does when the Ordinator takes one to an unexpected dimension. But in this case, a very peculiar and repellant one.

So I heard myself stammering: "I want a plain white cotton garter-belt! To keep my stockings up!"

They kindly showed me where the few white cottons were: hidden discreetly in the back of the store, for adults only....

Oh, yes, please, thank you, Barpette, a hot rum toddy, I shiver still when I think of that experience....

EMILY ROSE


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