Well, dear Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners would like to start this lesson by saying how delighted she is by the comments and letters she’s received from so many of you. Everyone likes to know they’ve been missed, and the Lady of the Manners is no exception to that, obviously.
(A further note about the questions that many of you have been sending to Gothic Charm School: while the Lady of the Manners would love to send a personal response to each and every one of you that writes to her, sadly there are not enough hours in the day. However, rest assured that the Lady of the Manners does read everything that you send to her. Yes, really.)
So! This time around the Lady of the Manners is going to look at one of the perennial topics of conversation in the Goth universe, a topic that she gets a fair amount of mail about: tourists. No, not the type of tourists who go visiting other cities and historical landmarks, but people who aren’t goth (and have no interest in ever being a goth), but who go to goth clubs.
Why is this a topic of never-ending discussion in the goth world? Well, because opinions about scene tourists are pretty sharply divided. More people in the clubs means that the clubs are making money, thus the gothic club nights will flourish, not to mention that many club-goers feel that strict dress codes and ‘scene-only’ door policies are ever-so-slightly on the ‘bad’ side of elitist. On the other hand, swarms of non-goths take away from the ambience and atmosphere of a club, and it’s more than a little annoying to be treated like a zoo exhibit when you’re someplace that you go to almost every week.
The Lady of the Manners, while wanting the clubs and event promoters in the goth world not to starve and keep hosting fabulous events, is pretty much against tourists. Why? Well … Many non-gothy types, when they decide to go to the local spooky club, are doing so because they want to feel transgressive or ‘naughty’. “Ooooh, lets go to that place where all those weird and freaky vampire people are!” Going to a goth club is a lot like going to an amusement park for them, with zanily-dressed characters and the thrill of flirting with what looks dangerous, but really isn’t. Your Gothic Charm School headmistress has issues with this because she doesn’t like the idea of something dear to her (and thousands of other goths across the world) is being turned into cheap thrills for people who aren’t sure how to find their own excitement or entertainment.
Which leads right to the Lady of the Manners’ other problem with a lot of club tourists: the whole ‘sexy deth chix’ nonsense. For whatever reason, a lot of non-goths assume that anyone who IS a goth is … oh dear, how to put this … not only sexually deviant, but rather free and undiscriminating in who they practice those behaviors with. As if somehow wearing all black, corsets, lace, fishnet, or PVC at a club means not only are you willing and available, but that you welcome complete strangers walking up and touching you. Which, of course, is not the slightest bit true, but is one of those pervasive misunderstandings about the Gothic subculture.
Now, if you’re a non-goth and have patiently read this far, the Lady of the Manners does indeed have some advice for you; advice that isn’t even “Don’t ever even think of going to a goth club.”
Thing the First: Think long and hard about why you want to go to the local gothy nightspot. Is it to see friends of yours who are part of the scene? Is it because you’re trying to decide if you want to start becoming an active participant in the local goth scene? Is it because you like the music? Great! All of those are good reasons, unlike, say, wanting to go and try to pick up one of those kinky vampire girls or guys because everyone knows they’re sluts. That is a bad reason. Be aware of the worlds of difference between good reasons and bad reasons.
Thing the Second: Try to dress to blend in. Black clothes, if you please, and no sneakers, baseball caps, or bad attempts at eyeliner and black lipstick. A plain black dress or a black shirt and trousers are just fine.
Thing the Third: A goth club is not a petting zoo. Do not touch people unless you ASK THEM FIRST AND THEY SAY YES. Just because someone is wearing only scraps of lace doesn’t mean they want people to touch them.
Thing the Fourth: No taking pictures without asking; if you are told no, or informed that cameras are not allowed in the club, don’t try and argue.
Thing the Fifth: Be very, very polite to the staff. Tip the bartenders. Do not ask the DJ if they have the latest Top 40 hit song. The staff will probably already be keeping a watchful eye on you, so do what you can to prove to them that their suspicions are unfounded.
Thing the Sixth: Don’t be surprised if you are stared at or if people are obviously whispering about you, and don’t get belligerent about it, either. You are the odd one here, not the rest of the club patrons. Remember what the Lady of the Manners said about being polite to the staff? (Yes you do, it was in the previous paragraph.) Well, you should also be very, very polite to the other people at the club, even if you think they’re a bunch of freaks. After all, you decided to go to their club.
With that last bit of advice, your Gothic Charm School headmistress is going to toddle off and have a restorative cup of tea. If you have any questions (or just feel like saying hello to the Lady of the Manners), click on the handy “Correspondence” link.