The Cocktail Bar

NOTE: This conversation runs backwards! For the benefit ofregular readers the newest comments are put at the top.

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Music Playing: The Quirrie Quintet with It Only Happens When I Dance With You

Dateline:Saturday, August 9th, 1952

A Burnt Blonde!

Mary-Margarete, I am relieved that I am not the only blonde with bookish pretensions. However, am I the scholarly blonde or the blonde scholar? I am just teasing you, my dear. And your hair! Such a precious shade of silvery blonde. My own is rather honey colored (I was once told by an overly familiar but oh-so-charming brunette); here, tell me what you think. It's rather sun-streaked just at the moment, and I am a little embarrassed by the sunburn here on my nose. I will tell you how I got it:

I was pinning up my laundry -- and Blanche, you were *so* right, sorting makes all the difference in the world, and my knee-socks no longer leave dark green fluff on my white silk school blouses -- and the sun outside was so glorious that I sat right down once all the laundry was hung. I plopped down on the warm, dry grass (it gets far too hot here in the South for dew in the mornings) and sat in the sunshine, watching my lovely, lint-free sheets wave in the breeze. The next thing I knew, I woke up and had to run to class (summer classes start quite late, 11:00 a.m. or later) with grass on my culottes! Not to mention a very pink complexion. I don't think you could tell now no matter how hard I blushed (lucky for me right now!). I suppose that proves that I am a blonde, not that I doubted it! Yours,



Well, Elizabeth Ruth, you are lucky, because I do have an interesting piece of gossip for you. You weren't here when Cyrlinge danced with Sade, were you? When those two girls were dancing together, all the eyes in the room were watching them surreptitiously. Cyrlinge is such a fragile, lovely fresh young creature and Sade is the dream of every young blonde personified. Sade was originally wearing a black Eastern tunic when she arrived, one that looked as though it would be very comfortable under short armour. In fact, I must say that Sade looks as though all of her would be comfortable under short armour! Her sandals were of plain hide, and the dust of the long journey from the East had plainly left its mark on them. But when she was dancing with Cyrlinge she was wearing these items no longer. Far from the East was her garb; an Infra-Quirinelle mini-dress of bright red heavy silk jersey, and black mid-calf boots. Strangely reminiscent of her short tunic, but clothing from a very different province. A golden chain was hung around her neck, and the figure fitting dress showed her to be a trim and lithe brunette indeed. She held Cyrlinge very close, and when Cyrlinge left the dance floor her face was deeply flushed and she looked like a startled faun. I only wish that you had seen her. How Sade could bear to leave her side for one moment when she looked like that, I do not know; I can only ascribe it to the stern training in self control of a warrior brunette!


Dateline: Friday, August 8th, 1952.

A New Face

Hello ladies,

It is truly divine to be present in such a world of beauty and grace and intellingence. For myself I know not your ways of graceful passages ...............and my self of blonde or brunette is not decided. Guide me to my true self!


Scholarly Blondes

Katherine and Blanche, may I sit with you for a moment? I couldn't help overhearing your talk about blondes and scholarly subjects, and, well, I was meaning to take off my paisley turban, and make a bit of an Occasion of it, because to my delight since I have been visiting Aristasia, my hair has turned the nicest silverly blonde!

Of course my hairpins do still keep falling out all over the hardwood floors of the Library, Miss De Vane and I had better never commit murder, they would track us in a mome!

There, the turban is off, I'll drape it over the back of this nice art deco chair. Doubtless I'll forget and leave it there, perhaps Aunt Effie can pass it on to the next Anxious questioner.

Anyway, I am so 'relieviated', as dear Melina used to pronounce it. I always knew I did not quite fit in with the henna brunettes who are the only ones allowed in the graduate libraries of the Pit, such as they are, neither being proper libraries nor proper brunettes, I mean. But somehow I couldn't stay away, I do so love browsing among antiquated books, especially through the Ordinator, it is as good as shopping and having everything delivered home before you get there. I love the big quaint words, and the healthful concepts of the Golden Age which they carry. But I just cannot be pit-brunettish about the grammar and logic! Miss Annalinde (if I am remembering her name correctly) did give a hint of hope about this, about feminine and, er testerotonish, brains operating differently, so it is nice to think that my rambling and circular brain connections may be as Golden as the source of the concepts themselves.

At any rate, Katherine, if scholarly blondes are rare, here are two of us! Or at least, one scholarly blonde, and one blonde scholar.

Oh, please excsue me, I see someone I have been trying to meet for months, please just stay here and I will try to fetch her back!

Oh, there is Elizabeth Ruth! She so kindly invited me to her table to share my scholarly musings, but just then a timewarp hit the Ordinater, and you all know what that does!

Elizabeth Ruth, I have so admired your comments in the Academy, having crept through the door just as the Term was ending. I still have somewhere a note to the girl who was concerned about her taste for Maths. Although I will have to look yours up again to reply intelligently.

But I know you were there for the lecture on Gimbutas and the Maidish Golden Age of Telluria, and one thought has occurred to me. Now one thing we blondes do excel at is shopping and matching colors and perfumes and things of that sort. If the Golden Age of Telluria was a time when foraging was just beginning to get hints of agriculture, and it was the blondes who were doing it ... then just think what it must have involved! Shopping and shopping for the very best fruit, which we recognize by subtle patterns and colors and smell, putting it on lay-away so to speak till it was fully ripe, cooking it just right, and planting the seed in a place with just the right smells and flicker of leaf-shadows....

Oh, dear, I was starting to speak Brunette style for a moment.... Oh, well, I came back to normal before I'd finished the idea, anyway!


Any Gossip

Hello my dears: just popped in for a moment between the picnic and the croquet game, and overheard Katherine's query. I certainly cannot speak for all brunettes, but I for one consider that erudition and intelligence only enhance blonde charm. Wherever did this idea come from that blondes are necessarily foolish and ignorant? A foolish blonde can be charming, like a puppy, but when a lovely blonde displays wit and wisdom, the result is something very like divine (and I mean that most literally). There are quite a few wise and learned blondes who frequent this very cocktail bar, and they are among its most precious treasures (I shall not name them, but I blow them kisses, and you may be able to identify whom I mean by their blushes).

So, what's the gossip? Any news of the Amazonian lovebirds? or of Miranda and her librarian? and has anybody heard from the irrepressible Ariadne lately?


Dateline: Thursday 7th August, 1952.

Another Blonde Query

My dearest Blanche

Thank you so much for your advice. Indeed, it does seem simple now that you have stated it, but of course that's always the way with these hestia secrets, don't you think? I shall now separate my laundry very carefully into Fuzzies and Silkies. And of course (heaven forbid!) I would never, ever wash my delicates in the Washing Machine. It is a wonderful contraption, but for certain items, only hand-washing will properly do, as you have so rightly pointed out.

Now that my first words are out, I have another question for the charming denizens of this oh-so-lovely gathering place. That question is: Do you think that brunettes are Turned Off by blondes of learning? I am a blonde (there is simply no doubt of it, my friends), but as I said, I am a student at University, and I am not taking the usual blonde courses (of course, I am taking some--child rearing, culinary arts, sewing and mending). I am, in fact, a student of History and Anthropology. Is this Off-Putting to brunettes, do you think? There seems to be some variance of opinion in the girls I ask here at school, and so I put it to you, who are, perhaps, more experienced than I.


Laundry Talk

All this laundry talk has reminded me that I wanted to tell you pettes about this darling little clothes pin bag I found this summer. It came to me straight through the Iron Curtain from Western Kadoria. It is a burlap bag, filled with real clothes pins (wooden, of course, but made of only one piece of wood, rather than two held together by a springy metal device). It's the kind of bag that little brunettes carry in New Quirinelle when they deliver the morning newspaper to the houses in Culverian neighborhoods. But what really makes this bag charming is the picture on it and the caption below the picture. The picture is of a housewife in her middle years who has, hmm, shall we say, let herself go a bit. She is putting up wash on the line and fighting with a little dog who is trying to gnaw at her bath towel. The caption says, quite simply, "Our Pin-up Girl."


A Plea For Advice

Miranda, my sweet, as one blonde to another - perhaps you could give me some advice.

You see, just as you and your librarian, I have fallen for a beautiful brunette. She's tall, clever, funny, warm and sweet and very caring. She and I have been friends for a while, but not in that way - in fact, I've never had the nerve to tell her how I really feel.

And the reason is this - she shares a house with a blonde, and I don't know if they're just sharing, or if they're - well, you know. They don't act like they're married (or - you know). They act just like friends. But they're just about to take a trip overseas for some months, and, well, I want to get things straightened out before they leave so that if there really is no hope, I can use the time to straighten out this little heart of mine. And if there is - oh if there is. (sigh)

So I'm having lunch with Miss O'Halloran (isn't that a lovely name - and her first name is Michelle), and I'm going to take her hand at the end, and say "I can read palms, and I can see a great deal in yours. An impending overseas trip, a new job - and oh, here's a young blonde who is madly in love with you and doesn't know how to say it"

Do you think it wise?

PETAL (Oh, and Miss Fox and I aren't - you know - either - we've been friends for years and it just works out so much better to share a house this way. But then you all knew that, didn't you?)

Dateline: Wednesday, August 6th, 1952

Lintless Clothes Drying

My cousins in Western Kadoria have told me about these new-fangled automatic clothes driers, but such things are unheard of here in the eastern part of the province. Hanging laundry on a clothes line gets a girl outdoors in all sorts of weather, and bending down to retrieve each piece from one's basket is wonderfully good for one's back! It is the only way to dry clothes, in this houseblonde's opinion.

But sweet Katherine has asked about lint and how to avoid it. The answer is simple, like most Hestia matters, one just has to know the little trick. And the little trick here is ... separate your laundry! Certain fabrics make lots of lint particularly fluffy terrycloth towels and flannel nighties and little girls' cotton gym socks. Never launder such items together with smooth, polished fabrics. And dark-colored linty things should never be washed in the same load with light-colored linty things, or they will trade lint with one another!

So most conscientious houseblondes I know do at least four laundries a week in their automatic washing machines: light and dark linties and light and dark smoothies, and one or two more laundries by hand for those delicate feminine garments that ought never see a machine of any kind besides the sewing machine that stitched them together. And a really skilled girl can fold her laundry perfectly as she takes it off the clothesline, so that when she brings in her basket of dry, sun-fragrant laundry, it is all ready to be put away before too much of the sunlight evaporates!

Here I am taking a load out of our up-to-date top-loading washer. That is my little blonde daughter Rachel helping me. We are putting the laundry into a wicker basket to take it outside to hang on the line.


Romance In the Air?

My dear Miss Diezy,

I have been visiting every day.


Dateline:Tuesday, August 5th, 1952.

For My Leetle Cherokee

Those were smelling salts? Thank goodness; you know how jaded we have become dealing with various labstrosities! isn't that warm in here; it must be you, my dear. I would delve into the estrogen inducing exo- thermic reaction, but it seems less than romantic!

Have you noticed, as I step on your tiny feet, that I do not know how to fox trot? But, honey, I can Texas two-step! Of course it doesn't quite fit the Kadorian music you so love....what IS a girl to do? Incidently, do you thinkyou can put your fan away while dancing? I find myelf keeping time to it rahe than the music; it also makes a most distractng whooshing sound in my hearing-impaired ear. My eyes...have you thought they simply reflect the wonder of you?



Dateline: Tuesday, August 12th, 1952

Ironing: A Pleasurable Chore

Bonjour, mes cheres pettes! I call myself Fleurette. I live in Paris, Kadorian Paris, in the 17-ieme arrondissement. I am the blonde. My brunette calls herself Marguerite, she is a femme d'affaires and works very hard all week long at the office.

Me, I keep the house, but no so continually that I did not visit the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar these last several days where I have overheard all the femmey chatter-chit about the laundry. I compel myself to say I do envy Francesca all the blue skies and sun light to hang out her washing. For me, the laundry must be put on the clothesline out of the back window; it runs to the neighbor building traversing a somewhat dim courtyard which receives the sun light only in the late morning. So a girl here must time exquisitely the laundry if she wants it touched by the sun light at all.

But I do not wish to talk any more about the drying of clothes, because I do not find that of particular interest. My particular domestic pleasure is the ironing. Does that surprise? The ironing imposes the imperturbable smoothness of the celestial order on the worldly chaos of the wrinkles. You have seen, I do not doubt, the ... how do you say ... the ocean steam-boat, say, La Normandie, sailing across la mer placide? It cleaves the smooth surface leaving the turbulence behind, you know, the wake it is called. Now imagine a moving-picture of the ocean steam-boat and imagine, further, that you should run this moving-picture in reverse. It would then appear like the rough sea were being smoothed by the ship, as if it were a great iron smoothing the unruly waters. Thus I wield my iron over the wrinkled laundry.

During the ironing, I frequently day-dream and have the most delicious fantasies as I eradicate wrinkles under the iron's mesmerizing rhythm. I hear my favourite musical programme on the wireless while plying the iron. I relax to the extreme and all my worries and cares vanish, just like the wrinkles in the bed-sheet, just like a mother smoothing the furrowed brow of the crying child.

So I iron every thing I can get the hands on. The laundry, of course, including the intimate feminine garments (which require the most delicate touch and control with the iron), and the dinner-napkins and bed-clothes. But I also iron Marguerite's bank-notes and replace them neatly into the little billfold inside of the purse. And the letters when they come in by the poste and the letters we send out in the poste. And the matin newspaper each day, so Marguerite shall feel the world is all orderly and harmonious when she reads it over breakfast and then her day will be so smooth, too. Once I even ironed one of my hats, but that turned out to be a very bad idea, even with the feather-light touch.

So you see, Sometimes I run out of things to iron, so I confess that I start ironing the very clothes I am at that moment myself wearing. So I have taken off the frock, you see in this photo. Here I am ironing the frock. When that is done ... well, what more clothing will I have to iron? ... Mais non! mes mechantes cheries , please do not mistake, I would never do anything so, how do you pettes say, riskay! Just only the frock, I assure.


To My Dear Love

I am searching for you, dear, among these writings, hoping to catch a glimpse of your beautiful face. I haven't told you where I am, but soon, soon, I will give you the details...Please don't be afraid of me, I love you with all my heart.. You know I will wait for you... come soon!


Dateline: Monday, August 11th, 1952

Perils of Clothesline Drying

All this fuss about using a clotheslines, lint, clothespins in little canvas bags! What bother and nonsense! Why, what I wouldn't have given just yesterday for one of those new-fangled automatic clothes dryers!

Here I am at our weekend place in Narraganset, trying to hang out my bathing suit to dry. You see, we have no electricity at our beachside bungalow, so there is no question of our having a dryer here anyway. My clothespins are the same kind June was just talking about, no little springs, all of one piece. One-piece clothepins give a much tighter grip on the line than spring clips; one can really force them down tightly to hold even a wet blanket, though sometimes they'll split.

Now, a girl always hangs out her laundry while grasping a clutch of extra pins in her hand, (or sometimes in her mouth, which explains why so many of mine are lipstick-stained). So you see, that's why I have one pin too many; just at the very moment a revealing gust of wind surprised me, obliging me to protect my modesty (and to conceal the embarrassing fact that I had gone outside without any stockings on), out pops Susan onto the front porch with her little Kodak at the ready, and you Pettes (and the seagulls) are the beneficiaries!

What price I paid for having gone outside without proper stockings is another story entirely. Perhaps Susan will tell you sometime.


A Hail And Farewell

Emily Rose, thank you so much for your kindness. You were right, I feel stronger already, and calm again. Have you seen her, wearing the red dress I gave her, with her cape of leopard-skin, looking every inch the hero she is? Isn't she marvellous? I am so lucky to have Sade with me. I wish we could travel together forever.

We must go on now. The Amazonian tribes are meeting west of here, for a great week of games and music and feasting and storytelling, and we are already late. I have duties there, helping resolve the small clashes and misunderstandings that arise when even the best meaning hearts meet with strangers and strange customs. It will be my first real work outside my own village, so I am excited and pleased, and only a little afraid.

Friends, you are not strangers to me now. We must take our leave of you for a time, but we will come back on our way home. Ah, here is Sade now, and we must leave. Farewell, and Dea be with you.


My young charge has said it. Ladies, I thank you - for your delicious drinks, your marvellous custom of dancing in embrace (oh Dea, thank you) and for your very fine hospitality, more delicious than the drinks, warmer than the dancefloor. We will meet again, and I will look forward to it. Farewell the house! All hail the Empress!



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.