Of Letters From Other Countries.

Yes, Snarklings: the Lady of the Manners is trying to get back into the habit of this updating regularly lark. So! This time at Gothic Charm School, letters from readers who live in very different parts of the world!


question: Hi,L.of Manners.
First of all, i LOVED gothic charm schooll 🙂
your articles and videos are really really useful.

in fact, my problem is HUGE- because it’s about my country! I live in Turkey, in the capital and you can’t imagine how hard to be a goth here.

first of all, people just don’t know what a gothic is. i try to explain but they still think I’m satan. That’s annoying! I can’t even find clothes to wear! i know lots of perfect websites where i can find clothes, but my parents refuse to buy them. they’re completely against me about my clothes and the books i read.

the biggest problem is, i go to a private school where girls like watching ‘gossip girl’ and mad about brands and wear stupid clothes! i don’t mind their childish behaviour but it hurts when they try to tease me with my musical tastes and the way I dress. I don’t know what to do.

I met some gothic girls in my school, but they are just too scared and trying to keep that they like that goth thing as a secret. But I say and show out I’m a goth- and I’m proud of that.

but I hate people judge me with my gothic tastes!
I don’t break their hearts about their behaviour, but they just annoy me only for that I’d made them to listen a darkwave song when we were talking about our favourite musik genres at school. (of course all of them only listens pop music!)

I don’t want to behave like them to make friends with them. But next year I’ll start high school so I will be more brave about myself and try someone to accept me as a goth.

Did you know that when I walk on the street, everyone stares at me -although I try to dress in an acceptable way. There are lots of goths in the city, but we still just a minority in the society. I want to contact gothic people but (because of my parents) I only do this on the net. (It’s a shame that there is NO gothic web sites in Turkish.)

People in my country just act like we goths have a spreadable disease!

(I want to be gothic writer and move to England because i’ll be writing in English.)

I have a blog and try to spread gothic spirit around and show what a goth really is.

Thanks a lot, LAdy of Manners

The Lady of the Manners is glad to hear that you are dedicated to being brave about yourself and your mission to get people in your city (and country) to accept you as a Goth. That takes determination and courage no matter where one lives, but probably even moreso where you are! Having a blog to talk about your experiences and thoughts about Goth is a very good idea.

The Lady of the Manners fears you’re in for a bit of a rough ride, though. You say you are starting high school next year; the Lady of the Manners doesn’t know if the high school experience in Turkey is vastly different than in the U.S., but suspects that teens are the same the world over: generally good people, but with frequent bouts of thoughtless cruelty. Be prepared for your classmates to keep teasing you about your tastes in music and fashion, and also be prepared for them to ignore the attempts you make to teach them about your interests. But! Do not let the prospect of such things make you feel like giving up! The very most important thing is to be true to yourself and your interests. There is so much more to life than being understood by schoolmates: focus your energies on what you find fascinating and worthwhile, and don’t run yourself ragged trying to court the approval of your fellow students.

However, that doesn’t mean you have blanket permission to be rude to them. (The Lady of the Manners is sure you know that, but needed to say it anyway.) For one thing, why waste any time on reacting to them, even in a snippy way? But the more important reason to not be rude or mean to them is because you are already going to attract attention by being Goth; don’t add negative attention to that. To put it another way, it sounds like people are going to assume the worst of  you because of your interests; don’t “live down” to those assumptions, but rise above them and show how unfounded those assumptions are.

It saddens the Lady of the Manners to read that your parents are against your choice in clothes and books. While this is what the Lady of the Manners always suggests in these instances, it bears repeating: have you sat down and really tried to have a discussion with them about why Goth calls to you so strongly? If you have tried that, and your parents are still unwilling to show support for your interests, then … Well, then, you need to just nurture your gothy self in ways that won’t get you in huge amounts of trouble, perhaps find a secure hiding place for your books and music, and cling to the knowledge that while it would be nice if your parents approve of your interests, it’s not the end of the world if they don’t.  

Good luck with your blog!

The next letter comes from Kyuuketsuki, who is in Venezuela:


question: Dear Lady of the Manners,

Greetings from the devastated land of Venezuela. First of all; I apologize for any future grammatical mistake I might have; Spanish is my first language.

To be honest with you, I just found out about the existence of your wonderful Goth Charm School and you yourself, but it was just enough to be amazed and motivated to write to you. I am very grateful for the work you’ve been doing so far; thanks to it, I might have answered the question of why I have been attracted to skeletons, snakes, supernatural stories and stuff like that since childhood, and why I’m a little bit attracted to the goth culture itself.

The thing is, I’m a little bit afraid to enter into the goth scenario because of my family, who thinks that they all are satanist and so on, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be at least half-goth (if that term might be used), because I do, I do want to be a little bit more gothic… I’m sure that this situation has already been delivered to you in the past, but I would really like some advice from you.

Anyway, besides this doubt, I would appreciate some guidance through the religion in this culture… I’m a christian, but I’ve known a few goths, and all of them are atheist. I can’t help but wonder why, because I’ve listened (from trustworthy sources) that most of them are, in fact, christians… I would like to know your opinion about this fact, because I am really proud to belong to the belief I belong… (Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not a fanatic). I might understand that, like in the rest of the world, there is diversity of belief in religious matters, but it would relieve me to know that there are other christians into this, because it would help me to talk to my family about the goth with more confidence.

Thank you very much for your time. I hope that you might find the time to, if you like, answer me… My best wishes to you,

Kyuuketsuki.

Right off the bat, the Lady of the Manners wants to point you at the previous Gothic Charm School posts about Goths and religion. Because there isn’t any one religion associated with Goth; while there are a number of Goths who are atheists or follow more alternative or esoteric forms of spiritual worship, there are just as many who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and any other religion. Goth is not a set of religious beliefs or a cult, but a subculture that grew out of appreciation for horror stories, punk-edged music, and a fondness for a darker, slightly morbid, aesthetic.

So, Kyuuketsuki, don’t worry about being Christian and being a Goth. The link in the previous paragraph lists a number of resources and websites to connect you with people who share your beliefs.

The Lady of the Manners wishes that she could reassure you that you once you started exploring the Goth subculture, your family would fully support your interests and realize that there is nothing to worry about. Alas, the Lady of the Manners cannot blithely offer that reassurance, because even the kindest, most supportive friends and family sometimes don’t understand what attracts and interests us. And when people don’t understand something, they often react … poorly, out of fear and confusion, even when there is nothing to be afraid of.

You may want to slowly ease your way into the Goth world. While the Lady of the Manners is all for someone jumping in and unreservedly exploring what interests them, completely changing yourself overnight only really works in fiction. Plus, a complete gothy makeover can be startling to the people who care about you, and may cause them to react with alarm. The Lady of the Manners is quite aware that you said that you want to “be at least half-goth” and “a little bit more gothic”, and does understand that you don’t mean a sudden transformation to a wardrobe of spooky darkness and all deathrock music by saying those things. But what you (and other Gothic Charm School readers, and the Lady of the Manners) consider to be small steps toward incorporating a more Goth aesthetic into your life may seem huge and daunting to others around you.

Does that mean you shouldn’t take those steps? Of course not! Just be aware that what seems quite minor to you may be viewed with confused dismay by your family, so be prepared to talk to them about it, and reassure them that your exploration of the Goth subculture does not mean that you’ve changed into someone unknowable and unloveable, nor that you’ve turned away from your faith in any way.

With that, Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners is going to go indulge in a pot of Red Velvet Tea and the reading of some silly vampire novels. Coming soon to Gothic Charm School: a report of the 9th annual Vampire Masquerade Ball (yes, the Lady of the Manners is already idly dreaming about her outfit for the 2012 event), reviews of clothing from Heavy Red and Spin Doctor, and some discussion about Goth prom wear options. In the meantime, feel free to write!

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