RUBY: (A red-haired blonde): Is that Thelma? Hi, Thelma, this is Ruby. How are you? What're you doing?
THELMA: Oh, Hello, Red! I'm fine. What'm I doing? Well, I was sitting here on the sofa reading Girls' Silver Screen just when you called, but now I am sitting here on the sofa and talking to you, I suppose. What's up, Sugar? You all right?
RUBY: Yes, yes, of course I'm all right. But haven't you heard? All this week there have been lively goings-on at the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar...
THELMA: You mean that dull little spot right behind the Maryhill Odeon? Gosh, haven't been there for ages, Love, too tame last time I went. You know, pink syrupy drinks, underage girls of both sexes nursing Ovaltine disguised as creme de cacao ....
RUBY: That must have been ages ago, Thelms. Now there's a whole new set of brunettes, some very dashing ones, too. And a different dance band each week - this week it's the Quirinelles. They even had KiKi Caerlinde a while back! Yes, they did, too! I read about it in the papers! But look, Sally was there just the other night, she bumped into two very young blondes who were a bit overwhelmed by it all, so Sally helped them get a cab home and then she struck it up with one of the brunettes who had brought them! She said she had a wow of a time!
THELMA: Oh, Sally, she rarely misses a trick. That's just like her, doing those blondes and herself a good turn at the same time! I'll bet she ended up telling blonde jokes, smoking cigars and drinking brandy just like she was one of the brunettes! So what're you doing, Ruby?
RUBY: Can't you guess? I'm getting ready to go to the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar for the first evening show. I just this very mome sat down at my mirror. Want to come with me? Come on, Thelms, we'll have a ball! I'm sure we'll meet some eligible brunettes...
THELMA: You just sat down at your mirror? Golly, Red, it's only three in the afternoon! Well, you always do look like you just stepped out of a bandbox. Sure, I'll go with you. What're you wearing?
RUBY: You know that clingy purple crepe outfit I picked out last week at Mme. Archambaud's? Think that'll do?
THELMA: It'll be perfect so long as you don't wave your arms about... It should look great with your silver fox stole.
RUBY: How about you?
THELMA: Let's see... no, I wore that last week .... nope, wrong season ... um, I know, how about that black chiffon cocktail dress I wore to the Embassy reception? No one at the Aphrodite will have seen me in that, I'll wager.
RUBY: Oh, the short one? Isn't that the one I wanted to borrow? I like that dress, Thelms, cut nice and low, the skirt's just yards of fragile chiffon. Wear it with your new black platform pumps. And those black stockings with the rhinestones... No, you have to have them, I gave you back a new pair just last week! Look again. What do you say you walk over here and pick me up around seven, we can grab a taxi from my place.
THELMA: Unh-uh, Ruby, we did that last time. Why don't you walk over to my place after you're ready. I won't expect you 'till around eight..... We can eat afterwards, or get snacks at the bar. See you then! 'Bye!
RUBY: O.K., your place then. Bye! Oh, wait! Did you hear the latest blonde joke? Sally just told me.
THELMA: Tell me!
RUBY: Let's see, I'm not sure I have it right...Oh, I've got it now: how do you make a blonde burn her ear? Give up? Ring her up when she's dusting! Get it? Bye!
I've noticed lately that when I tell someone who is new about the Eclipse, she almost always asks, "But why do Aristasians say everything went wrong in the mid-sixties?" And the answer to that question is, "Because that is when everything went wrong." The Eclipse did happen, though not everyone can see it. But the more you look for it, the clearer it becomes. It reminds me of the vacation my brunette and I took years before the little one came along. We were traveling through the Pit-midwest, but it didn't seem like the Pit at all because it was mainly old farm houses and farms and lots and lots of corn and wheat growing in the fields. To pass the time, I suggested we begin to count and think of names for each of the hawks we spotted sitting on telephone poles. She declared that there weren't any hawks in that part of the country (honestly, sometimes brunettes think they know everything). So I told her to start looking, and sure enough, she ended up giving the funniest little names to thirty-two hawks that day. She'd been driving by hawks her entire life without knowing they were there.
And just think of all of the pettes who have been living in utter darkness their whole lives without knowing that an Eclipse happened, and even worse, without knowing that they can do something to bring the Light into their lives.
I wonder how many of the girls in the Cocktail Bar today would pass the test. Most of you would, I see. But you wouldn't, and you certainly wouldn't - and as for you, blondie, I am not certain that your skirt touches the seat of your stool when you are sitting down. You obviously want to be punished.
My, how she squeals! A little pinch is not nearly as bad as that ruler across your calves, let me tell you.
Let me say at first: I like dressing feminine very much. I like beautiful skirts and dresses and stockings and so on. But I know the reactions of men - and also women - very well. Indeed you may get sexually harassed on the streets, when dressed (ultra)-feminine. Or you are treated like being a bit stupid. In Germany you can hear a lot of jokes about blondes, even in the radio. These blondes are feminine and stupid. ("Look! A dead bird!" The blonde looks up to the sky and says: "Where?". This blonde is only stupid and the joke is quite funny but there are a lot of smutty blonde-jokes, too.) I think the world is often like Laura described it, and it is not easy to keep unconcerned by these hostilities, (even when you are brunette). So sometimes I prefer dressing in a Marlene-Dietrich-way, say more masculine. This makes me more inaccessible, but I think, I'm well dressed, too. Do you think, this doesn't suit to a women on no account? What do you think about Marlene Dietrich? Is she a bongo women, or isn't she a good example of a beautiful and succesful women, who didn't need a man to tell here what to do?
I do not believe, that there is any evidence, that women on average are less gifted in maths. I even do not believe that women are intellectually less gifted in any way. Nevertheless I think, that on average, men are less gifted in communication abilities, but not only in communication abilities. Only the martial arts and things like that men can do better, because women are too sensitive. When I was at school, the girls on average were better on maths or physics, than the boys. They were better at all subjects. Maybe this was the reason why boys were more noticed by the teachers - they needed more allowance than the girls. At my school, the only advantage for the girls was, that the teachers were more strict to them. I think, school isn't fair to girls in Germany. That is why I am no friend of co-education. This opinion is a kind of sacrilege in Germany - expect some catholic girl-schools all schools and universities have the co-educational system. I think, that girls should have the possibility to socialize as girls under girls and find out which abilities they have, what they love and what they can do best. If a girl likes best cooking and working at home, she should do that. But when she wants to make career, she should have the possibility to do that. For that reason there should be schools, colleges and universities only for women. And for that reason I love the virtual feminine universe of Femmeworld.
Of course, there is never anything crudely masculine about Miss Dietrich. She would not be seen dead in high-king boots and those dreadful trousers which apparently belong to some one called Jean. Miss Dietrich lives in a world where women are without exception feminine, and where even her epicene games are only a particularly elaborate variation on the theme of femininity.
In a world where half the women on the streets dress like road-menders, the entire Dietrich-ploy would be lost. It would mean a completely different thing from what it means when Miss Dietrich does it. We very much hope that a time will come when the Feminine Archetype will return to the world to the extent that Miss Dietrich's charming games can again be played. But that time is certainly not now.
So very many ... But do you know about hard edges, Darlings? Hard edges are necessary for girls who live in Aristasia-in-Telluria, where everything Real must pass through the Iron Curtain, sometimes in fits and starts, so that, though Real things may pass through in quantity (though rarely), they must be released into one's Hestia more-or-less as they were originally created - one at a time and in order. For maggies, this means once a month (for, say, Ladies' Home Journal and McCall's) or once a week (for, say, Life and Look), and, for Kadorie hats, whenever I get a chance!
All right, all right, more matter, less blather (as Hamlette says): for today's hats, we have the inestimable Sidney of the flawless aim and fast underhand pitch! First we see her wearing a diminutive coolie hat in hard beaver felt, set off with pink satin ribbons and a stiff little veil, almost die-cut in its prim perfection. Sorry, pettes, this one is too hard to make at home, you'll have to save your pin money and purchase it retail! ($14.95 at Peck & Peck.) Sidney has on a wide-shouldered China-doll raw silk dress in a broad floral pattern, which reflects the oriental dahlias before her.
But the next one you can make, Sweetipettes, 'cause it's nothing more than a conical hat in soft Merino wool with a crushed crown and broadly-rolled brim. Simplicity itself, though its otherwise Spartan effect can be somewhat lessened by a diamond collar and bracelet: with sparklers like these a girl can risk a little millinery understatement once in a while. Sidney is clutching a purse-seine handbag, dangling over her shoulder, big enough to hold a ham hock or a leg of mutton on the way home from market. But somehow I don't think that Sidney has fixings for dinner in that handbag! [Hat: Pattern No. SMW-1402 (4 cents). Handbag: Pattern No. PSH-219, (three cents).]
But may I say a word or two in defense of, um, persuasion songs? It seems to me that only in the free world can a song like "Baby it's Cold Outside" be sung or a poem like Roberta Herrick's "Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May" be written. The tension in such songs and poems, the delightful frisson, rests in the blondie wanting to preserve her dignity and her good name but also wanting to have "just half a drink more." The brunette of course only wants a kiss or two (and perhaps the naughty sort of brunette might even try to sneak in a bit of necking. Don't deny it, you innocent things, it does happen from time to time), and she uses the weather as an excuse to persuade her blondie to stay just a little bit longer. (Did you see last summer's Marilyn Monroe movie, The Seven Year Itch, in which she is persuaded to stay for just half a drink more because her date has an air-cooled room on a hot summer evening?). And, of course, Roberta Herrick uses the glory of spring to persuade the little blondie to stay just a bit longer.
Did you pettes notice in our "persuasion" song how every one of the blonde's family and neighbors was with her in that room, figuratively speaking? The Big Sis knocking at the door, the Brunette Mommy pacing the floor, even the maiden aunt whose mind was vicious. All of these people who love Blondie are there, with her, in her mind, helping her make the right decision to be a good girl in the face of such temptation.
Of course, only in a whole world, in which maidenly modesty is understood to be Maid's nature, can such a delightfully persuasive song or poem be written and I, for one, find such works utterly charming!
For those unfamiliar with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, we should explain that it has nothing to do with the conception of the Lord Jesus by Our Lady or the fact that She was a virgin.
The doctrine concerns the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady Herself by Her Mother, St. Anne (Anna, meaning "Queen" is another ancient name for Dea, notably in the name of Inanna - "Queen of Heaven" - the supreme Deity of the early Sumerians).
What it actually means is that Our Lady was conceived without sin. In other words, that unlike any other human being ever born, She had no original sin in Her. To our mind, this is a curious sign of the difficulties in which the Church found itself when denying Mary's divinity. On the one hand it must continue to claim that Mary was a historical human being and not Dea; but on the other hand, She is so clearly different from human beings, that the very defining characteristic of fallen humanity does not belong to Her. She alone is conceived without sin. But if conceived without sin, how can she be a Daughter of Eve at all? Surely She is the Mother of All things, the Creatrix and Origin of the universe, come to the world for our salvation.
One final point. We wish to make clear that when Chyzelle says: "I'm journeying into my 30's without child yet I can't concieve of a male I met worthy of my task" we are quite sure that she means exactly what she should mean - that she cannot conceive of a man she would care to marry. We are quite sure that no one in this Cocktail Bar, whatever her religious persuasion or lack thereof, could conceive for a single moment of committing the Connubial Act outside wedlock.
We apologise for raising this very distressing subject, but we felt it necessary, since there are some girls here fresh from the Pit (where the accepted and "official" morality of human beings is indistinguishable from that of stray dogs and alley cats, and considerably inferior to that of mating pigeons), to make the matter crystal clear.
After passing through the relative sanity of the fruit and canned goods sections, Susan finds herself in the magazine aisle, but in place of the thirty-odd magazines she might find at her local newsdealer's, she is confronted by a seemingly endless array of magazines in multiple tiers, stretching for fifty feet in either direction: 100 feet of magazines! Susan quickly counts the magazines in one row of one tier, does some mental arithmetic and ascertains that these shelves hold some 1,200 periodicals!
These magazines appear to cater to every taste and perversion. There are even several on women's body building, depicting on their covers oiled and glistening females with massive necks like Percheron horses, bulging biceps and knotty abdominal muscles, clad in what appear to be shockingly abbreviated bras and panties of a metallic gold sheen. There is a magazine for people who restore old carousel horses, one for people who raise llamas at home, another devoted to a single television program (no longer running, it seems) called Star Trek..
In desperation, Susan scans the ranks of ghastly magazine covers seeking one she might recognize: her gaze comes to rest on a copy of Life, a magazine to which she subscribes. Her hand darts out in flash; she opens the magazine, seeking something familiar. Susan has never heard of archetypes, but she knows what they are, just as a person may speak grammatical English without being able to name the parts of speech. So she instinctively searches for comforting archetypes, but her heart sinks because they are not to be found.
In a Life magazine of our decade, archetypes abound: Mother, Wife, Child, Baby, Toddler, Courting Couple, Bride, Husband, Father, Family, and Working Man are the most common. But the mass-media of the future have no interest in archetypes: they mock and shatter them at the same time they feed upon and fuel further atomization. Magazines of the future are two-sided mirrors: they reflect both the disarray within each individual "unit" and the overshadowing forces in the culture-at-large that promote and foster this same disarray.
The tendency towards atomization and abandonment of archetypes is perhaps most easily seen in the magazines' advertisements. Whereas the great majority of pictorial advertisements in magazines of our decade contains symbols of at least one archetype -- usually more -- the pictorial ads in the Life of the future that Susan holds in her hands more often depict naked products, elaborately displayed and lavishly photographed -- but divorced both from the people who use them and from traditional archetypes to which they ought to be linked.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the magazine advertisements for automobiles. Susan has never seen automobiles advertised without people in evidence, usually families or couples. They are often doing something easily identifiable, such as going shopping, taking a drive in the country or going out for the evening. Often other people are shown -- admiring bystanders or passers-by. Cars, like mobile, cozy living rooms, are filled with people. The cars so depicted project a sense of reliable, safe machines designed for conveying people in comfort through an ordered world from a known place to a known destination. In brief, the ads are filled with archetypes.
In contrast, the automobile advertisements Susan now sees are stripped of human archetypes -- in virtually none do people appear at all. Interiors -- devoid of people as well -- show vacant seats that resemble upholstered chaises longues. Exterior views show cars with opaque black mirrored windows, either suspended in nothingness or being driven aimlessly by invisible drivers through ill-defined and sinister landscapes that are dark and glisteningly wet. These driverless cars exist in a vacuum -- no buildings, no people, nothing man-made can be seen.
No bothersome people clutter the pictures to interfere with a prospective purchaser's intensely private and personal fantasy the ads seek to inspire. Each reader is invited to "define her individuality" through the car being shown. The ads confirm the steep descent towards the base of Guenon's triangle, away from Essence and Quality, towards Substance and Quantity, a further atomization.
How can automobile advertising, which, after all, is designed to sell cars, have so drastically changed? We must consider again the analogy of the mirror: the advertisements reflect the atomization of the people who read them, and the people who read them reflect the atomization and sense of anomie the advertisements seek to project. The phenomenon is like a perverted mutual admiration society: the advertisements and their audience vie to outdo one another in mocking normality, with the predictable result that the abnormal becomes a new standard. To the extent that automobile advertising hews to this inverted standard, it sells cars to an atomized race.
Automobile advertising is one facet of the "vast collective suggestion" cited by M. Guenon as a driving force in the decline of modern Western culture, which requires an eager and willing audience to succeed. To produce a reflection, the mirror needs an object no less than the object needs a mirror. The deplorable advertisements of the future reflect deplorable people, no less than our own dignified advertisements reflect dignified people.
Susan, however, has no such insights: she simply is terrified and revolted by what she sees. With tremulous hands she replaces the magazine gingerly on its rack as a handler would return a poisonous snake to its cage, and, with grim determination, makes her way back to the dairy section, being scrupulously careful to touch nothing at all on the way. Once there, she removes the carton of 1950's eggs from her basket and puts into the dairy case, finds a carton of 1996 eggs and places it into her basket.
In a heartbeat Susan stands once again in her neighborhood grocery store. It is quiet, uncrowded, peaceful and hot. Susan begins to cry with great, racking sobs, crying in plain and thankful relief for having been returned to her own time. Her basket falls to the floor; the eggs roll from the carton and some of them break. She is surrounded by three or four people -- other shoppers and one of the stock boys. An older woman, fifty, perhaps, her hair touched with gray and done up in a bun, comforts Susan, strokes her hair, telling her, "There, there, dear, it's all right. No need to cry over breaking a few eggs." A chair materializes from somewhere, Susan is firmly but gently sat down, a glass of water fetched and brought up to her lips, a handkerchief produced, her basket cleaned off, new eggs put into it.
The older woman introduces herself: her name is Mrs. Kendall. She, like Susan, has never heard of an archetype, yet she instantly recognizes an archetypal expectant mother: hard-working, devoted, over-tired and brought all too easily by trifles to tears. She offers Susan a ride home in her car: Susan gratefully accepts, as it is almost a mile from the village and Susan feels rather giddy and weak. She pays for her purchases and leaves the store with Mrs. Kendall, who lightly lays a gloved hand on Susan's shoulder as they go out the door.
Outside in the street, the sun shines more brightly than ever, shadows are more finely etched, the air seems almost crystalline now, with no hint of thunder or rain after all. The sidewalks are bustling with real people: real men and women, children in real clothes, people who belong there as much as the sunlight, real qualitatively differentiated individuals, yet readily set apart from one another by deft brushstrokes dipped in pigments taken from a remarkably economical palette of archetypes, not much more varied than the notes of a musical scale. Susan feels her heart expand as she deeply inhales, as if to take the Essence of her Normal culture in through her nostrils. Mrs. Kendall opens the car door for Susan, sees her comfortably seated, then closes the door with a secure twist of the handle.
Susan gives Mrs. Kendall a few brief directions then nestles into the soft, fawn-colored velour seat of the car. Mrs. Kendall leaves the girl to her thoughts. Susan drinks in her surroundings, familiar but now somehow new, like one whose thirst cannot be easily slaked. She is aware, all at once, of the exquisite wholeness of her time, she feels embraced by a rich, nutrient ambiance blended, like a fine fragrance, of distinct but familiar components. Of well-dressed passers-by and dignified houses with screened summer porches. Of neat stores and white-steepled churches. Of cobbled curbstones and slabbed sidewalks of shale running under tall elms and maples, the trees merging their terminal branches high over the streets in green vaulted arches like the ribbed vaulting above the nave of a Gothic cathedral. Of the baby within her, of the kindly woman driving her home
Susan knows without any doubt that she belongs to her comforting culture and it to her. Her heart swells almost to bursting at her reprieve. By the time the short trip is over, Susan is calmer and more serene than she can ever remember. "This is almost unbearable perfection," she thinks. She is happy.
Like you I am not (yet) very familiar with the Artistasian way of thinking. But unlike you it has never been a problem to me myself that I felt good wearing very feminine attire, also in my daily life. Apart from the obvious aestethic value of such clothing, (which is there to be enjoyed, isnīt it?), there are also other good resons for wearing it, functional as well as psychological.
As to functionality suspenders and stockings in my opinion have a clear case against pantyhose. You donīt have to fight for hours getting your stockings untangled after washing, and you donīt have to fumble through fingerbreaking exercises to get them on, not to mention the exercises you have to perform to keep them on, when they start creeping down your legs just half an hour later.
As for the psychological thing, the vulnerability and feelings of weakness you speak of, I want to tell you that dressing in skirts, dresses and stockings, etc. has a reverse effect on me. I do not feel weak, and if (and when) I cannot control my degree of openness, I do not relate that to my clothing. On the contrary I feel strong, I feel the (under)garments enhance that which is my strength: my femininity.
I have thought a lot about the reasons for this without ever being able to really hit the nail. A couple of days ago, however, our venerable publishing staff happened to write a sentence containing a magical word, for which I thank you: In Aristasia proper no one ever wears bifurcated garments, it said. The word, which is a funny one taken (I think) from mathematical topology, is: bifurcated! Pure magic, and not lest funny because it helped me understand my power by telling me what it was not. My power is not to have to be (and appear) bifurcated. And more unified is exactly what I am there, inside my dress! (of couse this feeling is furthered by my faible for rather narrow skirts). And, well, "hidden"! Much less exposed, in fact, than when wearing slacks.
Now some sly critic might say: Poor you, whose unity depends on transitory stockings and perishable skirts. To this my answer is: I donīt depend on any such thing, and I think I could manage my unity also without these wonderful ornaments, but why on earth should I, why should I take the saccharine, when the honey is right at hand?
The word is not exactly wrong in the context you use it, but has gathered some very unpleasant associations, and is best avoided. It is not really "strength" in the pushy, individualistic, aggressive (or - excuse the awful word - "assertive") sense that the Pit worships that we really feel when we are feminine. How could it be? Femininity, if it is anything at all, is the very opposite of all that. What we feel through our femininity is the elegance, the superiority, the delicate majesty, that is the true puissance of femininity. "Strength" belongs on the streets. Femininity in the Palace or the Temple - or even in the civilised, Art-Neo Cocktail Bar.
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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