In order to better understand the divine coupling of Prince William and Kate Middleton, we’ve asked a local London correspondent, Flossy Barret-Wolmsby, to explain their particular subculture to readers on this side of the pond. Herewith, a primer on the British “rah.” They’re like American preppies, but with more paisley.
Hallo sweet angels, swing me your ears! No doubt you are all bated breathlessly for the royal wedding of gorgeous William and his Kate. Yet these sexySEX lovers are just the tip of the posh-berg of young rich Brits known as Sloane Rangers, Hooray Henrys, and toffs. Each term deserves its own treatise, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll call them “rahs.” (Rich arseholes in prole-tois.) There is a strict rah pecking order, with Wills at the top, and betas who shop at Jack Wills (England’s Abercrombie) at the bottom. And since you’ll be glued to the telly for all the connubial mayhem, you may as well learn the secret ways of the royal cabal. LIKE.
First, l’histoire du rah. In fair London, where we lay our scene, the old heart of rah-dom beats in Sloane Square, where Will’s mum Diana Spencer reigned until becoming HRH-ed. But the glory of that Rome has dimmed, and its diaspo-rah makes merry at the ancient universities of Cambridge and Oxford (or Durham, Bristol, and St. Andrews, for the slightly less clever sort).
How do you spot a rah? Take American preps. Now chuck them in the Thames. A rah-ette is a towering tangle of teased blond hair in a fur coat and tights. She loves Shakespeare (“Shaky”), sex, and a dubstep DJ called Sgt. Pokes. A he-rah is a tragic Adonis in a floral shirt and deck shoes. He adores bad ‘90s rock, Prufrock, and himself. We all wear paisley pashminas.
Between school and university, we usually venture forth on a gap yah. What is a gap yah? It’s nine months of bacchanalia in a third-world yonder. We atone for our colonial past and frolic and stare at monkeysmonkeysmonkeys. Prince William rodeo-ed round Belize, Chile, Africa, and finally worked on a dairy farm for £3.20 an hour milking cows. Glorious!
To see us at our tip-top, come to one of our costumey country larks at my godpapa’s manor. Pick a theme: empire bash, Orientalist masquerade, classical fête. Girls in garlands, turbans, saris, sequins. Boys in top hats and military attire. Oh look, there’s Harry in a Nazi costume. Live snakes, ice sculptures, circus marquees, flambeaux. GLITZKRIEG.
Our names are not common like yours. We have lyrical, often hyphenated appellations: Annunciata, Percival, Pernilla, Typhaine. Do you know Digby Dalrymple? Or Tristan Brotherton-Ruggles? Or Cato Boothby-Gore? Perhaps you know us by our nicknames: Jonty, Gussy, Checky, Flonny. You may call me Flossy.
What is the rah patois? You must know our ding-a-lingo, darling. Everything is glorious, divine, splendid, beauteous, naughty, a twirling whirl. We adore archaisms: alas, anon, perchance. Never say evening. It’s eve. Never say balsamic. It’s balsam. Adorn everything with French. Je t’embrasse. Ce soir. Chez moi. I am a flâneuse. You are a flâneur. Let us troubadour ensemble. Bisous!
It’s important to have lots of cousins. Prince William has dozens, from buck-toothed Beatrice to cross-eyed bridesmaid Louise. Key-nya is key. We go to Key-nya with our cousins. He-rahs propose to she-rahs in Key-nya. Here we are, casually on safari. Here is, casually, a giraffe. Animals, rahs love animals. Living animals. Dead animals. Falcons (flying), elephants (riding), wild boar (dining), pheasants (hunting), peacocks (admiring).
You can also spot us by our Facebook photos: Here we are reclining by a pool in Tuscany. Here are some flowers in a pot. Why not soirée in this crumbling villa? I have my Oriental dressing gown, do you have your feather headdress? Time for our next holiday. Fall weekend in Rome. Dusk, Trevi Fountain, sunglasses. I have my SLR. Let me point it at your foot. Time for our next holiday.
Uh oh, we’re done reading ancient Greek at Oxford. Daddy says it’s time to make a living. Let’s start a side business. Charity cupcakes. Novelty panties. P.R. Wedding planning?
Yes, wedding planning. But am I wrong in thinking that many of you lovelies are planning weddings with Prince Harry en ce moment? Bewareth thy rah rivals. But if the downward plunge from commoner to American seems not too precipitous for a royal bride, sally forth, and get thee a rah makeover. Omnia vincit amor!! (Oh apolzzz, do you not read Latin?) xxxxxxxxxx