“Not a Goth”

Hello Faithful Readers, and welcome to another dizzying month of Gothic Charm School. This month’s topic is a puzzle, one that the Lady of the Manners has had to think a long while about, because she kept having so many different answers to the question. One of you dear Faithful Readers wrote in with an earnest quandary, but one without an easy, off-the-lace-cuff answer. The poor dear even asked to not have her email address and name used, because she’s worried about facing ridicule from people. What has her all in a flutter? Funny you should ask that …

“for a good part of my later-teenage years, i was part of the local goth scene. i danced it up and smoked my cloves with the best of them, but eventually decided it wasnt for me. i didnt enjoy the negative attention i got, i actually did think i looked prettier without dark makeup on, and most importantly i became fed up with the people that were a part of my cities particular scene. but horror of all horrors [only kidding ;)] i married a goth boy. he is a pretty heavy influence on the scene, and is also part of one of the more popular goth bands in the state. what i would like to know is…now that im no longer a part of the goth scene, how exactly should i behave when attending one of his shows, or making a rare appearance at the goth night i used to love so much. many of the people there are people i dont know anymore, and when they start shooting me their disdainful looks and commenting on me as “the abercrombie and fitch girl over there” [which i very much am not], i tend to get a little hot-tempered, and start wanting to put these newbies in their place. [“i was part of this club while you were still crawling on all fours…” and so on.] i dont want to be part of the goth scene anymore, but i do want to be able to feel comfortable in a scene that i used to be so much a part of. what is the proper way to deal with the newbies?

and while im writing this extensive email, i also want to address the problem of people thinking that just because i show up at goth night, im still a goth. i have gotten into numerous arguments at the bar because some one insists that im still a goth, and i dont know how to express to them how very much i want to be disconnected from the scene.”

Firstly, the Lady of the Manners wants to encourage you to just IGNORE the newbies. That’s right, ignore them. There is nothing you can say or do that will get them to not refer to you as “the abercrombie and fitch girl”. Even if you started showing up to your husband’s shows in full Gothier than Thou Victorian mourning dress, the newbies would assume you were just trying too hard.

But the Lady of the Manners has to ask – just how do you look when you show up to one of the shows or to an occasional Goth night? Because if you’re showing up in khakis and a white sweater, well then … the Lady of the Manners hates to break it to you, but you deserve just a little bit of disdainful glares. You used to be part of the scene, yes? You used to know exactly how it felt to be at an event for OUR type and have someone who didn’t seem to fit in show up, and the Lady of the Manners is willing to bet you quietly growled and shot some disdainful glares in their direction. Remember, people in the Gothic scene are a little wary of the “tourists”, and for good reason; every Goth club the Lady of the Manners has ever been to has been unwilling host to clumps of people who are only there to look at the freaks or try and score with the Sexy Deth Chyx. Having something you are part of held up as the latest spectacle to gawk at is annoying and uncomfortable. So of course the newbies are going to be cranky at your presence – they don’t know who you are, and you might not look like you belong there.

If that’s the case, then the Lady of the Manners would like to encourage you to at least try to dress to blend in a bit. No, you don’t have to go full-tilt back into the dark eyeliner, lipstick, and lace-encrusted velvet clothing just to go see your husband’s band perform. But perhaps you could wear something simple and black, something that shows you aren’t a tourist, but know about the scene your husband is such an influence in. Yes, that’s not who you’ve decided you are anymore, and that’s fine. But if you’re going to show support for your husband and his pastimes, then you should be respectful and dress for the occasion.

Now, as to your problem with expressing how very much you want to be disconnected from the scene … dearie, if you REALLY want to be disconnected from the scene, then STOP GOING TO GOTH NIGHTS. By going out to Goth night, by going to see your husband’s band perform, you are taking part in the local Goth community, and people will assume that you ARE part of the community. If you really don’t want to be part of all that, then stop appearing like you’re participating. The Lady of the Manners is sure that if you explain to your husband that you don’t want to go to Goth nights, he’ll probably be fine with it. The Lady of the Manners’ very own wonderful husband isn’t a Goth and never, ever goes out to clubs with her.

What to do when someone insists you’re still a Goth? Arguing with them probably won’t change their mind; what worries the Lady of the Manners more is how you might be telling these people that you aren’t a Goth anymore. Are you saying anything along the lines of “Oh, I used to be a Goth, but I grew out of it”? If so, shame on you.

(Warning! Warning! Small rant ahead!)

“I used to do that, but I grew out of it.” Gracious, doesn’t that sound a bit condescending? Because if you say that to someone about something they’re still doing, it comes across with the subtext of “I’m so much more evolved and adult than you”, which isn’t the nicest thing to imply. The Lady of the Manners runs into people all the time who take a look at her and say “Oh, I used to be a Goth, but I grew out of it.” Really? Isn’t that nice. The Lady of the Manners has no intention of “growing out of it”, and plans on being that very odd little old lady at the end of the street who wears all black and owns a lot of cats. “Growing out or it” implies that the person saying that phrase is looking down on everyone who does still participate in “it”.

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