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"Since gin to artifice bears the same relation as tears to mascara, her attractions at once dissembled."

Source: Breakfast at Tiffany's

Tears to mascara presumably refers to the similarity between the two, but what of the first the relationship between artifice and gin? What does this sentence mean?

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    Tears are not at all similar to mascara: tears ruin the effect of mascara. Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 13:46
  • @Yosef I assume that's a typo, but apparently gives an acceptable statement: 'tar and coal derivatives are strictly prohibited by the FDA' [Wikipedia]. Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 13:55
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    As crying ruins mascara, drinking gin dissipates artifice. Her attractions were false (artifice), so alcohol revealed (dissembled) the real woman Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 13:56

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From Classic Cocktails: A Modern Shake

Mag Wildwood, Holly Golightly's six-foot-tall model friend, has one drink too many. "Suddenly she was blind," Fred says. "And since gin to artifice bears the same relation as tears to mascara, her attractions at once dissembled." That is a precise corollary of in vino veritas that some of us would prefer to avoid seeing demonstrated.

Yosef Baskin wrote above:

As crying ruins mascara, drinking gin dissipates artifice. Her attractions were false (artifice), so alcohol revealed (dissembled) the real woman.

That pretty well nails it.

Truman Capote's novella, "Breakfast at Tiffany's," was published in Esquire magazine in 1958. A decade later, in an interview published in Playboy magazine, Capote said of his main character:

Holly Golightly was not precisely a call girl. She had no job, but accompanied expense-account men to the best restaurants and night clubs, with the understanding that her escort was obligated to give her some sort of gift, perhaps jewelry or a check …if she felt like it, she might take her escort home for the night. So these girls are the authentic American geishas, and they're much more prevalent now than in 1943 or 1944, which was Holly's era.

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