Literary doodle pad

Typically I am known for my slightly obscure and offensively bright clothing with at least a hint of hippy-ish-ness influencing my wardrobe, fairly accurately depicted by this picture:-


However, as a student at Newcastle University I don’t really fit in at all, and the vast majority of the students here are what we would call a ‘Rah’, people from upper-middle or middle class backgrounds who tend to all wear the same things as each other, namely very expensive branded things of a particular style. My friends and I thought it would be an interesting social experiment for me to ‘dress up’ as a ‘rah’ for a day, resulting in the following image:-



Deciding what exactly a rah wears was harder than expected, maybe they’re not quite so uniform as we might mock them for being after all.


Maximum effort made to make hair puffy and stay on top of my head in an ‘arranged mess’ and makeup = much more effort too; eyes started watering in response to excess blackness! (note, if I’d been doing it properly I’d have plastered foundation and bronzer on too but I coudn’t bring myself to do it/didn’t own the required make-up items). I Think so many Rah girls are probably really stunning on a morning before they’ve put on their mask.


People’s reactions when you change something about yourself, even just as shallow as your clothes, can be totally hillarious; people find change quite spooky. On the whole more boys thought the change was bad, more girls said I looked nice, almost everyone thought it was funny.


Rah clothes are REALLY WARM!! Gillets, despite being armless, are super cosy! And UGG boots are frankly BOILING.


Cath Kidston handbags and red skinny jeans are as colourful as you get when being rah (do quite like the bag though).


Your clothes must imply that you live in a massive house in the country where you go hunting, shooting, fishing for sport (though the UGG boots might give away the fact that you never actually get your feet dirty) and your clothes probably never convey any messages about social justice (or any other message apart from status and wealth).


Got less weird looks than usual on my walk into uni.


If you dress up as a nice rah girl then nice rah boys will offer to open doors for you.


Felt a weird kind of power in blending in at the Uni Library, in the idea that I was fooling all these people around me that I was just like them (they couldn’t tell I wasn’t cause the library is a quiet place).


The charity collectors on northumbarland street who usually all stop me didn’t stop me at all on rah day.


People who hate you for being a hippy will hate you anyway even if you conform, people who accept you as you are will laugh along and accept you when you dress as a rah (but they’ll still prefer you to be yourself).


It’s refreshing when some people don’t notice what you’re wearing and just chat away to you as normal.


Being someone else for a day is fun, but exhausting.


I want to judge people by their appearance as little as possible from now on.

Comments on: "Being a Rah (for a day)" (7)

  1. A very interesting experiment.
    Invisible fences and defenses and fears and flocking with peers
    We’re too narrow to inhabit other ideas.

  2. For a day is a worthwhile experiment; for any longer is not the Catie Eliza we love.

    I am interested in your observations; i wonder how i would have reacted, had i happened to see your rah-self…

  3. This is brilliant – you’ve (almost) inspired me to try the same thing. But the moment I move towards any kind of fashion forwardness I get a cold sweat. Back to the baggy joggers…

    Emma Scriv

    (moonlighting under her hubby’s account)

    • Ah I know it was a relief to swap back to my usual assortment of charity shop joy. :] I sought you out, despite your moonlighting through Glen’s account, so am about to have a good browse. :] xx

  4. Russ P. said:

    Hello Catie,
    I think your experiment showed you what God would have you do when interacting with others. First, accept them for who they are and not what they are. Second, love them with the same love Jesus showed all of mankind and finally, look at their heart to see the true person inside. As I think you’ll agree that what’s on the inside is more important than what’s on the outside. With your colorful clothes I think you can let the light of Jesus shine through.
    Best regards,
    Russ P.

  5. True that Russ. Feel a little convicted. It is interesting actually, the whole reason this started is because one of my friends who is very ‘rah’ in the way she dresses and I were going to swap clothes for a day but she didn’t want to in the end… But before getting to know her I was intimidated but actually we got on really well and connected on some of the much deeper issues. 🙂

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