Mixed Relationships — can goths and non-goths find True Love?

Hello, faithful readers, and welcome to the latest batch of advice. This month the Lady of the Manners going to tackle a pair of omnipresent questions- can a goth find happiness and True Love with a non-goth? And should a non-goth try to cross over to gain the approval of the object of their affection? An example of that, from one of you out there in the cybernetic wilderness:

From: miss.drugstore@iname.com

As Gothic Charm School, perhaps you could guide a poor refugee from the alt subculture. I am dating a Goth. We get along very well, although every once in a while I find myself at a loss to understand Goth. Should I make more of an effort, or just continue along my merry way? I have made some strides: I borrowed his Bauhaus Cd’s and haven’t returned them, I was already an Edward Gorey fan, and due to a hair dyeing mishap, I was forced to “cover my mistakes” with blueblack hair dye, which thrills him to no end, despite the fact my mother claims I look like a cadaver and is uneasy about being seen in public with me. What think you? Can true love cross the subculture line? Should I allow myself to be sucked in and throw away my hot pink dress and Hole CD, or can a child raised on (and named after) classic rock ever really make the break?

goth impaired & tongue in cheek,
jess

Should you make more of an effort to blend in with his subculture? Only if it’s what YOU want, dearie. If, through being with your new boyfriend, you gain an appreciation for All Things Gothic and feel it fits with how you view yourself and what your ideals and aesthetics are, then that’s wonderful. BUT — if you’re only going along with all of this because you think it makes him happy, then you shouldn’t do it. Changing yourself to make someone else happy will do nothing but make you resentful in the long run. As the Lady of the Manners has said before, Trust Me, the Lady of the Manners Knows Of What She Speaks. *wink*

The cool thing is, if you do decide to explore the gothic subculture, you have your very own guide by your side to explain things and (hopefully) help you avoid making any of the usual newbie mistakes (plastic capes and vampire teeth, really bad black eye makeup, going up to the dj at the club and requesting Sisters Of Mercy because you didn’t know that the song they played not 10 minutes ago was by SOM…those sorts of things.)

Now, on the flip side, can a goth be happy and find True Love with a non-goth? In the Lady of the Manners experience, almost ALL the goths in stable, happy relationships are involved with someone who isn’t a goth. No, really! Just because someone doesn’t wear eyeliner and black velvet or PVC clothes, doesn’t make them unfit for romance. By dating a non-goth, there is so much more to find out about a person; you can spend oodles of time explaining and exploring each other’s worlds. (Yes yes–that sounded like it came straight off of a Hallmark greeting card, but it’s true.) While it’s helpful to a romance to have some things in common, dating a clone of yourself would get boring after a while, wouldn’t it?

Of course, the secret of success in dating a non-goth is an open mind. If, when you try to share your excitement about the new Creatures CD (or new black article of clothing, something that happened at the club the other night, etc., etc.), your beloved just snorts derisively and rolls their eyes, that will obviously lead to some tension in the relationship. If your new romantic interest starts earnestly saying things like, “but you would look really good in a peach sweater,” “when are you going to get out of this morbid phase?” or other things that you would only expect intolerant relatives to come up with, you need to start examining how much the companionship of this person means to you. But remember, you have to be just as open-minded to their opinions, hobbies, and mode of dress. While it’s fun to try to do a makeover on your new romantic interest, stop and ask yourself if they look like they’re comfortable with themselves in PVC trousers and smudgy eyeliner. If they’re not, then don’t try to turn them into something they don’t think they are. Don’t force them to accompany you to the goth clubs if they don’t dance and don’t like dark, smoke-filled clubs. Leave them at home, and then have fun later on, telling them about what happened.

While this sounds like a recipe for disaster, annoyance, and heartbreak, it’s not. The best example the Lady of the Manners can give is her and her husband’s relationship. He is most definitely Not A Goth, but he and the Lady of the Manners are very happy together. The Husband shoos the Lady of the Manners out of the house every Saturday night to the local club, and then on Sunday morning asks her how her night out was. While he does have a morbid sense of humor, and he does wear slightly dressier clothes than he used to, he isn’t ever going to consider himself a goth. And while the Lady of the Manners is never going to quite fully understand his fascination with BritPop music or stupid action movies, the Lady of the Manners is glad that The Husband and herself don’t have everything in common.

For a while, the Lady of the Manners did date someone who considered himself Mr. HardcoreGoth USA, and it got boring after a very short amount of time. The Lady of the Manners didn’t want to go out to the clubs every night. The Lady of the Manners didn’t want to ask herself if EVERY little thing she did was goth enough. The Lady of the Manners refused to get rid of my collection of stuffed animals just because Mr. High Lord Gothic didn’t think they were cool. All those little niggling bits of discontent eventually added up to part of a greater dissatisfaction that led the Lady of the Manners, along with some other concerns, to end the relationship.

Now, the Lady of the Manners knows that not every relationship out there between two goths is like that. In fact, I’m hoping very FEW are like that, and that the Lady of the Manners’ ex-boyfriend was just some sort of aberration. But when chatting up that gorgeous goth creature at the club, keep in mind a question like, “would I be comfortable lounging around the house watching cartoons in my p.j.s and no makeup with this person?”, because it’s those sorts of little private moments that make up a relationship. (Of course, if you’re only chatting up the gorgeous goth creature in hopes of a one-night stand, then you probably don’t have to worry about those sorts of concerns.)

What it all comes down to is this: do you like this person? Do they interest you and make your heart beat faster? Then who cares if they’re a goth or not?!

Well, the Lady of the Manners thinks that takes care of that. Come on back next month, where Gothic Charm School tries to answer a reader’s query: “Is ‘Nice boots, wanna fuck?’ reeeeeaaaally a gothic pick-up line? Does it reeeeeeaaally work?” Check back in April to find out.

(Oh, and as always; if you have any burning etiquette questions, send them to headmistress@gothic-charm-school.com.)

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