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How to be a JAFA (on a budget)

Ask any non-Aucklander about Aucklanders, and the phrase “JAFA” will often come up. While the meaning of the letters cannot be put in print (just ask any non-Aucklander what they mean if you don’t know!); the meaning of the term can be described in a few simple points.


JAFAS:

  1. Drink a lot of coffee and spend a lot of time eating out
  2. Follow fashion trends with finesse
  3. Like to name-drop
  4. Use expensive beauty products (yes even the male JAFA does this)

Non-Aucklanders like to be rude about JAFAs. Since a quarter of the country’s population resides in Auckland, there is a very real “Us Vs Them” mentality. I myself was born a Non-Aucklander and happily lived with the ignorant bliss of not liking JAFAs...until I had to move to Auckland for a job. Now that I’m here in the Big Smoke, I find that Aucklanders really aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be (but for goodness sake, don’t tell them that!) The dilemma I now face is how to fit in with my new JAFA crowd, without actually becoming a JAFA myself. The JAFA lifestyle is very expensive and extravagant, so I have put together a few pointers for other Auckland migrants to follow, so that we don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

How to be a JAFA (on a budget)

  1. JAFAS drink a lot of coffee and spend a lot of time eating out
    Before I moved to Auckland, “eating out” considered of buying fish & chips, or maybe going to all-you-can-eat Pizza Hut if I was feeling fancy. Now that I’m a non-native JAFA, I find myself eating out at least three times a week. Dinner in Parnell, Coffee in Ponsonby, and Cocktails in Takapuna…how can a non-JAFA afford this kind of lifestyle? Well, let me introduce to you the Entertainment Book. This little beauty costs just $60 and is choc-a-block with 25% off and buy-one-get-one-free vouchers for hundreds of cafes and restaurants around Auckland. The vouchers last for a year and can be used anytime except for a few days such as Christmas or Good Friday. When I meet a friend for coffee, I’ll use a buy-one-get-one-free voucher. When I’m invited to dinner, I’ll quickly scan through the book to see what kind of discount I can get. The entertainment book saved me hundreds of dollars last year and also meant I got to visit expensive restaurants such as Orbit (a revolving restaurant in the Sky Tower) without breaking the bank. Check out www.entertainmentbook.co.nz for info on how to eat out like a JAFA (on a budget).
  2. JAFAS follow fashion trends with Finesse
    When I was a university student in Hamilton, it was not uncommon for me to stroll into Pak N Save in my pajama pants to buy ice-cream at 10pm at night. Unfortunately living in Auckland means no such thing can be done – the horrified expressions and looks of scorn would not be worth the comfort and convenience! In fact, if you were to go into an Auckland supermarket at 10pm at night, you would likely find dolled-up guys and gals in full JAFA regalia. (These JAFAs are also likely to be celebrities, see section 3!). Aucklanders love fashion. There is no way they would be seen with re-growth or last seasons high heels. Every fashion trend in the glossy magazines is mirrored on the streets of Auckland. JAFAs shop at a range of exclusive stores, on High Street, in Ponsonby and Newmarket. They buy labeled versions of new fashion trends and wear them with pride. Unfortunately for us mere non-JAFAs, we can’t afford to spend $400 on a Trelise Cooper singlet. I have, however, established how to dress like a JAFA without breaking the bank.
    Firstly, head down to Aotea markets on Queen Street on Saturday mornings. The market is filled with design students selling off their creations for great prices (you can even bargain them down!) These clothes are the latest fashions, reasonably priced, and the best bit – there are only a few items of each style; so you will be unlikely to commit the JAFA fax paus of wearing the same thing as someone else to dinner! Secondly, make your way to Dressmart in Onehunga. These factory shops are great for finding bargains. Once you pick your way through last seasons junk (no way do you want to be wearing suede slouch boots this winter, sweetie), you can come across a great array of latest trends at super-cheap prices. Thirdly, check out www.trademe.co.nz, and type in some designers names. You may just be able to pick up a bargain there too!
  3. JAFAs like to name-drop
    Every JAFA likes to name-drop. While they are too cool to admit they are fascinated with celebrities, women’s gossip mags still fly off the shelves in Auckland. I have a few pointers on places to go celebrity-spot. Just make sure when you see one you don’t act all gushy – the important thing is to have seen them so you can name-drop, not make an idiot of yourself.
    • Mission Bay in summertime – celebs love to hang out at Auckland beaches
    • Foodtown Auckland City – one of the newest supermarkets
    • K Road – lots of studios and nightclubs here
    • Coast bar in the Viaduct – dress code is very smart here and there’s often a cover charge, but lots of Celebs like the dance scene.
    • Any flashy restaurant on Ponsonby road or in Parnell. In fact, any decent café will do. Last week I ate brunch in a Ponsonby café and I was sitting next to a former All Black.
  4. JAFAS like to use expensive beauty products
    When you work in an office full of JAFAs, you are constantly caught in the midst of conversations about Clinique or Clairns or SKII (that one’s not even available in New Zealand!) JAFAS spend a lot of money on themselves and beauty care in no exception. They like to use the latest and newest of everything and spare no expense. For us shallow-pocketed non-JAFAs, it’s impossible to keep up with the trends unless you know some tricks. Websites to visit are www.strawberrynet.com or www.mantrap.co.nz. Both of these websites sell beauty products at heavily reduced prices. I’m a big fan of strawberrynet myself. Delivery is free, they have a loyalty programme and they have a huge range of authentic products at ridiculously cheap prices.

Hopefully the above pointers will help you out if you ever have to master the art of looking like a JAFA without actually becoming one. I said earlier on that Aucklanders aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be – but that doesn’t mean I actually want to become a JAFA! I simply want to fit in when I’m drinking my moccachino on the waterfront.

By pink 11-Feb-2006
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