Illustration by Ben Beechener
It’s a warm Wednesday afternoon in the 8th week of Hilary term, and I find myself sitting in the cloisters (sorry, loggia) of Worcester College. Here I am awaiting two members of the ‘Animaids Society’. I didn’t think that this would be the first article that I would write at Oxford, but I’m excited nonetheless. There has certainly been a bit of a buzz surrounding the group of freshers making their way around Oxford donning maid costumes and cat ears; like everyone else, I’m quite intrigued.
Lucy and Skai arrive — sadly, not in their maid costumes — in impressively colour-coordinated outfits. I wonder if this is their off-duty uniform, but they assure me that this is just a common coincidence between the friends. After a little bit of getting to know each other, I get onto the questions that every Oxfess and Oxford Tescalator Status dweller has likely been pondering…
So, how did you start this?
Lucy: It’s quite a long story…
Skai: Yeah, it just happened that, before we even got to Oxford, a bunch of us were talking on Discord groups. I had bought a maid outfit before for [a] Halloween costume, and that just became sort of an in-joke, I guess. Then, over time, it was just like… “Wouldn’t it be funny if we went around and did this?”.
Lucy: Yeah, [our friend] put us all in a group chat, and he was basically like “Okay guys, plans: I buy a pimp outfit, you guys buy maid outfits, and then we just bar crawl”. And we were like “Hell yeah, sounds fun!”.
Skai: So yeah, then we decided to do it on Saturday of 7th week in Michaelmas and we thought afterwards “Well, this was a really fun time, we should do it again”. So it’s become a sort of tradition, I guess.
How did the group get together? How do you know each other?
Skai: It started out with a bunch of friends doing it together, and now more and more people are joining in as we do it. They see us walking around —
Lucy: Yeah, they’re like “Oh my god, can we join you guys?”.
So you’re open to other people joining?
As long as they get a maid costume?
Lucy: Yeah, and as long as they’re nice people.
Are all your costumes the exact same?
Skai: I think there are a few different ones.
Lucy: Yeah, we have options depending on your social clout. Well, I’ve got the cheaper one which was £20, and then the more expensive one is around £40. I thought “This is fun, but £40?”. That’s a lot of money.
Yeah for a once a term thing, I don’t know… do you think it’s an investment if you’re doing it every term? I suppose it works out.
Skai: The more we do it the more money we get —
Lucy: Get? We should charge people to enter!
Well, you could start a society; I mean, people have called you The Animaids Society, but I don’t think you’re a society, right?
Skai: Definitely not a society!
But would you consider making it a society? Or hosting it as an event, like a Facebook event?
Skai: Yeah, I would consider making an actual society. But I don’t know how the university would feel about that!
Lucy: Yeah, ‘cause I feel like the problem is that with other societies […] they do stuff that isn’t just ‘get drunk and have fun’. I mean, I suppose that’s the whole point, right? We’ve just got no buffer to ‘get drunk and have fun’, it’s just getting drunk and having fun and we’re wearing maid outfits.
Would you consider doing other events? Or is it just a once a term thing in case it loses its novelty?
Lucy: We could do a costume competition.
Skai: That’s something we’ve not really considered before…
How about an Animaid Ball? That could be on the cards.
(Sadly, they don’t sound too convinced by my idea.)
I did actually bump into you in Keble’s college bar when you went this term! Which colleges did you go to?
Skai: The first time we started at Keble, but this time we started at St Anne’s, then went over to Keble. Then to Hertford, and then by that point the bars were closing.
Lucy: We try to visit as many as we can. If anyone from St Peter’s wants to join, we could not get into the bar, oh my God. But we do try to go to as many [as we can] since a lot of us are from different colleges.
The Worchestra is rehearsing in the Chapel, and it gets a little louder here. Trying to get into the cheapest college bar must be pretty exhilarating, and the Worchestra is really setting the scene…
So, how was the night?
Lucy: I would consider it a success. It’s honestly just seeing the reactions of the public that’s so funny. Like, someone said, “This is everything that’s wrong with society!”. But then you just get people who are like “Oh my God, I love you guys!”. It’s so nice.
I think a lot of people saw the ‘Tescolator’ post, too — How did people feel about it there?
Lucy: I don’t think we actually had any reaction from them.
Just a normal Saturday night in Oxford, then. But what would you say to the people who do think that it’s weird?
Lucy: At the end of the day, it’s just a way to get drunk and have fun.
Skai: It is weird, but that’s part of the fun of it, I guess!
Lucy: Yeah, we don’t really care.
I think I would feel a little uncomfortable going out in Oxford on a night dressed in a little maid costume, how do you guys feel?
Lucy: Well, I think the fact that you’re in a group means that, because everyone’s doing it, it’s okay. If I was to walk around alone —
Skai: Yeah, definitely not.
Lucy: — Or in a group of two people, even then, I’d still think “This is a bit weird”. But in a group of people, you don’t really care. And, obviously, when you’re a bit drunk you just think “This is good fun, whatever”.
Any last words for our readers?
Skai: If anyone feels like joining us, we have an Instagram account, @ox_maids and it has a Google Form that you can fill in if you want to take part.
Lucy: If you like getting drunk…
This was certainly an enlightening interview. Hopefully, we’ll see the return of the Animaids’ bar crawl in Trinity term, perhaps with lots of new members. In the meantime, I’ll keep holding out hope for that Animaids Ball!