Throughout Ask Me If I Care, Rhea struggles with the internal conflict of what it means to be ‘real’. She looks at the “uniforms” that surround her: the safety-pinned clothes, self-dyed hair, and the spiked dog collar chokers are all common. It is interesting to note however, that there is so much focus put on the physical appearance of the people Rhea is studying. If she really were to contemplate whether these people were real/really punk she’s looking in the wrong place.
The fact that Rhea puts so much focus and attention into the fact that Alice is rich, or the fact that she has blonde hair, really shows how much Rhea doesn’t know about the culture she seems to be most engrossed in. If Rhea thinks she can look at someone’s physical appearance and spend sleepless nights analyzing whether or not they purchased their pack of safety pins from the corner drug store rather than stole them, and how this influences their level of ‘realness’/punk-ness, she’s missing the point.
Look at Debbie Harry for example, this blonde sex-bomb is one of the leading ladies of punk. Yet, if Rhea were to see someone of this ex-playboy bunny’s similar nature, would she question her ‘realness’? The answer is probably. And this is evident in the way she criticizes Alice’s appearance.
Rhea is clearly in need of some self discovery, and her obsession with the people around her is blocking her even more from finding the true meaning of what she's been searching for.