Of Going to Goth Clubs

Welcome to 2016, Snarklings! To kick the new year off, here’s a question about going to goth events at nightclubs:

question: Dear Lady of Manners,

I have a dilemma. I attend a school that doesn’t allow its students to frequent night clubs. Normally, I wouldn’t want to go to one, but there is a gothic event at one next month that I am dying to attend. I’ve never really known any other Goths, so I would love to go. (Disclaimer: I would not be going to gawk. I dress goth or punk about 50 percent of the time and used to in high school as well, but I have had a pull to the gothic things for years.) However, naturally, it is in a seedy part of the city, and I would be going alone. Should I go or not? And if so, what are the best ways to ensure my safety both in the city and in the club? (I have never been to a club before.)

Thank you so much,
Raven

The Lady of the Manners is going to say right off the bat that because your school doesn’t allow students to frequent nightclubs, if there is any chance that a trip out to explore the nighttime goth scene will jeopardize your scholastic career, DON’T GO. Yes, the Lady of the Manners is being a repressive worrywart, but she can’t imagine that any school that forbids students to go to nightclubs would be very understanding about the “but I’ll finally be able to meet people like me!” aspect of your desire to go.

Should you go? Snarkling, that’s for you and only you to decide. If you are determined to go to the goth night, and think you can manage not to alert the scholastic authorities to your excursion, then the Lady of the Manners won’t dissuade you. But again, she will state that going out to this one event may have disastrous consequences with regard to your schooling, especially if you’re there on a scholarship. Review your school rules. Review them thoroughly. What are the repercussions of breaking the rules? Is it worth risking those repercussions for one night of dancing and socializing?

However, if you do decide to go, some things to keep in mind:

  1. How are you planning on getting to the venue and back? If you are driving your own vehicle, take enough cash (in small bills!) to pay for any parking so you can be as close to the venue as possible. If you aren’t driving, keep in mind that public transport may not be reliable or may add a not-inconsequential amount of travel time; consider budgeting for taxis to and from the event. (Or Uber, Lyft, or other such options, but only if you feel safe about using one of those services!)
  2. Don’t drink any alcohol. (That is, assuming you are of legal age.) You will be there on your own, and traveling to & from on your own. Don’t do anything that would impair your senses or judgment. Yes, you’ll be nervous and meeting new people, and the Lady of the Manners is sure that a shot or two of liquid courage sounds enticing. But it’s more important that you are completely aware of your environment and those new people!
  3. Stay hydrated!
  4. Even if you’re not drinking alcohol, it’s easy to become dehydrated from dancing a lot. Make sure you drink some water, not just sodas.

  5. Do not leave your beverage unattended! Do not leave your beverage with someone you do not already know well. Yes, this means the Lady of the Manners is suggesting you take your beverage onto the dancefloor; she trusts that if you do that, you will keep exuberant arm movements to a minimum. But better a spilled drink than the chance of it being dosed!
  6. Make sure you have a secure place to keep your ID, phone, money, and keys. Interior pockets, some sort of small purse or pouch that will securely attach to your person, or so on. Keeping track of a large purse or bag at a club is tedious at the best of times, and doing so at a venue you haven’t been to before is even more aggravating.

Now that the Lady of the Manners has worried at you and possibly come across as wildly overprotective, it’s time for the fun advice!

  1. Dress up! Adorn and armor yourself in your favorite gothy outfit. Spend hours on your makeup, if you want. This is a chance to express your ties to the goth aesthetic, so do what makes you happy!
  2. Contrariwise, don’t feel you have to dress up or look like a goth-punk fashion plate if that’s not what makes you comfortable or doesn’t express who you are. The most important thing is to be true to yourself, and if that means battered combat boots, black jeans, and a black t-shirt, then wear that and be proud of it.
  3. Talk to people! Complement their outfit, ask them if they’ve been to this club before, ask them if the DJ has played a certain song you like yet. The Lady of the Manners realizes that her telling you to do this is easy, because she’s an extrovert and has no real qualms about talking to people she doesn’t know, but for some of you, the idea of talking to a stranger is terrifying. There’s no shame in feeling that way, there really isn’t! But if you’re at this event, part of the reason you went is to meet people who share your interests. Be a brave Snarkling, and strike up conversations with people.
  4. Dance! Don’t worry about if anyone is looking at you; while someone might be, they’re also just as worried about the same thing. So squash any insecurities you may have, and when a song you like comes on, go stomp and swirl around the dance floor.

And now is the time when the Lady of the Manners asks for input from the readers! Do any of you have advice for first-time club-goers in our spooky scene? Talk about it in the comments! (Which are, of course, moderated.)

11 Responses to “Of Going to Goth Clubs”

  1. Avery Digeraas Says:

    Hi, Jillian :3

    Will you make more videos on youtube? I love the one you’ve already posted 😉

    Hugs and kisses
    -Avery

  2. Bunny Says:

    I… did not know that schools could dictate the activities their students get up to outside of school hours like this. Parts of me wonder if, since school is supposed to prepare us for the working world, this is preparing some young people to give up far too much of their freedom and hand it over to their employers. But that’s not really relevant to this question.

    Raven, there are some things to consider before deciding what to do. The potential consequences of disobeying the rules is one, and one you should think about seriously. But if you’re concerned about getting away with it, there are factors to consider.

    1- Are you still dependent on your parents? If so, their support or opinion on this will matter a lot here. For example, my mum was very encouraging of me when it came to me finding my people, having a social life outside of school, and doing “normal teenage things”, so if I’d found myself in a similar situation to you, I’d likely to have been able to count on her for certain things. Like booking taxis, or even arranging for me to have a lift to and from the event. Like vouching for me, even, should she need to. If doing this *also* involves sneaking out, I might suggest you reconsider. It’s an extra layer of risk you don’t need.

    2- Do you have a friend or relative, someone into the same stuff as you, who isn’t bound by school rules and who could go with you? If so, now is the time to get them involved. Especially if they drive. You’ll be far better off going with someone. Definitely think seriously about this if you’re going to be going alone – nightclubs are intense places, and even aside from the safety aspects outlined above, your first time would be better with someone.

    3- So… how heavily do you think you might dress up for this? Consider: Getting caught relies on someone either being at the club and recognising you (which could result in more of a pact of silence if they are a student as well, or a teacher at the school with similar weirdly restrictive rules) or on someone recognising you en-route and seeing you enter the club. I imagine any school that forbids certain social activities to students also probably heavily restricts self-expression in terms of what you wear at school.

    I’m wondering – therefore – if a sufficiently dramatic application of make-up, hair etc might be a good idea not just for the fun of dressing up, but to make it less likely anyone will recognise you. If you own any wigs, masks, goggles, a dramatic hooded cloak, maybe now would be a good time to try one of them out. I had some good friends in my teens who habitually went drag for club nights, and that can certainly be a fun thing to play with as well as, if you’re trying not to get recognised, an extra layer of defence if you can pull it off.

    4- If you do go, and you think you see someone you recognise from school, don’t acknowledge them. Act like they’re just another face in the crowd, don’t approach, just get on with your night. You want to rely on plausible deniability, here. So also don’t approach them after the fact about it.

  3. Scarlet Says:

    I dont see many goths by where i live in the north east part of the United States. Is there any way to know where to find more goths?

  4. Cynthia Says:

    I’m almost ashamed to admit that when I go out I don’t go out of my way to talk to people unless I want to pay them a compliment, or unless we’re in an area of the venue where the music isn’t super loud. I feel like small talk isn’t worth the trouble of screaming over loud music and going “What?!” every five seconds. I go out mostly to dance and to (respectfully) people watch.

    Coming from an ambivert: Raven, don’t worry about talking to people the first time (or couple of times, or few times) you go out if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. Eventually, you’ll know to what degree you want to put yourself out there, and then you can act accordingly. But if you want to jump right in, feel free!

  5. Kara Says:

    You have already received great advice, and would like to add some of my own.

    I really second trying to have someone go with you. Even if you don’t have any gothy friends, someone might agree to “chaperon” you, i.e. just come along for friendships sake and to make sure you stay safe.

    As this is you first time there and don’t know the crowd, I would recommend not wearing anything very revealing. If you decide to do this, make sure to wear something over it for the walk to and from the club. Wear a long, buttoned up coat and legging, for example, that you shed once you are safely inside.

    Find out how much money a taxi home will cost you and put that amount in your boot, bra or other place where it won’t get lost. That way, you will always be able to get home. If you are very nervous you might consider doing the same with your house key.

    I disagree with taking the drink onto the dance floor. This has been greatly frowned upon at all the clubs I have been to. If you do have a drink in your hand and feel the need to dance you have three choices: 1. Swig your drink down in one go. 2. Abandon your drink and but a new one when you finish dancing. 3. Wait with the dancing until you have finished your drink.

    Hopefully you will meet some really nice people, and maybe even get invited to an after party. For safety I would kindly decline, even if it is tempting to say yes, especially if they are going to someones house. (Going for a coffee at the local cafe would be OK.)

    I have been to several different clubs in Europe (none in the US unfortunately), and in my experience goths are super nice! I have never had to stand alone for long, but have always been invited to sit at someones table.

    And when it comes to the dance floor, go on out there and have fun! We all look like complete idiots, and know it, so one more fool is not a problem. That is one the really nice things about goth clubs, I never feel like I’m being judged. Dancing in goth clubs is often a group activity, so don’t feel bad about joining someone else’s dance. I often find people are dancing in circles, and will expand the circle to admit newcomers.

  6. Stormbringer Says:

    I find it hard to believe that schools have such draconian rules regulating what their students do in their own time. Hovever, be that as it may, they must know that their students are bound to break such rules. I would advise you not to go but to write the school a polite but assertively phrased letter of protest. Let them know that you disagree with what seems a repressive policy.

  7. Eiko Says:

    Do you go to a boarding school? If not, your extra-curricular activities are your own business, and your school need never know!
    So long as you have your parents/guardians blessing (or at least, they know where you are, leave a note if you can’t obtain permission) then by any means take this opportunity to spread your wings!
    I do advise taking a friend or two (please persuade them to dress up, even if they are not of the gothic persuasion, I’m sure you could convince them to see it as a bit of fun, like a costume party) as this way it’s safer, much more fun, you’ll have more eyes and ears to look out for each other, meaning you can drink if you want, and you can split a taxi fare home so it will work out cheaper 🙂

  8. Autumn Says:

    As someone from a ‘seedy’ part of a city:

    -Use a fanny pack or a cross-body bag to carry your wallet/keys/money. Either that, or stick them in your pocket/bra/etc. Don’t carry a wristlet, wallet, or anything that can be easily snatched out of your hand.

    -Know exactly how to get to the club and back before you go. Drive by the club the day before in broad daylight. Figure out where you’re gonna park your car (if you’re driving). If you’re using a bus or subway/train, figure out exactly how to get from the stop to the club.

    -If you dress fancy, throw a long coat over your clothes. I wouldn’t recommend wearing anything that looks too expensive.

    -Act like you know what you’re doing. Walk confidently, look like you know where you’re going, and don’t whip out a map.

    Basically the biggest thing is blending in. A lot of times people overstate how dangerous an area is; generally speaking, people just keep to themselves, and if you do the same you should be fine.

  9. Alesand Says:

    What kind of school do you go to which dictates what a student does during their free time? I can understand if it is no higher than high school level (even that has limits though) but any school other than that is pushing the boundaries waaaaaay to far. If your school is college/tech/etc. then it may be best to transfer to a different school.

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned this, but visiting a seedy side of town carries risks. If you go there, ALWAYS go in a group. Stay in the bright lights and away from darker areas. And if it is just to meet new people, there are plenty of websites out there that may help you to meet goths. Just search around on Facebook and Google+. And to help you along, here are the results on Google+ for goth groups: https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/goth/communities Hope this helps.

  10. BabyBat Says:

    I’m trying to go ‘Goth’ and I have a few questions.
    Can I wear clothing that doesn’t have rips, tears, or chains on them?
    Where could I find some big black boots?
    And finally, is it alright if I don’t wear the makeup?

  11. Alan D.D. Says:

    To BabyBat.
    Yup. I hardly have any clothes with those things, and honestly, I like it that way. I don’t like chains, don’t like the thousand crosses around me… it’s a matter of style, mostly. You like it, you use it, as simple as that.
    BBB… no idea. Try looking at the Internet.
    Yup, again. You can be a goth and still use no make up at all. I have friends, guys and girls, that don’t use it and they feel like they’re in the scene. But again, a matter of style. I myself would like to experiment a little bit with it someday, because I really love how eye bags look on me and prefer myself with them.

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